In Brief has been created using MailChimp, which provides information on how the newsletter is used, such as how many people open it and what articles are of most interest. This information won’t be used to make decisions about, or take actions in respect of, you personally.  You can control the files that provide us the information by not downloading the images – and by not clicking on any links in the newsletter. You can also adjust your privacy settings in your email account or browser.

A monthly round-up of all you need to know.

All articles are short and are clearly categorised as ‘for action’, ‘for information’ or simply ‘nice to know’.

Contact Internal Communications for more information.

Share your ideas with the VC 

Do you have an idea that could improve our University? If so, the Vice-Chancellor would like to hear from you. 

Professor Robert Van de Noort is holding three more Surgery sessions on 6 February, 6 March and 31 March. Places must be booked in advance using this link. You can arrange to meet him individually or attend as part of a small group. Suggestions should be linked to one of the four strategic principles of our new University Strategy – Community, Excellence, Sustainability and an Engaged University.      

Ideas raised so far include volunteering, colleague recognition and business improvement schemes, student coaching opportunities and supporting colleagues (and their line managers) on maternity leave. 

2020 Travel Survey: have your say about travel 

Every two years, the University undertakes a Travel Survey to help us review and inform our travel planning. The 2020 Travel Survey is now open, and you are invited to participate in it. 

This short, anonymous survey has 9 questions and will take around 5 minutes to complete. All University colleagues, students, tenants and visitors are encouraged to participate in the survey in order to have a say about travel and transport provision.

Take part in new Leadership programmes
Applications have opened for two University leadership programmes running in 2020: ‘Leading Through Influence’ and ‘The Inclusive Leader’. Based on the University’s new Leadership Framework (the 3Rs), the programmes use a mixture of workshops, action learning sets and study to develop your ability to lead individuals, teams, project groups and partnerships.

Each programme has been specifically designed for the University to support leaders and managers working in different contexts:

  1. 'The Inclusive Leader’ is suitable for colleagues who directly line manage
  2. Leading Through Influence’ is designed for those who lead projects, collaborations, initiatives, groups or tasks

Read this staff portal story for the experiences of colleagues who have taken part in the programmes. The closing date for applications is 24 January 2020

Contact People Development for more information.

Apply for art initiatives 
Applications are being accepted for two art initiatives:

  • The Arts Committee invites applications for grants promoting all aspects of the Arts at the University. Deadline for applications is 17:00, 24 January 2020. Find out more at the Arts Committee webpage.
  • Expressions of interest are open for the second in a series of public art commissions for campus, using ‘the library' as a conceptual, metaphorical, academic, physical, spatial and poetic starting point. Open to University employees only. Deadline is 12:00, 10 February 2020. See the staff portal for full details. 

Enter Research Engagement and Impact Awards

These Awards recognise individuals who undertake high-quality research engagement and impact activities. Entrants can be at any level in their careers, and activities of any scale are welcome. We encourage applications from all research themes and associated functions across the University and this year particularly encourage applications that demonstrate engagement with communities local to Reading. The Awards will be announced at a ceremony on 13 May 2020 which is open to all staff. Shortlisted projects will be showcased. 

For full guidelines and to apply, visit our Awards webpage. Enter by 17:00, 12 February 2020. Please contact Caroline Cross if you are unsure whether your project is suitable.

New Deputy VC and other changes

A few changes to senior leadership and reporting lines come into effect this month. Full details of these are available on the staff portal, but to summarise:
  • Professor Parveen Yaqoob is the University’s new Deputy Vice-Chancellor
  • Professors Elizabeth McCrum and Julian Park will job-share in the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)
  • Dr Allán Laville is the new Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. You can read Allán’s D&I priorities for 2020 on the staff portal
These arrangements are outlined in the University’s updated organisational chart.

Catering services and hospitality on campus

Colleagues are reminded that any hospitality provided on our campuses should be ordered through the University’s own Catering services. This is to help us comply with Food Safety and Health & Safety regulations and to help manage allergens that may be present in food for attendees who may have allergies.

Considerable changes have been made to the variety of foods offered and the ordering and delivery processes. A range of set menu working lunches have been developed, which is are now priced below £5 per head in line with feedback around budgets – the cheapest option now being £3.58 per person. Please see the online brochure and new ‘Delivered To You’ menu for further details. 

Contact Venue Reading on Ex 8427 or Hospitality for more information.


Stop. Check. Send

When sending an email to several recipients, protection of personal or sensitive information may make ‘bcc’ (blind copy) more appropriate than using the ‘to’ and ‘cc’ functions.

The use of ‘bcc’ does not reveal the details of recipients to each other. Use of ‘bcc’ is particularly important when sending emails to personal email addresses, and where content could indirectly reveal information about the recipient to others, e.g. sending information to those registered with a particular service that may be sensitive or confidential in nature.

Please take the time to check you have the correct recipients for an email and stop to consider whether ‘bcc’ should be used. Further guidance is available on the IMPS pages.

Please contact IMPS if you need any advice.


Improving the student experience of feedback

The Focus on Feedback campaign, led by CQSD in partnership with students and staff, aims to support colleagues in improving the student experience of feedback. It will include updating our Feedback Policy, a series of tools and resources to support feedback practices, and a range of workshops and events.

We are pleased to launch the new Focus on Feedback Top Tips resource, created with and for colleagues at Reading. Upcoming resources will include further evidence-informed guidance for experienced assessors and specific support for new assessors.

See the staff portal for further details. 

We LOVE student feedback
Several major campaigns are underway, designed to highlight the importance of student feedback:
  • Together We Have aims to ‘close the feedback loop’ and highlight positive initiatives we’ve developed in partnership with students 
  • On 3 February 2020 we will launch our undergraduate student surveys (the National Student Survey for finalists and the UK Engagement Survey for other undergraduates). Further information and resources will be shared soon.
If you have any queries, please contact Jennifer Rich

EMA Programme completes this month
The EMA Programme will close on 31 January 2020, on time, under budget and having delivered against all 3 objectives:
  • To enable a consistently good student assessment experience
  • To provide an improved and supported assessment experience for staff
  • To reduce the administrative burden of assessment for the University
The Programme team would like to thank all colleagues who have worked with us to deliver new capabilities, many of which are sector-leading, and develop new ways of working, benefiting our whole community.

Look out for a summary of what has been delivered on the EMA website later this month.

Free University running club  

Did you know that we have a running club for University colleagues? The University Running Group is open to runners of all abilities, meeting three times each week for runs around campus.  Runs typically take place every Tuesday lunchtime, Tuesday evening, and Thursday lunchtime. It is completely free to join – simply turn up in your running gear and get moving! 

To sign up and see the schedules, please visit the University Running Group on Microsoft Teams.  


Professor Ed Hawkins appointed MBE

Please join us in congratulating Professor Ed Hawkins on being appointed an MBE for services to climate science and science communication.

Professor Hawkins received his appointment as part of the New Year's Honours list for 2019. His research on climate change has captured the attention of millions around the globe - including the world-famous ‘climate stripes' graphic that has now been shared by millions of people and journalists around the world.  

Read the full story on the staff portal


Events highlights

20 January - Chaplaincy Lecture: Neil MacGregor, “A Church for Shepherds or for Kings?” (19.30, Van Emden Lecture Theatre, Edith Morley Building, Whiteknights)

22 January – T&L Conference 2020, Engage, Enhance, Empower: Supporting Student Achievement (09:30-16:00, Whiteknights)

23 January – Architecture Student Public Lecture series (17:30, G01, Building LO22, London Road)

23 January - Chancellor's Awards (18.00-20.30, Great Hall, London Road)

29 January – Law Public Lecture: Inside the Enemy Camp: Offensive Cyber Operations and International Law (18:00, Agriculture Building, Whiteknights)

30 January - Women@Reading: Flourish! Is Happiness the Key to Success? (13:00, Chancellor's Building, Whiteknights) 

Contact Events for more information.

Past issues and future copy deadlines for In Brief can be found here.

Staff Portal
Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

You are receiving this newsletter as an employee of the University of Reading. It is designed to provide you with all the essential information you need.

Our mailing address is: