In Brief, February 2015
In Brief is a new 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 information.
Send your feedback on proposed academic structure by Friday 6 February
Today is the last day to send your comments and questions on
the proposed new academic structure. Read the message from the
Vice-Chancellor here. Email your comments – or questions – directly
to or anonymously via the
feedback form
Contact Rachel Stewart for more information.
Apply for voluntary redundancy if desired before
28 February
We have received 270 requests for quotations, and 43 colleagues have asked formally to be considered for redundancy. The closing date for expressions of interest is 28 February 2015. If you would like a quote please e-mail the PAS team (or pensions if you require an estimate of your pension benefits). For more information on the scheme, including Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
Contact John Brady for more information.
Submit your nomination for honorary degrees by 22 May
As a member of the University, you can submit nominations for honorary degrees. Full details here.
Graduation image
Sir Charles Mayfield, Chairman of John Lewis Partnership and honorary degree holder.
Contact Louise Sharman for more information.
Help develop the University’s race equality action plan
We are looking for black, Asian and other minority ethnic colleagues to take part in staff focus groups on 18 February to inform our race equality action plan which we will submit to the Equality Challenge Unit in April.
Run by independent facilitators, the focus groups will explore areas touched upon in the recent staff survey. These include:
  1. recruitment and selection
  2. career development and promotion
  3. culture, colleagues and well-being
Refreshments will be provided.
Register your interest with Rachel Thorns by 13 February and let her know which of the three areas you are most interested in.
Undergraduate applications up by 21%
Entry 2015 numbers show a 21% increase in undergraduate applications, with 4,000 more applications compared to this point last year. This compares to a sector rise of only 2%.
Everyone across the University has contributed to this achievement, through a range of activities, including (to name only a few) the development of new programmes; the adjustments to advertised entry requirements; our UK and global outreach and HE fair programme; our improved open days; our external profile and positioning; and our first ever national advertising campaign. Now our focus turns to converting applicants into acceptances in a competitive marketplace. Read more here.
Contact Samantha Drage for more information.
National Student Survey (NSS) open until 30 April
Following our campus-wide launch of NSS on 2 February, colleagues in schools and departments across the University are running their own local promotions to encourage participation. We want as many undergraduate finalists as possible to complete the survey – last year our completion rate was an impressive 74% – so that we can fully understand the drivers of student satisfaction. The engagement and external relations team can provide support and materials as required.
Example of the promotional material
Contact Fiona Blair for more information.
Professional and Administrative Services process review
This week John Brady provided an update to colleagues on the Professional and Administrative Services review (PAS). Colleagues from across the University have been working with staff from central services to review what we do, why and how we do it, and what we might do to improve our key processes in finance; HR; and marketing, communication and engagement. A group of technical managers have been reviewing the activities associated with providing technical support. We are now bringing together teams to consider the activities associated with teaching and learning support and general administration.
Read John Brady’s update here.
Contact John Brady for more information.
Charter reform
University Council passed a resolution on the draft Charter and Ordinances last week. We will now submit them to the Privy Council, with implementation planned for August 2015. Read more about the reform here.
Contact Erin Murphy for more information.
Pictures for a thousand words: our new University icons
We’ve created a new set of icons to reflect the huge range of activities that the University is involved in. You can use them in the presentations and reports you create on your PC, or ask for them to be included in projects you commission through Marketing, Communication & Engagement. The icons are available in our imagebank here. The latest versions of our Microsoft Office templates for staff are here.
Contact Rachel Warner for more information.
A research focus at the Ask the Board events
At this month’s ’Ask the Board’ sessions Steve Mithen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), will talk briefly about research at Reading – including our REF 2014 results, the forthcoming 2020 research plan and the new roles of Research Deans. There will also be time for you to ask members of UEB any question on any topic on the day. You can also raise your questions in advance by emailing Event times and locations are here.
Contact Rachel Helsby for more information.
Get involved in Green Week, 9 – 13 February
Together with Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU), we will be celebrating Green Week (9 – 13 February), with a variety of events aimed at encouraging staff and students to reduce their environmental impact. Green Week is a national event and will be supported by organisations across the country.
The launch event will be at lunchtime on Monday 9 February with Robert Van de Noort, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning & Resource Allocation), taking on RUSU President Natalie Harper in the Big Green Race, with further activities planned all week.
Contact James Thorpe for more information.
Get involved in Green Week, 9 – 13 February
Students should register to vote
This week is National Voter Registration Week for the General Election 2015. Reading Union Students' Union (RUSU) is running a series of events. The government has introduced legislation which means that students must individually register to vote online or via a paper form. You can promote voter registration to students via lectures, newsletters or emails. Students can register here – they need their National Insurance number to do it.
Contact Natalie Harper for more information.
LGBT+ seminar and network
February is LGBT history month and is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about the histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Britain and Northern Ireland. To mark this occasion, our LGBT+ network is holding a seminar, ‘Scientists: Where are they and why does it matter?’, led by Professor David Smith (University of York) on 10 February, 1–2pm, in 3Sixty (Students' Union). The LGBT+ network meets bi-termly.
Contact Andrew Mangham for more information.
Staff in the news
The International Cocoa Quarantine Centre has operated at the University of Reading since the 1980s, playing a crucial role in helping to safeguard the world’s chocolate supply. It recently moved to new premises at Reading’s Hall Farm in Shinfield, leading to numerous appearances in the global media this month.
Professor Paul Hadley, Dr Andrew Daymond and their colleagues have appeared on or in BBC News, The One Show (on BBC One), The Mail on Sunday, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Channel 5 News, BBC Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time, The Times, and The Independent, among other media reports.
Contact Paul Hadley for more information.
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