I write this, on the morning of my last day as Pro Vice Chancellor, in a state of shock (where has the last 40 years gone?) and sadness (the academic yearly cycle has dominated my life since I was 5). Many of you will know that I came to University College Cardiff as an Undergraduate, and then stayed on until I finished my PhD. I have done everything from a zero hours contract (usually doing evening teaching, which no-one else wanted to do) to being a member of UEB (and probably everything else in between). I have worked elsewhere, but Cardiff has a very special place in my heart. I can’t pretend that everything here is wonderful – indeed, the NSS results this year are a sharp reminder that there is still plenty to do – but I want to ask everyone to remember how lucky we are to work in a sector where we can make a real difference to society. It has been such a privilege to meet and work with such creative, caring and dynamic staff and be part of transforming the lives of the next generation.
When I submitted my PhD my son was 3 (he’s now 37!), and I wrote in the acknowledgements section that maybe ‘mummy wouldn’t have so much homework any more, and would have more time for play’. Whilst home over Christmas he came across the tome that is my thesis, came to kitchen and pointed out that he was still waiting! So, yes, it’s been hard work – and a lot of work – but to be part of such a wonderful life is humbling. I should end by continuing to acknowledge the support I have had from my family – I really couldn’t have done it without them on my side.
We are really fortunate that Professor Amanda Coffey will start as the new PVC tomorrow – I know that she cares passionately about education and the power it can have to change lives. I wish her all the very best for the future.
If I start to name the people I owe a debt of gratitude to, then I am bound to leave someone out – so to everyone past and present: Thank you, it’s been a blast!