In Brief
In Brief September 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.

Join us for Vice-Chancellor’s all staff sessions

Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell will be hosting three all staff briefing sessions this month. Details are as follows:

25 September (1-2 pm) – Nike Theatre, Agriculture, Whiteknights
27 September (10-11 am) – National Grid, Greenlands
27 September (1-2 pm) – L022 (G01), London Road

All staff are welcome to attend. The sessions are an opportunity to find out about the strategic priorities over the coming year, and ask questions.

Contact Communications for more.

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Fee forms replaced by Campus Jobs

Paper Fee Claim Forms are being phased out following the launch of Campus Jobs. The form was used to pay students and other temporary workers for work on campus.

A HR Approvals portal and online timesheet system will replace the form and will be used to manage the payment. These two systems will reduce the time it takes to get paid and improve the overall experience of working for the University. HR deadlines have changed significantly to reflect this. Fees forms will no longer be accepted by Payroll after 26 October – all temporary workers (with the exception of Visiting Lecturers and External Examiners) will be paid via Campus Jobs from this date onwards.

Further information for staff can be found on the HR Campus Jobs pages.

Contact the Campus Jobs team for more.

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September webinar for EMA programme

The EMA (Electronic Management of Assessment) Programme is delivering a number of projects to enable University-wide online submission, assessment feedback and grading, improvements to underlying processes and system enhancements.

Please join us on 11 September for a webinar presentation and feedback session on new screens in RISIS, and to learn more on what the EMA Programme will deliver. To find out times and to pre-register your attendance, please contact

Contact the EMA team for more.

Sign up to Teaching and Learning programme

Through the Teaching & Learning Programme’s interactive sessions, CQSD provide opportunities for sharing good practice and working together. Themes include:

assessment and feedback
curriculum design
teaching approaches
supporting students
T&L policy
technology enhanced learning

Full details are available on the Teaching and Learning Programme page, with additional sessions added as they become available. Book places via direct booking links on the Teaching and Learning Programme page, or through the Training and Qualifications tab on Employee Self-Service.

All courses are aligned to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and the Curriculum Framework. Sign up to the CQSD mailing list for Teaching and Learning announcements, training and development sessions and funding calls.

Contact the CQSD team for more.

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National 2017-18 pay award now in effect

The national pay award for 2017-18 came into effect on 1 August. The award adds 1.7% on all spine points, with 2.4% on the lowest point and consequent extra loading for the first 16 spine points.

Salary adjustments for all relevant staff are effective from 1 August and were applied to August salaries. The revised pay scale (Grades 1-8) is available to view online.

Contact John Brady for more.

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Welcome Week: 18 – 22 September

A huge range of events and activities are taking place on campus this month to welcome new students to the University.

These include a formal welcome by the Vice-Chancellor and RUSU, programme inductions, campus tours and an example lecture, as well as a fun photo booth, sports and societies fairs, and a British Sports Day.

Starting university can be daunting, so if you see anyone looking lost or confused please do try to help direct them. Support staff will be on hand to assist throughout the week at the Support Centre Information Point in the Palmer building.

See the Welcome Week event guide for more.

Personal Titles process under review for 2017-18

The Personal Titles process – the academic promotion process that awards the titles of Professor and Associate Professor – is under review following feedback and consultation.

The process was introduced for 2016-17, with a commitment to review and learn from its first year of operation. The Personal Titles process has received strong support since its introduction, and a number of changes have been proposed for the 2017-18 academic year. Guidelines for the revised process will be available mid-September, with training sessions available in the autumn term.

The submission deadline for personal title cases will be delayed until mid-January to accommodate for changes to the review process.

Contact Dr Richard Messer for more.

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Students share their opinions in the National Student Survey

Overall satisfaction across the University remains strong, according to the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS). Our 2017 score matches the sector average at 84%. Satisfaction continues to perform well at discipline level, with eight areas achieving a satisfaction score of 90% or above. Finalists also commended teaching staff for being good at explaining things (87%), having opportunities to work with other students and being able to contact staff when they needed to.

The NSS provides us with the most comprehensive picture of what our final year students think about the University – what works here and what needs to improve. Over 1,600 final year students participated in the survey this year.

See the staff portal for more.

New materials available for Personal Tutors

Personal tutoring is key to enhancing the student experience at the University. Last academic session, the Personal Tutor System (PTS) Steering Group, chaired by Professor Orla Kennedy, undertook a series of surveys, focus groups and interviews to identify best practice and gather feedback from staff and students on how the PTS could be improved.

The Steering Group have developed a collection of online materials to support tutors, including key contacts, suggested agenda for meetings, and relevant CQSD training sessions. These can be accessed through the Personal Tutor's Handbook.

The Steering Group are considering the longer-term options for the PTS, and look forward to working with staff and students throughout the process.

Contact Jess Johnson for more.

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Study Smart prepares students for university study

We are delighted to launch Study Smart, a new online course introducing new students to the principles and expectations of studying at university through the words of our students and staff. It focuses on three key areas: academic integrity, communicating at university and independent learning.

Part 1 undergraduates joining in September have been invited to take part. We recommend the course is completed by the first week of term (w/c 25 September). Students will be able to revisit and refer to content during their first academic year.

Watch the Study Smart trailer to find out more, and take a look at the Study Smart Tutors’ Guide for information on course structure and content.

Contact the Study Advice team for more.

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Making music at Reading – join now

Music at Reading offers community music making opportunities for students, staff, alumni and the local community. This September, it will become a permanent part of the Institute of Education – details will follow shortly.

Music at Reading runs a number of ensembles and public concerts throughout the year – the next one being the Together Festival, which invites choral singers and orchestral players to rehearse and perform extracts from Handel’s Messiah, John Williams’ Star Wars (professional film score edition) and more.

Rehearsals for staff workplace choir Campus Voices will begin w/c 4 September at Whiteknights and London Road. Weekly rehearsals for Big Band, Chamber Choir and Academic Voices start w/c 25 September. Further details available at Music at Reading and Twitter @UniRdg_Music.

Contact Music at Reading for more.

Binning the bins: recycling facilities upgraded

The University is committed to achieving a 60% recycling rate by 2021. Over the summer, we have carried out projects within URS, TOB1, Agriculture, Miller, Wager, Archaeology and the Allen Laboratory to help improve recycling. We thank all staff involved with these changes for their patience and cooperation.

Similar upgrades were previously carried out in Edith Morley, ICMA and Henley Business School, where recycling rates have improved by an average of 7%. Full details of the project are available online.

Please support a positive cultural change for a more sustainable environment, and recycle as much as possible to help reach the University’s 60% recycling target.

Contact Sustainability Services for more.

Key Careers event dates for autumn 2017

Careers have many exciting events in store for students of all disciplines over the autumn term. Highlights over the coming weeks include:

Reading Experience Day, 27 September (12-4 pm) – Dome
Careers and Placements Fair,19 October (11 am-3 pm) – Palmer
Not-for-profit Careers Fair, 24 October, (12-2 pm) – RUSU 3Sixty
Law Careers Fair, 8 November, (2-4 pm) – Palmer (ground floor)

Please share these with your students over the coming weeks.

Contact the Careers team for more.

Sustain It image

Sustain It bottle to transform campus waste

The Sustain It bottle launches on 14 September – a new drinks bottle designed to be reused across campus.

The bottle is fitted with a RFID chip that enables users to pre-pay for drinks in multiples of 10 (£12) or for a term (£39.95). It pairs up with a new range of drinks machines offering a wider range of soft drinks – the majority being low or no calorie options. The machines will also provide free filtered water.

The Sustain It bottle costs £9.95 and can be pre-ordered online before going on sale at Park Eat, Eat at the Square, The Dairy , Wantage Hall and Eat at Northcourt. All purchases include two free fills.

See Sustain It Bottle Facebook page for more.

Royal County of Berkshire Show 2017

The annual Royal County of Berkshire Show is back! Come along to celebrate agricultural life at this family-friendly event on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September. There is plenty to do and plenty to see from visiting craft stalls, a horse show and the University of Reading’s very own stand which welcomes around 3,000 visitors. This year, our stall will be exploring the importance of soil!

Staff members have 15% discount on full ticket prices using the code READING17. Book your ticket at

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Universal Voices welcomes local children

Universal Voices is a free community choir for children aged 7-13, led by Dr Rebecca Berkley and students from the Institute of Education. Launched in March 2017, it provides an excellent choral education and musicianship training to all children in the Reading area, funded with the help of the University Campaign and Supporter Engagement Office.

This choir is an integral part of the music education provision for undergraduate and postgraduate students, who may develop their conducting skills by working with the children.

Rehearsals start from 14 September on Thursdays, 3.45 pm – 6.00 pm, L29 (Music), London Road campus. Email to book your child’s place, and follow us on Twitter @UniRdg_UVoices.

Contact Music at Reading for more.

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