eNews 25 January

Fifteen to One Q&A, digital transformation, digital universities of the future, TEF submission, industrial action, addressing the climate crisis, Leeds Teaching Awards and more.

Fifteen to one | Rachel Brealey. January 2023

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Thought pieces

Fifteen to One Q&A | Rachel Brealey

In our latest Fifteen to One Q&A feature, Chief Operating Officer Rachel Brealey, reveals her highlights since joining Leeds, as well as her proudest achievements and what inspires her most in her new role. Rachel also outlines the key projects she’s currently working on, including the launch of the University’s new employee engagement survey.

Digital transformation | Building our digital foundations

In a new blog, Ian Connerton, Programme Director for Digital Enablement and Be Safe, explains the programme to build an engaging and secure digital experience for staff and students.

Higher education

Digital universities of the future

The Times Higher Education (THE) Digital Universities UK 2023 will be taking place at the University of Leeds from Monday 17 to Thursday 20 April. Free tickets are now available to colleagues on a ‘first come, first served’ basis for the event, the first of its kind to be held outside London.

We’re proud to be co-hosting the event, bringing together higher education, industry and policy leaders where the fields of academic innovation and technology meet. The University has an ambitious Digital Transformation Strategy, which includes improving our research IT and libraries.

The full programme features Vice-Chancellor Professor Simone Buitendijk; Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, Professor Jeff Grabill; and Professor Arunangsu Chatterjee, Dean of Digital Transformation, alongside many other University colleagues.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) submission

We’ve made our Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) submission to the Office for Students (OfS). Drafted with the participation of academic and professional services colleagues, the submission included input from last week’s Senate meeting. Within the terms of the TEF, the OfS invites a student submission from institutions, with ours coming from Leeds University Union. Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, said: “Our submission is a brilliant example of collaborative working and I'd like to say a huge thank you to all of those colleagues who devoted their time and energy to it, in particular Alice O'Grady, our Dean: Student Education (Quality and Standards), for her excellent leadership.”

International Day of Education 

Yesterday (Tuesday 24 January) marked the fifth UNESCO International Day of Education, a day dedicated to improving education worldwide. You can read the latest blog by Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, on how digital transformation and international partnerships can address educational needs on a global scale. You can also find out more about recent progress with Curriculum Redefined, the plan to develop an innovative, imaginative and sustainable approach to education at Leeds.

Climate change

Register | How is our University addressing the climate crisis? 

Sign up for our event ‘How is our University addressing the climate crisis?’, taking place from 3.30-5pm on Wednesday 15 February. The panel will be made up of professors Piers Forster, Director, Priestley International Centre for Climate; Simon Kelley, Head of School of Earth and Environment, and Anne Tallontire, Pro-Dean, Student Education, Faculty of Environment; as well as two students, Hannah Crowther and Maria Papageorgiou. Vice-Chancellor Professor Simone Buitendijk will make the opening and closing remarks. Chaired by Professor Richard Beardsworth, Head of the School of Politics and International Studies, and open to staff and students, the event will offer the chance to ask questions and have an open discussion about how the University is dealing with climate change.

Industrial action

UCU and UNISON strike action     

Strike action will take place in February and March at universities across the country, including Leeds.   

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that 18 days of strike action related to disputes regarding pensions and pay will take place on 1, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 27 and 28 February and 1, 2, 16, 17, 20, 21 and 22 March 2023.   

UNISON has announced that eight days of strike action related to a dispute regarding pay will take place on 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 22, 23 and 24 February 2023. 

You can find out more about why industrial action is taking place and what is happening in response to the disputes on our Industrial Action In depth page

Guidance for staff | National Education Union strike action

Ahead of seven days of strike action by the National Education Union, read the latest guidance for parents and carers of school-age children. 


Recognising outstanding and innovative teaching

Outstanding and innovative teaching at Leeds will be recognised in a prestigious awards scheme. Applications are now open for the third instalment of the University of Leeds Teaching Awards, celebrating excellent practice in student education. You can also book your place for an online briefing event - taking place from 12 noon to 12.50pm on Thursday 9 February - to find out more about the awards. A recording will be made available afterwards on the awards website, where you can also find further information and details about how to apply.

Parkinson’s no barrier as professor achieves England goal

Read about the inspiring story of Professor Nick Taylor, who has been selected to represent England at football a decade after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Part of the national walking football team for people with Parkinson’s, Nick and his teammates want to raise awareness about the physical and social benefits of keeping active for people living with the condition, with plans to go global in 2023.

Apply | Water Woman Award 2023 

Recognising the achievements of women in research and their power to inspire others, the Water Woman Award 2023 remains open for applications until midnight on Monday 30 January. The awards are organised by water@leeds in partnership with faculty Athena SWAN teams and each of the four winners will receive £1,000 for their staff development accounts.

Staff Festival 2023

Nominations have closed to select the charity to benefit from this year’s Staff Festival. Thank you to everyone who made a submission. All colleagues will be able to vote for the winner later this month. Watch this space for further information.

Further Together | Inspirational stories

Take a look at the Further Together website for stories highlighting our research community’s impressive and impactful collaborative work at Leeds. Read about the connection between a nutritious breakfast and better GCSE results, how schoolchildren have been empowered to become citizen scientists and the advantages of diversifying staff recruitment.


Watch | Student Education Conference 2023 

All the recordings and slides from this year’s Student Education Conference (SEC) are now available on the #SEC2023 Rewind Sway. Featuring speeches by Vice-Chancellor Professor Simone Buitendijk, and Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, as well as a panel of inspirational students, this year’s event covered topics including sustainability, diversity and teaching approaches.

Fresh Start Festival

There’s just a few days left until Fresh Start Festival kicks off, helping new and current students find their place at Leeds. Run in partnership with Leeds University Union (LUU) and part of the year-round welcome approach, the festival is a week of exciting events, activities and opportunities, including campus tours, activities and social events. The festival runs from Monday 30 January to Sunday 5 February, with the full Fresh Start Festival programme available on the Leeds&You webpage. Want to promote the events to students? Visit the Student Communications site to download templates and resources, including email headers and signatures, social media tiles and PowerPoint slides.

Digital developments

Improvements to email security 

We’re making important changes to the way we process email, to enhance security and improve reliability. These changes are being made behind the scenes until tomorrow (Thursday 26 January), so you won’t see anything different and no action is required on your part.


Apply | Cultural research with Leeds Museums and Galleries

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 7 March, with a ‘meet the curator’ event taking place from 12 noon to 2pm tomorrow (Thursday 26 January).

Watch | Be Curious video

Submit a proposal to feature your research at Be Curious 2023, the annual open event showcasing the University’s world-changing research to the wider public. Not sure if Be Curious is for you? Hear from academics who took part last year and why they think it’s so important, not only to them but the wider University community. The Public Engagement Team is taking proposal submissions until Friday 3 February. You can also book 15-minute slots at the Be Curious surgeries taking place tomorrow (Thursday 26 January), where you can discuss your ideas before applying.

Apply | Funding opportunity for vulnerability and policing research

Applications close on Monday 30 January for the Early Career Researcher Development Fund from the Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre, which is offering grants of up to £25,000 per project exploring challenges related to vulnerability and policing.

Learning and development

Training | Online SIPR system 

Training on the SIPR purchasing system has now migrated to online modules on Minerva. Requisitioners and budget holders can access the short training modules, which contain videos and quizzes and cover the key activities required when purchasing goods and services. New SIPR users must complete the online modules before receiving a system login.

New events | Build your Scholarship Practice

The next block of sessions for the Build your Scholarship Practice programme starts in February. Covering the broad themes of pedagogies, methods and engagement, colleagues can learn from published and work-in-progress scholarship relating to the themes. There will also be the chance to hear from colleagues across the University who are at different stages of their careers as Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) researchers.

Register | Building Impact Momentum Programme

Register your interest for the next Building Impact Momentum programme, which will help develop concrete ideas for making an impact that can be applied to research projects or grant applications. Running from April to July, research, academic and professional staff can take part in the programme of six webinars, additional reading, partner work and impact practice. The closing date for expressions of interest is 5pm on Friday 17 February.

Wellbeing and support

Sign up | New Year step challenge 

Registration closes at 5pm tomorrow (Thursday 26 January) to register for the New Year step challenge. Running from Monday 30 January to Sunday 5 February, those signing up for the fitness fun will be randomly assigned to a team of six colleagues. People of all abilities are encouraged to take part, with a range of methods available to measure and track your movement. There are photo bonuses up for grabs and a lively Microsoft Teams chat to keep you motivated. 

Book | Free squash taster sessions

Free squash taster sessions can be booked at The Edge for Wednesday 1 February. It’s a great way to try out the sport ahead of two squash courses aimed at beginners, which run from Wednesday 8 February to Wednesday 15 March. Each course is designed for a maximum of four people, so book early to avoid disappointment.


International Concert Series

The University of Leeds International Concert Series continues from 3-5pm on Sunday 29 January with a performance by string quartet Quatuor Agate. Tickets are priced up to £15. Taking place in Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, the performance is supported by Friends of University Art and Music (FUAM) in memory of Justin Grossman.

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