Update to students - 2 June at 5.50pm
The last few months have been unprecedented. Like most of you, I have spent much of my time working at home. On the occasions that I have been on the University campus it has felt very strange and far too quiet. Alas, there has been nothing so far that we can do about that. My colleagues and I miss you not being here. Loughborough students are at the heart of making us what we are and the place is not the same without you.
There is now hope. In a very measured and gradual way we are re-starting activities both in the East Midlands and in London. Indeed, I am at my desk in Hazlerigg today and for the first time in many weeks the front door is open. In my mind this is an important indication that we have started the journey to recovery.
The beginning of next academic year is still four months away but let me be clear (it should be obvious from my opening paragraph) that both of our campuses on Loughborough and in London will be open to welcome you back for the 2020/2021 academic year. We shall be running a full teaching timetable for all of our degree programmes.
At the heart of delivery will be face-to-face tuition, laboratory practical work (where this is relevant to your degree) and a stimulating learning environment.
Where there are large groups of students in a lecture, it is likely that Government guidelines will require online delivery in the first instance. One of the things that we have learned from the recent situation is that good, well structured, online lectures can be effective, when accompanied by an opportunity to ask questions in real time.
You will all know that other activities, much of which you do outside your formal studies, are at the centre of the Loughborough student experience: sport, Rag, Action, clubs and societies, hall of residence social activities, student representation through School Presidents and Course Reps, Personal Best. To me the list seems to be endless.
All of this will be taking place although we are thinking carefully about how to make it happen and will work with our students so that we are following the latest Government advice at the time. I have little doubt that the ingenuity of the Loughborough family will shine through and that your creativity, with our support, will come up with some innovative solutions.
I say with genuine sadness that we know for this year’s finalists these measures will not be in place before you complete your time at the University. You will know from my previous messages that graduation will take place in the week commencing 12th April 2021. This will be a full celebration, with LSU organising the Graduation Ball. We hope to see you all back on campus so we can celebrate with you in the proper way. I also hope some of you will consider postgraduate study with us next year.
The final issue that I need to cover with you is health and safety. The measures we are putting in place on our campuses are some of the most thorough and balanced in higher education. They have been issued to all UK universities as a model of good practice. We are doing our utmost to ensure that our campuses are safe for everyone who works and studies here. I know that you will have a part to play in ensuring this too. Everyone, including me, will have to stick to any new processes and systems until further notice and follow the advice being given by the NHS and the Government at the time.
You may have picked up in the news that every university in the UK is required to provide a formal statement of intent with regard to next academic year. The Loughborough University document can be found on our website. It repeats what I have said above but with some additional detail.
In short, my colleagues are working to put in place all of the modifications necessary so that we can re-open and this is now beginning to happen. We want to welcome you back to the University in the autumn. I want the campus to be a lively, thriving community once again. You need to be here to make that happen and I have every intention of making sure that is indeed the case.
Professor Robert J. Allison
Vice-Chancellor and President