26 October 2016

Leaving the University of East Anglia

Posted by Dave Petley

Leaving the University of East Anglia

Today is the my last working day at the University of East Anglia (UEA).  I have the removal company coming in tomorrow, and by the end of the day, all being well, I’ll be in a hotel in Sheffield.  I start my new post as Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield and Professor in the Department of  Geography on Tuesday.

University of East Angli

The University of East Anglia this morning


Here at the University of East Anglia I have been Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), a role that I have loved.  UEA is a comparatively young university, but one that is immensely popular with students and that embeds a can-do attitude to research.  In the latter it is most famous for Climate Change (UEA maintains the crucial HAD-CRUT4 temperature dataset) and creative writing, but there is also great strength across the disciplines from neurological physiotherapy to the Magna Carta, dementia to competition policy, international development to leafcutter ants, and much more besides. It has been a fascinating journey.

Inevitably, there have been frustrations, and as with all posts I leave pleased with the progress that we’ve made but with a sense that I could have achieved more; that is inevitable.  But it has been a great pleasure to work with the rest of the senior management team, especially the Executive Deans and their Associate Deans, and I would like to single out Helen Lewis, the Director of the Research and Enterprise Division, for the extraordinary support she and her section have provided.  Helen is a phenomenon, and I hope that the University continues to appreciate her talent and dedication.  I could not have done my job without her.

University of East Anglia

The iconic Teaching Wall, designed by Denys Lasdun, at the University of East Anglia


And of course my role needed the fantastic support provided the administrative team in the Vice-Chancellors Office, and I would especially like to single out my (now retired) wonderful PA, Jacqui Churchill.

My place is being taken by Professor Fiona Lettice for the next nine months.  Fiona will do a fantastic job, and I wish her well.

Overall I have learnt so much, and I have enjoyed every minute of the role.  Norwich is a wonderful city and the University of East Anglia is a great institution that is going places.  At the end of the day universities are about people, and UEA has many wonderful people at all levels.

And so to Sheffield.