Dear Colleagues,

This has been an extraordinary time with unprecedented disruption.  We have coped well thanks to all your hard work, determination and creativity.  While we cannot foresee clearly how the pandemic evolves and resolves, we do know that, whatever happens, we are a strong and robust university with incredibly talented people providing leadership in research and teaching that is the envy of others. 

It is prudent to follow the old adage, hope for the best and plan for the worst, and thus we have been preparing for the large challenges looming for the whole economy and for our sector.  We are looking carefully at early indications of the extent and duration of the effects of the pandemic, especially in regard to student recruitment and retention. As we mentioned in our last message, a 10% fall in student numbers would reduce operating cash by £30m. We are all working across the College to do everything we can to make sure this does not happen. 

This is something we can all help with. Many of you are already connecting with your students during this disruption, reaching out to offer-holders and responding to prospective students. This activity is more important than ever, and we encourage you to share best practice with colleagues in Departments across the College. Our current students and alumni are supporting our efforts with activities such as a buddying scheme where they chat to prospective students about life and study at Imperial.

We are supporting all of these efforts with new webpages to promote our educational and student experience offerings and assure students of their health and safety while studying with us. Please do share these in your own communications and send any ideas and feedback to coronavirus-guidance@imperial.ac.uk.

We are preparing for longer-term changes with more online and blended/hybrid learning. Fortunately, we had already embarked upon an ambitious programme of digital education which we have now accelerated. This is an essential part of the future of education and we believe that Imperial will be at the forefront. There will be competition, and we are working hard to ensure that we are among the leading institutions, attracting the best students from around the world.

Imperial is a resilient and strong university. Our primary goal is to provide excellent education and research provision throughout this crisis. Our drive, focus and agility continue to set us apart and, thanks to your hard work, we will come through this crisis in our own way and on our own terms.

We hope you all have a restful and enjoyable bank holiday weekend.

Sincerely,

Alice and Ian

Professor Alice P. Gast, President

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost