Global Reputation

students in quadrangles

Glasgow hosts Times Higher Education Leadership & Management summit

We welcomed university leaders from across the world as host of the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management summit in October 2021. 

The summit, entitled “Recover, Reset, Rebuild. The road to recovery: Leading the transformation of higher education”, looked at the vital role universities will play in the wake of the pandemic, as our societies, economies and communities are rebuilt.

The October THE Leadership and Management summit was the third in the annual series of THE's flagship international events that brings together university leaders from across the world. The summit highlighted how University leaders throughout the pandemic have innovated, delivering world-class learning and research but now need to shift from research to action to meet future crises.

The timing was perfect as it took place just days before the UN Climate Change conference, COP26, and was an opportunity for University's around the world to demonstrate that they are an essential part of the world’s shared mission to avert a climate catastrophe.

University of Glasgow campus from above

The event challenged current university leadership practices and explored

  • the future economic sustainability of higher education
  • how leaders and their management structures can rebuild for future success
  • civic leadership and the role of universities in international diplomacy
  • reputation and the rise of internationalisation of higher education
  • universities and sustainable communities: leading the green agenda
  • digital leadership and the transformation of online education
  • leading a culture of diversity and inclusion.

"This is the second time we have hosted a Times Higher Education Summit,” says Rachel Sandison, Vice Principal, External Relations, “and I am delighted that we provided a home for such a critical thought-leadership event in our sector. We have experienced one of our most challenging years, but I am incredibly proud of the tenacity and innovation that our fantastic TeamUofG expert community has shown throughout the pandemic. It was an honour to be able to highlight to esteemed colleagues across the sector during the event." 

"THE could not be more pleased to be holding the event, the third in the annual series, with the University of Glasgow, an institution involved in world-changing research for over five centuries." Phil Baty, THE

“Global higher education is facing the most challenging, the most searching test of leadership for a generation," says Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer at THE. "Some initial responses to the pandemic have been truly inspirational, showing universities at their very, very best: dynamic, responsive, collegial, collaborative and indeed, world changing. But perhaps the biggest leadership challenges are still to come. University leaders have to protect the viability and sustainability of our great seats of learning and research to ensure they can play their vital, central role in supporting the world not just through a health crisis, but through geopolitical, economic and social crises too.


Making Reparative Justice Real

As an institution, we make bold decisions that put our values into action.

We earned our title as The Times Higher Education University of the Year 2021 because we made a bold decision: to address our uncomfortable past and make reparations for our links to slavery.  

We continue to make bold decisions and are committed to undertaking research to influence institutional policy.

We are shaping our university into the place it needs to be for the people and communities that we serve.

Slavery in Britain: making reparation

Our world-leading initiative to make reparations to our links to slavery has created sector change and international debate.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the University played a leading role in the abolitionist movement to end slavery. However, at the same time, our predecessors accepted gifts and bequests from people whose wealth was derived, wholly or in part, from slavery.

To redress this past wrong, we commissioned our historians to research the University’s financial gain from slavery-related wealth. The report was published in September 2018 and included proposals for a significant programme of reparative justice. We have committed to delivering on the nine recommendations in the report over the coming years. So far

"Talking about any institution's or country's historical links to slavery can be a difficult conversation, but we felt it was a necessary one for our university to have."
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal & Vice-Chancellor

  • we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of the West Indies, designed to nurture relationships and establish a Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research
  • we are creating an interdisciplinary centre for the study of historical slavery and its legacies
  • we have increased the racial diversity of our staff since 2017
  • renamed campus buildings and spaces, such as our flagship James McCune Smith Learning Hub, in honour of those people of black origin associated with the University
  • launched a programme of scholarships to allow students of Afro-Caribbean descent to study at the University to address the fact they are currently under-represented.

Our work in this area cannot change the past, but we are committed to being open about what happened and to working with others to create a better future for everyone. By engaging with as many stakeholders as possible, our aim is to create a new generation of UofG world changers.

Find out more

Historical slavery initiative


Addressing racial inequalities 

The programme of reparatory justice has provided a foundation for the University to refocus and address current staff and student experiences of racism and racial inequality.

As a direct response to a 2019 Equality and Human Rights Commission report which uncovered widespread evidence of racial harassment on university campuses, we established a project group to research the local impact at our university.

“While we recognise that tackling racism remains a problem for society at large, to be the institution we aspire to be, the University is clear that we must act and act decisively."
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor


As a result of this work, we published a comprehensive action plan to help tackle racism and racial harassment on campus as part of our effort to address racial inequality. We are determined to use it as a catalyst to effect meaningful change. 

The action plan is part of the recommendations, including practical steps, found in the University’s Understanding Racism, Transforming University Cultures report.

Find out more

Understanding racism, transforming university cultures