eNews 1 December

Face coverings, industrial action FAQs, Queen's Anniversary Prize, Research Transformed, next Pro-Chancellor appointed, staff offers and more.

eNews 21 December 2021

Campus life

New temporary precautionary measures on campus

Roger Gair, University Secretary, emailed all colleagues on Tuesday 30 November outlining the Department for Education’s new covid-19 safety guidance to universities and additional recommended temporary measures. Following this advice, as a precaution, we now expect staff, students and postgraduate researchers to wear face coverings in all communal areas on campus. We don’t expect individuals to wear face coverings when they’re seated in offices, study spaces or libraries, provided they’re able to maintain a safe distance from others.

We also expect staff and students to wear face coverings in teaching spaces. Teaching staff aren’t required to wear face coverings while teaching if they’re able to maintain a safe distance from students. These rules don’t apply to people who are exempt from wearing face coverings. See our updated FAQs for further information.

Industrial action

Frequently asked questions

This week, members of the University and College Union (UCU) may choose to take part in industrial action, starting with a three-day strike from today (Wednesday 1 December). To support all colleagues during this period, including those taking part in industrial action, read our industrial action FAQs, where we address key questions and concerns. FAQs for students are also available to help explain what industrial action might mean for them.

USS pension

Book | USS information sessions 

The statutory consultation being conducted by employers about the future of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is open until Monday 17 January 2022. To support you through this process, we’ve arranged a series of independent USS consultation information sessions, with the final one taking place from 2-3pm on Monday 6 December. If you’ve been unable to make any of the sessions, you can watch a recording of one of the events.

Fairer Future for All

Inside Track | Queen’s Anniversary Prize – A Fairer Future for All in action

We’ve received the country’s most prestigious higher education honour in recognition of excellence, innovation and the impact of our research on society. It was awarded to Leeds for ground-breaking projects, including forecasting extreme weather events, conserving tropical forests and improving climate-related health issues. The Vice-Chancellor's latest Inside Track also explores how the prize goes to the heart of what A Fairer Future for All means at a global level.

World Changers | Essays with impact by early-career researchers

A collection of essays exploring how research at Leeds is helping to change the world has been launched by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk. It features contributions by early-career researchers working across an array of disciplines on projects embracing the University’s strategy to make the world a fairer and more equitable place.

Event recordings

Don’t worry if you missed the live sessions, as you can now watch the Fairer Future for All event recordings. Colleagues who attended heard about the University strategy and the ambition to create A Fairer Future for All – our staff, our students and the wider global community. 


Inside Track | Research Transformed: Enabling our research to thrive into the future

Read the latest Inside Track from Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, as he discusses the future of research at Leeds and how you can find out more about our Research Transformed project by booking your place on one of our online events (see below).

Register | Research Transformed events

Book your place on one of our online events to hear from Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk; Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Nick Plant, and colleagues from across the research community as they share further information about the Research Transformed project at Leeds. Sessions are available on Monday 13 December and Wednesday 12 or Tuesday 18 January.

Sign up | Research Culture Community

Join the Research Culture Community – a growing network of colleagues united by an interest in creating a positive, inclusive environment. Read updates from the Dean for Research Culture, Dr Cat Davies, with members able to contribute through discussion, sharing of best practice, highlighting challenges and proposing ideas for change. Additional interactive sessions are being planned for next year. Use code qsybt4k to sign up.


Next Pro-Chancellor appointed

Leeds alumnus Alastair Da Costa has been appointed the University’s next Pro-Chancellor. A lawyer by background, with a strong track record in leadership in education and social mobility issues, Alastair will assume the role of Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Council – the University’s governing body – from 1 August 2022 for an initial period of three years. He replaces outgoing Pro-Chancellor, David Gray, who, on completion of his current term of office in July 2022, will have held the post for nine years.


Celebrate Our Staff

Read 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. This is open to all colleagues. The feature series will take a break during the Christmas closure period, returning in January.

Honour | Blue plaque

A blue plaque has been officially unveiled on the Great Hall to honour Fanny Passavant, our first Librarian and the only woman to hold such a post at the time the University was established in 1904.


Fresh Start Festival

Find out how you can get involved in the Fresh Start Festival – a week of activities run in association with LUU to re-engage existing students with everything on offer at Leeds and to welcome new starters joining us in January. Scheduled for the week commencing Monday 24 January, the festival includes opportunities for colleagues to host events, activities, networking sessions and stalls designed to help students connect with the University and each other.

Celebrations | Winter Festival

Full details are now available for the packed programme of fantastic festive fun for students in our Winter Festival, which runs until Friday 17 December. As well as craft and food stalls, student performances, late-night markets and festive meals on campus, students have the chance to take part in cookery demonstrations or grab a hot chocolate while they enjoy a holiday movie in the Refectory.

Student newsletter

Read the latest student newsletter, which features industrial action FAQs, the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Leeds and how to spot symptoms of meningitis.


Extension | Library survey

The deadline has been extended to share your experience of the Library and its services in a new survey. It should only take about 15 minutes to complete and your responses will help drive real change for staff and students. Closing date is midnight on Friday 3 December.

Take part | 12 Days of Continuous Improvement

Join the Continuous Improvement Network for ‘12 Days of Improvement’, an online event running until Thursday 16 December. You can submit stories about the past year’s successes or failures in Continuous Improvement until Friday 10 December. The event includes new thematic content every day – from tools and techniques to concepts – as well as presentations and case studies from colleagues. The network (hosted on Teams) aims to provide a stimulating, supportive and collaborative learning environment for all colleagues with an interest in Continuous Improvement to share knowledge, ideas and seek peer support.

Learning and development

Recording | Lifelong Learning Centre open house

Don’t worry if you missed the live sessions, as you can now watch the Lifelong Learning Centre open house recording. For those colleagues on campus, you can access the centre’s resources on Level 11 of the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Alternatively, email the Lifelong Learning Centre with any enquiries.

Free course | Driving cultural change 

You can still 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.  

Book | PebblePad ePortfolio training  

You still have time to sign up for PebblePad training. These 45-minute sessions – running regularly until Friday 10 December – are designed to teach new users how to create innovative teaching materials and provide support for existing ones. Don’t forget you can also access your PebblePad account to take a quick tour of the homepage before you join the session.

Apply | Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship 

Find out how applying for a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship will help develop your career. The programme provides the knowledge and skills to become a confident manager and explores the functional, operational and strategic aspects of management across five themes: consultancy, leadership, skills, innovation and decision-making. Fees are paid by the University and the deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 6 December.

Assessment | Digital Education Systems Help website

In the approach to the assessment period, the Digital Education Systems Help website is available to provide advice on the use of a range of digital tools. Access general guidance, as well as information on specific systems, such as Turnitin, Gradescope and Top Hat.

Sign up | Podcasting for Teaching workshop

Register for the Podcasting for Teaching workshop on Thursday 13 January to discover how you can use podcasts in your teaching practice. The interactive workshop, led by Antonio Martinez-Arboleda, Principal Teaching Fellow in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, explores practical examples and benefits of academic podcasts as a tool for community engagement and knowledge transfer.

Apply | Enhance Your Student Education Practice course 

The application deadline for OD&PL’s Enhance your Student Education Practice course has been extended until 5pm on Wednesday 8 December. Aimed at early and mid-career academic teaching colleagues, the six online workshops are designed to provide you with the tools and skills to plan, evaluate and enhance your teaching and scholarship practice.

Wellbeing and support

Updated | Managers’ guide to supporting staff mental health

You can now access the updated manager’s guide to supporting colleagues experiencing stress and mental health issues. Managers are also encouraged to book onto the OD&PL workshop. Those who’ve already attended this can sign up for OD&PL’s ‘Role-based competencies in action’ course, which explores specific issues relating to stress and mental health in the workplace.

Register | Welcome events for new staff

Book your place on one of the virtual welcome events for new staff taking place tomorrow (Thursday 2 December) and Thursday 13 January. Find out more about Leeds, meet new colleagues and explore the range of benefits, support and advice available.

Appeal | Food donations

The University branch of UNISON is calling for donations of food items and toiletries – from members and non-members alike – in aid of the Trussell Trust (Leeds) and Richmond Hill Elderly Action. A full list of suggested items is available on its website. Donations can be made at the Ziff Café until Tuesday 7 December.

Staff benefits

Savings | Cycle to Work Scheme

For anyone thinking ahead to their New Year resolutions, our bespoke Cycle to Work Scheme offers a fantastic benefit to your physical and financial wellbeing, while also helping promote sustainable travel. Choose a bike from more than 2,000 retailers, hire it for 12 months from Cyclescheme – via a salary sacrifice arrangement – and save 25-39% on a new bike for work. There are some great festive season cycling deals to be had, so don’t delay, saddle up today!

Festive fitness offer

Get seven days’ premium access to The Edge for just £15 – a saving of up to £90. Make the most of all the facilities, including the eight-lane swimming pool, 250-station gym, spin studio, climbing wall and more for any week during the run up-to Christmas. Available from today (Wednesday 1 December) until Friday 24 December, this special offer can be purchased at The Edge reception.

Flexible gym membership

The Edge is offering flexible gym memberships – exclusively for staff – with 12 visits costing just £37.50. This half-price saving works out at just over £3 per visit. The special offer is available to purchase at The Edge reception from today (Wednesday 1 December) until Friday 17 December.


Sign up | Student Education Conference 2022

You can now sign up for the online Student Education Conference (SEC) 2022 taking place on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 January. With the theme of ‘Belonging and Community’, the event will open with a welcome from Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, and includes a keynote presentation from Professor Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University. View the full SEC 2022 programme or contact the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE) for further information.

Take part | UK Disability History Month 2021

There’s still time to join Disability Services for its packed programme of events to mark UK Disability History Month 2021 (UKDHM). The latest online session takes place from 11am to 12 noon on Wednesday 15 December. ‘Inside or Outside’ explores the inclusivity of university policies and practices in meeting the needs of neurodiverse students. To also help mark UKDHM, the Parkinson Building is taking part in the #PurpleLightUp campaign for International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Friday 3 December. Visit the Equality and Inclusion Unit website for further information and details of available support for staff and students.

Register | University Carol Service 2021

Start the festive season on a high note and register to attend the University Carol Service 2021. Taking place in the Great Hall from 5.15-6pm on Tuesday 7 December, the free event features music from the Leeds University Union Music Society (LUUMS) Brass Band. Contact the Chaplaincy for further information.

Sign up | Winter Series of Be Curious LATES

Sign up for the launch of the Winter Series of Be Curious LATES, taking place from 8-9pm on Tuesday 7 December. Hear how three Leeds researchers are applying their expertise to investigate the impact of covid-19 and provide solutions to support society’s recovery. Tickets are free and sessions build on the success of this summer’s Be Curious programme of LATES events, designed exclusively for adult audiences.

Book | MathsCity attraction

Looking for ‘sum’ fun?! Book your tickets for MathsCity – a new interactive space at Trinity Leeds designed to explore the wonder of Maths, created in collaboration with the School of Mathematics and Educational Engagement. Open Tuesday to Sunday, visitors can climb inside a giant bubble or a kaleidoscope, get hands-on with puzzle challenges and much more. It all adds up to a great day out! Please contact MathsWorldUK or Dr Ruth Holland if you’d like to get involved with future development of this project.

Take part | Perspectives on Public Art: Being Human 2021

Join expert guides as they take you on an online trip around the University Public Art trail. See the stunning sculptures on campus in a new light in this free audio adventure, available until Friday 31 December. Discover the hidden lives of these artworks, hear what audiences think about them and explore how people interact with them.

In case you missed it

Vice-Chancellor’s blog | A place on the podium? What is university research for?

Appointment | Director of People and Culture

Watch | COP26 event recordings and a series of expert reflections

New football facility

Funding | BAME postgraduate study

The Edge | Festive season opening hours

Volunteer | IntoUniversity

Access digital essentials training anytime, anywhere

Sign up | Foundations in Teaching course

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