eNews 28 April

VC's blog, new appointments, USS pension feedback, major IT investment, new FBS facilities, staff celebrations, Mental Health Awareness Week, International Workers' Memorial Day and more

A file photo of the Parkinson Building lit up purple. Uploaded April 2021.

Thought pieces 

Vice-Chancellor’s blog | Strategy in times of crisis – Building a better future 

“The covid crisis has been a tragedy with vast human and economic cost. But amidst it, we have to find the strength to learn the lessons, focus on wider society and build a better future”. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, shares her latest blog exploring the value of planning for the future, even during a crisis. 


New Heads of English and Media Communications  

Two new Heads of School have been appointed in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures. Professor Kristyn Gorton joins us as Head of the School of Media and Communication, as well as Professor of Film and Television, while Professor Hazel Hutchison has been appointed Head of the School of English. Both will take up their posts on 1 August.  


USS pension: your views 

Scheme members and eligible employees: you have until 5pm on Friday 7 May to submit your views on aspects of the scheme through the anonymous survey emailed to you on Monday 26 April.

In a new Inside Track article, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk shares her perspective on the challenges faced by the scheme and how a sense of community can help unlock a solution 

Digital developments 

IT investment  

The University Council has approved a major five-year investment to deliver two interlinked IT programmes – Digital Enablement and Be Safe. Together, they will ensure we have IT services capable of supporting the ambitious vision in both the University Strategy and Digital Transformation Strategy. Sign up for our online events on Thursday 20 or Tuesday 25 May to find out more.  

Zoom updates 

If you log in to Zoom with your University username, you will now always be directed to the standard University log-in page. Previously, you were able to log in without going through the University’s single sign-on. This will make logging on simpler and improve security in Zoom meetings and webinars. 

The institutional Zoom licence has been extended beyond the current academic year, and will continue to be available for staff and students to access using their University credentials. Zoom integration with Mediasite is now also available, which allows recordings of scheduled meetings to be automatically transferred from the Zoom cloud to your personal Mediasite folder. 

Fully Online Education success story 

Are you thinking about creating a fully online education programme? Read about our latest success story in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and visit the Digital Practice Leeds website to find out more about fully online education and how you can help grow our online provision of courses. 

Campus life 

New facilities enhance research collaboration 

Teaching and research facilities for the Faculty of Biological Sciences have been boosted following the completion of a major refurbishment programme. Improvements to Levels 4 and 9 of the Garstang Building provide state-of-the-art, world-class research space to facilitate even greater collaborative work. 

Changes to parking 

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 parking guidance if you’re working on campus and need a permit. Existing interim permits will be reinstated automatically. 

Great Food at Leeds sustainability update 

Find out how Great Food at Leeds is supporting a sustainable future using the University’s Blueprint programme and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide its activity. 

Services reopening this week 

Further study spaces and Student Information Points were opened this week. Leeds University Union has returned to seven-day trading and the Common Ground cafe and Caffé Nero in LUBS reopened for takeaway. Outdoor space at the Old Bar is now available along with the catering van adjacent to Chancellor’s Court. For more information, read the email sent to all colleagues from Roger Gair, University Secretary, on Wednesday 14 April with an update on arrangements for the summer term 


National Student Survey 2021 

Please encourage all eligible students to take part in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2021 before it closes on Friday 30 April. The NSS is an annual student experience survey of undergraduates, normally in their final year. 

From Leeds to the International Space Station 

Listen to a stellar edition of the Leeds Alumni My Leeds Story podcast to discover how the career of former student, Matthias Maurer, has rocketed! Discover Matthias’s journey to become an astronaut, gain insight into life in space and learn more about his upcoming mission to the International Space Station. 


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 May. This is open to all colleagues.   

Outstanding accomplishments in student support 

The latest in a new series profiling our Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants highlights the outstanding accomplishments of four colleagues in the field of student support. 

Research Round-up

Read the latest in our monthly features shining the spotlight on our research success stories. The article highlights volcanic energy, the use of weather forecasts in predicting meningitis outbreaks, Wellcome funding and more. Contact Internal Comms if you would like to showcase your research achievements in a future edition.


New investment company launched 

We’ve joined forces with Manchester and Sheffield to launch a new investment company to help boost the commercialisation of university spinouts and start-ups in the North of England. Northern Gritstone will fund spinout enterprises from each institution using external capital raised from a range of different investors.  

Tackling waste in fashion 

We’re the first university to sign up to a voluntary agreement to slash the impact of the UK clothing and home fabrics industries on the environment. The Textiles 2030 initiative aims to transform the UK’s make-use-dispose fashion culture into one where products are made sustainably, used longer and then reused or recycled. 

Learning and development  

Sign up | PebblePad training 

Sign up for a second series of PebblePad training sessions available throughout May. Designed for new and experienced users, sessions provide support in learning how to use this ePortfolio system to create innovative and reflective teaching and learning materials for students.   

Register | Foundations in Teaching course  

Register for the Foundations in Teaching (FiT) course, which provides information and advice for those new to teaching at Leeds. Organised by OD&PL, the online course is self-paced, so there’s no restrictions as to when you start or finish it. Participants will also be invited to optional follow-up sessions to support development in specific areas. 

Wellbeing and support 

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 

Find out how you can get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 (Monday 10 to Sunday 16 May), including details of virtual events organised by the University and a summary of the support available to staff and students.  

Rest, Reset and Resume sessions 

Feeling unsettled, disorientated or distracted? Try a live, guided, virtual Rest, Reset and Resume session on Zoom with staff counsellors from 2-2.15pm every Thursday between 6 May and 29 July. Catch up with yourself, settle and reorientate to improve your mental health and wellbeing. No need to book – just stop, show up and tune in. 

Mentoring scheme 

As we approach the next matching process in May for the University-wide staff mentoring scheme, OD&PL has outlined the different types of mentoring relationships, and how each can offer unique and enriching development opportunities for both the mentor and mentee.   

Staff benefits 

Caffè Nero offer 

Staff and students using a University email address to register with the Caffè Nero app will automatically receive a 25% discount on all freshly-made drinks when paying via the app at any outlet until Wednesday 16 June. Terms and conditions may apply, so always check the Caffè Nero website first. 


International Workers’ Memorial Day  

Today (Wednesday 28 April) marks 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. Parkinson Building will also be lit up purple tonight. 

Black Inclusion Week 2021 

See the Equality and Inclusion Unit website for details how you can help mark the first ever Black Inclusion Week. Being held between Monday 10 and Sunday 16 May, the aim of the initiative is to celebrate Black people in the UK and to remember the importance of building a fair and just society through the inclusion of everyone. 

Leeds Digital Festival 2021  

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

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. 

Pint of Science 2021  

Pint of Science is back for 2021, with Leeds hosting a trio of online events from Monday 17 May giving researchers and the public an opportunity to come together and chat about different aspects of science. Events are free, with the option to make a donation to help keep Pint of Science going. 


Bank Holiday eNews deadline  

Due to the Bank Holiday on Monday 3 May, requests for eNews entries to appear in next week’s edition – due to be issued on Wednesday 5 May – need to be submitted by 5pm on Friday 30 April. 

In case you missed it 

Inside Track | A sense of belonging: we can all make a difference 

New Deans for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 

Using Top Hat | Find out more 

New staff resources focusing on assessment and feedback 

Virtual welcome event | Book your place 

Sign up | Learn Mandarin Chinese 

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: