University strategy: Call for essays

Research and teaching fellows, lecturers and associate professors at Leeds are invited to submit essays in support of our new academic strategy’s three themes – culture, community and impact.

University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor Simone Buitendijk poses in front of one of the buildings on campus. August 2020.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, has issued the call as part of plans to publish a series of essays promoting the recently published strategy.

Each essay should align to one or more of the three themes and demonstrate how our research is or can be applied to reduce inequalities. Essays should be:

  • about 3,000 words long
  • written in straightforward, non-expert language
  • preferably, but not necessarily, related to multidisciplinary research; and
  • help demonstrate our offer to the world.

Professor Buitendijk said: “As a member of the University’s post-doctoral community and the next generation of academic talent, I am asking for your help and expertise. 

“As you may be aware, the University recently published its academic strategy, which set out how, over the next 10 years, we want to make sure that the University truly makes a difference – by harnessing our expertise in research, education and societal impact to help shape a better future for humanity. Your voices, experiences and wisdom are critical to the success of this mission.”  

Professor Alastair Mullis (Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences) and Professor Andrew Thorpe (Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures) have been asked to help deliver this prestigious project.

The collection of essays will be a digital collection, enabling us to add videos, podcasts and other materials – either as part of the initial publication or at a later date.

Professor Buitendijk added: “Working with Alastair and Andrew, I intend to initially select about 20 essays, oversee the book’s development and work with the contributors to enable the collection to be comprehensive and well rounded. I plan to involve a professional editor to help us with the process. 

“I am also planning to invite the individual authors to appear with me at events and help me further the impact of the University down the line. In other words: if you would like to contribute, you should be ready to be a bit of an ambassador for the University as well!”

Contact the Vice-Chancellor by Monday 22 March – with the words ‘Vice-Chancellor essay collection’ in the email subject line – if you’re interested in contributing to the project.

The body of your email should include: 

  • your suggested essay title, subtitle and five keywords to summarise your topic
  • a summary of no more than 300 words of your suggested essay topic – making clear how your scholarly work can support the aims of the University’s strategy; and
  • a short note about you and your career to date, including any equality data you would like to share (e.g. your gender, ethnicity, religion, disability) to help make this project as inclusive as possible.

Single authorship, or one lead author and a maximum of two co-authors per contribution, is recommended. Selected authors will be contacted from Friday 2 April, with final contributions expected by mid-May. 

If more applications are received than required for this round, we will strive to use the unsuccessful ideas in other ways or in a next, similar round. 

Contact the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Officer, Elaine O’Flynn, if you would like an informal chat about the project before submitting your idea.

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