2010-11 has been a year when we can really celebrate what Sussex has achieved: we have reached our highest-ever standing in the league tables; we have more applications for places at Sussex than for many, many years; we have seen international student numbers grow to record levels; and we have appointed new academic staff, including 20 new professors.
But this is about more than statistics. We saw in July at our graduation ceremonies – themselves the most well-attended events we have ever held – what the experience at Sussex meant for each and every student, and for their family and friends.
Sussex is about creating new opportunities for our students, about exploring new avenues of scholarship, about making a contribution to society. As Simon Fanshawe, our Chair of Council, said: ‘Universities are places where you go on a journey of discovery of self and of the world, to develop and deploy the knowledge and skills you need to live and work in the next generation, and to embrace a changing world and find your place in it.’
During the past year, Sussex has seen some of the greatest physical changes take place on the campus since our foundation in the 1960s: the Library has been completely remodelled; the Meeting House underwent its first refurbishment for 40 years; we have a major new data centre for IT Services; Bramber House has unveiled a new restaurant, café and supermarket; hundreds of new bedrooms for student accommodation are in place at Northfield; and a new academic building is rapidly taking shape on the former site of Arts D and E (refer to the News review page).
We have also engaged successfully with important and significant changes that lie ahead in the running of the University. We have set down plans for a new structure of the academic year beginning in 2012. We have responded to the challenge laid down by the Government as to how we can ensure that talented students can – irrespective of their background – benefit from a Sussex education, creating the innovative First Generation Scholars Scheme.
And another major focus has been our 50th anniversary celebrations. These are ongoing throughout 2011-12, as we give thanks for the University’s foundation, celebrate all we have achieved, and look forward to all that is to come.
Finally, I’d like to express my thanks to staff, students, alumni, friends, donors and supporters of Sussex for all of your contributions to the collective work involved in making the University the thriving and successful place that it is.