Professor Jo-Anne Murray: "Words are easy to say and write, but action is what matters."

Pro-Vice Chancellor: Digital Transformation Professor Jo-Anne Murray writes about her warm welcome, getting the basics right, and how she wants to hear from you.

Pro-Vice Chancellor: Digital Transformation Professor Jo-Anne Murray

Appointment of the Pro Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation. September 2022

It’s hard to believe that I have been at the University of Leeds for nine months now!  I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little more about digital transformation, some of my reflections during these last nine months and how these have informed my future thinking and plans.

Firstly, to say that I have been given a very warm welcome to the University would be an understatement.  I have been blown away by how friendly, supportive, and encouraging everyone has been.  My first observation is that there is a huge need and appetite to improve our digital infrastructure.  Drop-in coffee sessions that I held recently sparked a lot of discussions around how we can ensure that staff and students have access to the right support at the right time for all things digital.  What we heard is that some of the basics are not in place – that message was received loud and clear.  

In this regard, the foundational aspects of the digital transformation strategy will enable us to deliver a digital infrastructure that is fit for purpose, integrated and reliable. It’s hugely important to get the basics right to then build upon.  To do this, input from staff and students across the institution is vital and consequently a significant part of the digital transformation strategy involves engaging with people and taking a people-first approach. Your views, experiences and knowledge are vitally important in us getting this right. We need your input to ensure that we develop an intuitive digital infrastructure that supports our ways of working, learning and research activities.  

With that in mind, we need to hear from you – we need to make sure that you have the opportunity and agency to input into digital transformation at the University of Leeds. Firstly, it’s important to note that everyone has a voice in this space, regardless of your staff role or student status. You are the reason why we want to make things better; to remove long-winded manual processes, to stop having to input data into multiple places, to be able to access and visualise data that helps us to do our jobs and better support our students.  A very important message here is that this is a collaboration, this is a coming together of us all to figure out the best way forward.
Consequently, a key focus of what we’ll be doing around digital transformation is engaging with you all. I would like everyone to have the opportunity and to feel empowered to input into what we are doing in this space.  Ranging from what changes we undertake to how we communicate that change.  We are a community and communities help each other.   

So, how do we do this? I have some ideas, but more importantly, I’d like to hear from you. In our next drop-in coffee session, which we plan to run towards the end of August, I’d encourage you to continue to think about what we can do better and for you to come along and share your thoughts with us. I have really enjoyed meeting everyone I have met so far. I also intend to expand my engagement across the University so that I can come to see you in your place of work and hear about the challenges you face day to day and beyond.  In the meantime, I hope you know that my door (physical and virtual) is always open – I am here to help you and to make all our working lives better; a better work-life balance by improving efficiency, better productivity by taking data-driven decisions, better career opportunities by supporting professional development – to name but a few benefits. 

Words are easy to say and write, but action is what matters. I am committed to taking action to make things better, to deliver on our digital transformation strategy and to listen to what you have to say around how we achieve this.  

You can read more on our Digital Transformation hub and use the Conversations section to add comment or questions. 

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