Thank you for taking part in The Big Leeds Conversation

The first phase of The Big Leeds Conversation has now closed, and I want to thank all of you who took part.

Inside Track: Your part in The Big Leeds Conversation. June 2021

We have never tried something like this on this scale before and, through it, I am sure we have already learned a lot about who we are as a community, and where some of the opportunities and challenges lie for us.  

Over three weeks, more than 3,100 staff, students and postgraduate researchers have had their say, sharing 985 ideas, 2,996 comments and an enormous 49,994 votes. I’m also delighted that 79% of staff, students and postgraduate researchers said they were proud to work or study at the University.   

The Big Leeds Conversation has been a fascinating insight into the current culture of our University and demonstrated the commitment and passion of our staff to their work and our students.    

It also saw staff, students and postgraduate researchers raise some challenging issues for our university community which my senior colleagues and I will endeavour to think through carefully, drawing on the insight and input of colleagues.    

The results of the conversation will now be analysed over August to identify possible new values for the University. I will say more in a few weeks about the next stage of The Big Leeds Conversation, taking place in the autumn, and what we will do with the results.   

Whilst I cannot commit to addressing every single problem raised in the forum, the Big Leeds Conversation has brought into relief something we already knew: that we need a culture which is truly inclusive and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.    

It also highlighted for me that we should find a language and way of talking to each other that enables us to address difficult and important issues, but that respects the myriad of perspectives, and associated sensitivities, across our entire community.   

This culture shift – underpinned by data from this exercise – will be a journey, but I am confident that it will make our community stronger and more inclusive, which will in turn enable us to have a greater impact on the world around us.    

By coming together to agree our new University values, we are collectively deciding what kind of University we want to be, celebrating collaboration over competition, and building a positive, fairer future for all in our University and beyond.    

We are well on the way to becoming a values-based University, and I look forward to continuing this journey with you all.   

With best wishes      

Professor Simone Buitendijk  

Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds  


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