In Brief march 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.
staff survey

2017 Staff Survey opens on 6 March

The 2017 Staff Survey opens on 6 March. Look out for an email from Capita Surveys & Research with information on how to take part and your own unique logon. Clicking on this external link is OK as it has been tested and poses no threat to our IT systems. Your responses will be 100% confidential, so please provide your open and honest feedback. We need to hear from as many colleagues as possible so that we can be sure that we are taking the actions that will have the biggest impact. Click the Staff Survey information pages for full details.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to take part.

Contact Communications for more.

NSS logo

NSS: encourage students to have their say

Each year, the National Student Survey (NSS) provides us with the most comprehensive, independent and full picture of what our final year students think about their time at Reading – what works here and what needs changing.

We’re grateful for the work that’s gone into promoting the survey in Schools so far, and we’re on track to matching last year’s response rate. We still need your help in encouraging students to complete the NSS – without honest student feedback, it becomes harder to identify and understand areas that need improvement in individual Schools and the wider University. Please plan opportunities to promote the NSS during School activities – effective activities include short promotions at the end of lectures and emails from teaching staff. Contact Communications for assistance with this.

The NSS closes Sunday 30 April, with results released in August.

Contact Communications for more.

Apply for funding for your School and Function events

The Vice-Chancellor has allocated £5,000 from the University’s Endowment Fund to support staff and students running departmental, school or function events involving the public or external stakeholders. Events considered will be those taking place before the end of the Summer Term or planned for during the vacation period.

Up to £1,000 can be granted per event. Complete the attached form to apply, explaining the objectives, focus and benefits of your event and email to

The application deadline is Monday 20 March; we aim to notify applicants of their success by Friday 24 March. Approved funding will be allocated directly to the department, school, or function budget. A short post-event evaluation will be required.

Contact Sinead O’Flynn for more.

URS building

Library study space moves to URS Building

All study space will shortly move from the Library into the URS Building, including the majority of furniture and IT equipment. This will enable students to study in a comfortable and quiet space away from construction works, with the building available to use until approximately August 2018.

All books (excluding the Course Collection) will remain inside the Library and will be available to use and borrow as usual. The Course Collection will move into URS and will continue to be accessible for 24 hours in term-time, as the Library offers now.

Updated details will be shared with staff and students shortly.

Contact Communications for more.

University makes submission to TEF pilot

The University made its submission to the national trial of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) on Thursday 26 January 2017. The TEF is the government’s new rating system for universities’ teaching quality, proposed in the higher education white paper, Success As A Knowledge Economy.

The assessment is based on:

Data relating to undergraduate student satisfaction, retention rates and employment outcomes, averaged over the last three years and compared to a benchmark that is weighted according to the student characteristics of the HE provider; and
A 15-page narrative statement from the provider setting out evidence of their excellence in teaching and learning.

Independent assessment panels will comprise teaching and learning experts, student and employer representatives, and widening participation specialists. The outcomes of the TEF trial are expected to be published in the spring. Full details are available on the staff portal.

Contact Helen Williams for more.

Presentation slides from Brexit session

Over 300 colleagues attended the information sessions offering practical guidance to EU nationals who may be affected by Brexit. Immigration expert Alex Russell, from Mills & Reeve, provided detailed information on the process involved in attaining permanent resident status and the application procedure for those wishing to become British citizens.

The sessions also covered the status of children of EEA nationals living in the UK and the circumstances when children can be registered as British nationals. Alex also took questions from the participants. A video of the sessions will be made available shortly on the Staff Portal.

Contact John Brady for more.

EMA logo

EMA Launch Event, Tuesday 14 March

A launch event for the new Electronic Management of Assessment programme will be held on Tuesday 14 March in the Meadow Suite, Park House from 12.00pm – 1.00pm.

The EMA Team, led by Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) Professor Gavin Brooks, will outline how the programme aims to deliver the University’s long term vision for online assessment and provide a significantly improved experience for staff and students.

A largely vegetarian lunch, as well as cakes, will be provided. This event is open to all staff but colleagues will need to register via

Contact the EMA Team for more.

Transforming the enquiry process to support student recruitment

A new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Enquiry Form to enhance the University’s recruitment and conversion activity will go live in March.

A key development within the CRM project, this form will enable us to improve the student experience, personalise responses and record data to proactively communicate with prospective students. Ask Us A Question enables users to type their question and provide basic details – including subjects of interest and level of study. Questions will be routed to the Global Recruitment Team or Admissions for response. Where detailed information is required, teams will liaise with Departments to provide informative and personalised communications. Links to the form will be published in the Undergraduate prospectus and across the website.

Contact Rachel South for more.

Volunteers needed for race and ethnicity self-assessment team

Volunteers are needed for a new self-assessment team looking to reflect on our race and ethnicity culture.

The team will work towards identifying challenges that are present in our culture, with the aim being to form an action plan that helps us move towards change. All are welcome to join the group – we hope to welcome a broad range of staff from across the University and of all ethnic backgrounds.

The first meeting will be held on Friday 24 March, 2.00pm – 3.00pm.

Contact Ellie Highwood for more.

Changes to IR35 tax rules

From Thursday 6 April, the public sector – including universities – will be responsible for ensuring that individuals working through their own limited companies pay the correct tax in accordance with IR35 tax rules.

A working group of HR, Finance and Procurement colleagues is looking at changes required to ensure the University’s compliance with the legislation. It is possible that assessments will determine some personal service companies working for the University to be ‘inside’ IR35 tax rules, meaning they must be paid via payroll in order to deduct Income Tax and N.I. Failure to comply with the legislation could result in a fine for the University. Further details will be shared over the coming weeks.

Contact Mark Stephenson for more.

spring concert

Event highlights this month

Upcoming event highlights include:

Edith Morley Lecture: In conversation with Penny Mordaunt MP: Friday 10 March, 1.00pm – 2.00pm, Meadow Suite, Park House, Whiteknights. Join us for our annual Edith Morley Lecture with guest speaker Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North.
Spring Concert: Saturday 11 March, 7.30pm, Great Hall, London Road. Join the University of Reading Chorus and Orchestra at their annual Spring Concert, featuring Elgar Enigma Variations, and Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle. Tickets on sale now.
Women@Reading: The Experience of Not Belonging in the Workplace: Monday 13 March, 12.00pm – 1.00pm. An interactive exploration of what attributes to the experience of feeling like one doesn’t belong at work. Book via ESS.
Research event – Harwell Central Facilities showcase: Tuesday 28 March, 11.00am – 4.00pm, Henley Business School. Scientists from the Harwell Science Campus will demonstrate how their facilities could help transform your research.

See the Events page for the full events schedule.

Contact Events for more.

UoRM campus

UoRM celebrates first anniversary of official launch

The University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) has celebrated the first anniversary of its inauguration.

Much has been accomplished over the past twelve months – in the past year, UoRM has:

Trebled student numbers from 200 in February 2016 to an estimated 600 by end of April 2017.
Introduced eight new programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level.
Elected its first Student President and Executive Team, forming Reading University Malaysia Student Association (RUMSA).
Established a growing research programme, with new collaborations in progress.
Expanded the student mobility programme, with nine UK students studying in Malaysia and 21 UoRM students transferring to the University of Reading UK.

See the portal story for full details.

Contact Communications for more.

Our Campus Choir needs YOU

The University’s workplace choir is opening its doors to new members. Campus Choir currently has 40 members, around 25 of whom you’ll find singing together on campus each week.

The positive correlation between singing and benefits in the workplace has been the subject of much research, including increased memory and focus and bust stress but it’s the experience of our colleagues that really matters – a member said:

“I’ve really enjoyed Campus Choir so far – it’s been a great opportunity to take a proper break from work and definitely boosts my morale and sense of community!”

Campus Choir meet in Van Emden, HumSS, 1.00pm – 1.50pm on Thursdays. Everyone is welcome, regardless of ability or experience.

Contact Music for more.

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