As my five years as Vice-Chancellor draw to a close, I have been reflecting on what first compelled me to take up this job – and what has continued to motivate me. The most powerful reason for doing the job has been that the University of Cambridge is a global institution driven by excellence and a mission to contribute to society.
It was obvious from the outset that Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press, as they were when I came to Cambridge, were defined and propelled by those values and aspirations, which underpin everything the Press & Assessment does as a successfully consolidated organisation.
I have seen those values at work in how Cambridge University Press & Assessment responded to the emergency situation in Ukraine, at a time when schools came under attack and millions of children were displaced. The organisation moved quickly, and in lockstep with peers at the academic University, to support victims of the war and ensure their learning could continue. Cambridge Partnership for Education has laid foundations to map the Ukrainian curriculum to education systems in the countries where refugees have sought sanctuary. Cambridge International supported assessment and progression for displaced students across Europe. Cambridge English created online communities for Ukrainian teachers, and academic colleagues worked with Research 4 Life to make academic journals freely available to Ukrainian scholars.
The group’s innovations helped maintain objective, fair and equitable assessments worldwide, enabling students to progress, and allowing education systems to focus on what matters most after the disruptions of the pandemic.
First-class academic publishing and digital capabilities helped scholars from our University and beyond make crucial research discoveries openly and rapidly available. Cambridge Advance Online is bringing a University of Cambridge education to the world, through the highest quality flexible online courses.
No other organisation serves learners, teachers and researchers as we do. Backed by the University’s world-leading teaching and research, Cambridge University Press & Assessment provides a unique combination of assessment, research, education and scholarship.
In the course of 2021–22, we saw some changes in the membership of the Syndicate that oversees the governance of Cambridge University Press & Assessment. Professor Amira Bennison became a Syndic of the Press & Assessment Board, replacing Dr Sue Swaffield, and on 1 October 2022 Amira replaced Professor Kenneth Armstrong as chair of the Academic Publishing Committee, as a member (ex-officio) of the Press & Assessment Board, and as a member of the Academic Advisory Board. Other non-executive appointments in the period included Professor Andy Neely replacing Professor Graham Virgo on the Board (ex-officio); and the appointment of Professor Nidhi Singal to the ELT & Education Publishing Committee, replacing Sue Swaffield; of Professors Laura Diaz Anadon, Duncan Kelly, Ben Simons and Alexandra Walsham to the Academic Publishing Committee, from which Professor Tim Harper stood down after fourteen years; and of Dr Michelle Olmstead, Mr Brian Simms and Mr Andy Ware to the Academic Advisory Board. I am grateful to all for their service.
Peter Phillips and the team have performed exceptionally well in realising the opportunities that arise from integration, and from adapting to a shifting market in a rapidly changing world. Cambridge University Press & Assessment has flourished over this reporting period. I know it has an even brighter future ahead.
Professor Stephen J Toope
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge