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.

Give your views on classroom technology provision

Improving the teaching facilities is one of our key teaching and learning priorities. IT is currently reviewing classroom technology provision and later this month, the team will email teaching staff a link to a short questionnaire seeking their views and suggestions. Read more about recent teaching and learning news.

Contact Anton Lawrence for more information.


New senior appointments from 1 August 2015

The University has announced new senior appointments to broaden the University’s leadership team.

The five Teaching and Learning Deans are:

Dr David Carter
Dr Clare Furneaux
Professor Roger Gibbard
Dr Orla Kennedy
Dr Elizabeth McCrum

The five Research Deans are:

Professor Richard Bennett (Food)
Professor Roberta Gilchrist (Heritage and Creativity)
Dr Phil Newton (Environment)
Professor Adrian Williams (Health)
Professor Dominik Zaum (Prosperity & Resilience)

Professor Matthew Almond has been appointed Dean of Faculty for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS). Read more about the Research Deans and the T&L Deans and Faculty Dean for AHSS.

Consultation on academic contracts

As part of the ‘Charter Reform', the University will be consulting with UCU and the Staff Forum with a view to issuing academic staff with new employment contracts later this term in line with the planned introduction of new employment policies and the removal of Statute XXXIII in August.

There will be no substantive changes to contractual rights. Contract benefits, such as notice pay, pension, sick pay and holiday entitlement,
will be unchanged. Other changes will ensure that the contracts are compliant with employment law and set out employee rights more clearly. Read more here.

Contact Cherry Bennett for more information.

Working towards our 2026 Strategy

Now that we’re two years into our 2026 Strategy work, the University Executive Board has made some changes to the way in which strategic projects are governed and managed. It has removed most of the thematic boards and has placed greater responsibility with individual project management teams who are accountable for delivery.

The Strategic Projects Team within the Planning and Strategy Office will continue to provide professional project management expertise to individual projects and track progress. Once a term, UEB will review overall progress towards the University’s 2026 Strategy.

We’ve also revised our strategy portal pages which provide a quick overview and summaries of our most important strategic projects. Read our updated pages.

Contact Rachel Stewart for more information.

Accommodation guarantees for students joining us in September 2015

Staff across the University will be dealing with queries from prospective students about accommodation from 2015/16 applicants and at Open Days. Our current position is as follows:

New full-time students (at Foundation, Undergraduate and Postgraduate level) are guaranteed accommodation if they:

1. Firmly accept their offer of a place with us; and
2. Apply for accommodation by 1 August 2015; and
3. Satisfy any conditions of their academic offer by 31 August 2015.

All three of the above conditions must be met for guaranteed University accommodation. Applicants placing us as their insurance choice can apply for accommodation from 17 August 2015, but they are not guaranteed a place in halls.

Contact James Ackroyd for more information.

In Brief, February 2015

Reading improves ranking in Complete University Guide 2016

The University of Reading has moved up to be ranked as a Top 30 UK university, according to the Complete University Guide 2016 rankings.

Reading is now ranked as 29th nationally, up eight places from the 2015 table, one of the biggest improvements among the UK’s leading universities.

Reading is now ranked in the top 25% of universities nationally, in a higher position than several Russell Group institutions, including Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool.

Contact Press Office for more information.

Helping our students with their careers

71% of 2013 graduates are in graduate level work or further study six months after graduation. This is important for our applicants, students and the University’s reputation as reported in league tables.

The Careers Centre is running events for students to support them in finding their first graduate job. Events include a 'LinkedIn Clinic', a 'Recruitment Bootcamp' and 'Effective Interviewing Skills' – as well as a number of RED Award sign-off sessions.

Remind your students about the support available. Direct them to Essentials and the Careers Centre events. Students can make an appointment with a careers consultant for one-to-one support by calling 0118 378 8359 or emailing us.

Contact Jackie Payne for more information.

Bring your campus or library card to enter
the library

During the busy exam period, we’ve reserved the library for staff and students only from 17:00 to 08:00 on weekdays and from 17:00 on Friday to 08:00 on Monday at the weekends.

In Brief, February 2015

To enter the University in the evenings, overnight and at the weekend, please bring your Campus or Library Card. Your Campus Card opens the door automatically. Alternatively you can show your Library card to staff on the door.

Contact Rachel Redrup for more information.

Ask the Board – a special focus on diversity

The Vice-Chancellor has made creating greater diversity across the institution one of his priorities. Have your say about the issues and speak to University Executive Board members and others leading our work in this area at this term’s Ask the Board.

You can submit your question in advance. Please email communications with the subject line 'Question for Ask the Board'.

There is no need to book a place. The dates and locations this term are:

19 May 13:00–13:50 Madejski Theatre, Agriculture, Whiteknights.
20 May 10:00–10:50 National Grid, Greenlands
20 May 13:00–13:50 G11, Henley Business School, Whiteknights
21 May 13:00–13:50 LO22 G01, London Road

Contact Rachel Helsby for more information.

Celebrating International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT)

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biophobia (IDAHOT) is celebrated annually on 17 May and the University of Reading, as a Stonewall Diversity Champion, is proud to be flying the rainbow flag in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. This year, the day is focusing on what young people really need to be protected from homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

With representatives from UEB, RUSU and LGBT plus network, we will raise the flag between the Library and Whiteknights House on Whiteknights Campus, and everyone is warmly invited to gather by the flagpole at 12:00 on Friday 15 May.

Contact Calvin Smith for more information.

The University’s advertising campaign launches this month

Tested and researched with target audiences, this year’s advertising campaign builds on the creative strategy we developed last year with more provocative and bold positioning across our advertising. Our undergraduate recruitment will appear on education digital sites and be posted on social media later this month.

Our broader brand campaign, which showcases some of our world-class research stories, will be seen from June onwards on poster sites in railway stations, London Underground tube carriages and on roadside and school poster sites across the country.

Last year’s campaign has won three awards at the Transform Awards and is shortlisted for the Drum marketing awards.

Contact Karen Smalley for more information.

Learn more about the Wellcome Trust award to the Museum of English Rural Life

The Wellcome Trust has awarded the Museum of English Rural Life £385,277 for its project ‘Our Country Lives: Nutrition, Health and Rural England’. This will support the Museum’s current Heritage Lottery Funded redevelopment, providing a space devoted to food and farming and introducing new themes and interactive opportunities connected to animal health, human nutrition and rural healthcare.

The money will also fund more staff who will work with biomedical experts and specialist advisors, including from University departments. Come to the Museum on Redlands Road to find out more at 13:00–14:00 on Tuesday 19 May. No need to book. Bring your lunch; tea and coffee will be provided.

Contact Alison Hilton for more information.

New online support for applicants

Our new applicant portal, Me@Reading Applicant, is launching this month. It will encourage the conversion of offer holders, providing applicants with personalised information and news about the University and the ability to check the progress of their applications.

Two sessions were held this week to showcase the portal to the wider university. Both events were extremely well attended with lots of positive feedback.

The portal is extremely easy to navigate and it looks wholly professional

Contact James Ackroyd for more information.

A Musical Weekend in June

Our Chorus and Chamber Choir make their debut at the Reading Concert Hall on Saturday 6 June. Conducted by Joanna Bywater, they will perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Fauré’s Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine. Tickets cost £13.50 / £9.50 concessions and are available from the Reading Arts Box Office.

On Sunday 7 June we’re hosting our first ever Big Lunch event at London Road campus from 12:00. With music from our very own Big Band, you are invited to bring a picnic as we bring the University and local community together over lunch at this free event. More here.

Contact Music for more information.

Staff in the news

Reading neuroscientists may have a cure for those songs that get stuck in your head: chewing gum. Dr Phil Beaman’s research, which found that chewing lessened the impact of ‘earworms’, was featured by UK media including The Times (£), The Daily Mail, and BBC Radio 2, as well as international outlets including The Irish Examiner, Los Angeles Times and US National Public Radio.


Professor Ian Givens’ research into the iodine content of milk was featured in the Guardian, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and on the front page of the Daily Telegraph.

Contact Press Office for more information.

Let’s ‘Beat the Streets’ and walk to work

We’re committed to reducing the number of single occupancy car journeys to our campuses. Launched last week in Reading, ‘Beat the Streets’ is a free cycling, running and walking initiative. Players tap cards on ‘Beat Boxes’ placed on lampposts to win prizes.

Last year, the University came third overall, and the challenge is on to top the chart this year. Collect your cards from Whiteknights Reception, Palmer Reception, RUSU Reception, or the Institute of Education’s Reception at London Road. And then register to take part.

In ‘Walk to Work week’, Monday 11–15 May, we’re running a team challenge throughout the University. Sign up to join a team.

Contact Karen Stanbridge for more information.

IT tip – managing appointments across time zones

If you’re involved with the University of Reading Malaysia you can set up a secondary time zone in Outlook to help you manage appointments across time zones:

1. Open Outlook and click File > Options.

2. Click the Calendar Tab.

3. Scroll down to the Time Zones section. First add a Label to your current Time Zone.

4. Now check the box Show a second time zone, give it a label and choose the additional time zone from the drop-down menu (e.g. UTC +8).

5. Click OK to save the new configuration and then jump over to your Calendar to check out the new Time Zone in action.

Contact Matthew Gee for more information.

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