eNews 24 February

Lifting lockdown restrictions – next steps, VC's blog, staff survey, digital developments, Celebrate Our Staff, USS Pension and a University Strategy event

The Parkinson Building lit up in rainbow colours for LGBT+ History Month. February 2021.


Lifting lockdown restrictions: Next steps 

On Monday the Government announced its plan for lifting current lockdown restrictions and shared new guidance with higher education providers. We’re currently reviewing this information and identifying for which groups of students we can resume face-to-face practical teaching for the last three weeks of term (that is, from 8 to 26 March).  

In parallel, work is under way to determine the scope of face-to-face teaching after the Easter break.  

Plans for the 2021/22 academic year, including arrangements for new ways of working for all colleagues, are also being considered and we will be in touch about this in due course. 

We’ll continue to keep you updated as plans progress. In the meantime, and until further notice, please continue with your current working, teaching and research arrangements and remember to follow the hands, face, space guidelines   

Thought pieces 

Vice-Chancellor’s Blog | The problems with ‘survival of the fittest’ 

“The Darwinian notion of ‘survival of the fittest’ is still too dominant in our thinking. And it’s getting in the way of societal progress through collaboration.” Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, shares her latest blog, which focuses on competition and the impact it can have on collaboration.   


Staff survey: wellbeing and managing work 

There’s still time to take part in our latest staff survey, this time focussing on wellbeing and how you’re managing work. These were the key themes to emerge from your most recent feedback, highlighted in a new For Staff article together with action already taken to try and address some of these points. Open until 5pm on Monday 1 March, the survey is anonymous and should take no more than five minutes to complete. We recognise there are lots of calls being made on you. However, we’d be grateful if you can find the time to fill in the survey, as it’s an effective way of helping us gauge and respond to the issues you’re facing.  

Digital developments 

Rebooting your computer 

To protect your data, you need to ensure security updates are applied to your Windows operating system through regular computer reboots. From Monday 15 March, University Windows 10 devices not rebooted for more than 14 days will be forced to reboot at 11pm. You’ll get regular notifications on your computer before this happens. Check the advice on the IT website and fill in the form if you believe your device needs to be exempt from this. 

ePortfolio and Learning Analytics 

The first phase of the implementation of ePortfolio and Learning Analytics at Leeds is well underway, with a small number of schools using the new Academic Personal Tutoring workbook. From next week, those schools will also start to discuss Learning Analytics data with their tutees. These systems will contribute directly to a completely refreshed approach to Academic Personal Tutoring at Leeds and help us to address attainment gaps, student retention and student success. 

Virtual Windows Desktop update 

new version of the Virtual Windows Desktop is being released in early March. You don’t need to do anything – you will automatically have access to the new version, which is faster and more resilient. It also has a number of new features, including access to Office 365, better integration with OneDrive and better access to both library resources and journal websites. 


Be Curious 2021 

Researchers from all disciplines are invited to make contributions to this year’s instalment of Be Curious, showcasing our innovative research to the wider public. Read the guidelines for taking part and complete the online form by 5pm on Friday 12 March to register your interest. You’re also invited to book a 15-minute slot at a Be Curious surgery, which runs from 9-11am on Wednesday 3 March, if you’d like to discuss your ideas before making a submission. 


Celebrate Our Staff 

See the latest edition of our regular feature celebrating the achievements of colleagues across the University, showcasing new appointments, awards and more. You can contact Internal Comms to make submissions for the next roll of honour in March. This is open to all colleagues. 

Women of Achievement 2021 

You can register to attend the online Women of Achievement Awards 2021 ceremony from 1-3pm on Thursday 11 March. The awards recognise the significant contribution and impact women make across the University and beyond. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, will deliver the keynote speech during the ceremony, which will be hosted by Professor Louise Bryant, Academic Lead in Gender Equality and Associate Dean in the School of Medicine for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. 

Leeds alumni magazine 

The latest edition of the Leeds alumni magazine has been published and shared with more than 270,000 former students across the globe. This issue features our researchers and alumni at the heart of the worldwide response to the covid-19 pandemic. It also tells the story of how a desire to undertake research at Leeds triggered a heart-breaking decision – and led to a medical breakthrough that saves countless lives. 

Sustainability achievements  

Read the latest Sustainability Report, highlighting the progress we’ve made in this area at Leeds. Thanks to everyone’s efforts and commitment, we’re proud to have been recognised globally for the fantastic work we’ve all done to embed sustainability across the University. 

Wellbeing and support 

Step into Spring 

There’s still time to put a spring in your step by joining Get Out, Get Active’s Virtual Step Challenge, exclusively for colleagues at Leeds. You will be randomly assigned to a team of six, with walkers of all abilities welcome. There are photo bonuses up for grabs and a lively Microsoft Teams chat to keep you motivated and connected with other colleagues. But hurry, as registration closes at 10am tomorrow (Thursday 25 February), with the challenge beginning in the week commencing Monday 1 March. 

Mentoring opportunities 

Join the Women at Leeds Network on Wednesday 3 March to find out about the University’s mentoring opportunities from Katie Leeman, OD&PL’s Organisational Learning Partner. The session will cover how to access the scheme, the expectations of mentors and mentees, and the benefits mentoring can bring to both. Women at Leeds Network events are open to all colleagues – view details and add the event to your calendar through Teams.  

New interactive Menopause in the Workplace workshops  

All colleagues, irrespective of age or gender, can register for the new interactive Menopause in the Workplace workshops, which aim to raise awareness of menopause and how to develop a supportive culture for colleagues. Workshops will be delivered by Bee Macpherson (Programme Lead, PGCert Clinical Education, School of Medicine) and Bernadette Hardware (Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator in Wellbeing, Safety and Health). 


Leeds conversations: USS Pension events 

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is currently going through a valuation – a statutory assessment of the pension scheme’s financial health. Join our Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the University’s UCU Pension Officer at our Leeds conversations events on Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 March to hear a summary of negotiations and decisions to date.  

Book your place | strategy event 

You can still register for our second strategy event, hosted by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, and our Deputy Vice-Chancellors, at 1.30pm on Friday 26 February. Hear about the strategy that will guide our direction, our work and the impact we will have for the next decade. 

Virtual International Medieval Congress 2021 programme 

Download the virtual International Medieval Congress 2021 programme, packed with information about all the online sessions, bookfairs, networking events and craft fair, as well as details of how to register from Monday 1 March. This year’s theme is climate. 

Leeds Lit Fest 2021 

Book to attend the digital Leeds Lit Fest, which returns for 2021 with a selection of online talks, launches and workshops. Some of the events, which run from Tuesday 2 to Sunday 7 March, feature colleagues from the University. 

LGBT+ History Month 2021 

You can still take part in the Leeds-based online events to mark LGBT+ History Month, which focuses on the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their lives and their experiences. Read more about the University’s LGBT+ Role Models and Allies, and access links to support for staff and students. Parkinson Building will also be lit up in full rainbow colours on Sunday 28 February. 

In case you missed it… 

University of Leeds 2020-30 Strategy launches 

Inside Track | A values-driven strategy for the next 10 years 

Vice-Chancellor’s article | Only Connect 

New Deans for Student Education appointed 

Water Woman Awards 2021 

Accessibility legislation reminder 

Register to attend Leeds Centre for Disease Models’ virtual inaugural meeting  

Sign up for the new series of online Learning for Life workshops 

Keeping up to date 

This enewsletter is brought to you by the Communications team. Keep up to date with our latest news on the For Staff website and by following the staff Twitter account. Our previous staff email communications can be found on our dedicated In Depth page, together with guidance on how to request an eNews entry. Please keep checking our coronavirus website for the latest information and advice, including updated data for the number of coronavirus cases among staff and students 

Have your say 

We’d like to get your feedback about our new weekly version of eNews, issued every Wednesday. Please fill in our short, anonymous eNews questionnaire, which will only take a few minutes to complete. Your responses will really help improve our future communications. 

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