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Start of Term message from Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell

Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell

Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell has written to all staff and students for the start of the Summer term. 

Below is a copy of the message to staff: 


Welcome back after the Easter break. I hope you enjoyed the holiday and feel re-energised and ready for the term ahead. 

Staff survey: next steps

A big thank you to all colleagues who took the time to complete the 2017 Staff Survey. Receiving feedback from staff across the University will help us shape the future. 

The survey results will be presented to the University Executive Board (UEB) and the Leadership Group in May, with the results disseminated across the University soon after that. Focus groups with staff from all parts of the University will be held throughout the summer, with the view to developing a University-wide action plan. More details will follow over the coming weeks. 

Relocation of study space from Library into URS

As you know, study space from inside the Library has been relocated into the URS Building over the Easter vacation. 

About 800 study spaces are available inside the URS building, along with IT equipment and furniture from the Library and Information Desks. You will now also find the Course Collection located in URS, along with Café Libro, Study Advice, Maths Support, and the IT service desk. The Library remains open as usual. 

There are several benefits to the relocation. Moving study space from the Library into URS will provide a quieter environment for study, while still being close enough to borrow and use materials. It also means we can progress more quickly with the Library’s £40 million refurbishment, and so will complete it around six months earlier than initially planned. These arrangements will be in place until summer 2018, at which time the facilities will move back into the Library.

Additional study space across campus

Along with URS, there are many other spaces across campus that can be used for quiet study (subject to teaching timetabling and departmental use):

  • A list of alternative space has been prepared to highlight available spaces. Including URS, there are over 1,700 study spaces available across our Whiteknights and London Road campuses.
  • RUSU introduced The Study@TOB2 last year, a sister building to The Study featuring 64 spaces, a printer, full Wi-Fi and plenty of plugs for laptops. 
  • The Free Room Finder lets students find rooms available for immediate use. 
  • If desired, students can book rooms to study in via the University’s Central Room Booking service. 

Further information on the Library’s refurbishment and quick links to news updates can be found on the Library Refurbishment Project page:

Consultation on new medical school 

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Department of Health and Health Education England have issued a consultation on the expansion of undergraduate medical education. It seeks views on the criteria for allocating 1,500 new medical school places, which will be delivered in two tranches. The first tranche of 500 new places from 2018/19 will be allocated to existing medical schools. Delivery of the second tranche of 1,000 in 2019/20 will be determined by a competitive process which could include new providers.  

The University will be responding to the consultation in May. Furthermore, the University and local NHS partners are currently exploring the option of possible participation in the competitive process. This is potentially an exciting opportunity for the University, and we welcome thoughts from our staff and student community on how plans could move forward.   

Brexit: information for staff 

Negotiations for the UK’s formal departure from the European Union (EU) have started following the trigger of Article 50 on 29 March 2017. 

There is no immediate change for universities, students or staff. The UK will remain a full member of the EU during the two year negotiation period. As an active member of Universities UK (UUK), I will be urging Government to take action to;

  • confirm rights to reside and work in the UK post-exit for EU nationals that are currently working in the university sector and their dependants; and
  • confirm that EU students starting a course in 2018/19 and 2019/20 will continue to be eligible for home fee status, and be eligible for loans and grants.  

We will continue keep students and staff fully informed throughout the negotiation. Keep checking the EU referendum: information for staff for the latest news and updates. 

Summer staff celebration event

Finally, I am pleased to announce that our traditional summer staff celebration event will be held on Friday 9 June, 12.30 – 2.00 pm, in the Meadow Suite, Park House. Full details will be released shortly, but in the meantime, please save the date.

With best wishes for the term ahead.

Sir David Bell KCB


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