Friday last week marked the 100th of the “Hundred Days of Listening”. We together embarked upon this exercise when I started at the University on the 1st of September.

Let me first thank the UC family – students, staff from all walks of the institution, and other stakeholders – for your willingness to speak. You did so with extraordinary thoughtfulness and refreshing candour. You educated me generously on what enthuses you about our institution and what keeps you awake at night, about your aspirations and concerns, about what works and what doesn’t. I was especially impressed and encouraged by the fact that you not only spoke of the problems and deficiencies but also had many constructive suggestions on how to make things better. Your pride and passion for the institution were evident in abundance, as was your willingness to work hard to take UC forward. Many thanks!

I have collected a thick pile of notes from our conversations over the past three months. I am now distilling these into a brief document, which I will soon present to you for further discussion with a view to developing our shared vision for UC. Already, a quick glance through my notes has revealed two significant facts:

  1. While you expressed yourselves in a multitude of ways, the ideas you put forward converge on to a relatively small number of points; and
  2. Many of your thoughts coincide with my own aspirations for UC. I had expressed the latter in my investiture speech, the text of which I have now posted for you to revisit.

The first tells me that the institution is generally in a sound state and that disciplined attention to a handful of key issues has the potential to lift it to the next level. The second shows that while important new revelations and ideas came out of these conversations, we were largely on the same page to begin with. This bodes exceptionally well for the success of the campaign that lies ahead.

I am convinced that we are now collectively ready to move forward.

As you know, I have already taken steps that I felt were urgently needed and had broad support. We now embark on the second phase: Synthesizing the ideas that we exchanged during the past three months into a collective strategic vision that would guide UC’s evolution over the next decade. This would be an iterative process, the first step in which is the Staff Town Hall tomorrow. I look forward to seeing you there in numbers and to further listening to your thoughts.

The formal exercise of the “Hundred Days of Listening” may be over but the listening itself continues.

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