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.

Latest information about coronavirus

Following the recent increase in diagnosed cases of Coronavirus Covid-19 in the UK, including one in Berkshire, it is understandable that colleagues may have concerns regarding the Coronavirus Covid-19 and how this may impact us if the outbreak becomes more widespread. 

A Major Incident Team, led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Parveen Yaqoob, is coordinating our response to the situation – its work guided by the advice from Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.  

Please refer to the Staff Portal and Essentials for the latest information and advice on Coronvirus.

Complete Teams Requirement Form

All colleagues with a phone on their desk will have received a Requirements Form, as part of the Communicating with Teams project. This form will help us identify the best equipment to replace your existing phone, so please complete the form as soon as you can. Over 2,400 colleagues have already provided their responses – If you haven’t, please can you do so by 18 March 2020.  

Workshops to discuss team-wide requirements will be booked by the end of April.

For further information please contact the project team.

Volunteers needed for Summer Graduation
Volunteers are needed to help at our Summer Graduation ceremonies on Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 July. We would be extremely grateful if you could spare some time to volunteer.

We need your support in ensuring that each day runs smoothly. By this, we mean filling a wide range of roles, including hosting guests, answering queries and acting as a marshal. If you can't cover a full day, you can arrange to do a shorter shift. Full details are available on the staff portal.

To register your interest, please email

University signs up to ethical electronics

The University has committed to the ethical and sustainable sourcing of electronics products on campus by signing up to Electronics Watch,  an independent organisation dedicated to protecting the rights of workers involved in the supply of electronic items. It works with public sector buyers to improve working conditions and practices.

By partnering with Electronics Watch, we can work towards ensuring that electronics products are sourced in an ethical and sustainable manner, and towards eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking across the global supply chain. Read the full story on the staff portal

Student Experience part of PVC (Education) role

Professors Elizabeth McCrum and Julian Park have taken up the responsibility for Student Experience in their role as the Pro-Vice-Chancellors (Education). This follows a discussion at the University Executive Board around delivering excellent education and experience to our students during their time at the University.

As Pro-Vice-Chancellors (Education and Student Experience), Elizabeth and Julian will work closely with Reading University Students Union to ensure that the feedback from our students helps shape the campus experience of all our students. Read the full story on the staff portal

Financial Sustainability presentation available

Thanks to all colleagues who attended our recent ‘A conversation about Financial Sustainability’ session, presented by Vice-Chancellor Robert Van de Noort, Chief Financial Officer Samantha Foley and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning & Resources) Mark Fellowes. 

The session gave an overview of the University’s current financial position and our aspirations for the future. You can read an account of the presentation on the staff portal, and can view the presentation slides online (University log-in required). 


Looking after your wellbeing

We’ve been holding several wellbeing events across the week in anticipation of University Mental Health Day on 5 March 2020. 

Looking after your health and wellbeing is vital, and we offer a wide range of resources to support your health and wellbeing – these can now be easily accessed through our new  Wellbeing page. Here, you will find useful information on looking after yourself at work, including a wellbeing map of Whiteknights campus. You can also find details of our support services such as the Wellbeing Peer Support network and our Employee Assistance Programme. The page will be updated with new resources over time, so please keep checking back for new content. 


Additional study space in Study@URS 
The URS building is providing additional temporary study space during the dissertation and exam season.

Study@URS offers more than 250 additional study spaces, available from 08:00 to 18:00 on weekdays until the end of May. It will be open over the Easter weekend from Friday 10 to Monday 13 April, when the Library is closed. The area will be monitored by Security but not formally staffed. Students with queries for the Library, Study Advice, Maths Support, or IT Service Desk teams should visit them in the Library building as usual. 

Further information is available on our Study Space page. 

RISE: supporting diversity at Reading  
Colleagues are invited to take part in the new learning programme, RISE@University of Reading. The RISE@ programme will support you so that you are Ready for an Inclusive and Supportive Environment at the University of Reading. 

Promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace is intrinsically about valuing everyone in the organisation as an individual. To reap the benefits of a diverse workforce, it is vital to have an inclusive environment where everyone feels able to participate. 

For full details, including how to apply, please see the staff portal. Applications must be received by 27 March 2020. 


Provision of Generic Exams Feedback
Following a successful launch in 2019, we will once again be providing generic exam feedback to students this year. Support Centres are working closely with schools in preparation for the feedback to be released following exams. This year’s feedback process also includes improvements made to enhance engagement and uptake. 

SDTLs and Exams Officers are responsible for ensuring that Module Convenors provide generic exam feedback, which should then be passed on to Support Centres so that it can be uploaded onto Blackboard. This will be published to students once exam results have been released. 

For more information, please contact your Support Centre.


Staff Disability Network: plans for 2020
This year promises to be a busy year for our Staff Disability Network, the inclusive support network for colleagues with disabilities, impairments and mental health conditions (and their allies).

The Network has identified five key themes to work towards over the course of the year, with support from Dr Allan Laville, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. Each theme seeks to bring improvement to the University in one way or another, from improving working conditions to raising awareness of what it's really like to live and work with a disability. Find out more on the staff portal

To contact the network, please email or join through Microsoft Teams.

Celebrating our University Library

Thank you to all who joined us for our celebration of the University Library!

To mark the competition of the Library’s major £40 million refurbishment, colleagues, students, alumni and the local community were invited to an Open House event, giving everyone a chance to explore its new and improved facilities. Two specially-commissioned exhibitions were also on display – one exploring the Library’s history, and the other dedicated to literary icon Samuel Beckett, the subject of one our most celebrated research collections.


'Cocktail Masterclass' at Ice House

Looking for something fun to do after work? Our very own cocktail bar, Ice House, offers cocktail making classes to University colleagues.

Available for groups between 4 and 12 people, the Cocktail Masterclass teaches you how to make a range of cocktails from a selected menu. You'll then be let loose to design your own signature cocktail in a competitive mix-off... could you be the best mixologist in your team? 

Tickets are £18 per person and can be ordered through our online shop.


Get your discount on!

Did you know that you can get student discount? 

TOTUM (formerly NUS extra) is the UK's #1 student discount card – and by working here, you can enjoy those brilliant discounts too! There are three main types of membership (including one completely free option), and you can apply online or through an app (available on Android and Apple stores). You can even get your card delivered to the Student Union – you’ll need to show your staff card to collect it. 

Visit for full details. 


Supporting Successful Learning in Schools

Two new free online courses may be of interest to anyone involved with schools on a professional or personal level. 

Supporting Successful Learning in Schools (Primary and Secondary) have been carefully curated by our Online Courses team and, with the expert guidance of Professor Helen Bilton (Institute of Education). Though primarily aimed at support staff working in schools, many parents, teachers and trainees have already found the courses to be helpful.  

Topics include managing a classroom, developing children’s language and how children learn. You can find out more on the staff portal

Please contact Helen Bilton for further information.


Events highlights

5 March: Edith Morley Lecture: Women in Sport – Overcoming and Succeeding (19:00, G11, Henley Business School, Whiteknights)

5 March: Samaritans: suicide awareness and difficult conversations (12:00-13:00, Thet Win Aung Boardroom, RUSU, Whiteknights)

5 March: Promoting wellbeing through Community Art (13:00-15:00, Monterey Lounge, RUSU, Whiteknights)

6 March: Women@Reading celebrate International Women’s Day (12:00-14:00, G05, Miller, Whiteknights)

12 March: Alumni Lecture: The Private Sector and Global Nutrition (19:00-20:00, Van Emden lecture theatre, Edith Morley, Whiteknights)

18 March: Public Lecture Series – Biscuits to Big Tech: Reading’s rise to economic prosperity (19:30, G10, Palmer Building, Whiteknights)

20-21 March: Art For Research Reading Exhibition 2020 (Great Hall, London Road. See website for times)

24 March: Staff Disability Network coffee morning (11:00-13:00, 101, Carrington Building, Whiteknights)

24 March: Parent and Family Network coffee morning (11:30-12:30, G09, Allen Lab, Whiteknights)

26 March: Community Forum Supper (18:00, 3sixty, RUSU, 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: