A message from Professor Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president
The last 18 months have brought forth among University of East London students and staff a collective resilience that has been a privilege to witness. We have been tested and challenged. The global pandemic has forced us to adapt and respond, without reprieve, keeping our operations in good order while continuing to progress our careers-first mission and participate in global conversations around pressing issues such as climate change and mental health.
Without qualification, I can say the University of East London is emerging from the pandemic more robust than ever.
We have earned recognition as a leader within the Higher Education sector in areas such as Covid-security, careers-led curriculum, student support, and sustainability. We are finding innovative ways to support the resiliency and intellectual, mental and physical wellbeing of our students and staff. We are securing the physical and digital future of our campuses through our multimillion-pound Connected Campus programme. We are well-equipped to handle any continuing and future storms.
It was a difficult start to 2021. In January, the country went into its third national lockdown, although London was already under the tightest level of restrictions. Fortunately, the University of East London was more than prepared. Our strong Covid-security measures, Tiers of Operation system and flexible Dual Delivery educational programme allowed us to continue to deliver a first-class education while keeping our community protected and safe. We worked closely with our partners at Newham Public Health to deliver Covid-related services and advocacy, including vaccination clinics at our Docklands and Stratford campuses. As a result of this hard work, our rates of on-campus Covid-19 transmission have remained extremely low throughout the pandemic.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we have continued to progress our Vision 2028 strategy: establishing stronger connections with employers; increasing our commitments to sustainability; enhancing services that support our students to succeed; and investing in training (accelerating our digital transformation plans), wellbeing and wider student and staff support.
We are more committed than ever to providing a careers-first education and experience, preparing our students for Industry 5.0 and building an inclusive and diverse talent pipeline.
The move to Dual Delivery – a sector-leading, technology-enabled pedagogy that facilitates synchronous face-to-face and online teaching – was set in place in quick order in 2020 to accommodate the immediate demands of lockdown and to facilitate a ready response to changing infection rates. This real-world test proved its resilience and utility. We moved to Dual Delivery 2.0 in Autumn 2021, adding new components and one-stop functionality to the system, including personalised support through the learner journey, enhancements to the dedicated Track My Future support portal and the ability for students to engage in co-curricular and enrichment programmes.
Dual Delivery 2.0 is complemented by a number of innovative new programmes, such as our social mobility initiative Diversity of Thought; the UEL Edge Award, which helps students reach their full potential, in and outside of the classroom, through micro-credentials; and Fit for Your Future, which provides students with the tools to explore domains of wellness. We aspire to deliver a fulfilling, stimulating, inclusive and successful experience for every student of our University community.
Careers provision continues to grow from strength to strength. A few highlights from the past year:
- 900 new employers signed up to our 'Careers 1st' pledge in 2021, including The Household of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, GSK, 10000 Black Interns, Accenture and Disney. These employers have agreed to support our initiatives and promote opportunities to our students and graduates
- Our 2,000 employers registered with us, posting over 3,000 jobs opportunities for our students in 63 employment sectors
- Over 4,000 students in our mentoring programmes
- Over 55 per cent of our student body actively engaged with the Career Zone to access tailored employability support
- Over 1,000 impactful one-to-one career coaching appointments – Placement on three major careers-related award shortlists: NEON Award for Widening Access Initiative (Retention and Progression) for the UEL Funded Internship Scheme; PIEoneer award for Employability International Impact; and Target Jobs 'Best University Employability Strategy' award
In 2021, we remained committed to our position as the centre of education and training for our home borough of Newham. Given the pandemic, our healthcare provision has become especially vital. Since its founding three years ago, our Department of Nursing has grown from 62 nursing students to more than 1,000 students across multiple healthcare pathways. Most intend to remain in east London after their studies. Other health students helped staff our testing and vaccination centres, initiatives where we closely collaborated with borough health officials and local NHS trusts.
By mid-year, we had grown the number of our apprenticeships to 764 and launched a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship Programme. The latter initiative is a collaboration with the London Metropolitan Police Force and learning partner Babcock International Group.
Our belief in the power of sport to transform lives and communities drove our global sports strategy. We cheered for University athletes at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. We supported sport opportunities at a local and grassroots level. Every single young person who took part in our Sport in Your Futures programme rated their experience positively. Sport in Your Futures uses sport as a vehicle to support social mobility and drive socio-economic change. It has brought over 1,000 students, many from vulnerable groups, from 23 primary schools to our SportsDock for activity sessions, interaction with UEL athletes and sport fixtures.
In 2021, we also launched our plan to become a net-zero carbon campus. This includes working alongside blue-chip partners like Siemens to evolve a smart campus strategy and build our growing reputation as a player in a global network of higher education institutions and thinkers who will produce sustainability solutions.
We invested in resources promoting the importance of wellbeing for our students and staff. Our UELConnected portal now offers nearly two dozen resources, including counselling services. We signed on to become one of the first universities in the UK to join the University Mental Health Charter Programme, a resource-sharing agreement which affirmed our commitment to making mental health and wellbeing a priority. In autumn, we created wellness zones for students at our campuses, providing them with easy access to local healthcare contacts, GP registration, Covid-19 vaccinations, testing kits and more. We hosted two Development Weeks which allowed staff to take time away from their work to progress professional and personal learning. We are also involved in pan-London initiatives to improve health and wellbeing across the city's higher education communities.
Perhaps most visibly in 2021, we launched Connected Campus, a multi-phase, multimillion programme of investment into the physical and digital quality of our three campuses. Students and staff told us they needed more attractive and accessible campuses with bolder showcasing of the University and new spaces that promote opportunities to connect our community.
The transformation began taking place since the summer. Developments range from a ground-breaking hospital and primary care training hub at Stratford to a new mock courtroom and trading room floor at University Square Stratford to refreshed 'hearts' at all three campuses with amenities such as new pop-up food and beverage outlets, flexible seating and exhibition areas for future events, outdoor cinemas, festivals and entertainment.
As we emerge from the pandemic, it is our successful management of the last few years that has enabled this investment and allowed us to keep up with necessary growth and our future aspirations in a changing world. Connected Campus is our commitment to ensuring the University of East London continues to be a place where people want to study, work and live.
Finally, for seven days in September the University hosted 4,000 graduates of the Classes of 2020 and 2021. At a specially constructed site near our Docklands campus, these graduates and their families celebrated the fruits of their hard work and perseverance. It was jubilant, emotional and uplifting, and our Docklands Campus truly came alive fully for the first time since the pandemic hit.
In a 'normal' year, these accomplishments would have been admirable. In the year(s) of the Covid-19 global pandemic, they are nothing less than astonishing. I thank everyone involved. It is with this confidence, reinvigorated and focussed, that we will continue our transformation into Year 4 of Vision 2028.
Sincerely, Professor Amanda J Broderick
BA (Hons) PhD DipM DipMRS PGCTL FRSA MBGS FCIM FHEA
Vice-Chancellor and President