eNews 7 December

eNews: Transformation, Gair Wood tree planting, Staff Festival 2023, annual report, festive closure, December pay, QS Academic Reputation Survey and more

Former University Secretary, Roger Gair, pictured with Gair Wood academic lead, Dr Cat Scott, and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, at the planting of a new woodland named in Roger’s honour


Inside Track | Putting people at the heart of change 

A new Inside Track feature by Jenny Baynes describes what transformation means in the context of our strategy, and why she’s committed to putting our people first and making the process of change more meaningful for staff and students. Jenny joined Leeds this year as our first Director of Transformation and heads up our recently formed Transformation Office. You can also watch a video of Jenny outlining our plans.

Register | Transforming our staff and student experience

Join us for an online event to learn how the Transformation Office (TO) is improving the experience of our University community. Taking place from 11am to 12 noon on Monday 12 December, you will hear from our Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Brealey; Professor Jo-Anne Murray, our Pro Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation; and Director of Transformation, Jenny Baynes. TO Programme Directors will also be on hand to share our progress to date and answer any questions you might have about change or transformational programmes at Leeds.

Blog | Student Lifecycle Programme

Read a new blog by Alison Armstrong, Interim Programme Director of the Student Lifecycle Programme, sharing how improving systems, processes and ways of working at the University will deliver a better experience for students.


Volunteer | Gair Wood tree planting

Find out more about the exciting volunteering opportunities available with the planting of new woodland on land owned by the University on the northern edge of Leeds. Gair Wood takes the name of Roger Gair, who worked at the University for more than 40 years – 20 of them as University Secretary – before retiring in 2021.

Save the date | Staff Festival 2023

It’s back! Make sure you save the date for next year’s instalment of the hugely popular Staff Festival. After an absence of three years due to COVID-19, organisers have pencilled in the entertainment extravaganza for the afternoon of Friday 30 June 2023. Watch this space for further information, including your chance to nominate a charity to benefit from fundraising efforts on the day.


Integrated annual report published

The University’s latest annual report and accounts have been published, which include information about our governance and management.

Staff benefits

Festive closure and December pay day

The University’s festive closure period runs from Friday 23 December to Monday 2 January inclusive. Thursday 22 December is the next payday, which will include the cost of living support payment to those colleagues eligible to receive it.

Staff expenses policies update

Updates to the University’s expenses policies pages are being completed today. We have increased UK subsistence rates and introduced a new international subsistence rate. In addition, we have clarified policies on alcohol and exceptions on medical grounds and simplified the rules on unreceipted expenses. The annual staff entertaining allowance has increased from £10 to £25 per head. This can include one alcoholic drink with dinner. On accommodation, Barcelona has been added as an expensive city and Leeds added as a city which on occasion can exceed the set UK rates. A passenger rate has also been added on the travel policy.

Don’t forget your TOTUM card

As a staff member, you’re eligible for a TOTUM card, giving you access to hundreds of exclusive online and in-store discounts.

Higher education

QS Academic Reputation Survey 2022

The University is contacted annually with a request to supply a list of possible respondents for the QS Academic Reputation Survey. This survey is based on respected colleagues’ opinions of the University and carries a 40% weighting in the QS World University Rankings. We’re asking colleagues to identify potential respondents for the academic survey before Tuesday 13 December, so they can be contacted by the University for consent to take part.

Teaching Excellence Framework

The national Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) exercise is now taking place, with a team of colleagues drafting our submission. The TEF’s aim is to assess the quality of higher education and ensure appropriate outcomes for students.

Digital developments

Fifteen to One | Monica Jones

Read the latest instalment in our fascinating new Q&A feature series in which we put 15 challenging questions to one of our senior leaders. Next up in the ‘hot seat’ is Monica Jones, the University’s Chief Data Officer. Find out what inspires her… and how she ended up running with a Dame!

Windows Refresh project

We’ve begun replacing the 4,000 University devices running Windows 7 with new Windows 11 devices, as part of the Windows Refresh project. Colleagues affected by the changes will be contacted directly. Read the Windows Refresh FAQs or contact the project team if you have any questions.

Staff guide | Assessment tools

With the January assessment period approaching, you can use the Staff Guide to Assessment Systems webpage for links and information relating to the University’s most widely used assessment tools, including Gradescope, Turnitin, PebblePad and Blackboard Tests.

Campus life

Campus Live finale | Packed programme of events

Campus Live will be drawing to a close soon, but there are still plenty of exciting events to enjoy as part of the packed programme. Highlights include amazing ice sculptures, free hot chocolate and mulled wine while you watch Yorkshire's very own Glitter Bomb Dancers, plus a host of other attractions! Get involved online using #LeedsCampusLive.

NSPCC Walk for Children

University buildings will be lit green on Wednesday 21 December to support NSPCC Walk for Children – a fundraising event that challenges participants to walk 5k on the longest night of the year. The NSPCC uses donations to help protect children and prevent abuse, including through operating its helpline service, Childline.

The Edge | Festive opening hours

Festive opening hours for The Edge have been published. Please check the Sport & Physical Activity website for further information.

Festive fun

End-of-year quiz

We’re rounding off the year by testing how much University trivia you ‘snow’ with our end-of-the-year quiz. If you enjoy it, please tweet us @UniLeedsStaff with your score and let us know if you passed with first-class honours or if you need to go back to school!

Festive menu | Great Food at Leeds (GFaL)

Enjoy some fantastic festive favourites on offer now at the Refectory! Choose from roast turkey or a plant-based alternative, served with all the trimmings, available Monday to Thursday from the daily specials counter until Thursday 22 December. Follow GFaL on Instagram to keep up to date with the latest tasty treats available on campus.


Apply | Research funding

Applications to the Research England Enhancing Research Culture Fund 2022-23 close at 5pm on Friday 9 December. Proposals ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 are invited for projects promoting a more supportive, inclusive and collaborative research environment. Projects can be undertaken by researchers or academic, technical and professional services colleagues and teams. 

Learning and development

Register | Introduction to teaching and learning at Leeds

The next events of the Build your Scholarship Practice programme will take place on Monday 12 December and Thursday 12 January. The first block of the programme introduces the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) at Leeds. The next sessions will explore the themes of ethics, working in partnership with students, exploring the work of SoTL communities, and colleague engagement.

Sign up | Academic personal tutoring workshops

Sign up for an introduction to academic personal tutoring, which takes place from 2.30-3.45pm on Wednesday 11 January 2023. Designed for those new to the role at Leeds, this online session will consider key aspects of academic personal tutoring, such as the boundaries of the role, referrals and facilitating a sense of belonging. You can also join an online session about how to build authentic tutor/tutee relationships, which has been rearranged to take place from 10-11am tomorrow (Thursday 8 December).

New dates | Development programmes

Explore our provision for colleagues working in roles graded two to five to support their personal and professional development. New dates are available in 2023 and include career development, the Springboard for Women programme, a guide to LinkedIn Learning, monthly drop-in sessions and a new programme providing an introduction to team leading. 

Book | Research Culture Cafés

Book your place at the next Research Culture Café, being held from 10-11am on Thursday 15 December. The online café-style conversations aim to promote a positive and inclusive research culture, helping colleagues propose solutions for change, share experiences and create a community network. Dates and themes for all sessions running until August 2023 are also available to book.

Wellbeing and support

Sign up | Become a Health and Wellbeing Champion

Visit the Health and Wellbeing Champions webpage to register your interest in joining the volunteer network. Health and Wellbeing Champions play a vital role in helping achieve the University’s wellbeing aspirations. They raise awareness of wellbeing activities, share national health campaigns and signpost colleagues to where they can access further support.

Employee Assistance Programme | Confidential helpline and counselling 

If you’re experiencing personal or professional difficulties and would prefer to access support outside the workplace, the University’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offers wellbeing and mental health support. This free service supplements the provision of the Staff Counselling and Psychological Support team, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Activities and events 

Visit the Window on Wellbeing webpage for the latest information on upcoming events, including Menopause Cafés, Wednesday Wellbeing Walks and Sport & Physical Activity workshops.  

Domestic Abuse Guidance

Domestic abuse happens more often during major sporting tournaments. If you or someone you know is at risk during this World Cup, or at any other time, the University has published Domestic Abuse Guidance for staff and students. You can also find guidance for colleagues who are supporting victims, as well as details of regional and national organisations that can provide help.

Festive fitness offer

Get a seven-day pass to The Edge for just £12 during the festive season. Make the most of all the facilities, including the 25m swimming pool, newly refurbished gym and spin studio, climbing wall and a variety of exercise classes. Available to purchase until New Year’s Eve, the pass can also be used during January 2023. Buy yours from The Edge reception or contact the team on 0113 343 5095.


Register | Student Success Forum – Decolonising Education

Receive the latest updates by joining the Student Success Team mailing list. This includes invites to the Student Success Forums, which provide an opportunity for staff and students to reflect, discuss and work together to improve outcomes for students at Leeds. The next online session, which runs from 2-4pm on Monday 12 December, is titled ‘Decolonising Education – Where are we now and what must we do?’ The event – chaired by Dr Amrita Mukherjee, one of the University’s Decolonisation Academic Leads, and Maria Papageorgiou, LUU’s Union Affairs and Communications Officer – will feature a series of speakers and breakout discussions. 

Launch | Working Class Network

Join us for the online launch of the Working Class Network, featuring guest speaker Dr Teresa Crew, author of ‘Higher Education and Working-Class Academics: Precarity and Diversity in Academia’. This group aims to provide a space for colleagues who self-identify as being working class or who have working-class heritage. The event will take place via MS Teams from 4.30-5.30pm on Monday 12 December. Please join the Working Class Network MS Teams area to access the event invite.

International Concert Series | Autumn Season 

The University of Leeds International Concert Series Autumn Season continues with several performances during the coming week. Vocal ensembles will be showcased from 1.05-1.55pm on Friday 9 December, followed by the Band Project session from 7-9.30pm on the same day. Kathryn Williams (flute) and Ed Cooper (guitar) present their new co-composed work commissioned by Cyborg Soloists, a UKRI-funded Future Leaders Fellowship project led by Dr Zubin Kanga, at 5.30pm on Wednesday 14 December. All performances take place in Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall. Entry is free and no booking is required.


Festive deadlines

Due to the Christmas closure, eNews will take a break after next week’s edition (Wednesday 14 December) until Wednesday 11 January. Deadlines for both editions remain the same, with submissions required by the preceding Friday.

In case you missed it

Our new Futures Institutes | Collaborating to deliver global impact

Fifteen to One | Professor Jo-Anne Murray

Blog | Corporate Processes and Systems

Knowledge Equity Network launch

First speakers revealed for THE Digital Universities UK 2023

Sustainable Curriculum – shaping our impact

Blog | UK Disability History Month 2022

Annual reward and recognition process

IT help in Teams | Ask Falco

Highlights | Council and Senate news

Apply | Enhance Your Student Education Practice course

Sign up | Introduction to teaching and learning at Leeds

Eat for less on campus

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: