42 years and counting

On this day (16 November) in 1981 our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark Power, joined the then Liverpool Polytechnic as a senior technician at the Art School.

On his milestone 42nd anniversary, he has written a short article about his appointment some four decades ago and reflects on his work anniversary.

A black and white photo of Professor Mark Power in the 1980s next to a hand written acceptance letter written by Mark accepting the role of senior technician with a start date of 16 November 198

“Whilst having a bit of a clear out over the last couple of weeks, I came across my original appointment letter at Liverpool Polytechnic, now LJMU, dated 16 November 1981. As we are celebrating the university’s Bicentenary this year and delving into our own organisational history, I thought it might be of interest to share with you my personal 42nd anniversary at LJMU.

“When I started in 1981, it never crossed my mind that some 40 years later I would become the university’s Vice-Chancellor. At the time, the thought of having such a career plan would have been a fantasy. I was an artist. I had the hair, the scruffy paint marked jeans and the swagger of a 21-year-old straight out of art school. I wanted to work in the daytime and paint in my studio in the evening and at weekends, so I was very lucky to land a job at the Art School – an historic monument to creative expression having been a springboard for so many iconoclastic artists, and a radically creative environment filled with many talented students. It was a great foundation for me to embark on a long and lasting career at LJMU.

“During these 42 years, I have witnessed and been part of the transformation of the university, working within great teams with committed managers and mentors who have supported and encouraged me to move into more senior positions. There has been a long journey of training and development throughout my career which continues even as VC, as there is always more to learn. I hope that through the many roles I have taken on, I’ve been able to progress positive agendas and create change – sometimes change can be difficult but I have always tried to put what is best for the university and for our students at the heart of decision making.

“I feel an immense sense of pride to have been part of the LJMU community for 42 years. We look out for each other, enjoy honest and open discussion with respect, and value all opinions. I am happy I still receive good-humoured texts, often about the latest Everton result, or a message from my colleagues telling me how we could do better and of course, reminding me where I started. Most of all, I thrive on those who stop and chat to me around campus, which gives me a real insight into the daily hum of the university, worth a thousand emails.

“Through an excellent support system both at home and at work, I have been able to be ambitious for the university on my journey to becoming VC and applaud the hard work of those who have been instrumental in making LJMU the progressive university it is and will continue to be. I am grateful to everyone, from the Board and the Executive team to the staff and students, for the collective effort we make on behalf of LJMU every day and to the support they offer me in its leadership.

“In this Bicentenary year we are celebrating our history and I have been here for 21 per cent of those 200 years – I’m not alone, many of our staff have been here for a long time and they know, as do I, that it’s a precious gift to be part of LJMU. We won’t be here forever but it’s our job to make sure it’s in good shape for the next 200 years to come.”


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