In Brief, October 2015
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 information.

ESS: Update your details

Employee Self-Service enables you to update your personal details, access payroll information such as payslips and P60s, request annual leave and book and log training events. You can check your record at any time by logging in to Employee Self Service with your University username and password. ESS is available from anywhere and can be accessed using your PC, smartphone or tablet.

Note that in the event of anything happening to you during work, the University would expect to use your details held in ESS to contact your next of kin – for this and other reasons, keeping the details up-to-date, accurate and complete is important.

Contact HR Operations for more information.


90th anniversary celebrations

While our history stretches back over 150 years, 2016 marks the 90th anniversary of the University being granted its Royal Charter. Plans to celebrate are in development: look out for more details in the next In Brief, and put 17 March, our official anniversary, in your diary. For now, you might like to think about whether you’d like to bring any of your major 2016 events under the 90th banner. There is a visual device (above) and a small amount of funding available to produce materials using it.

If you have ideas for existing events that might be ‘badged’ in this way, contact Fiona Blair in MCE.

VC’s Malaysia visit

In October, the Vice-Chancellor visited the University of Reading Malaysia to see the new campus and meet staff, students and alumni. As part of the visit, he welcomed University of Reading and Henley Business School alumni to a special open day intended to build relationships with alumni across the region, many of whom work for some of the top organisations in Malaysia and Singapore.


The EduCity campus opened its doors to students in September and is already proving itself as a first-class university destination for students across Asia, drawn to studying for a UK degree closer to home.

Contact Becky Thould for more information.

New website for Legal Services

The Legal Services Department has launched a new website. It sets out the matters on which the Legal Department can provide support, the information required from you and when to make contact. The team can advise you on drafting and negotiating contracts and other legal agreements (except contracts relating to research income and activity); managing disputes and claims against the University; commercial and corporate matters; legal and regulatory compliance and risk; legal issues arising from the University’s property; and matters arising from certain intellectual property rights – including managing the registration, use and protection of the University’s trademarks. The department is also responsible for obtaining advice from external solicitors and barristers.

Contact Julie Rowe or Hannah Woodward for more information.

Student journey digital improvements

Improving the student journey has been a key strategic priority for the University. The project covers the journey from first becoming aware of the University, through studying here, to being an alumnus. Work on the first phase of the journey, from being a prospective student to graduation, is now complete and a presentation has been put together on the developments. It provides an overview of the University’s digital products from the perspective of a PGT student.

Contact Emma Kay for more information.

‘Essentials’ gives students what they need

One aspect of digital provision through the student journey is Essentials, a website where a student will find all the information he/she needs while at the University. From tips on making the most of the first five weeks, to looking after yourself, to the University’s rule and regulations, the website is packed with useful information. It signposts relevant content through the year, and from 2–6 November the focus was on enhancement week.

Contact Bonnie Amato Southcott for more information.

Technology Enhanced Learning blog & TEL support

Want one place where you can find TEL support, information and latest news? Produced by CQSD’s TEL team, the TEL blog is intended to:

Support University staff in their use of learning technologies;
Provide help materials, advice and guidance;
Keep staff up-to-date with news, information and events related to the University’s currently supported technologies, e.g. Blackboard and Turnitin.

The site is interactive so feel free to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences with colleagues. If you would like to subscribe, visit the TEL blog and register your email address under ‘Subscribe’.

Contact Lauren McCann for more information.

Student advice contacts

If you are dealing with a student query and not sure what to do with it, Students Services has provided a list of emails to help you direct the query:

General queries and helpdesk –
International student experience team (immigration/visa/biometric residence permit –
Advisory team (transfers/suspensions/withdrawals/mode of study) –
Student financial support team (US loans/hardship/bursaries/fee/Student Finance England) –
Graduation –

The historic Great Hall will be hosting two music events in the coming month. On 28th November, the University of Reading Big Band will lead an evening of music and swing dance, starting at 7.30pm. For more details on the event and to buy a ticket, click here.

On 5th December, the University of Reading Symphony Orchestra (conductor: Paul Cox), Chorus and Chamber Choir (conductor: Sam Evans) will perform Beethoven’s Symphony no.8 in the annual Winter Concert. The performance will be followed by a selection of festive choral works by composers including Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Warlock and Holst, and carols for all to enjoy. To book tickets, click here.

Contact Rebecca Ranson for more information.


£20 off new glasses with Specsavers

Specsavers is offering University staff a discount voucher of £20 off the cost of glasses when you select any pair from the £99 range or above, including their range of designer frames. The voucher can be redeemed at any Specsavers Opticians store nationwide, up until 15 August 2016.

Contact Claire Eckett for more information.

Consultation on Reading Council libraries

Reading Council is holding a public consultation on their library service. This responds both to a change in the way people use local libraries and the need for the council to save £39 million over the next three years. The first phase of the consultation aims to understand better how people are using their local libraries. Staff living in Reading can find more information and contribute their views here.


Happy e-Christmas from the University

This year we are producing an e-card and a limited number of Christmas cards for staff to send to their international contacts and key stakeholders. The e-card design will be available in the next two weeks, so please look out on the Staff Portal for more information.

The printed card is shown below. Orders for printed cards must be placed by 13th November with your name, quantity and delivery address. The cards will be available from 30th November in order to meet the Royal Mail’s last recommended posting dates – 10th December for Europe and 4th December for outside Europe.

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