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Hello from the new Chair
I am delighted to be taking on the role of Political Studies Association Chair. It is an honour and privilege. I am grateful to Roger and Claire who, as outgoing Chair and Vice-Chair, have done such a good job of leading the Association through very challenging times. It was a real treat to see so many people in person in Liverpool for PSA23 this year - to meet new colleagues and enjoy the familiar buzz of the annual conference. With a record number of panel sessions covering a wide range of areas across the profession, the annual conference was a huge success in bringing together all aspects of our political studies community. We also enjoyed a warm welcome at the reception and annual dinner – both held in Liverpool’s wonderful Metropolitan Cathedral’s crypt.
The PSA exists to promote the development of political studies and to support everyone teaching, studying, and carrying out research and scholarship in the broad and diverse fields of politics and international relations. It is hugely encouraging to know that more students than ever before took A-level politics last summer. This is a cause for celebration but does not diminish the significant challenges facing our discipline in the Higher Education sector. The picture here is much more mixed, with a worrying national trend towards mergers and downsizing of politics provision at universities across the country. In addition, post-pandemic, working practices and academic roles have undergone significant change.
These challenges, along with a changing global context, raise important questions for the PSA in terms of its strategic priorities and focus. As in-coming Chair, my first priority is to work with members and PSA staff to develop a new strategy for the PSA – one that is inclusive, achievable, has clear priorities, is measurable and can be readily implemented. There will be more updates on this to follow, and I would encourage all members to take part in the discussions, debate and working groups that will be taking place in the coming months. Alongside, and as part of this new strategy, is my priority to ensure that all aspects of the PSA’s work are fully inclusive and representative of our diverse communities. Thirdly, any new strategy also needs to be based upon a manageable and sustainable financial plan that ensures flexibility in the light of potential future changes to income streams. In sum, we need to re-group and re-build our PSA community around a new set of shared strategic priorities.
I am excited to be leading the profession, and look forward to hearing your ideas and working with you as we develop a new strategic plan for the PSA.
Dr Rose Gann, PSA Chair
Nottingham Trent University