eNews 20 October

Fairer Future for All, USS pension, COP26, digital developments, staff benefits, flu vaccinations, driving cultural change, events and more

A close up for the Great Hall windows, with the Fairer Future for All text

Fairer Future for All 

Sign up | Fairer Future for All events 

Join Vice-Chancellor, Simone Buitendijk, and other senior colleagues, as they share more detail about how our 10-year strategy will create a fairer future for our staff, our students and our global community. Events take place on Wednesday 3 November at 3.30pm or Thursday 11 November at 9.30am.  

USS pension 

All staff email | A message from the Vice-Chancellor  

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, wrote to all colleagues on Monday 18 October to explain her position on the issue of the University and College Union (UCU) balloting its members about industrial action. The message also outlined how our strategy will address some of the pressures our community has faced, improving lives and building a fairer future for all.   

Universities UK response to ballots 

Read Universities UK’s response to the opening of industrial action ballots over USS pensions at universities across the country. 

Videos and tools  

USS pension scheme members and eligible employees will be invited to take part in a consultation this autumn about proposed changes to the scheme. Check out these videos and tools to help you understand the proposed USS changes 

Contributions calculator 

A new valuation contributions calculator, from USS Employers, shows how much more USS pension scheme members will be paying each month if employer-backed reforms don’t go ahead. 


Register | University of Leeds at COP26 

Register for our online COP26 event, hosted by the University from 3-4pm on Tuesday 26 October. This is your chance to meet the delegation team representing Leeds at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, where world leaders, researchers and civil society will meet to negotiate the next steps in tackling the climate crisis. Visit the dedicated COP26 webpage for further information. 

Visit | Virtual Hub 

Want to familiarise yourself with everything COP26-related? Visit the COP26 Virtual Hub to read the University delegation team’s profiles; have your climate action questions answered in the Q&A section; find key information about upcoming COP26 events to see how you can get involved and much more.  

Spotlight article 

Read our Spotlight article: Leeds and COP26 – getting the world to net-zero. Leeds researchers are helping to make the upcoming climate summit a success, to rapidly shift the world to net-zero emissions and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. 

Climate action blog 

Dr Viktoria Spaiser, part of our COP26 delegation, looks at what we can learn from the Fridays For Future youth climate activists movement to drive climate action change. This is the first in a series of climate action policy blogs hosted by Policy Leeds, in collaboration with the Priestley International Centre for Climate, being published in the weeks leading up to COP26.  

IT support 

IT support and requests 

As for many colleagues, it’s a very busy time for the IT Service Desk team, with the start of term and our return to campus leading to a much larger than usual increase in requests for support right now. IT is increasing the number of people servicing those requests and is prioritising issues that are preventing people from working. Thank you for your patience and support since we first highlighted this issue, but it’s still very busy.

We can help IT to help us when we have an issue or request by first of all checking the:   

If, after this, you still need to contact the Service Desk: 

  • Log on to the IT website and click on ‘Something Broken?’ or ‘Request Something’. You’ll receive an immediate reference number and can add details and track the case.   
  • Please don’t use email – this takes longer to process and will delay how quickly IT can resolve your incident or request. 


Digital developments 

Keeping data safe  

We advise using a University-managed device for accessing classified data. Our laptops and computers automatically receive security updates, so they’re the safest devices. When using a personal device to access classified data, you must keep it safe by applying all updates as soon as they’re released. Remember, only access the data you need and are authorised for. 

Become a LinkedIn Learning curator  

Get more from your LinkedIn Learning account as a curator – quickly upload your own custom content, create and share learning pathways and get insights into the number of content views and completions. Curator roles are available for all schools and services and will especially benefit colleagues with a focus on learning, teaching or leading on the development of others. 

Campus life 

Update | Asymptomatic covid-19 testing

The last day of in-person testing on campus will be Friday 29 October. We will be transitioning to home testing only from Monday 1 November. Testing kits can be collected from the LUU helpdesk as well as the Laidlaw, Edward Boyle, Brotherton and Health Sciences libraries.

Sir William Henry Bragg Building 

Find out more about the Sir William Henry Bragg Building, which opened its doors at the start of the academic year. The new home to the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences highlights our commitment to research and also explores the boundary between art and science. 


Survey | Auto-captioning 

Share your views on the auto-captioning function introduced last year in Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Mediasite. To support continuous improvement and inclusivity for users, any colleagues who’ve used auto-captioning are invited to take part in the Digital Education Service survey by 5pm today (Wednesday 20 October). 


Student newsletter   

Read the latest student newsletter, which suggests our students take a step back from the potentially overwhelming first few weeks at University to find out what’s happening in Leeds, with various welcome events being held to support them this term. 


Updated | Responsible Research Metrics Statement 

An updated version of our Responsible Research Metrics Statement is now available on the Research and Innovation Service website. It sets out our commitment to expert judgement and the supplementary role of research metrics in the assessment of research outputs and wider research performance – and our commitment to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). You can also find out more about how to report concerns around the use of research metrics at Leeds.     

Staff benefits 

Christmas closure 

A reminder that three days’ leave has been added to the University’s Christmas closure again this year (pro-rata for part-time colleagues), in recognition of another challenging 12 months. The University will be closed from Monday 20 December 2021 until Monday 3 January 2022 inclusive. This includes a fourth additional closed day granted due to the extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  

Register | Welcome event for new staff 

If you’ve recently joined the University, book your place at a virtual welcome event for new staff on Wednesday 27 October or Thursday 2 December. Find out more about Leeds, meet new colleagues and explore the range of benefits, support and advice available.  

Sign up | Opera North discounts  

Register for DARE More membership to get 20% off opera tickets throughout the 2021-22 season. The offer is valid for any Monday to Friday Opera North performance at Leeds Grand Theatre, starting with Carmen and the Bernstein Double Bill this month.  

Special offer | DARE Liberty Lecture tickets 

Book your discounted tickets to attend this year’s DARE Liberty Lecture and join Professor Dave Goulson as he explores the decline in insect populations and what we can do to help resolve this. The event takes place at the Howard Assembly Room at 7.15pm on Tuesday 2 November, to coincide with COP 26. 

Learning and development 

Briefing | National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) and the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE)  

OD&PL is hosting a 2022 NTF and CATE briefing session from 2-3.45pm on Wednesday 3 November. The event will provide further information about the awards and guidance on how to become a successful applicant. It’s aimed at potential applicants, as well as senior leaders and colleagues who have leadership roles in student education. 

New course | Driving cultural change  

You can sign up for a free online course designed to drive cultural change across the higher education sector. ‘Union Black: Britain’s Black Cultures and Steps to Anti-Racism’ aims to help challenge racial myths and bias through the lens of Black cultures and develop commitment to lasting change. Provided through a longstanding partnership with Santander Universities, the six-hour course is available to complete until Friday 3 December.   

Sign up | New PebblePad training dates 

New PebblePad training dates are now available. Running in November, sessions are designed for new and experienced users and provide support in learning how to use this ePortfolio system to create innovative and reflective teaching and learning materials for students. Unless you’re registering for the introductory course, please access your PebblePad account and take a quick tour of the homepage before you join the session. 

Call for project proposals 

Submit your project proposal for the Laidlaw Leadership and Research Programme 2022. The programme aims to develop a new generation of leaders, while providing supervisors with an opportunity to mentor ambitious students who could make a lasting contribution to their school’s research output and reputation. Closing date for submissions is Friday 12 November.  


Register | Black History Month 2021 programme 

There’s still time to take part in the packed programme of events to mark Black History Month (BHM) 2021. Running throughout October, BHM provides an opportunity to learn, acknowledge and celebrate Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) cultures. Leeds11 – the BAME staff network – together with partners and friends have organised a series of free celebratory events based on this year’s theme of ‘Proud To Be’, featuring talks, podcasts, lectures, film screenings and more. Parkinson Building will also be lit up red, yellow and green throughout the month to further highlight the programme. 

Wellbeing and support 

Update | Flu vaccinations

Winter flu virus season is here and we’re supporting all colleagues to get vaccinated. The University will reimburse the cost – up to £15, via e-expenses – of a private flu vaccination if you’re not eligible for an NHS jab. This figure has been updated to reflect increased prices at some pharmacies.

Stoptober | Quit smoking support 

Join the thousands of people trying to quit smoking this month, as part of the NHS Stoptober campaign. You can also access our ‘cut down or quit smoking’ support, which is available to all staff and students and offers free support sessions with an experienced coach. 

Take part | May Measurement Month   

Get your blood pressure checked during free screenings being held in LUU on Friday 22 and 29 October for May Measurement Month (MMM) – a global campaign run by the International Society of Hypertension. MMM has been extended to run later this year to allow for safer screening during covid-19, and data collected will be used to improve local hypertension screening policies. 

Register | Virtual Pilates class 

Are you struggling with your posture? Do you want to increase your flexibility? Try this free virtual Pilates class, which will get you moving and improve your posture, core strength and flexibility. It’s a chance for you to calm your mind, reducing stress physically and mentally. The class will run from 3-4pm every Wednesday via Teams, starting today (20 October). Contact Fran Andralojc to be added to the mailing list. 


Visit | Sir William Henry Bragg exhibition 

You can visit a new exhibition at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery from Tuesday 26 October revealing the story behind Sir William Henry Bragg’s Nobel Prize-winning work. ‘Shaping the course of modern science: William Henry Bragg and his legacy at the University of Leeds’ is free to enter and continues the Inspired by Bragg programme, which celebrates the scientist’s many achievements. 

Webinar | Tackling antimicrobial resistance 

Book to attend a webinar on Tuesday 16 November featuring several prominent keynote speakers. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, and Asiya Odugleh-Kolev, World Health Organisation Head of Community Engagement, will address the event hosted by the Community Engagement for Antimicrobial Resistance (CE4AMR), an organisation tackling the issue of AMR in low- and middle-income countries. 

Sign up | BBSRC Online information session 

Register to attend an online information session about the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) from 9-10am on Tuesday 26 October. Executive Chair, Melanie Welham, will outline the way forward and strategy for the BBSRC, specifically for colleagues at Leeds. 

Deadline extension | Student Education Conference 2022  

The deadline for submissions of abstracts for the 2022 Student Education Conference (SEC 2022) has been extended until 5pm on Monday 25 October. Taking place on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 January next year, SEC 2022 will explore the theme of ‘community and belonging’, and features addresses by our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk; Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, Professor Jeff Grabill; and keynote speaker, Professor Eric Mazur, a physicist and educator at Harvard University. 

Register | Leeds International Summer School information session 

Sign up for the Leeds International Summer School (LISS) information session – from 2-3pm today (Wednesday 20 October) – to find out more about the programme and how you can get involved. The Study Abroad Office is seeking academic colleagues and postgraduate researchers to deliver modules, as part of LISS, for which they will be financially rewarded. 

In case you missed it 

Inside Track | The questions we all need to keep asking 

Welcoming two new Executive Deans to Leeds 

Welcoming you back to campus 

Register | Duo mobile phone app 

Support | LeedsforLife refresh drop-in sessions 

Public Engagement with Research Awards 2021 

2021 Balancing Life Survey results 

Register | Lunch & Learn: Introduction to agile working 

Take part | Research IT Strategy survey 

Register | Research Culture Cafés 

Mentoring scheme | New resources 

Sign up | Foundations in Teaching course 

Register | Elsevier negotiations town hall-style meetings 

Sign up | Walking Works Challenge 2021 

Register | Find out about PGCAP 

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