The Sheffield Academic Statement
The Sheffield Academic believes that universities exist to create, discover, share and apply knowledge through teaching and research, and is proud to work at the University of Sheffield. The University is a global university that seeks to be one of the best in the world in teaching, research and knowledge exchange. It also acknowledges and respects its distinctive origins as a university that was set up by the people of Sheffield, who aspired to better prospects for their children and gave penny donations to fund a university in their city. Their legacy to the University was a fundamental belief in the idea that to discover and understand could make the world better. All members of The University of Sheffield community – staff, students and graduates – are united in this common purpose.
Sheffield Academics are passionate about their subject, and ambitious to make a difference in their field and to the University's achievements as a whole. These qualities are reflected in their interactions with their students and in their readiness to embrace change and cooperate with colleagues locally, nationally and around the world. Sheffield Academics recognise the potential for higher education to transform people's lives and welcome a diverse range of students and staff to the University community. They are keen and able to communicate the excitement and value of world-leading research to people in the city, the region and the wider world.
The role of the Sheffield Academic is underpinned by certain core values and qualities that are essential to the scholarly pursuit and communication of knowledge in this University. These include collegiality, curiosity, flexibility, independence of mind, innovativeness, internationalism, openness, reflectiveness and understanding.
Sheffield Academics believe strongly in a higher education culture that is built on a positive interaction between learning, teaching and research. They take collective responsibility, with colleagues who have professional, teaching and research expertise, for ensuring that this culture fosters the distinctive development of the Sheffield Graduate, who is knowledgeable and skilled, and a responsible, independent, critical and creative thinker.
The Sheffield Academic works readily as part of a team and aspires to develop as a rounded person characterised by the integration of a broad range of professional commitments, which may vary in balance and proportion at different times within an individual's career. Amongst these commitments two are central and linked:
- the pursuit of research excellence in relation to questions of high significance and public value in different fields of study, through the provision of intellectual leadership, support of the professional practice of the research community and the display at all times of the highest standards of research ethics and integrity; and
- the pursuit of teaching excellence in relation to a broad field of study, supporting students to engage as partners with the University and seeking to develop their knowledge, attributes and skills at all stages of their development in ways that are consistently effective and inspiring.
In addition, Sheffield Academics pursue engagement with the public realm, recognising the responsibilities this confers in terms of active citizenship, and seeking to make a positive difference to the culture, economy and society of local, national and global communities by bringing to bear their expertise and knowledge.
Sheffield Academics also contribute enthusiastically to the governance and leadership of the University, understanding in this connection the wider economic, political and social context within which higher education and their professional practice operate. Last, but not least, they seek continuing professional and personal development as academics, recognising that there are always new skills to be acquired and more to learn.
The University of Sheffield, January 2010