eNews 14 December

VC blog, transformation, festive closure, expenses, Q&A feature, help reduce our energy use, new base for LITAC, the Edge offer and opening hours, feedback, events and more

Graduands congregating outside the Great Hall, wearing black robes with green and white hoods

Thought pieces

VC blog – Community, culture, impact

In a personal blog, our Vice-Chancellor Professor Simone Buitendijk reflects on the last few weeks, including COP27, the launch of the Knowledge Equity Network and Campus Live.

Read | Times Higher Education opinion piece

Read a new opinion piece written by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, about alumnus Sir Keir Starmer's policy launch at Nexus. Login to the site with your University details, or contact internalcomms@leeds.ac.uk to request a PDF copy.


Blog | Digital transformation: Everybody wins if we get this right

Read a new blog by Professor Jo-Anne Murray, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Digital Transformation, setting out the University’s mission to drive forward change. 

Watch | Transformation Office introduction event recording

A recording of the Transformation Office introduction event is now available. The event, which took place on Monday 12 December, offered an opportunity to learn more about the key principles of the Transformation Office and ask questions during our interactive Q&A.

Find out more about our new Transformation Office

You can find out more about the purpose and core functions of our Transformation Office (TO) through its newly launched knowledge hub. The TO has been set up as a centre of excellence to give focus to, and enable effective delivery of, our large-scale transformation programmes, such as Curriculum Redefined, the Student Lifecycle Programme (SLP), Corporate Processes and Systems (CPS) and the Digital Engagement and Be Safe programmes (DEBS). It has three core functions – enterprise design, portfolio management and change delivery.

Staff benefits

Festive closure and December payday

The University’s festive closure period runs from Friday 23 December to Monday 2 January inclusive. Thursday 22 December is the next payday.

Simplyhealth (Leeds Hospital Fund)

As an employee of the University, you’re eligible for preferential rates from Simplyhealth. Its health cash plan gives you money back towards the cost of your visits to the opticians, dentist, physiotherapist and more, up to annual limits. Check our HR website for further information.

Staff expenses policies updated

Updates to the University’s expenses policies pages have been completed. We’ve increased UK subsistence rates and introduced a new international subsistence rate. In addition, we’ve clarified policies on alcohol, and exceptions on medical grounds, and simplified the rules on un-receipted 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 that on occasion can exceed the set UK rates. A passenger rate has also been added on the travel policy.

Campus life

Fifteen to One | James Wright

In our latest Fifteen to One Q&A feature, the University’s Senior Maintenance Manager, James Wright, reveals the secrets to his success, from manoeuvring a 35ft Christmas tree into Beech Grove Plaza to how he ended up sitting in a taxi with one of the BBC’s most respected sports presenters!

Winter break | Help reduce our energy use 

Turning off electrical items during the festive closure period could help the University reduce our environmental impact more than you might expect. We understand some equipment is essential to maintain safety or for research purposes and needs to remain on. But you can play your part if you’re working on campus by turning off lights and unplugging non-essential appliances, as well as closing windows, when you leave for the holidays. We’re grateful to the Estates team for managing our buildings to avoid unnecessary energy use, which helps advance our goal – as part of the University’s Climate Plan – to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. 

Campus buildings lighting

We’re reducing the number of hours external facades of buildings on campus are lit, in support of the University’s pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. They will be lit until midnight every day or until 2am to mark special events. There will be no impact to pathway or street lighting around campus.

New base for Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour (LITAC)

The Estates team in the Facilities Directorate has completed a new base for LITAC in the Clothworkers Central Building. Designed as a collaborative space for hosting research partners, the space comprises a large meeting room, offices and a reception area with kitchen.

The Edge | Festive fitness offer and opening hours

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. Festive opening hours for The Edge have also been published.

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.


Visit | Governor of Osaka

The University welcomed Hirofumi Yoshimura, the Governor of Osaka in Japan, to campus last week. Meeting with Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, and colleagues at the Business School last Wednesday (7 December), the Governor discussed the relationship between the University and Japan, including the academic collaboration on mitigating natural disasters and developing sustainable finance technology. 

UK Disability History Month 2022

There’s still time to visit the Equality and Inclusion Unit website for information about the events we’re hosting to mark UK Disability History Month 2022, together with available support for staff and students. Running until Friday 16 December, this year’s theme is ‘disability, health and wellbeing’.

Read | ‘Being who I am isn’t something that needs to be fixed’

Read an interview with Carly Miller, a Disability Coordinator at the University. She  recently performed her stand-up comedy set as part of Campus Live and UK Disability History Month.

Celebration | White Rose University Consortium celebrates 25 years

The White Rose University Consortium (WRUC) – a strategic partnership between the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York – is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Visit the WRUC website to find out more about the current collaboration and future opportunities.

Digital developments

Email scam alert

An email scam is currently circulating, appearing to be from a senior member of staff asking you to buy gift vouchers. Stop, think and check with the apparent sender, in person or by phone. Do not reply to the email. Visit the IT website for further information and advice.


Have your say | Local Plan consultation

Take part in Leeds City Council’s Local Plan consultation, launched in response to the climate emergency. Feedback focuses on topics such as carbon reduction, flood risk, green infrastructure and sustainability. The survey should only take about 15 minutes to complete, with a deadline of Monday 19 December.

Take part | Research culture survey and events

Have your say on assessment practices and policies at the University by taking part in a survey, funded by the Research Culture Crucible programme. If you have served as a panellist (reviewer or observer) on any selection committee at Leeds, join an in-person (Thursday 12 January) or online (Monday 16 January) event to discuss any aspect of research assessment. Please read this information sheet before participating.


Apply | Leeds Museums and Galleries collaboration

Academics from across all disciplines are encouraged to apply to the Cross-Disciplinary Innovation Fund opportunity through the Cultural Institute, which aims to link up researchers with curators from Leeds Museums and Galleries (LMG). With more than one million objects in their collection, LMG are looking for researchers to help explore their extensive, nationally recognised catalogue. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 7March 2023, with a ‘meet the curators’ event taking place from 12 noon to 2pm on Thursday 26 January.

Learning and development

Watch | Microsoft 365 accessibility tips

Watch four short videos for tips and features that can help make your content more accessible and inclusive for everyone using Microsoft 365 apps. You’ll need to be signed in to Microsoft Office 365 to view them.

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. 

Book | Research Culture Cafés

Book your place at the next Research Culture Café, taking place from 10-11am tomorrow (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.

Sign up | ‘Integrating PebblePad with Minerva’ training course

Register to attend the new ‘Integrating PebblePad with Minerva’ course, running on multiple dates throughout January 2023. You’ll discover how to set up a PebblePad workspace and assignment from a Minerva module or organisation, allowing the capture of your student cohort and enabling grades awarded in PebblePad to automatically pass back to the Minerva Gradebook.

Professional Recognition in Student Education (PRiSE)

PRiSE, the University’s scheme for awarding Advance HE Fellowship, is being reviewed to align with the new Professional Standards Framework. Colleagues interested in applying for PRiSE next year should attend a briefing and workshop in January or February 2023, ahead of the April and July submission deadlines. Newly aligned briefings will then take place from September 2023 for the January 2024 submission deadline. 

Book now | Concordat Awareness Month 

Sign up for a series of events in January 2023 – hosted by Organisational Development and Professional Learning (OD&PL) – to mark the Concordat Awareness Month. The virtual sessions highlight opportunities to support the development of researchers, and include information sessions, presentations and Q&As. As a signatory of The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, the University is committed to supporting the career progression of our research colleagues. 
Final call | Enhance Your Student Education Practice course 

Sign up for the next Enhance Your Student Education Practice course by the deadline of 5pm on Tuesday 3 January 2023. The course will take place throughout the month and is designed for early and mid-career academic teaching colleagues. Explore and discuss strategies to develop your teaching practice in a supportive, peer-led environment.

Wellbeing and support

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.

Sign up | Volunteer workplace mediators 

There’s still time to apply to become a volunteer workplace mediator to provide confidential and impartial support to colleagues experiencing problems with their working relationships. Apply by Sunday 18 December. Sign up for a webinar taking place at 2.30pm today (Wednesday 14 December) to find out more, with the opportunity to speak to trained mediators about the role. Contact mediation@leeds.ac.uk to book a place.

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.


Winter closures | Student communications templates

With many students staying in Leeds during the winter break, or needing support while the University is closed, it’s important to share clear guidance on where they can go for help. You can access templates to share including emails, newsletter stories and email signatures on the Student Communications team SharePoint site, and find useful information to help create your own communications on the Holiday Info pages on For Students. There’s also a student guide to events and activities for anyone staying in Leeds during the holidays.


Student Education Conference 2023

Browse the full programme for the Student Education Conference 2023, taking place on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 January. The hybrid conference will provide insights into a wide range of student education research and interventions across campus, delivered through a series of exciting presentations. Longer workshops will also be on offer, as part of a fringe event throughout the week commencing Monday 9 January.

Register | Bragg Exchange 2023

Book your tickets for the Bragg Exchange 2023, taking place on Wednesday 25 January 2023. The Bragg Centre for Materials Research will be hosting its biggest and most wide-ranging symposium yet, with presentations and talks from Leeds researchers and special guests on interdisciplinary research related to materials.

International Concert Series

The University of Leeds International Concert Series continues with two performances this week. 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 today (Wednesday 14 December). This is followed by the Ink Quartet with ‘Schubert in the Shadows’ from 1.05-1.55pm on Friday 16 December. Both 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 today’s edition (Wednesday 14 December) until Wednesday 11 January. The deadline for the next edition remains the same, with submissions required by the preceding Friday.

The Communications and Engagement team wishes all colleagues a joyful and relaxing festive break.

In case you missed it

Inside Track | Putting people at the heart of change 

Blog | Student Lifecycle Programme

Volunteer | Gair Wood tree planting

Integrated annual report published

Teaching Excellence Framework

Fifteen to One | Monica Jones

Windows Refresh project

Staff guide | Assessment tools

Register | TOTUM card

Register | Build your Scholarship Practice programme

New dates | Development programmes for colleagues graded 2-5

Sign up | Become a Health and Wellbeing Champion

Window on Wellbeing activities and events

Employee Assistance Programme | Confidential helpline and counselling

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