For me, a highlight of the year was my first visit to Cambridge Assessment’s impressive new global headquarters, Triangle. It is a building designed to encourage the kind of collaboration that has seen academics from the University of Cambridge working together across disciplines to develop world-leading ideas. And indeed we have already seen a deepening of collaboration between Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press, as staff at their respective headquarters have literally become neighbours.
Speaking to staff that day – both those in Cambridge and those watching online from the organisation’s 40 locations around the world – I explained my international focus and talked about my own powerful experience as a student at Cambridge.
I spoke about how I am looking to develop a greater sense of openness at Cambridge. Openness to ever more international engagement, because I think Cambridge has a huge role to play globally. Openness to people of diverse talents wherever they are found, from our students through to our staff, both academic and professional. And openness to more partnerships with institutions locally, nationally and globally.
I also spoke about how we should also be joining up various elements of what we do as a university at large, of which Cambridge Assessment is of course a key part. In particular, greater interdisciplinarity to allow us to find new ways to address fundamental global challenges in a more effective way.
A great example of this is the cross-Cambridge partnership with the charity Unicef to help the 50 million children across the world today who are refugees or displaced. This project is currently in the research and development phase, and I look forward to seeing it start to bear fruit. Because there can surely be few greater challenges for a university like ours to lend its intellectual might to than the plight of some of the world’s most deprived children.
Over the course of this year I have further developed a sense of how Cambridge Assessment can feed into the University’s vision. It has become clear how far down the digital route Cambridge Assessment is, and I am keen to see us draw our resources together more effectively so that we might have a greater impact in this digital revolution.
Cambridge Assessment’s commitment to innovation in this area became even more apparent when I opened the first Summit of Education at Triangle this year. Bringing to our city education experts from all over the world to anticipate the future of learning, the event looked specifically at how we can harness technology and the societal change it brings to enhance education.
Finally, some words of thanks. I am very pleased that Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, and Dr Annette Thomas, former Chief Executive Officer of Macmillan, have joined Cambridge Assessment’s governing Press and Assessment Board. As we welcomed these new faces to the Press and Assessment Board, we also said goodbye and gave grateful thanks to long-serving contributor Ms Sherry Coutu and also Professor Duncan Maskell, who has left Cambridge to become Vice- Chancellor at the University of Melbourne, and who played a key role in the formation and early running of the Press and Assessment Board.
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