eNews 10 March

Lifting lockdown restrictions – next steps, thought pieces, feedback, celebrations, digital developments, staff benefits, campus life and more.

eNews 10 March 2021.


Lifting lockdown – next steps at Leeds

Roger Gair, University Secretary, wrote to all colleagues on Thursday 4 March with an update on what you can expect in the coming weeks following the Government announcement about the roadmap out of lockdown and publication of new guidance for higher education providers. This included the latest information about teaching arrangements, working on campus, facilities and travel, the use of face coverings, asymptomatic testing for staff and students, advising students and future arrangements, as well as opportunities for feedback.

Thought pieces

Vice-Chancellor’s blog | Gender discrimination: we need to see it to fight it

“It is clear global gender equality is still on the distant horizon. But to achieve it we must first cease the ubiquitous delusion that discrimination doesn’t exist.” Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, shares her latest blog, which focuses on gender discrimination.  

Vice-Chancellor’s podcast | Leading through the pandemic: The challenges of overwork and perfectionism

Dr Cheryl Hurst, Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC) at Leeds University Business School, spoke to Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, for a special International Women’s Day podcast discussing the topics of leading through a pandemic, the culture of competition in academia and getting off the hamster wheel.


Essay submissions call

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, invites research and teaching fellows, lecturers and associate professors to submit essays in support of the new University strategy and its three themes of culture, community and impact. The essays will be collated for an interactive digital publication. Those interested in contributing to the project are asked to contact the Vice-Chancellor by Monday 15 March with a summary of their suggested topic. Follow the above link for full details.


Digital Transformation Strategy: Last chance to have your say

A final call has been issued to have your say about our new Digital Transformation Strategy. The strategy’s purpose is to provide an overarching view of our vision and aspiration in relation to digital transformation of our operational activities, student education, research and innovation and internationalisation. The closing date for comments is Friday 12 March.

Staff survey responses

Nearly 2,000 of you kindly completed the recent staff survey, focussing on wellbeing and how you’re managing work. The Wellbeing, Safety and Health team is currently analysing the responses and we will share the findings, and the actions we will take based on your feedback, as soon as possible.

Health and Safety Policy 2021 consultation

Have your say in the final consultation phase on our updated Health and Safety Policy. The policy sets out the responsibilities for all colleagues, and we want to make it as easy as possible to understand. But hurry as the consultation closes today (Wednesday 10 March).


Women of Achievement 2021

You can still register to attend the online Women of Achievement Awards 2021 ceremony from 1-3pm tomorrow (Thursday 11 March). The awards recognise the significant contribution and impact women make across the University and beyond. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, will provide a welcome and introduction to the ceremony, which will be co-hosted by Professor Louise Bryant, University Academic Lead for Gender Equality, and Gillian Neild, Co-Chair of the Women at Leeds Network.

University of Leeds Teaching Awards 2021 

It’s the last call to submit nominations for the University of Leeds Teaching Awards 2021, celebrating and recognising excellent practice in student education. Open to colleagues involved in teaching or supporting the student learning experience, winners receive a cash award to support professional development and scholarship, a certificate and an invitation to a celebratory event. Closing date for applications is 12 noon on Friday 12 March.

HR Excellence in Research Award

We’re celebrating the retention of the HR Excellence in Research Award for a tenth year. The award is an important mechanism for implementing the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, and recognises our commitment to supporting researchers and research staff to fulfill their full potential.

Digital developments

Microsoft Personal Bookings and the Microsoft Bookings app

Join us in March and April for an overview of Microsoft Personal Bookings and the Microsoft Bookings app. The live, one-hour, online sessions, which are open to all colleagues and run by IT Training, will demonstrate the main features of the calendar tools and give you the chance to ask questions.

Get started with PebblePad…

Further information about how to use PebblePad, our chosen ePortfolio system, is available on the IT Knowledge Base together with five short introductory videos. PebblePad is an invaluable resource, offering staff and students the opportunity to build individual portfolios of activities and interests, including more formal study or programme requirements.

… and book training sessions

You can also sign up for a new series of live, online PebblePad training. Learn how to use our ePortfolio system to create innovative and reflective teaching and learning materials, as well as your own showcase portfolios. Basic and advanced skills sessions are available.

Reminder | 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.

Have your say | Improving teaching and learning systems

You can still register to attend the next Digital Education Systems User Group (DESUG) meeting, from 1-3pm today (Wednesday 10 March). Open to all staff and students, attendees receive the latest updates and can propose improvements to teaching and learning systems, as well as provide feedback on recent and future projects. Contact Ellie Dunn to book your place.

Staff benefits

MCard extension/cancellation

Following the national lockdown in March 2020, Metro launched an extension/cancellation scheme for annual MCard holders unable to travel on public transport due to Government restrictions. The original deadline for requests was Wednesday 31 March this year, but due to further national restrictions, this has been extended to Monday 21 June.

Campus Life

Study spaces

From this week, study space can be booked in the Edward Boyle, Laidlaw and Health Sciences libraries, the Emmanuel Centre, Parkinson Building and Common Ground in the LUU building on campus. We’ve also introduced a new system to book study space, which is fairer and more flexible. Students are being advised that the Government has requested our campus facilities, including libraries and study spaces, are provided for ‘essential access’ only at the moment, and that we’re doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students.

Census awareness

Parkinson Building will be lit up purple from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 March to raise awareness about this year’s Census and to remind everyone to take part.


Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2021

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2021 is now open. Results will allow us to compare students’ experience of postgraduate research programmes, both internally and against the national average. All eligible students have been sent an email with a personalised link to the survey, with colleagues asked to encourage them to take part. 

Latest student contract

View the latest student contract for those taking up a place at the University on or after Sunday 1 August 2021.

Wellbeing and support

New Single Parent Network

All colleagues are welcome to join the new Single Parent Network, which aims to help facilitate discussion around – and raise awareness of – issues facing single parents working at the University, through chats and online events. Sign-up is via the Women at Leeds Network on Microsoft Teams – request to join if you aren’t already a member.

Free help to quit smoking

As National No Smoking Day approaches (Thursday 11 March), colleagues are reminded free remote support is available to help cut down or quit


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.

101 Stories of Research

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) would like to showcase the breadth of roles in research, including staff in professional and technician roles. If this inspires you to share your passion for research and innovation, why not submit two paragraphs about you and your role. While we cannot guarantee UKRI will use your story, the Engaged Research Team at Leeds would like to take this opportunity to showcase what research means to us.

West Yorkshire Innovation Festival

Join colleagues, businesses and entrepreneurs for a week of online workshops, events and talks at the inaugural West Yorkshire Innovation Festival. Running from Monday 15 to Friday 19 March, the festival aims to profile and encourage innovation-led activity, whilst showcasing available support and opportunities for a wide range of stakeholder groups to work collaboratively across the region. As part of the festival, our innovation hub, Nexus, will also introduce its brand new event series – The Future of Innovation.

Building Impact Momentum Programme

Register your interest in the Building Impact Momentum Programme, to help develop concrete ideas for impact that can be applied to research projects or in grant applications. The programme, which runs from April to July, is open to research, academic and professional support staff and consists of six webinars, additional reading, partner work and impact practice. Closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 29 March.


World Unite Festival

Leeds University Union’s annual celebration of global community has returned with a selection of digital events. Running until Sunday 14 March, the week-long World Unite Festival offers a range of intercultural activities, including performances and taster sessions, with colleagues invited to get involved.

Leeds Centre for Disease Models – virtual inaugural meeting

Join the virtual inaugural meeting of the newly established Leeds Centre for Disease Models on Tuesday 16 March. The centre aims to bring together research groups across multiple disciplines with a shared interest in modelling genetic human diseases. Delivered on Zoom from 10am to 5pm, the meeting will be a platform for introducing members of the centre and for fostering collaborations. Postgraduate and early career researchers can also register to present a poster on their research for an associated competition.

Frank Dawtry Annual Memorial Lecture 2021 

Book now to hear Dame Sara Thornton deliver this year’s virtual Frank Dawtry Memorial Lecture from 10-11.15am on Friday 12 March. During a 33-year career, Dame Thornton served as Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police from 2007 to 2015 and was appointed the first Chair of the National Police Chiefs Council in 2015. She’s currently serving as the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

In case you missed it

Face coverings on campus

Event recording | University of Leeds Strategy 2020-30 launch

Vice-Chancellor’s podcast | Becoming a values-based organisation

Research Round-Up

The Edge reopening plans

Virtual welcome event dates for new colleagues

Research Culture Cafés | New dates

Apply now | Michael Beverley Innovation Fellowship Programme

Register now | International Medieval Congress 2021

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

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