In Brief December 2016
In Brief is a monthly all-staff news
round-up, giving you concise summaries
of the essential information you need.
All articles are short and are clearly categorised as ‘for action’,
‘for information’ or simply ‘nice to know’.
Contact for more.

Christmas closure: switch off equipment

The University will close for the Christmas holidays on Friday 23 December 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday 3 January 2017.

Before leaving for the Christmas break, colleagues are reminded to switch off all electrical equipment that doesn’t need to be left on (such as for research purposes). Windows and doors should be securely locked before offices are vacated.

If you will be working over the Christmas closure period you must inform Security Control when you arrive and when you leave. Prior notification must be sent to No access will be granted without this.

See Dates of term and enrolment for the full list of closure days and term dates.

Contact Security for more.


University Challenge: send in your best and brightest

RUSU has asked the University to put together a team to enter the 2017 University Challenge series, and we need your help to assemble Reading’s best and brightest students.

On Tuesday 6 December a recruitment event will be held at Van Emden lecture theatre from 6.00pm, featuring an ‘exam paper’ first round to whittle entrants down and a ‘beat-the-buzzer’ round. Professor Jane Setter will then select the final four students and a fifth as a reserve.

We would be grateful if Heads of School could work with departmental colleagues to encourage students to sign-up. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase not just the University, but also the entrants’ School, Department and course.

Sign-up and further details available at the University Challenge 2017 site.


Revised academic contract and HR policies go live January 2017

Staff representatives and UCU recently agreed on revisions to academic contracts and HR policies at the University. All updates will become effective from 1 January 2017 will apply to all current employees.

Academic colleagues will receive a personalised contract to review by 1 February 2017 so that personal information can be checked before new contracts are issued.

Revisions made to HR policies will apply to all academic and non-academic staff following the removal of Statute XXXIII from academic contracts. The revisions apply to matters including grievances; discipline and dismissal; performance management; ill health; and restructuring. Further information is available on the staff portal.

Contact John Brady for more.

Name changes for Food Biosciences and Systems Engineering buildings

The Food Biosciences and Systems Engineering buildings will be renamed spring 2017.

Food Biosciences will be renamed in memory of Professor Harry Nursten, an integral player in the development of food sciences at the University. Harry instigated the creation of the Food Biosciences Building in 1985 following the merge of the National College of Food Technology and Whiteknights campus. Systems Engineering will be renamed after accomplished solo aviator Polly Vacher MBE, who among her many accomplishments, became the first woman to fly solo over the North Polar regions in 2004.

The buildings will be formally renamed next year between February and March.

Contact Communications for more.

SCME to occupy Chancellors’ Building from spring 2017

The School of Construction Management and Engineering (SCME) will occupy the Chancellor’s Building from spring 2017.

From the spring term onwards, SCME undergraduates will be taught in the Chancellor’s Building instead of their usual teaching spaces within the URS and Engineering buildings.

The relocation comes in the wake of two significant redevelopment projects – the refurbishment of the URS Building and the demolition of the Engineering building as part of the creation of a new Health & Life Sciences facility. Moves from the URS and Engineering Buildings will take place during the Christmas holidays to avoid disruption to students. The Chancellor’s Building will house SCME until the URS refurbishment is complete, anticipated for 2020.

Contact Robert Shankland for more.

IT introduces Office 365 to staff and students

IT has started rolling out Office 365 to University staff and students.

New services introduced so far include online Office software and OneDrive for Business to staff and students, plus Skype for Business to staff and enhanced email and calendar functionality for students.

Staff will shortly also receive the improvements introduced to student email and calendars.

Full benefits are outlined on the IT Office 365 page – highlights include:

Word, PowerPoint and Excel available online
OneDrive provides 1 TB personal storage and collaborative working/sharing.
Email accounts upgraded to 50 GB storage.
Instant messaging, online meetings and document collaboration through Skype for Business.

Contact Matt Gee for more.


UoRM holds first ever student elections

Students at the University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) have elected their very first President and Executive Team to the Reading University Malaysia Students Association (RUMSA).

RUMSA will represent student views to university leadership and ensure students have the best possible education and experience while studying at UoRM. Candidates were mentored through the election process by 2015 RUSU President Oli Ratcliffe. The newly-elected RUMSA student officers will begin training for their new roles from 1 December 2016.

Please join us in congratulating the student officers in their exciting new roles.

Contact Becky Thould for more.

The Association for Science Education Annual Conference

The University will host the Association for Science Education's Annual Conference from 4–7 January 2017.

Bringing together around 3,000 science teachers from the UK and beyond, the programme features over 370 sessions exploring aspects of science teaching and learning across primary, secondary and teacher training.

Staff are entitled to free entry to the conference – take a look at the full programme for session details. Registration opens in the Students’ Union on Wednesday 4 January.

Contact Amanda Callaghan for more.

xmas event

Christmas events on campus

Get into the festive spirit with special Christmas events taking place across our campuses:

Big Band Swing BallSaturday 3 December, 7.00pm, Great Hall, London Road. Swing into the holiday season with the Big Band’s Swing Ball, featuring the University Big Band, All Jazzed Up and Reading University Swing Dance Society. Tickets are still available at £15/£10 concessions and can be purchased online or on the door.
Carol ServiceMonday 5 December, 6.00pm, Great Hall, London Road. Join the Chamber Choir for a special candlelit service in the historic Great Hall. Admission is free and is open to staff, students and the wider University community.
Lunchtime ConcertWednesday 7 December, 1.10pm, L29 G01, London Road. The Chamber Choir return to London Road for a special lunchtime collection of Christmas favourites and choral music from around the world. Admission is free and is open to staff, students and the wider University community.
Christmas Fairtrade and local crafts fairWednesday 7 December, 12.00pm, Palmer Foyer. The annual volunteer-run Christmas Fair includes Fairtrade, in-aid-of-charity stalls, and crafts made by students and staff. Free mulled apple punch available for all visitors.

Contact Events for more.

slanty red line

Send your mail for less at the Mail Shop

The Mail Shop in the basement of Whiteknights House (B04) has provided a discounted letter and parcel service to the University community for over 14 years.

Prices for UK and international letters and parcels are significantly lower than all nearby commercial outlets and Post Offices. The shop recently went through a makeover and is stocked with a range of boxes, envelopes and packaging – perfect for sending Christmas packages swiftly and securely.

All Post Office signed, tracked and Special Delivery services are also available and orders are checked proactively to ensure smooth delivery. The Mail Shop is open Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm.

Contact Stephen Haworth for more.

blackwells offer

Double staff discount at Blackwell’s

Don’t forget that University staff can take advantage of double the standard staff discount at Blackwell’s.

Up until Christmas, staff discount will double from 10% to 20%. Along with books, Blackwell’s sells a wide range of games and literary-themed gifts. The offer applies to full priced items and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Please note that the discount only applies to the Whiteknights campus branch of Blackwell’s on presentation of a staff card.

Contact Charlie Stroud for more.

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