Students Staff
University of Essex

June 26, 2020

VC’s all staff and student update

Dear staff and students,

As the Summer Term ends today, this will be my last weekly email, although I will continue to share updates with our community as and when necessary through ‘Essex Weekly’ and ‘Essex Spirit’. I want to take this opportunity to thank all staff – those working on campus, working from home and those furloughed – and all students for your support and flexibility in responding to COVID-19.

I am proud of the way that we have responded to the pandemic: by putting our courses on-line; and by adapting assessment and delivering the best possible experience for our students. All this has taken place at the same time as developing dual delivery for next year – and looking after 1,500 students who have remained on our Southend and Colchester campuses. Over 850 University staff have been furloughed as a result of the pandemic. I know that this has been difficult and your support and forbearance are much appreciated.

I also want to thank all our students for the adjustments that you have had to make in continuing your studies in truly exceptional circumstances. The impact of the pandemic has been profound, both on our work at the University and on each of us personally, and I want to express my thanks to you. This has also been a challenging time for our Students’ Union, with major disruption since March and a significant number of staff furloughed. I want to thank the SU sabbatical team for your leadership this year in a wide range of areas. Student-led activism has been vital in highlighting that we must do more to tackle racism. A working group report will be considered by Council on 9 July and taking action is a priority for us. I would also thank the SU for your continued commitment to partnership working with the University in these unprecedented times. Our usual celebration events over the summer term have either not taken place, or been switched on-line and this is an opportunity for me to say thank you.

As we enter the summer period, there remains much that we need to do, including a significant focus on conversion and other recruitment activities, curriculum re-design, on-going Masters’ and PhD supervision, and research. Preparations are now underway for a move back to on-campus working and there will also be important routine summer work to prepare our campuses for the start of next academic year. This is important work, but I urge you all to take a break in the coming months so that you can rest, recharge and prepare for Academic Year 2020-21.

Once again thank you for your support – it is much appreciated.

Anthony Forster

Vice-Chancellor

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