eNews 25 May

eNews: Fixed-term contracts, senior appointment, awards, industrial action, flood management project, graduation, Window on Wellbeing, competition, Bragg celebration and more.

Future, staff, jobs, recognition, reward, diversity, recruitment

Thought pieces 

Inside Track | Fairer future for all – an update on reducing fixed-term contracts 

In a new Inside Track feature, Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, and Paul Boustead, Chief People and Culture Officer, provide an update on our commitment to reducing the use of fixed-term contracts in our drive to build a fairer future for all our staff. 


Chief Operating Officer

Rachel Brealey has been appointed the University’s next Chief Operating Officer. Currently Director of Faculty Operations in Biology, Medicine and Health at the University of Manchester, and joint Portfolio Director of a pan-University transformational change programme for Professional Services, Rachel will take over the reins from Dennis Hopper, who has held the post on an interim basis for the past 14 months. Dennis will stand down when Rachel takes up her new role on Monday 15 August, but will remain to support a smooth transition.


Apply | Research Culture and Impact Awards 

Applications are open until 5pm on Wednesday 1 June for our inaugural Research Culture and Impact Awards. Prizes, funding and an invitation to a special awards ceremony are up for grabs to those colleagues who collaboratively support and enhance research culture and impact at Leeds. You can also read an Inside Track feature by Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, in which he explains more about the awards and shares progress on research culture and impact, as part of the University strategy. 

Living the Leeds Partnership  

Read the first in our series profiling the winners of this year’s Leeds Partnership Awards, which recognise the outstanding achievements of staff and students working together to support all aspects of our University community. First up are the overall Partnership Award winners, announced during a gala celebration on Monday 9 May. Look out for more winners’ profiles in the coming weeks!  

Industrial action 

Marking and assessment boycott 

The University is among 21 higher education institutions included in a boycott of marking and assessment, as part of the latest phase of national industrial action by the University and College Union (UCU) relating to ongoing disputes around pensions, pay and related issues. This number has fallen by 20 in the past week, following local UCU branch resolutions being reached. 

The University remains open to finding a resolution to this current period of industrial action, and many local actions are already in train through our Fairer future for all action plan, including our recent announcement on fixed-term contracts, reviewing our workload principles and modelling, and initiatives around equity, diversity and inclusion. At the Joint Committee of the University and UCU meeting earlier this week, senior management and local UCU branch members had a positive discussion and we hope to continue talks in the coming days. We’ve updated our staff industrial action questions and answers and student industrial action questions and answers. In the meantime, we continue to be guided by three overarching principles: to protect the interests of our students; to retain the cohesion of our community; and to preserve the standard and integrity of Leeds degrees and other qualifications.


Flood management project completed 

A natural flood management facility at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre has been completed. The first of its kind in the UK, it will reduce flood risk to more than 1,000 homes, nearly 500 businesses and key infrastructure along a stretch of the River Aire. Measures include the planting of 5,000 trees, creating leaky barriers, installing a balancing pond and wetland areas, and improving site drainage. The project is a great example of our partnership approach to addressing the climate crisis through collaborative research and innovation, including our aim to be a net zero campus by 2030.

Take part | Big Plastic Count 

Help us fulfil our #2023PlasticFree pledge by taking part in the Big Plastic Count survey. We’ve committed to removing unavoidable single-use plastic from University operations by 2023, with more than a million items already axed. But to find more viable solutions, we need to better understand what plastic items are currently used on campus. Those taking part in the survey by Tuesday 31 May will also be entered into a prize draw to win a zero waste goody bag! 


Northern Gritstone plans first investments 

Northern Gritstone – the new business focused on the commercialisation of spinouts from the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester – will begin making its first investments in innovative northern start-ups after securing £215m from funders. Many of these opportunities are in the UK’s most exciting emerging sectors, such as advanced materials, health technology, cognitive computation and artificial intelligence. Northern Gritstone was founded on the philosophy of ‘profit with purpose’, combining attractive returns for shareholders with wider positive societal and economic impact, including supporting ‘levelling up’ and high-skilled job creation in the north. 


Security Services survey 

The Security Services team is dedicated to making campus welcoming, safe and secure. To maintain and improve this service, the team needs to know what you think about safety on campus. Please complete the Security Services survey by Friday 3 June and be in with the chance of winning a £100 gift card. 


Register | UCAS confirmation and clearing call-handling  

Colleagues not already involved with admissions are invited to volunteer for confirmation and clearing call handling when this year’s A-Level results are published on Thursday 18 August. No prior knowledge of admissions is needed as full training and support will be provided. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with a ‘practice run’ on Tuesday 19 July. 

Graduation information 

See the For Students website for graduation information updates, including new pages for those preparing to attend ceremonies, featuring details about parking, accommodation, tickets and more. 

Learning and development 

Discover | LITE Fellowships for academic and professional staff  

Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE) has opened applications for Accelerator Fellowships and Fellowships for Professional Services – secondment opportunities that can be allocated to pedagogical research projects. You can attend the Fellowships for Professional Services event, which runs from 10-11am tomorrow (Thursday 26 May), to find out more about opportunities in this area. Recordings will be available afterwards. The deadline for applications is Thursday 30 June. 

Sign up | Research Culture Cafés 

Book your place on the upcoming Research Culture Cafés. The next event – on Tuesday 14 June – focuses on reward and recognition and the collegiate environment in research. Dates and themes for sessions running until August are also now available. The online café-style conversations aim to promote a positive and inclusive research culture, and will help colleagues propose solutions for change, share experiences and create a community network. 

Register | LITE Masterclass: Towards the inclusive university 

Sign up for the latest LITE Masterclass, which runs from 2-4pm on Monday 20 June. Hosted by Dr Jan McArthur, a Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University, this session is focused on the ‘inclusive university’. It will challenge attendees to adopt a more holistic understanding of inclusion that promotes genuine cultural change at all levels of the University, affecting our entire community. 

Academic personal tutoring support 

A new OD&PL webpage for academic personal tutors has been created, acting as a hub of information and resources offering support in all aspects of the role. The webpage provides an overview of key information and highlights development and training opportunities, technical guidance about tools used in the role (PebblePad, Stream@Leeds, ATLAS, MS Bookings etc.) and available resources, including templates, case studies and contact lists. New content is added regularly, so keep an eye on the page for the latest updates. 

Apply | Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) 

There’s still time to apply to join the September 2022 PGCAP cohort ahead of the deadline on Tuesday 31 May. 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. Watch the recording of a recent OD&PL event to find out more. 

Digital assessment tools 

During the assessment period, visit the Digital Education Systems Help website to access information on tools such as PebblePad, Top Hat, Gradescope and Turnitin, along with other useful guides and resources. 

Wellbeing and support 

Window on Wellbeing (formerly Staff Healthy Week) 

Find out more about our new Window on Wellbeing initiative. Formerly called Staff Healthy Week, the exciting programme of online and in-person events – running from Monday 13 to Friday 17 June – offers opportunities for all colleagues to explore a wide range of wellbeing activities and support, from Qigong classes and healthy posture advice, to indoor bouldering and high-energy dance sessions. There will also be a day of activities devoted to menopause support. Everything is free and you can book as many sessions as you like.

Join | Parent and Carer Peer Support Network  

Are you a parent or carer looking for extra support? Help is available through the Microsoft Teams-based Parent and Carer Peer Support Network, which includes a series of monthly online sessions. The next one, which takes place from 2-3pm tomorrow (Thursday 26 May), will focus on support available from the Staff Counselling Service. Contact Gemma Traviss-Turner or James Willmoth for further information and to be added to the Teams group. 

Come for a cuppa | Creative Connections and Arts Tree  

Pop into the Esther Simpson Café for a free hot drink from 10am to 12 noon on Monday 30 May. Find us near a large wooden tree in the café – and contribute to our collection of paper leaves with a short line or a drawing about belonging on campus. Stop by, pick up a voucher for a drink and enjoy a chat! Contact Leah Henrickson for further information. 

Staff networks 

Join | Front Desk Network 

Register to join the new Front Desk Network, which aims to share best practice and address common issues faced by services across the University on a daily basis. Contact the Front Desk Network to be added to the Microsoft Teams group. 

Staff offers 

Enter now | Bike competition 

Cyclescheme, which administers our Cycle to Work Scheme, has teamed up with retailer Marin to give away a Sausalito E2 electric bike, worth £2,595. All colleagues, whether they’re scheme members or not, can enter the competition before midnight on Thursday 9 June. Good luck! 


Inspired by Bragg | Afternoon celebration 

Join us on Tuesday 7 June for an afternoon celebration to mark the official opening of the Sir William Henry Bragg Building on Tuesday 7 June. View some rare items from our Treasures of the Brotherton collection, enjoy live music from the Black Dyke Brass Band and hear an inspiring talk giving a fascinating insight into ‘hidden worlds’. Professor Dame Julia Higgins’ lecture will explore how the use of neutron beams helps us see the beauty of the microscopic and understand how large molecules are arranged and move. The free event will be held at the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, or you can also watch Professor Dame Higgins’ talk online 

New photographic exhibition opens 

An exhibition of photographs taken by one of the University’s cleaning team has opened. Rosa Quintana’s striking images depict her colleagues working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside other teams in the Facilities Directorate, our cleaning colleagues are critical to the staff and student experience, keeping campus safe and welcoming. The exhibition – ‘Unobtrusive Impact’ – is on display next to the Refectory in Leeds University Union. Let us know what you think via social media by using #FDImpact on Twitter.

International Concert Series | Summer Festival 2022

The International Concert Series is delighted to host the inaugural Summer Festival, celebrating the success of School of Music alumni who’ve gone on to enjoy professional careers in the music performance industry. Taking place from Friday 1 July to Friday 8 July, the festival includes 13 concerts, a community ‘Come and Sing’, industry sessions, panel events and more. View the full festival programme, with ticket information due to be released soon.

Register | Colour and Wellbeing seminar  

Sign up for the inaugural event in the Life of Colour Seminar Series, run by the Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour from 2-3pm tomorrow (Thursday 26 May). In the online event, Professor Stephen Westland (School of Design) will explore the effects of coloured lighting and environments on human wellbeing and performance. 

Sign up | Be Curious LATES: Cotton’s Hidden Voices  

This is your last chance to register for the next Be Curious LATES event, taking place from 8-9pm today (Wednesday 25 May). Join the online event to hear about the environmental and social challenges of cotton production, as well as the complexity and diversity of cotton farming, which underpins the fashion industry. 


eNews deadlines  

Due to the upcoming bank holiday, the deadline to submit eNews entry requests for the Wednesday 8 June edition is 12 noon on Wednesday 1 June. 

In case you missed it 

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results 

Inside Track | REF 2021 results 

THE interview | Digital learning 

Retiring software | Internet Explorer 11 

Updates | Senate meeting 

Leeds Ball | Campus restrictions 

Apply now | White Rose Collaboration Fund   

Sign up | Research leadership development 

LinkedIn Learning for researchers 

Join | Research Supervision Development Community 

Take part | Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Data Quality project 

Submit a request

You can submit a request for an eNews entry via email. Please contact us in advance of the deadline (the Friday preceding the relevant Wednesday circulation date) so we can advise you on our editorial and content guidelines.

Other than in exceptional circumstances, eNews entries should be no more than 60-70 words long, as these are designed to be bite-sized chunks of news linking to other trusted sources (such as University websites) for full details.

Keeping up to date

This eNews is brought to you by the Communications and Engagement team. You can:

Posted in: