In mid-September I attended the UUK annual conference in Leeds. This year’s theme was ‘strength in diversity’. The key message was that universities are in a unique position – leaders of change that can help deliver diverse opportunities and transform the lives of many. Speakers at the conference included Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President, Universities UK and the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Minister of State for Cabinet Office (Cities and Constitution) and Minister of State for Universities and Science. If you’re interested you can watch and listen to some of the key addresses at http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/events/AnnualConference/Pages/Films2014AnnualConference.aspx. I was invited to sit on a panel on ‘The constitutional implications of the Scottish and European referendums’. The panel included Bill Rammell (Cardiff alumnus, former Labour MP and current Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire), Professor Pete Downes (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee and current Convener of Universities Scotland) and was chaired by the journalist Miranda Green.
With the theme of ‘strength in diversity’ upper most in my mind I returned to Cardiff to hear that we had scored full marks in Stonewall’s ‘Gay By Degree’ guide (one of only six universities to do this nationally) and have also been successful in our Athena SWAN bronze renewal for our commitment to women in science. If strength really is in diversity then Cardiff is going from strength to strength.