Vice-Chancellor's foreword

Well, 2021 was another truly remarkable year for our University.  A year in which we all had to dig even deeper into our reserves of resilience to endure and to thrive as the pandemic continued to rage and then fade.

As ever, our staff and students rose to the challenge and I’m extremely proud of the way each and every member of our University community worked together to deliver our mission for the Common Good.

As you read the review of this year’s activities of the GCU community, you will recognise just how effective and impactful our determination has been because we have flourished through innovation in our teaching, research and ways of working.

Our educational programmes received the highest possible rating from the  Quality Assurance Agency for Scotland this year; our outstanding employment and widening access statistics shone; we were voted best in the UK by students for the value we provide; we achieved success in the Times Higher Global impact rankings reflecting our authentic commitment to delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals through our action research and we worked with over 300 industry partners to become the leading national provider of Graduate Apprenticeships and upskilling in the business sector.

Perhaps, therefore, it's not surprising that, despite the pandemic, we have been a popular destination for study, significantly increasing our international student intake and maintaining our unshakeable commitment to widening access to higher education at home and overseas, while being ranked fifth in the world for our work on gender equality. But we must not lose sight of the stress this pandemic has placed on us all and we invested to ensure we could better support the mental health and wellbeing of staff and students. This will present an ongoing challenge.

Towards the end of the last year, Glasgow became the focus of global attention through hosting COP26 and our scientists in climate justice, the built environment, and health captured the opportunity to showcase the contribution we make to dealing with the climate emergency, promoting a just and fair transition to a carbon-neutral economy and to reducing inequalities in society, particularly in relation to child poverty and health more widely.  The University’s legacy from COP26, that we are progressing with serious intent, was ably supported by thoughtful and passionate interventions by our Chancellor Annie Lennox and Emeritus Chancellor Muhammad Yunus.

A year full of challenge and hope and one in which the GCU community of staff, students, alumni, Court members, friends and partners worked together to do what they do best: to ask the important questions of life, to unleash the transformative power of education, to solve problems and to make an impact on society. GCU continues to do so with grace, dignity and empathy and an abundance of energy. 

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE
Principal and Vice-Chancellor