eNews 24 March

eNews: Vaccinations, thought pieces, taking a break, annual leave, digital developments, awards, Easter support for students, climate events and more

A picture of the Parkinson Building lit up yellow on 23 March 2021.


Vaccinations | Your questions answered 

See our dedicated coronavirus website for a new covid-19 vaccinations Q&A, including advice about arranging appointments and implications for colleagues currently required to work on campus.  

Manager guidance | Asymptomatic testing and staff support 

Updated advice for managers regarding how to support colleagues who are working on campus, and who receive a positive asymptomatic test result for covid-19, has been added to our dedicated coronavirus website. 

Thought pieces 

Vice-Chancellor’s blog | Is it OK to disagree? 

“Humans may think of themselves as rational creatures, but when we feel threatened, emotions often take over. How do we ensure that we don’t become polarised and paralysed as a community when tension and conflict arise?” Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, shares her latest blog, which explores how we can learn from the discomfort of conflict. 

Inside Track | Why research funding cuts won’t stop us working with the Global South 

In an Inside Track feature, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Nick Plant, address the Government announcement to reduce Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding and explain how this affects our international research projects. 

Wellbeing and support 

Inside Track | Professor Simone Buitendijk – It’s important to take a break 

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, has published an Inside Track – It’s important to take a break – in which she asks us all to make arrangements for taking our annual leave entitlement. 

Annual leave and carer’s leave  

In an email to all colleagues on Tuesday 23 March, it was announced that the current enhanced carer’s leave allowance is extended to Thursday 30 September and that we will be repeating last year’s arrangement and extending the University closure period during Christmas 2021 and the New Year. The University will be closed to normal business from Tuesday 21 December 2021 to Monday 3 January 2022 inclusive. 

Sign up | Virtual Couch to 5k  

Get Out, Get Active’s (GOGA) popular Couch to 5k programme has gone virtual. Designed for beginners, the target is to be able to complete 5k without stopping, through support and guidance from the GOGA team and its qualified run leaders. Sign up by 5pm on Friday 9 April, with the nine-week programme starting in the week commencing Monday 12 April. 

Staff Healthy Week 2021 

Staff Healthy Week returns on Monday 7 June to support you and your colleagues to get active and focus on your mental and physical wellbeing. Like last year, events will be virtual with a range of live classes and workshops, as well as pre-recorded videos and blog resources to access in your own time. Further information to follow. 


New Astbury Centre Director 

Professor Neil Ranson has been appointed the new Director of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, where he has been a member since joining Leeds in 2002. He started in his new role on Friday 19 March. 


Digital teaching and learning survey 

There’s still time to have your say about our digital teaching and learning. The latest Jisc surveys follow those issued in October, which inspired a raft of improvements in how we deliver online education. Both surveys are open until midnight on Sunday 28 March. 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 – and encourage students to do the same – to help improve experiences of digital teaching and learning. 

Student wellbeing | Staff survey 

All colleagues with student education-related roles are invited to take part in the staff version of the Student Wellbeing and the University Experience Survey 2021. Run by Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence (LITE), the survey is open until Friday 26 March, and feedback helps us better understand how we can support our students. 

Carbon Friendly Food Focus Group 

Great Food at Leeds (GFaL), the University’s catering service, is seeking staff and students to join an online focus group looking at the sustainability of its meal options. GFaL aims to calculate the carbon footprint of food served in its campus cafes, and would like to get your opinion about how best to present this information. The final session will take place on Teams from 10.30am to 12 noon tomorrow (Thursday 25 March). 

Undergraduate Programme Survey 2021 

The Undergraduate Programme Survey 2021 has launched and will remain open until Friday 7 May. All eligible students (usually non-finalists) have been sent an email with a personalised link to the survey, with colleagues asked to encourage them to take part.  

Digital developments 

Clocks go forward – University laptops 

Clocks go forward by an hour at 1am on Sunday 28 March. We expect most University-managed laptops will update the time automatically, but if this doesn’t happen, please connect to the VPN until the time corrects. Once connected to the VPN, follow the IT instructions to speed up the process. 

Sci-Hub sites blocked

Access has been blocked at the University to Sci-Hub – a series of pirate websites that allow users to illegally access millions of scientific research papers. Using these sites could put your personal information and University data at risk, so they shouldn’t be used on or off campus. The University provides safe, legitimate access to the research you need for your studies.

Minerva upgrade 

Due to essential maintenance, we’re planning to upgrade Minerva. To reduce the impact on staff and students, work is planned to take place during the weekend – from 6pm on Friday 26 March until late the following day. Minerva will not be available during this period and you won’t have access to content. Access to other University systems, such as Outlook, OneDrive and student/faculty services, will be unaffected. 

Q&A | Taking your course online 

You can still register to attend a live online Q&A session with the Digital Education Service from 4-5pm tomorrow (Thursday 25 March). The event is aimed at academic and support staff involved in the creation and delivery of online courses. Take this time to reflect on how digital teaching practices have developed this past year in this supportive session with peers from across the University. 

Campus life 

Reopening sports facilities 

Following the latest Government announcement, we plan to reopen our outdoor sports facilities, including Sports Park Weetwood and the Bodington Cycle Circuit, on Monday 29 March. This will be followed on Monday 12 April by The Edge, subject to the current timeline for easing national lockdown restrictions remaining the same. 

World Tuberculosis Day 2021  

Parkinson Building will be lit up red tonight (Wednesday 24 March) to mark World TB Day 2021 – an international campaign helping raise awareness of the disease and promoting screening and treatment options. 

Campus works 

Colleagues working on campus are advised of potential disruption during footpath improvements in University Road, Cromer Terrace and between Storm Jameson and Lyddon Hall. Noise will be kept to a minimum during the works, which are taking place between 8am and 4pm until Wednesday 12 May. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. 


Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants 

In the first of a new series profiling our Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants, we’re highlighting the outstanding accomplishments of four colleagues in the field of international research and development. For those who were unable to attend the online event, you can access a recording of the ceremony to watch in full. 

Leeds Partnership Awards 2021 | Nominations open 

Nominations are now open for the Leeds Partnership Awards, which recognise and celebrate the achievements, commitments and impact of staff, students and postgraduate researchers. Closing date is midnight on Tuesday 6 April. 

Celebrating PGCAP graduates  

Congratulations to more than 20 colleagues who’ve graduated from the University's Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP). During the past 14 months, participants have been reflecting on teaching and academic practice, as well as undertaking individual pedagogical research projects. As a result, they’ve been awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and continue to experience the impact of the programme on their student education practice. Applications are currently open until Monday 31 May to join our next PGCAP cohort in September.  

Share your heritage 

The World Unite Festival Padlet, created by the Faculty of Environment International Reps, will remain open until Easter for the entire Leeds community to come together and share posts inspired by their home countries. Take part in this celebration of diversity by logging into Padlet, saying hello in your native language and introducing yourself. You can even take the opportunity to share something, such as recipes, fun places to visit or festivities.  


LITE Fellowships 2021 | Call for applications 

Applications are now open for Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE) Fellowships. Academic colleagues and those in professional service teams who are interested in fulfilling a project on teaching innovation, scholarship or pedagogy, are invited to apply. Proposals are particularly welcome that align to the Curriculum Redefined Project and the taught student experience. Fellows will have access to a wide range of support to carry out and disseminate their projects, including student engagement facilitators and LITE research support staff. 


Easter support for students 

We’ve published a list of activities and support available to students during the Easter break. This includes information about campus services and study spaces, as well as contact details in the event of an emergency. Please share the link with staff and students. This information will also be made available through our student-facing channels. 

Learning and development 

Digital Essentials courses 

Places are still available on the last in a series of virtual 30-minute roadshow sessions being held by OD&PL. Taking place on Tuesday 30 March, the event will showcase how to access our new collection of LinkedIn Learning courses, which support colleagues to develop their digital skills for personal and career development.  

Apply | Learning to Lead programme  

Apply to join the latest Learning to Lead programme, which runs from April to July. Delivered by OD&PL, the programme is designed for colleagues in a leadership position and helps participants gain insights into their own strengths and to identify areas for development. 

Mentoring scheme  

The next round of matching for our University-wide mentoring scheme takes place in May. Open to all colleagues, you can apply to either be a mentor or mentee at any time, with matching taking place twice a year. The mentoring experience is mutually beneficial and allows colleagues to share knowledge and skills with others, supporting them to achieve their individual objectives. 


Book now | Week of events – connecting voices for climate action 

We’re hosting a series of eight events from Monday 19 April gathering together voices from across sectors and geographies as the UK prepares to host the next UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). Events will cover the role of the University and climate action on campus; the aims and likely debate at COP26, with guest speaker Youssef Nassef, Director of Adaptation at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and climate action in the region, with MPs from the Yorkshire and Humber taking part. Events are free to book for all staff and students 

Register | Climate networking webinar 

You can still sign up to attend an online networking webinar being held by Policy Leeds and the Priestley International Centre for Climate tomorrow (Thursday 25 March). The UK will host the next UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow this November, helping accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Many other events are planned in the run-up to COP26, providing opportunities to engage with, and inform, climate stakeholders. This webinar will hear from four Leeds researchers on their experiences of engaging with UNFCCC in a variety of different ways. 

Ilkley Literature Festival Spring 2021 programme  

Ilkley Literature Festival’s free spring digital programme is now available to view. Nine specially curated online talks, exploring the relationship between words and the natural world, will be broadcast on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 March. They will also be available to view on catch-up until Friday 30 April. As the festival’s higher education partner, colleagues are contributing to the programme, which is now open for registration. Events presented in partnership with the University include authors Natasha Carthew and Tanya Shadrick discussing what it means to be a working-class nature writer in their respective fields of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a new commission from Dr Jason Allen-Paisant, Lecturer in Caribbean Poetry at Leeds. 


Easter eNews deadlines  

Due to the Easter holiday dates, eNews will take a break after next week’s edition (Wednesday 31 March) until Wednesday 14 April. Deadlines for both editions remain the same, with submissions required by the preceding Friday. 

In case you missed it 

Vice-Chancellor’s blog | Not all men, but virtually all women 

Inside Track | Professor Nick Plant: Helping shape our post-pandemic world 

Inside Track | Professor Neil Morris: Realising the benefits of our digital and online activities 

Leeds conversations | USS pensions PowerPoint shared 

Leeds conversations | Past events available to watch on demand 

Interim Executive Dean announced 

Nominations open for the Annual Sustainability Awards 

Sir William Henry Bragg Building construction completed 

Meet the 2021/22 LUU Student Executive team 

Social Science PhD and ECR Careers Week events 

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. 

Posted in: