Harnessing the power of digital transformation

Professor Jo-Anne Murray, Pro Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation, outlines how supporting ventures like Leeds Digital Festival 2023 helps reinforce the University’s core strategic aims.

Jo-Anne also highlights the packed programme of events we’re hosting to showcase this work in practice.

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

The University is thrilled, as always, to be taking part in Leeds Digital Festival (LDF) – an open-platform celebration of all things tech and digital. It’s hugely important to us that we remain connected to the city of Leeds and that we’re a key contributor to the local community. Therefore, being an executive sponsor for LDF is a key priority for us. I’m hugely impressed and inspired by how vibrant Leeds is as a city and LDF further highlights that commitment to innovation. 

Digital transformation is front and centre of the University strategy, enabling us to enhance our ways of working, our student experience and our research activities. First and foremost, digital transformation is about people – improving the work-life balance for colleagues and helping students feel supported and to be successful, as well as enabling innovation, collaboration and knowledge exchange in our research activities. We will work with our staff, students, alumni, partners and our local and global community to harness digital technologies and digital approaches to enrich our activities, contribute to global challenges and reduce inequalities.

As evidence of our ongoing commitment to the local community, we continue to promote digital skills development and career support around roles in the digital industries. Our Edtech Inspirations event is just one example of this as we help people explore a career in coding.

Data-driven approach

From a staff perspective, we’re using digital systems to provide a flexible working environment where colleagues can more easily engage in hybrid working and still remain connected. Technology also enables us to remove some manual tasks, which is vital in freeing up colleagues to engage in the human aspects of their roles. 

Using a data-driven approach to all aspects of our operations is key to our future success, and we’re working hard to build a data factory that helps us organise and manage all our data. Find out more by attending our Building a Data Factory event.

We also undertake leading research on the use of digital in a huge number of areas, including healthcare, finance, transport and sustainability, to name but a few. The Understanding Financial Vulnerability event explains more.  

Values-driven approach

The University prides itself on its values-driven approach to everything we do, and the work we’re undertaking in the digital space is no different. We want to provide a transformative, research-based educational experience for students from diverse backgrounds, who develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed and make a positive impact in the world. To this end, we’re focussed on employing the use of digital to enhance our educational provision and student experience, and to create an environment where everyone can access a quality education. We’re doing this through many of our widening access activities, as well as harnessing digital to offer fully online programmes to learners from across the globe. 

We firmly believe in the power of digital to support and promote equity, diversity and inclusion – for example, by removing barriers to accessing education, expanding diversity in the staff and student body and creating inclusive learning/working environments.  

To support colleagues in how they can incorporate digital into their teaching practice, we’ve developed an innovative digital education space – known as HELIX – where staff can engage with immersive technologies and discover ways in which they can enhance their teaching, such as by using virtual reality and media. Our students can also use this space to learn about these technologies and apply them to their learning. Register to attend our HELIX showcase to test-drive these amazing facilities for yourself. 

Our library is also harnessing the use of digital to preserve and share our rich cultural archives. Students can also use our Library Makerspace to learn skills like 3D scanning, modelling and printing, as well as games design and media production. Discover more by attending Beyond Books – a fascinating showcase of our Digital Library services. And make sure you check out our full programme of LDF events to witness our digital transformation in action.

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