eNews 14 April

Lifting lockdown restrictions, climate action, University Strategy questions answered, parking changes, Ramadan support, getting active and latest events

An interior shot of the Brotherton Library. Uploaded April 2021


Lifting lockdown restrictions: Arrangements for the summer term 

Roger Gair, University Secretary, wrote to all colleagues this morning (Wednesday 14 April) with an update on arrangements for the summer term 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, services reopening on campus and working on campus, as well as opportunities for feedback.  

Coronavirus – frequently asked questions 

We’ve updated our Staff FAQs with answers to commonly asked questions from colleagues on working arrangements, University equipment, supporting essential University services, travel, caring responsibilities, wellbeing, vaccinations and testing.  

Free asymptomatic covid-19 tests 

Free covid-19 lateral flow testing is now available to everyone in England not showing coronavirus symptoms. All staff and students, whether working on campus or from home, are asked to take two tests each week to help prevent transmission of the virus. See our dedicated coronavirus website for up-to-date advice and information about testing 

Brotherton Library and Special Collections Research Centre reopen 

Additional campus study space is now available in the Brotherton Library, along with limited in-person sessions in the Special Collections Research Centre. We’re also extending opening hours at other campus libraries. Covid-safety restrictions continue to be in place along with the click-and-collect service. Library study space and Special Collections Research Centre sessions must be booked in advance 

Outdoor fitness with The Edge 

The Edge has now reopened. While Government guidelines mean that indoor classes won’t resume until Monday 17 May at the earliest, a series of outdoor fitness sessions will be offered until Sunday 16 May. Reopening information and further details about outdoor sessions, including how to book, can be found on The Edge website.  

Thought pieces 

Vice-Chancellor’s blog | From coping to flourishing 

“External and internal demand on universities is pushing them ever closer to breaking point. But change is within reach; it just needs collective will, confidence and courage to reach a better state in which we can all thrive.” Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, shares her latest blog exploring how to make universities happy again. 

Climate action 

Connecting Voices for Climate Action 

Climate change presents an unprecedented global challenge that demands an unprecedented global response. As the UK prepares to host the next UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), we’re convening a week of events – from Monday 19 to Friday 23 April – gathering together voices from across sectors and geographies to build ambition for impactful climate action. Events are free to book for all staff and students 

The role of the University in a sustainable future 

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, joins other key voices from the university sector and its partners for a special event on Friday 23 April to discuss the role of higher education institutions in driving ambition for COP26 and establishing the legacy of cooperation and innovation.  

Realising the University climate commitments together 

In 2019, we set out seven bold principles we will adopt to help tackle the climate crisis, committing to a 2030 net-zero carbon footprint target and a drive to achieve no direct carbon emissions by 2050. We’re currently developing a Climate Plan outlining the steps we will take to realise these principles. To achieve the plan’s objectives, we need to ensure a collaborative and inclusive approach. Book now to help us explore how we can realise the University climate commitments together. During the event on Wednesday 21 April, you will also hear from a range of perspectives across the University and have the opportunity to suggest ways we can address these critical issues.

Staff benefits 

MCard renewal 

If you have a valid MCard due for renewal on Tuesday 1 June, you need to apply online and complete a deductions form before Friday 7 May. If you require a new MCard, please refer to the Staff Benefits website for the latest application deadlines and further information. Please note price increases take effect from Tuesday 1 June. 


University Strategy | Your questions answered 

Answers to key questions you raised during our recent Leeds conversations events – held to launch the University’s new strategy – have been provided by our deputy vice-chancellors in a new For Staff feature. Responses have been grouped under common themes: culture and values; equality and inclusion; organisation; workload, development and challenges; and evaluation.  

Virtual classrooms survey 

Tell us your views about virtual classrooms Collaborate Ultra, Microsoft Class Teams and Zoom. Our Virtual Classrooms Working Group is gathering feedback on these tools, with a focus on their use for synchronous teaching. The deadline for responses is Friday 16 April. We recognise there are many calls being made on you, however we’d be grateful if you can find the time to fill in the survey to help improve experiences of digital teaching and learning. 

Management Essentials focus group 

OD&PL is running a virtual focus group from 1-2pm on Tuesday 20 April to help shape the Management Essentials suite of development courses in the future. We would love to hear from colleagues with line management responsibilities who’ve not previously attended any of the courses. 

Campus life 

Changes to parking on campus 

Free parking on campus during core hours will end from Monday 3 May and the temporary ‘interim permit’ system introduced last year will be reinstated. Follow the guidance on the car parking webpage if you’re working on campus and need a permit. Existing interim permits will be reinstated automatically. 

Community swimming lessons return 

Bookings are available again for children’s community swimming lessons as they return to The Edge this weekend. Sessions are run by qualified instructors – many of whom are students at Leeds – and comply with Swim England guidance to ensure everyone has a fun, covid-safe time in the water.   

Digital developments 

Free upgraded access to online courses 

Staff and students can now use Single Sign-On (SSO) to join FutureLearn Campus and enjoy the benefits of free upgraded access to a range of short online courses developed by Leeds and several other universities. SSO is a quicker and more secure way to register/sign-in to FutureLearn Campus, giving those with an @leeds.ac.uk email addresses increased functionality. 

New virtual classroom platform trial 

The Digital Education Service is seeking academics to trial Engageli – a new virtual classroom platform. It can be accessed by students through a web browser, without the need to install software, and aims to make it easier to support live, online learners individually. Contact Paul Cave, Digital Education Systems Programme Manager, by Monday 19 April if you would like to take part in the trial. 


Leeds for Life refresh | New website 

You can now access the new Leeds for Life webpage for all the latest news and information about its refresh project, including training dates and the opportunity to ask questions or leave feedback. Leeds for Life helps students get the most out of their time at the University by supporting their personal and academic development. 

Growing our fully online education | Find out more 

Are you an academic with ideas for a fully online education programme? We want to grow our online provision rapidly, so expressions of interest are encouraged as part of this year’s IPE process. There’s still time to book a slot for a one-to-one discussion on Tuesday 20 or Thursday 22 April. 

Learning and development 

Research integrity and ethics training 

OD&PL has developed a new online research integrity and ethics training resource in Minerva. This collaborative resource features contributions from the University’s Research Integrity and Ethics community, and covers planning, conducting and publishing your research, consideration of ethical issues, case studies and specialised support. It’s available to all staff and postgraduate research students conducting or supporting research. 

Access Digital Essentials training anytime, anywhere   

The Digital Essentials for staff collection on LinkedIn Learning can support you in building digital skills for personal and career development. It’s available to watch anytime and can be viewed on a desktop or mobile phone with the LinkedIn Learning app. If you missed the recent virtual roadshow sessions, watch the short video from OD&PL explaining how to access and use the collection 

Sign up | Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice  

Applications are open until Monday 31 May for our Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) cohort in September. The PGCAP is for colleagues involved in student education at Leeds, and aims to enhance your academic practice, connect you with peers and challenge your thinking. It’s also one of the routes available to gain a Fellowship of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA). 


Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants 

In the second 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. 

Wellbeing and support 

Ramadan Mubarak 

Many of you are fasting as you observe the month of Ramadan (Monday 12 April to Tuesday 11 May). During this period of reflection and spiritual renewal, we hope everyone stays safe and united, despite the current challenges we face. Guidance is available for supporting staff and students during Ramadan and colleagues can also contact the Muslim Staff Network for further information. 

Free pedal sessions  

Celebrate the fact our outdoor sports facilities have reopened by taking advantage of free pedal sessions at the Bodington Cycle Circuit for all staff and students. Simply show your staff ID card at any of the sessions up to the end of May. 

BRIT Virtual Distance Challenge 

Join Get Out, Get Active’s (GOGA) staff vs students BRIT Virtual Distance Challenge in support of young adult mental health. Individuals taking part will work as a team to cover the 2,021-mile distance in whatever way they like. Sign up by 12 noon on Thursday 6 May to take part in the challenge, which will start on Monday 10 May to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. 


International Workers’ Memorial Day 

We’re approaching International Workers’ Memorial Day, when we remember those people who’ve lost their lives at work. Although this year we won’t be able to attend the kind of event usually held on campus, please join the minute’s silence being held across the world at 11am on Wednesday 28 April. Parkinson Building will also be lit up purple that night. More ideas about how to mark the occasion, including ordering a special purple ribbon, are available on the TUC website. 

Workshop | Supporting communities post-covid 

Registration is now open for an online workshop exploring how we can work with the third sector to support communities post-covid. The event, being organised by the Sustainability Service at Leeds on Thursday 29 April, enables colleagues and external partners to come together to network, share and gain new insights, and identify new collaborative opportunities. 

Leeds Digital Festival 2021 

Register now to attend the curated line-up of online events being held for Leeds Digital Festival. We’ve renewed our sponsorship of the latest instalment of the hugely popular tech showcase, running from Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 April. See the full programme and watch this space for details of how you can get involved in the two-week open platform event planned for September. 

Take part | Ilkley Literature Festival 

Ilkley Literature Festival is partnering with the Cultural Institute again this year. Colleagues are now being sought to take part in this year’s programme of activities, including online events, commissions and podcasts.  

Future Fashion Factory programme’s Virtual Showcase 

There’s still time to register for free to hear a world-class line-up of speakers discussing the future of the UK fashion industry at the Future Fashion Factory programme’s Virtual Showcase tomorrow (Thursday 15 April). Designer and tailor, Joshua Kane, will speak about the skills and support fashion designers need to succeed, while Patrick Grant, founder of Community Clothing and judge on BBC One’s Great British Sewing Bee, will take part in a panel discussion about local manufacturing. Representatives from Burberry, the British Fashion Council and more will also join the conversation. 

In case you missed it 

Inside Track | We have submitted the Research Excellence Framework, now what? 

Podcast | Changing The World: The problem with perfectionism 

Changes to UEG positions 

Knowledge Exchange Framework published 

Celebrate Our Staff 

Research Round-up 

Stunning new sculpture for campus 

Apply now | White Rose Collaboration Fund 

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: