In Brief June 2017
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.
Student Volunteers image

Help us to recognise outstanding volunteers

Volunteers make a vital contribution to the University. In recognition of our volunteers’ outstanding contributions, the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office has launched the Distinguished Volunteer Awards.

If you know of a volunteer who goes above and beyond to make a difference to the University community, or an alumnus who, through their volunteering, is raising Reading’s profile, please consider nominating them for an Award.

Nominations are open until Friday 23 June and the Awards will be presented at Supporter Day on Saturday 9 September. Full details are available on the Alumni and Supporters page.

Contact Jenn Runde for more.

PTES: encourage students to take part

Thank you to everyone who has supported the promotion of the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) to eligible students.

The survey will be open for another two weeks, until Friday 16 June. We’ll work with specific Schools on targeted activities to increase participation where needed – in the meantime, we ask colleagues to continue encouraging postgraduate taught students to participate before the deadline. Honest feedback is essential in helping us keep track of what we’re doing well and what could be improved.

Further information is available on the Essentials PTES page.

Contact Clare Furneaux for more.

Staff Survey logo

Staff survey: VC session and focus groups

The results of the 2017 Staff Survey were released on Thursday 1 June. Almost 64% staff (including sessional staff) participated in the survey, highlighting clear areas of strength and of improvement. Detailed information on the results can be found on 2017 Staff Survey webpages. The results for Schools and Functions will be made available week commencing Monday 19 June.

Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell will host open sessions for staff on Wednesday 14 June and we have scheduled focus groups from Monday 19 June. We are keen to hear from as many colleagues as possible, so please join us at these sessions.

To book yourself on focus groups, email

Contact Communications for more.

Support Centres – coming soon

Staff office moves will take place from mid-July in preparation for the opening of the new Support Centres on Tuesday 1 August 2017.

A first port of call for all student queries, the Support Centres will offer help and advice on a range of academic and non-academic issues including:

Coursework and exams
Disability assistance
Extenuating circumstances
Financial support
Placements and internships
Programme advice
Timetable queries
Welfare and wellbeing

There will be five Support Centres (in addition to the existing centre for HBS students) which will service undergraduate and postgraduate taught students. Postgraduate researchers will continue to access support via the Graduate School.

More information on the Support Centres

Open Day logo

Car parking limited 16 and 17 June

To accommodate for Open Day visitors on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June, car parks 1A, 2, 7, 9 and 10 will be reserved for visitor parking.

Colleagues who usually park on campus can:

Travel by bus for free: Staff can claim a free return ticket for the 21/ 21A bus service at Whiteknights House reception from Monday 12 June.
Work from home: Those who do not have meetings and are set up to work remotely may do so – please speak to your manager beforehand.

Limited parking will be available at halls of residence – please car share wherever possible. Blue badge holders will not be affected.

Contact Events for more.

London Road Gates image

Reading collaborates with University of Law

Students seeking to practice law will benefit from two new courses at Reading following a collaboration with the University of Law.

The new graduate courses are designed to prepare students for practical work in Law and will be offered at our London Road campus. From September 2017, a postgraduate Legal Practice Course (LPC) will be available for students with a law degree. The following September (2018), a graduate diploma in Law will also be open for students with other degrees.

See the staff portal for more.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award for two Schools

The School of Biological Sciences (SBS) and the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences (SPCLS) have won Athena SWAN awards following submissions last November.

The awards, given by the Equality Challenge Unit, encourage and recognise commitment to tackling gender inequality in higher education. Six of the University’s seven STEMM schools hold Athena SWAN accolades: SBS, SPCLS and the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy (SCFP) hold Bronze, with Silver awards held by School of the Built Environment (SBE), School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences (SMPCS) and School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science (SAGES).

The University currently holds an overall Bronze award, and we are working towards submission for Silver in 2019.

See the staff portal for more.

Aurora Leadership image

Aurora Women's Leadership Development Programme

Gender is one of our priorities for diversity and inclusion. As part of the University’s continued commitment to supporting the career development of women, we are now inviting colleagues to apply for the Leadership Foundation’s Aurora Women’s Leadership Development Programme for 2017–18.

As the programme enters its fifth year, the Leadership Foundation has confirmed that it will continue to offer the programme for the foreseeable future and the University is keen to continue its support the programme. For more details about the programme, including dates and how to apply, please see the staff portal. Applications to be received by midday, Friday 14 July.

Contact Susan Thornton for more.

IMAGINE celebrates first anniversary

This month we celebrate the first anniversary of IMAGINE, the University’s fundraising and volunteering campaign. IMAGINE has inspired support for many of Reading’s research and teaching activities. We’ll be sharing stories of recent projects on the staff portal over the coming weeks.

The anniversary also complements the Reading City of Sanctuary initiative, which seeks to affirm Reading as a place of hospitality and safety for those seeking asylum. The University fully supports the initiative, and we have partnered with CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics) to help academics in war-torn countries escape violent regimes and extremism.

Visit the IMAGINE website for information on the ongoing campaign and current projects.

Contact Sue Martin for more.

Thrive logo

THRIVE Career Mentoring postgraduate pilot

THRIVE Career Mentoring grew significantly this year, providing alumni and employer mentors to over 275 undergraduates by supporting their transition into work. The scheme currently offers undergraduates a professional mentor to help broaden their understanding of the profession they intend to enter after graduating.

The scheme is going to be piloted to postgraduate taught and Master of Research students next year in 5 areas within the University: Economics, Food and Nutritional Sciences, Institute of Education, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science and School of Agriculture, Policy and Development.

Please share the scheme with your students.

Contact Natalie Tarling for more.

Beware of phone calls offering Microsoft support

Several colleagues have reported receiving phone calls offering support to make their computers safe. The caller purports to be from Microsoft or BT, and requests access to the recipient’s computer. This is a scam and staff should terminate the phone call as soon as they determine it is not legitimate. If any access is given, the caller will most likely use it to install malware on your machine or as a way of asking for payment.

If you receive such a call, please report this through the IT Portal.

Staff Summer Celebration, Friday 9 June

Please join us on Friday 9 June for our Staff Summer Celebration!

All colleagues are warmly invited to our summer celebration – please join us in the Meadow Suite, Park House, 12.30pm – 2.00pm. The celebration provides an informal opportunity for colleagues from all parts of the University to gather and reflect on all that has been achieved over the academic year. Light refreshments will be served.

Full details are available in the attached pdf invite. Please email to register your attendance.

Contact Events for more.


Community and Creativity at the Big Band Big Lunch

We are delighted to invite all colleagues to the third annual Big Band Big Lunch on Sunday 4 June.

The event starts at midday and returns to our historic London Road campus. As well as being a part of the national Big Lunch, this year’s event also forms part of the national Great Get Together, in memory of Jo Cox MP.

Revolving around the theme of ‘Community and Creativity’ visitors will be able to enjoy great food, live music, dance performances and creative workshops. Admission is free and no booking is required.

Contact Events for more.

Meat-eating plant image

Meat-eating plants win Chelsea Flower show medal

A spectacular display featuring carnivorous plants from the University of Reading's glasshouses won a Silver Gilt medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Dr Alastair Culham, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, worked with the Carnivorous Plants Society on a striking display of carnivorous plants, including distinctive Venus flytrap and Drosera plants. The University’s glasshouses allow plants from around the world to be grown in the UK by replicating the natural conditions. The display was one of 25 to be awarded a Silver Gilt medal.

See the staff portal for more.

Events highlights

Highlights over the coming weeks include:

End of year degree shows: See what our creative students have been working on this year – see the events listing for individual Department shows.
Pope Francis and the struggle for the soul of Catholicism: Tuesday 6 June, 7.30pm, Henley Business School, Whiteknights. Guest speaker Paul Vallely presents the annual Chaplaincy Lecture.
Lunchtime concert staff showcase: Wednesday 7 June, 1.10pm, G01, L29, London Road campus. Celebrate the musical talents of staff across the University.
A Syrian Love Story + panel discussion: Tuesday 20 June, 7.45pm, Palmer, Whiteknights. In partnership with Reading Refugee Support Group Refugee Week.
Improving mental health in schools: Tuesday 12 September, 9.30am – 4.30pm, Whiteknights. Special conference examining how to address mental health in schools. Booking highly recommended.

See the Events Listing for the full schedule.

Contact Events for more.

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