A message from the interim Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Hai-Sui Yu

An email sent to all colleagues from Professor Hai-Sui Yu, interim Vice-Chancellor and President, on 1 November.

A message from the interim Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Hai-Sui Yu. November 2023

Dear colleagues, 

I am honoured to be writing to you today as I take up the role of interim Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Leeds. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to guide our institution and continue to build a university known for its global outlook, world-changing research and innovation, and exceptionally talented staff and students.

I am a strong believer in the value of a comprehensive, research-intensive university with a clear sense of social responsibility – like Leeds. We create research that provides new discoveries across the full disciplinary spectrum; foster different ways of thinking and benefits for society, the economy, the environment, and our quality of life; and we offer an education that transforms life and promotes globally aware, responsible citizens who are prepared for an ever-changing world. 

Leeds has nurtured Nobel laureates, world leaders, opinion formers and prize-winning authors. This would not be possible without the collective talent, dedication and creativity of our staff and students. However, I know these are tough times for all of us who work and study in universities. 

We are facing multiple pressures that show no signs of abating, and we labour under intense public, political and media scrutiny. Our political leaders have high expectations of us, but the policy direction and tone of political debate has become increasingly heated. 

It is therefore more important than ever to maintain our strategic mission and keep it at the forefront of all we do. I have every confidence that we can work together to ensure that Leeds adapts, thrives and enhances its reputation for an entrepreneurial spirit and world-changing education and research. 

In my first day in the role of interim Vice-Chancellor and President, it is not unreasonable for you to ask what I will do in the role. I shall be discussing my vision and priorities with a range of stakeholders, including the University’s Council, University Executive Group and Leeds University Union in the coming days and will update you all thereafter. 

For today, my very clear message is that there will be no significant change in our overall strategic direction, as set out in our 10-year strategy approved by the University’s Council: Universal Values, Global Change. I will, however, be thinking carefully about our strategic priorities and the appropriate pace of change. We will redouble our efforts to focus on delivering education and research excellence (aligning with the national excellence frameworks – TEF, REF and KEF) in close partnership with students and staff, and through living our values of inclusivity, integrity, collaboration and compassion. 

As interim Vice-Chancellor and President, my commitment is to enable all in our community to thrive and deliver against our 2020-30 strategy and create the conditions for achieving and celebrating excellence in all that we do – whether that is academic research, educating and supporting students, or providing the essential services that underpin our community. 

Whilst I am not a newcomer to Leeds or its leadership team, the office of interim Vice-Chancellor and President carries new responsibilities and provides an opportunity for a fresh outlook. I want to take this opportunity to emphasise my deep personal commitment to doing what is best for our collegial community to ensure that students and staff have a supportive environment in which to work and achieve their best. I will, therefore, be undertaking a series of visits to academic schools and departments, administrative and professional services over the coming weeks. Do take the opportunity to let me know what you are most proud of, what worries you and where you see possibilities for growth, change or innovation. 

I will then lead an ongoing programme of engagement that will enable me and my colleagues in the University Executive Group to keep in touch and have a constructive dialogue with all parts of the university on a regular basis.

I look forward to working with – and supporting – you at this great university over the next phase of its development.

Best wishes, 

Professor Hai-Sui Yu
Interim Vice-Chancellor and President


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