Transcript: Hello from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk

Transcript for the video embedded on Professor Simone Buitendijk’s profile page.

(Professor Simone Buitendijk stood outside of the Clothworkers’ Court gates.) 

Simone: I'm Simone Buitendijk and I'm the incoming Vice-Chancellor. I'm truly looking forward to meeting all of you: staff, students, alumni, the entire University of Leeds community. 

I actually started as a researcher, my first job was working as a perinatal epidemiologist and I did that for 21 years. And then I as recruited to a leadership position at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands to be Vice-Rector for education and student experience. I spent the last four years at Imperial College in London being their Vice-Provost for education and now I'm ready for the next step. 

Leeds has a great reputation, it's a research-intensive university. It's comprehensive, which I really like, because I think we need social sciences and humanities and the STEM disciplines to look at the global issues together. 

It's clearly a university with very strong student representation and a community where students play an important role. It's in an area of the country that I think is absolutely lovely and I'm looking forward to getting to know Yorkshire better. 

We need to be very aware that the biggest impact that we have is actually that we train the next generation of global citizens and we need very talented staff and students with different outlooks, different cultural backgrounds, to become more of a community that resembles the society that we aim to serve. 

I think universities are the only networked institutions that can truly solve the global challenges. We need the stellar, cutting-edge research to do that well. All it needs is for us is to put all our efforts together and become more collaborative. And I don't just mean working together in the region or in the country, I mean working together globally. 

Digital learning has enormous potential. We see that now because of the COVID-19 crisis, but even if that hadn't been around I still would be pushing for more online learning because it's a beautiful way of bringing the world together. So if we focus on the things we can do better online and the opportunities that online provision delivers, I think we can attract lots of different people to it and our own on-campus students can also benefit from it. 

I think there's so much absolutely wonderful foundation here, Sir Alan Langlands has built the place up to be this very strong, vibrant community leaving it in such good shape, he really is continuing that journey. 

I want to get to know people, even if I can't do it physically. We'll be able to have Teams meetings and talk and listen and figure out the common ground and the things we can do together as a community. 

I really do want to change the world and I think that the University is the best place to do that. So I feel hugely honoured that I got this job. It really feels like I'm allowed to serve this amazing University so together we can actually contribute to a better world.