As the nights draw in, the bad weather persists and Brexit looms, I feel the need to seek out the positive side of life. I spoke to new staff coming to work at the University a few weeks ago and they asked me what I enjoyed most about coming to work – for me it is the people and the possibilities we all have to make a difference. If you are feeling a bit despondent, get involved, find your team, work with them and make sure you seek opportunities and the support that allows you to be the best you can.

This is the time of year when the medics present their annual revue and I was invited to open the “Scooby Doo and the Nightmare on Dale Road” together with Paula Head. I was challenged by Paula to dust off my sketch writing to create an introduction. Monty Python provided the inspiration, I persuaded colleagues from other faculties to come along as well as MedEd colleagues and we all took advantage of the “Arlott After Hours” event to have a pre-show cocktail (Arlott after hours happens every Thursday evening until Christmas – the staff make imaginative cocktails and talented musicians from our music department play music).

I had the enormous pleasure of visiting our rather unique Kassel School of Medicine early this month accompanied by Anja Timm, deputy to Clare Polack BMEU lead (Clare was undertaking a QA visit elsewhere). The 20 to 30 bilingual students spend their first two years alongside our BM5 students and then return to Germany to complete the clinical years in our German partner University Hospital, Gesundheit Nordessen Holding, in the city of Kassel. Our first graduates completed their FY1 year this summer and the second graduating cohort are now in post in Kassel. They are clearly a different “product” to students emerging from German medical schools – many of the consultants told me that being a teaching hospital was their main motivations for choosing to come and work at GNH. The enthusiasm of the KSM team was infectious and if any of our Southampton staff are travelling to Germany to give a lecture then please do consider whether you could spare a day to take a train to Kassel and visit KSM – I guarantee you would be warmly welcomed and have an appreciative audience to hear about your science.

Annual appraisals are open now for level 7, please ensure you have booked a date so your appraisal happens before the end of December. It is not too early to book appraisals in the first part of 2020 for L4-6. Your preparation is important and should start with self-appraisal – where are you now, where do you want to be in one year, three years, five years, are your goals aligned to the faculty and university goals and how can your employer help you reach your goals? These are all important questions for self-appraisal, self-reflection. I know the most successful self-employed people take time out regularly to reflect, review progress, set goals. If you take the time to prepare for your appraisal, you will get more out of it for you – treat it as an opportunity to take stock and plan. Appraisers should have all had training and be able to facilitate your self-reflection and help you with discussing what sort of support might be available for any specific development needs you have identified.

I hope many of you saw the sussed post about anti-bullying week but if you missed it, please find information here. As always, I urge you to remember that everyone is working hard often in difficult circumstances and most people want to help. Remember to thank people if they go that extra mile to make things work smoothly or to help the team in some way. I hope to see many of you at the all staff meeting this term. We will be giving a general update, announcing the four winners of the inaugural Shine a Light nominations and as always the faculty leadership team will be available for Q&A.

“The Dean’s Update” by Professor Diana Eccles

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