Friday 29th September 2023

Quite a week… 

A new academic year and a very, very busy week: Welcome to everyone who has joined the Viva88 for the first time and welcome back to our returners; it has been really great to see both campuses so vibrant and busy.

Please do watch out for messages – in the blog, on Message of the Day and sometimes by email – as I will be sharing news and views through these channels in the coming weeks and months. It’s an exciting but somewhat hectic time of the academic year and we want to ensure nobody misses out on important information.

So, let’s get started…..

…and I make no apology for starting with a theme that has occupied these blogs for the last 4 years…


I know for some this may seem like an old message but, watching the impact of the new variant on colleagues in the United States, infection can still lead to significant absences for university communities. We are several weeks behind in our academic year and it would be folly to assume that what has happened there will not happen here. So….

  1. LF Tests are freely available to all staff and students at receptions on both sites.
  2. With no legal requirement and no real guidance, common sense must prevail; please, please, if you become infected do as you would hope others would do for you. Stay away from others, if you can, and wear a mask when necessary and appropriate.
  3. Take precautions to prevent other respiratory diseases… all staff and students are offered free ‘flu vaccinations. Appointments are listed on the intranet.

The TEF – good news

As some of you will be aware, UK universities take part in the Teaching Excellence Framework and this time the exercise has been a little different and more granular than previously. With three measures - student satisfaction, student outcome and an overall mark - I am very pleased to report that RVC achieved Gold for outcomes, Silver for satisfaction and Silver overall. It was a huge effort for many people, both staff and students, especially as we are a relatively small, specialist university, and I am grateful for the many contributions that led to such favourable results. I also look forward to working with our community to lift us to gold in all our endeavours. There is more on the TEF  and my previous comment is here.

Our campuses

You cannot help but notice the evidence of construction work on both our campuses. For those of you who have been away over the summer, at Hawkshead we are busy completing the new main campus entrance/reception, shop and café area.  Importantly, whilst works are underway, there will be reduced toilet provision in the new Student Learning Centre, but alternative provisions will be available in the vicinity…so please see other notices to familiarise yourself with their locations and plan ahead!  Eclipse is also now out of bounds while we carry out the internal refurbishment – staff and student access is limited to the entrance lobby by the Link building and the ground floor toilets in the north stairwell.  I hope you enjoy using the new teaching and study spaces.  Work is also ongoing to the new courtyard and parking area at the rear of Eclipse, these should be completed mid-way through the term.  Meanwhile, in Camden remedial work will be starting this autumn on the roof, façade and windows.  Finally, on estates matters, following recent news in the press regarding RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in schools and universities, we have undertaken our own review and are pleased to say we do not have any issues on our campuses.


Also announced this week, and a bit like the TEF mentioned above, we are assessed for our contributions to Knowledge Exchange, and the  is the framework under which this happens. Looking at the huge range of activities in which universities take part and their contribution to economic growth, innovation, entrepreneurship and community infrastructure and employment is a very important part of our mission. The Viva88 is proud of its place in broader society and the outcome of the exercise reflects this commitment and success. There is no formal ranking mechanism but you can read more about our performance here and .

And with that, I wish you a great weekend and a happy and fulfilling academic year ahead.

All best wishes, as ever,


If you would like to read earlier messages see Previous messages from the President & Principal.

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