Speech from the Principal at the Student Awards
I am not going to pretend that this has been an easy year for any of us.
Students have been learning new things, attending classes, doing assignments, coping with feedback, submitting, maybe resubmitting,work. They have met many new people, learned how to interact with their colleagues and with staff members, and for many students they have been presented with challenges that go beyond the classroom and that affect the ways in which they are able to study.
Staff at Regent College London have encountered various issues, some of which are generated internally, and some of which come to us from the world outside. We have undergone a major move of building, with all of the attendant difficulties. We have introduced new systems of organisation and of information storage and retrieval. We have tried to respond to every student facing concern as it emerges, and of course we have tried our utmost to solve all problems, no matter how small or how great they may be.
We have all – both students and staff – encountered government interventions into the ways in which we operate. The Student Loan Company, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Higher Education Funding Council of England, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the National Audit Office, luminaries of the Press, reporters and TV cameras – all have come knocking on our doors and demanded responses both from individuals and from groups of people. There has been something of a relentless level of intrusion into the ways in which we are conducting ourselves.
Managers at Regent College London – ever smiling and quietly panicking – have been stretched to the limit, exchanging worried glances across crowded rooms, laughing and crying through sheer hysteria, balancing the books, servicing the provision, listening, consoling, and at times patting their bellies in quiet contemplation wondering what will happen next.
And yet …
It has been a great year.
Managers are able to respond effectively and with honesty to all levels of enquiry, no matter where they come form – not least – it has to be said – because our Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Selva Pankaj, maintains a hands-on involvement and is as preoccupied as the rest of us with the issues that we encounter. I certainly owe him a debt of gratitude for being on the end of a mobile phone in times of need. The managerial team has led us through audits and interventions that could have affected the College very detrimentally, but in fact, in every case, we have triumphed.
Staff members cope with any and every challenge that they meet; teaching staff make sure every class is covered and that every lesson is appropriate and considerate of students’ real needs as they progress through the course. Support staff, administrative staff, reception staff, all contribute not only to maintaining efficient systems but crucially to ensuring that no-one is ever lost (they are always showing me where to go). All staff members can never predict where their involvement will take them on a day to day basis, and yet on every occasion they respond appropriately and with grace.
And our students – many of whom are working towards the end of their study and will very soon be achieving their results, have constantly been a source of inspiration, with their dedication, their single-mindedness, their hard-work and commitment, in the midst of their own lives and preoccupations. We do want to celebrate that, and so we have a set of awards to make today to mark the fact that we have excellent students at Regent College, that we value all of you, and that we have a common goal and purpose – to help you get where you want to be.
These awards are based on attendance, achievement and general involvement in College life, and let me acknowledge right from the start that many students fulfil the requirements of each category. We do have a way of measuring levels of attendance and of achievement, and there is a fair judgment call made with regard to contribution to College life. We are happy to make these awards to these particular students but let me also state that all of you are important to us, and all of you are equally valued, so when we have made these presentations please have a drink and some food and stay to chat for a little longer if you can. The results are as follows:
For Further Education via Regent Skills Training:
Third Place: Diana Glod
Second Place: JulianeAparecidaCorreia de Mello
Student of the Year: Stephen Olusegun Ogabi
For Higher Education via Regent College:
Third Place: Samson Omaniyi
Second Place: Shivani Sofat
Student of the Year: Stefka Zamfirova
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