Vice-Chancellor's foreword

Last year was a really special one for our University.

It was a year in which we continued to widen access to higher education with excellent student outcomes and we were therefore delighted to win the Champion of the Year category at the UK Social Mobility Awards. We were also recognised for our work with veterans and armed service personnel and for our longstanding support for students with experience in care. Through our graduate apprenticeships in Glasgow and London, our close ties with industry and commitment to work-based, co-created learning were also a highlight.

We made good progress through our research and education to contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals issued by the United Nations. 

Most notably perhaps, we successfully hosted the first-ever World Forum on Climate Justice. With the support of our Chancellor, Annie Lennox, and the redoubtable Mary Robinson, our planning is well advanced for us to make a significant contribution to COP26 on climate change when the event comes to Glasgow in November 2020.

We also made outstanding progress in many health-related areas of research including: the HPV vaccine saving lives, reducing causes of cervical pre-cancer in young women, assisting Health Protection Scotland’s work on infection control and, in partnership with UCL, we researched new HIV prevention treatment.

Our social innovation work on integrating migrants and refugees; using AI to improve business and services; the Erase the Grey campaign against gender violence; Volpower volunteering for 5,000 students across Europe; the launch of our Common Good First digital storytelling platform for community development and Dr Angela O’Hagan winning the Jo Cox Award for Public Services and Active Citizenship, all served to underpin our recognition as one of the top 50 universities in the world for social impact.

We strengthened our international partnerships in 2019, graduating our first cohort from the African Leadership College in Mauritius, our second and third student cohorts from Glasgow Caledonian New York College and celebrated the graduations of over 200 employees at South Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail School of Rail campuses in Johannesburg. Not forgetting also our longstanding partnerships with the newly formed National University of Science and Technology in Oman and our work with Oman’s Armed Forces Medical Services School for nurse education and our continued support for nurse training at the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in partnership with Emeritus Chancellor Yunus. We were proud indeed to continue to be recognised as leaders in the provision of nurse education in the UK with student Craig Davidson winning the prestigious Nursing Times' Nurse of the Year award.

This abridged reflection of the year wouldn’t be complete without a thank you to our dear friend and GCU Foundation supporter in whose honour we renamed our library the Sir Alex Ferguson Library. We are fortunate indeed to have many supporters, staff and students who, like Sir Alex, are passionately committed to social justice and promoting the Common Good through education. This annual review will give readers a snapshot of some of the most compelling stories from the University in 2019 and a glimpse of what we have planned for the next year and decade ahead.

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE
Principal and Vice-Chancellor