Message from the President to Alumni & friends

21/10/2011

Professor John Annette

Dear Alumni and Friends,

It is my great pleasure to write to you today and update you on the latest developments at the University. Whilst the current socio-economic climate impacts on all spheres of life and poses challenges to many of us in one way or another, let me assure you that your University continues to strive and attract excellent students, faculty and staff from around the world putting us in good stead for the future.

You may already know that Dr Ian Newbould retired in the summer and has returned to his native Canada. I feel extremely privileged to succeed him as the President of Richmond, a distinctive international university in London, preparing students for international careers and encouraging them to become active global citizens.

I look forward to meeting many of you to learn how you have fared since leaving Richmond and to discuss our plans for the University and how we aim to maintain its academic excellence and realize its vision as a unique international university. As for my background, I joined Richmond from Birkbeck College, University of London where I held the post of Vice-President. I currently serve on a number of UK Government advisory boards and committees interested in issues such as citizenship and community development, youth volunteering and citizenship education. I am also a member of the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Civic Engagement based in the USA.

However, I am not the only new arrival to the Richmond team. Professor Robert Leppard has stepped down as Provost but will continue as a Special Advisor to the University. His successor is Professor Phil Deans who joined Richmond as the new Provost earlier this year. Prior to his appointment, Professor Deans was Chief Academic Officer at Temple University in Tokyo, Japan. A political scientist by training, he also has a strong professional interest in theories of higher education management in relation to internationalization and globalization of the university sector.

During summer and autumn 2011, the team at Richmond together with the Trustees of the University, are working on a number of important issues in relation to the future successful development of the University. As you may know, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the body which accredits Richmond University’s US degrees, determined that the University should be placed on probationary status following a review carried out earlier this year. This decision was primarily concerned with the University’s governance structure as well as recent changes in US legislation with respect to education financing. Let me emphasize that we see this as a temporary measure requiring us to resolve some specific issues which have built up over the last few years. We have been working intensively on solutions and we are confident that the outstanding issues will be resolved to the satisfaction of Middle States and that the probationary period will be lifted. In the meantime, Richmond University continues to remain fully accredited. I shall update you in this regard over the coming months.

Another issue of great importance to Richmond has been the ongoing work on the Strategic Plan for the University that will define major areas of development and focus our activities over the next three to five years on pursuing our mission. I will share key objectives and milestones with you as we progress in our discussions and I will be keen to receive your thoughts and feedback.

The year 2012 also marks our University’s 40th anniversary. This is a wonderful opportunity for the University community to get together, celebrate our successes and look forward to the challenges ahead. We are currently developing plans for a range of activities enabling you and your fellow alumni to meet, reminisce, revive old friendships and make new ones. An essential part of this process is to upgrade our systems which will enable us to communicate with you more often and about issues that are of interest to you. Whilst this work is in progress, I regret that not all alumni online services will be available to you and any recent email address updates from alumni will not take effect until the introduction of the new system in the near future. Karen Lippoldt, Director of Alumni Relations who has taken over from Deirdre Simpson, and her colleagues are working to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and will keep you posted on their progress.

Meanwhile, I would be grateful for your patience and for forwarding this message to any alumni friends of yours. Please tell them about the anniversary preparations, make plans to participate and let’s work toward making this a memorable year – one of (re)connecting with friends and making the most of Richmond’s powerful network of over 7,000 alumni in 140 countries around the world.

With all these exciting developments underway and building on the well recognised academic excellence of Richmond, I am confident that we are on the right course toward enabling the University to achieve even greater success in the future and I would be delighted for you to be part of this process.

Yours sincerely,

Professor John Annette
President
Richmond, The American International University in London

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