VC Open Forum
Posted on behalf of: Internal Communications
Last updated: Thursday, 2 February 2023
Our new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sasha Roseneil, held her first Open Forum this week (4 October). More than 450 staff attended the event, either in person or live on Zoom. Professor Robin Banerjee, Head of the School of Psychology, hosted the afternoon.
To open the session, Sasha shared the talk that she had given to the selection committee for the job of Vice-Chancellor. She then offered reflections on recent changes in the external environment, and on how her thinking and vision have developed in her first two months at Sussex. It provided an insight into an outsider’s perspective developing into an insider’s vision for change.
See a gallery of photos from the event:
Sasha said that the best thing about her first two months had been meeting and getting to know members of the Sussex community – staff, students, and alumni.
Statement of intent
Setting out her statement of intent, Sasha said she wants Sussex to be: “recognised nationally and globally as a university that is making a unique, innovative, and transformative contribution to environmental sustainability and human flourishing through our research and enterprise, through our educational and extra-curricular provision, and in our institutional life and actions.
“This means Sussex becoming a university community in which all members - students and staff - feel that they are in the best place, at this point in their lives, to realise their goals and ambitions, where they can be themselves, and do their best work, and in which diversity of background, identity, belief, discipline, and method are understood to be foundational to our sense of community and to our success.”
Sasha then asked colleagues present whether they thought that these are the right ambitions for Sussex, and to offer their ideas about how ‘we can work together to make a better University for a better world.’
Listening to colleagues
Robin posed questions and reflections from staff to Sasha, some of which were provided in advance, some from our livestream audience, and some from the room. The session gave staff the opportunity to share their thoughts about Sussex - what is going well and what needs to change, and to ask for Sasha’s views, and many staff took the opportunity to engage directly with our new VC.
Some of the topics discussed on the day included: Sasha’s first impressions and immediate priorities; working conditions; staff welfare and recruitment; personal development and career progression; support for staff and students during the cost of living crisis; growing our student numbers and university fiances; student experience; our estate, facilities and infrastructure, including our website; health and safety; and environmental sustainability.
Sasha continued the conversation with colleagues over tea and cake after the formal session. There will be regular Open Forums from now on, so if you were there on the day, please give us your feedback via this short survey to help us plan future events.