To educate others and ourselves and to learn through doing so, thereby improving the world.
A civic institution proud of its urban character, driving growth and vibrancy for the city, the region, and the globe.
That research, teaching, and learning together create a positive culture of higher education.
Our Guiding Principles
Excellence, ambition, engagement, collegiality, resourcefulness, resilience, agility, diversity.
Our University. Our Future. Our Plan
Our Public Responsibility
Our social and public responsibility is integral to our University – to our education, research and partnerships.
Delivering and demonstrating public value.
Responding to and ameliorating environmental challenges.
Supporting campus sustainability.
Forwarding social justice.
Respect for our community in all its diversity.
Commitment to fair access.
Equitable and transparent use of resources.
An ethical and consistent approach in our teaching and research.
Work closely with our city and region to support and sustain mutually beneficial activities.
Increase our efforts to widen access to qualified students.
Create a university-wide culture of volunteering.
Concentrate on reducing our carbon footprint and using natural resources wisely and sustainably.
Our University. Our Future. Our Plan
Our Public Responsibility
For our University, social and public responsibility is integral to our education, research, partnerships and place-making. All our activity is geared towards improving the world’s thought, creativity, invention, and store of knowledge.
Our values arise from our conviction that the purpose of a university is to contribute to the enlargement of the parameters of global understanding, and our Strategic Plan is an integral part of this service.
We will foster a socially engaged approach that genuinely helps the society we serve, as well as supporting and growing the appetite for volunteering that exists in our staff and students. We will continue to work with our Students’ Union to identify and give credence to locally, nationally, and globally essential conversations and reforms, especially those that support a socially inclusive and open society.
We will create a coordinated articulation of our research and its impact, so that all staff and students can act as proud advocates for the University. Our curricular and extracurricular activities will provide staff and students with the knowledge and skills to be active global citizens.
We value open, inclusive and honest dialogue about the many conflicted choices we and the rest of the world face, and welcome our duty of public service to the society of which we are a part. We will support students and staff in creating an inclusive, open society that encourages the free exchange of ideas in a mutually respectful atmosphere.
“Someone once told me that pro bono work should be in the DNA of every lawyer and every law student and I firmly believe this to be the case. I set up both FreeLaw and the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre in 2007 to give students the opportunity to be involved in pro bono work. The students work incredibly hard for the clients and it has a big impact on their studies, as well as the clients who access the service.”
Professor Claire McGourlay
School of Law
Academics from our Department of Landscape set a new standard for innovative public engagement this year, communicating research about climate change in the form of a garden.
In its harmonising of different ideas, there is something poetic about a garden. And, as the best designers know, a garden can tell a story.
The RHS Garden for a Changing Climate is one of those gardens. And the story it tells is one we all need to hear. Designed by the Department of Landscape’s Ross Cameron and Andy Clayden, in collaboration with RHS scientist Eleanor Webster, it illustrates key findings from an RHS report on gardening and climate change.
Ross and Andy had contributed to the report, looking at the likely impact of climate change on gardens, and how new techniques could help mitigate those effects. The pair were then asked to build an educational garden demonstrating their findings for the inaugural RHS Chatsworth Flower show.
The results are worth celebrating. Ross and Andy discovered a unique way for research to capture the public’s imagination. The students who worked with contractors to construct the garden gained valuable experience. Their joint achievement is something we can all draw inspiration from.
The Medical School’s pioneering social accountability initiative helps tomorrow’s doctors understand the communities they serve.
A new project gives all our medical students the opportunity to volunteer in communities across the region, supporting and working with the people who need their help the most. We’re doing this because we believe that understanding the communities they serve will make our students better, more accountable doctors.
The programme, which is unique to Sheffield, is already off to a flying start. Two hundred and twenty-three medical students took part last year, working with 69 charities, support services and other organisations.
Listening to the students talk about their experiences, it becomes clear that the programme is having a huge impact. Henry Mills spent his placement at a boxing club which helps young people on the Manor Estate, one of the most deprived areas in the UK:
“There’s a lot of things I’ve taken from this experience. I’ve met a lot of great people and have seen what life is like for those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, the challenges they have and why they may find it hard to get out of the problems they are facing.”
Gemma Morgan and Connie Barson worked for a Sheffield-based charity that supports refugees fleeing violence and abuse: “This placement may have only been for four weeks but it has made me appreciate and understand that there may be some people coming to a GP’s surgery for help who are too scared to talk about the devastating problems they are facing.”
Transforming public spaces:
Our pop-up eco park is a social space for city residents and workers.
The foundations are being laid for a unique urban park in the West Bar area of the city. Designed by professors Nigel Dunnett and James Hitchmough, Department of Landscape, Love Square will provide a social space that city residents and workers can enjoy all year round.
Love Square’s unique, design features wildflower meadows, lawns and a wetland area lined with bird-friendly trees. Much of the planting is reconfigurable, making the garden adaptable as West Bar itself continues to develop and grow.
The project was shortlisted for lottery funding in 2014 but lost out to a joint project from Manchester and Liverpool. Undaunted, Dunnett and Hitchmough kept moving forward. Now they’ve teamed up with developers Urbo and Sheffield City Council to make Love Square a reality.
Preserving our city’s
Project to regenerate a historic part of the city is gathering momentum.
Archaeologist Professor John Moreland is working with colleagues from the School of Architecture and the charity organisation Friends of Sheffield Castle (FoSC) on ways to regenerate the Castlegate area of the city.
A group of architecture students have also joined the project, producing creative visions for the site, which are helping to drive the city council’s redevelopment plans. The challenge is to rebuild Castlegate in a way that continues to benefit city residents and preserves its heritage.
Castlegate was once the heart of Sheffield. Now in decline, the area has been home to centuries of market trading and civic institutions. The remains of the medieval Sheffield Castle are still there, buried beneath the modern city centre.
Uncovering the castle is central to the redevelopment plans. With the University’s involvement, and the support of Sir Tony Robinson as patron, FoSC are hopeful that initial investigative work can start soon.
As an area of great historic significance, this neglected part of our city has something to offer the world. More than that, it means something to the people of Sheffield. It is part of our identity. As a civic university with a strong sense of community, we’re proud to play a part in protecting it.
A Leap of Faith:
At Sheffield, we want to play a major role in civic life. And we are fortunate in having academics such as Professor Brendan Stone with the courage to push the boundaries of the teaching, learning, and research arenas.
Based in the School of English, Brendan’s Storying Sheffield initiative brings together students and local people to produce art, creative writing and video. By empowering people from disadvantaged backgrounds to tell stories about their lives, Storying Sheffield tackles social issues head-on, giving disenfranchised people a voice, creating understanding and changing minds. For some, the experience is a springboard to further or higher education.
Their stories generate insights beyond the reach of conventional research methods. These insights can be used to improve services, inform practice and influence policy. Our students, meanwhile, are seeing first-hand how research can be applied, discovering new skills, and becoming well-rounded, politically engaged, socially responsible citizens.
Image credit: © RoninSatyr | deviantart.com – Mental Echo | CC BY-NC-ND.3.0
Storying Sheffield’s module, which works mainly with people who have long-term mental health problems or physical disabilities, is still the initiative’s main activity. But it is growing fast, connecting with public sector organisations, community groups and charities.
The work is bold and groundbreaking: providing consultancy for social services and children’s safeguarding boards; involving NHS service-users in organisational change; offering a masterclass for medical students led by people who have experienced mental illness.
Storying Sheffield is a beacon for academics from other disciplines who want to start similar initiatives. And we’re setting aside funding to support them.
“I have been personally and professionally nourished through my interactions with the academic community, when it acts with the innovation and imagination described by Brendan and demonstrated by his determination to move the University into the community.”
Director, The Art House
Through our Sheffield Scanner campaign, we are working to raise £2 million to establish a ground-breaking MRI-PET facility, which will be the first facility of its kind in Yorkshire.
MRI-PET is the most advanced imaging technology to date. It will transform our understanding of serious conditions like cancer, dementia, heart and lung diseases, MND, Parkinson’s and stroke and the way we treat them in the future. The campaign has now broken through the £1 million barrier thanks to widespread support from staff, current and former students, members of the local community and friends of the University and events such as the Big Walk.
Festival of Social Science
The ESRC Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country’s leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives – both now and in the future.
The Sheffield part of the Festival is the largest outside of London. ‘Decent helpings: Setting a local and regional agenda for food justice’ was an event bringing together practitioners, businesses, policy-makers, community organisations and advocates, and the general public.
“I thought it was absolutely fantastic that the University had decided to consult with the community about their priorities for research. The fact that our choices will lead directly to decisions about research funding is a superb example of the University ‘putting its money where its mouth is’ in terms of working with the city.”
Attendee at the ‘Tackling Food Justice in South Yorkshire’ event, ESRC Festival of Social Science
Festival of the Mind
Festival of the Mind is a collaboration between the city and the University, showcasing our cultural strengths by bringing together research staff and the cultural and creative industries in the city, through a series of high-impact knowledge exchange partnerships.
The Festival of the Mind is for everyone – the general public, academic colleagues and the professional and cultural quarter.
“Our University and our city are overflowing with ideas. The Festival of the Mind captures the spirit of invention and collaboration and the love of ideas that makes Sheffield such a wonderful place to live and work.”
Professor Sir Keith Burnett
“Festival of the Mind is about bringing the city and the University together through wonderful creative projects. It’s about inspiring people, about bringing the magic of our research through the creativity of our partners to the people of Sheffield.”
Professor Vanessa Toulmin
Director of Festival of the Mind