eNews 13 December

eNews: Long Service Awards, Christmas at Leeds and more


Honouring decades of dedication at the University  

The service and dedication of colleagues who’ve worked at the University for 25 or 40 years was celebrated this week. The Long Service Awards took place on Monday (11 December). Recipients from the past three years were invited to a celebratory lunch in University House before receiving their awards during a graduation ceremony in the Great Hall. Discover more about the award winners and view pictures from the day.  

Curriculum Redefined 2023: An end of year message from Professor Jeff Grabill 

Join Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, in celebrating the contribution of Curriculum Redefined to the delivery of the Student Education strategy, highlighting the University community’s role in making these positive changes. 

In Curriculum Redefined: Celebrating progress and looking forward to the future, we celebrate the progress we’ve made and look ahead to the future. This year alone, we’ve made some major steps forward. These milestones are only the tip of the iceberg of the impact we’re making on student education at Leeds. 


New Directors of Student Experience and Support and Student Curriculum and Operations  

Chris Warrington has been appointed the University’s Director of Student Experience and Support, with Wayne Keating the new Director of Student Curriculum and Operations.  

Christmas at Leeds 

Switch off and save energy for Christmas 

Please ensure your workspace is appropriately shut down for the Christmas holiday. There are some simple things we can all do to help us save even more energy during the festive break. These will help us advance our goal, as part of the University’s Climate Plan, to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030.  

Festive break 

The University will be closed during the Christmas period, with the last working day for the majority of colleagues being 21 December. It will open again on 2 January 2024. This means that 21 December will be the next pay day. 

Boost your ‘elf’ 

Boost your ‘elf’ by making the most of the special staff rates and tree-mendous facilities at The Edge, including the 25m swimming pool, refurbished gym and spin studio, climbing wall and a range of exercise classes. Yule be glad you did! Visit The Edge website for further information and festive opening hours

DARE Little Listeners | Cinderella 
11am to 12.10pm and 1-2.10pm, 16 December 

Enjoy the much-loved fairy tale but not quite as you know it. Led by a cast of professional opera singers and musicians, sign up for this interactive, family-friendly concert of Cinderella and experience the magic of music and storytelling. Tickets include a voucher for a hot or soft drink, a ‘make a wand’ craft activity and a 40-minute performance. 

Register | Staff Sports Tournament 2023 
1-4pm, 20 December 

Fancy a spot of festive football, or maybe you prefer netball at Noel? It doesn’t matter if you’ve been good or badminton this year, you can still sign up for the 2023 Staff Sports Tournament at The Edge with team prizes up for grabs. Register by 5pm on 15 December. Contact event coordinator Rachel Harrison at R.J.Harrison1@leeds.ac.uk for further information. 

Seasonal film screening and social  
4.30pm, 20 December 

The LOGIK Centre is hosting a free screening of ‘Gremlins’, the 1984 classic comedy horror movie. The story follows a young man who receives a strange creature as a pet that wreaks havoc on Christmas Eve. There’s no need to book, just turn up from 4pm onwards.  

Christmas Crackers! 

Fantastic festive fare returns to Great Food at Leeds (GFaL) outlets with its Christmas Crackers range. Sample the Cinnamon Spiced Latte or satisfy your sweet tooth with a seasonal snack, including the Gingerbread Muffin or Handcrafted Streusel Mince Pie. Available as part of the GFaL coffee and cake deal. Check out the festive opening hours and  follow GFaL on Instagram for full menu details. 

Download free festive e-cards 

Free festive e-card designs capturing Christmas on campus are now available to download on the Communications and Engagement SharePoint site. 

Staff reward 

Annual reward process  

The annual process for managers to nominate team members for Additional Scale Increments (ASI) or Discretionary Increments (DI) is open until 12 January. Managers can present recommendations by completing an online form to reward employees who are demonstrating a consistent and sustained level of performance, above and beyond the expectations of them in their role. Your local HR team will be able to advise about the process and assist with applications. 

Climate and sustainability 

People and Planet University League 2023-24 released  

 This year’s People & Planet University League is testament to the willingness and commitment of our students and staff to living and learning sustainably. 

The annual People and Planet University League has been released, with Leeds achieving a 2:1 classification.  

Watch | Taking action to achieve net zero by 2030: a deeper delve into our plan 

You can now watch back the recording of our net zero delivery plan event, which took place on 4 December.  

Campus life 

Update | Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building 

A number of changes will be made in the new year to the use of the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building following detailed consideration by the Ziff Operational Group, and after listening to, and taking account of, feedback from staff and students who use the building. 

Proposed changes to visas and immigration 

We understand and share the concerns expressed following the government’s recent proposals for changes to visas and immigration. We are closely monitoring developments and will scrutinise the detail of the proposed changes as it emerges. We will provide clear and timely information for staff and students as soon as it becomes available. 

Winter graduation 
Until 19 December 

Graduation ceremonies are currently taking place in the Great Hall, with the University celebrating more than 4,500 students achieving their degrees across all classifications. Campus and the Parkinson building will be lit up in the Forever Leeds colours marking this time and promoting the journey into our alumni community. 

Join | Cultural Engagement strategy consultation 
12.30-3pm, 17 January 

Help shape the future of cultural engagement at the University. Contribute to the final iteration of the strategy during this interactive session, covering research, student education, employability, civic engagement and campus experience for both staff and students. Lunch will be provided. 

Part of the Furniture: The Library of John Bedford 
9 January to 21 December 2024 

Rare and beautiful books – selected from the library of antiques dealer John Bedford – chart the evolution of furniture design over the centuries in the new exhibition in Treasures of the Brotherton. Book your free ticket for our celebration event, which takes place at 5.30pm on 6 February. 

Preserving the Passion: Northern Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet 
9 January to 23 March 

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery brings together drawings, props, costumes and photographs from the Northern Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet archive, donated to the University in 2021, to tell the eventful story of the making of a classic.  

Did you know?  

Gillian Charlesworth, Ian Hardy and Janice Warden, who received long-service awards on Monday, have each worked at the University for 40 years. 

Digital developments  

Staff Guide to Digital Assessment Systems  

In the approach to the January assessment period, you can access the Staff Guide to Assessment Systems, which includes guides to Blackboard assessment tools and integrated tools, such as Gradescope and Turnitin. There’s also information on how to arrange External Examiner Access and an Academic Integrity Summary Guide. A Student Guide to Assessment Systems is also available. 

Register | ‘Get Started with Minerva’ training session 
11 January and 7 February 

Sign up for an online ‘Getting Started with Minerva’ training session, aimed at staff and postgraduates who are new to Minerva and will use the platform to deliver or support learning and teaching. Book for the 11 January session or the 7 February training

Introducing Microsoft Copilot 

Copilot is a suite of AI-powered productivity solutions developed by Microsoft that’s now available to some University colleagues. Get a brief overview about the chatbot version of Copilot (formerly known as Bing Chat), which can help with a series of tasks, such as coding, writing, generating images, answering general questions and more.    


Digital Education Service Annual Report published 

“Our work to enhance and enrich the student experience has put the University at the forefront of conversations regarding digital education.” 

Reflecting on a year of remarkable developments for digital education, the Digital Education Service Annual Report celebrates the key projects, milestones and events that have enhanced learning experiences across the University and beyond, whilst celebrating the professional teams that have enabled them.  

Winter closures | Student communications resources 

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 and Engagement 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 in Leeds during the holidays. 

New findings on the impact of summer schools 

To support our ‘access’ priorities in the Access and Student Success Strategy, the University’s outreach teams took part in Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education’s (TASO) randomised controlled trial. This was designed to understand how effective summer schools are at improving access to higher education. Findings show that summer schools designed to attract more disadvantaged students into university aren’t reaching the most in need. 

Register | Student Education Conference (SEC) 2024 
11-12 January 

Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE) has announced SEC2024 is open for registration. Check out the full SEC2024 programme showcasing the breadth of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research activity across our institution, and register for the sessions you’d like to attend


Apply | John Bedford and Brotherton Fellowships 

Applications for the John Bedford Fellowship and the Brotherton Fellowship are still open for 2024. The deadline for both is 9am on 8 January. Contact Dr Hilary Potter at LAHRI@leeds.ac.uk for further information. 

Have your say | Research Culture pulse survey  

This month’s Research Culture pulse survey focusses on research integrity, awareness of initiatives to support it and research misconduct. The survey takes less than five minutes to complete, and your feedback will play a vital role in helping to create a positive and inclusive research culture at Leeds. You can also join the Research Culture conversation on MS Teams

Research Excellence Framework (REF) pushed back 

The next REF has been delayed until 2029, UK funding bodies have announced

Event | Bradford Arts & Research Networking Event: New Collaborations 
12.30-4pm, 28 February 
Are you an academic or artist/art organisation/cultural worker keen to get involved with Bradford2025? Join us at for an opportunity to share your practice, knowledge and curiosity at this highly interactive and informative event at the University of Bradford’s Norcroft Auditorium. Register your initial interest for the Bradford Arts & Research Networking Event and we’ll be in touch in due course with further information. 

Staff benefits 

Change is brewing! 

GFaL Club – the Great Food at Leeds loyalty scheme – is getting a refresh following your feedback. The New Year will bring with it a brand new app, GFaL Rewards, which will be easier to use and feature lots more benefits. GFaL Club will end on 19 December, with the new GFaL Rewards app available to download in early January. Watch this space for updates.   

Wellbeing and support 

Helping those struggling alone 

Anyone can feel low, alone and even suicidal, and the festive period can prove a challenging time for many. Take the time to ‘check in with a mate’ this Christmas and let them know it’s OK to talk. You can also learn how you can help anyone struggling by becoming a Suicide Prevention Champion. You don’t need to know the answers or solve someone’s problems, but by simply reaching out and listening, you could help someone who might otherwise be struggling alone. 

Supporting disabled colleagues: Getting the most from our Business Disability Forum membership 

During UK Disability History Month, the Equality and Inclusion Unit (EIU) hosted webinars to inform colleagues about the Business Disability Forum (BDF) and the benefits available via our BDF membership. 

BDF services are available for all colleagues in a role supporting disabled staff – including line managers. This includes a confidential advice service, specialist guidance library and events. Watch a recording of the webinar and sign up for the BDF services through our dedicated webpage.  

Free COVID tests 

Update 14/12/23 : The COVID tests have now been claimed and are no longer available.

The University is offering its remaining stock of COVID tests to staff and students for free. Collection points are the help and advice desk in Leeds University Union and the Facilities Directorate Building reception. Please note these tests expire at the end of January 2024. 

Learning and development 

Exploring academic personal tutoring (APT) at Leeds 
2-3.15pm, 10 January 

Sign up for the Organisational Development and Professional Learning (OD&PL) workshop ‘exploring academic personal tutoring’. This session is designed for all APTs, providing an introduction for those new to the role and a refresher for experienced colleagues. 

Pedagogical Power of PebblePad workshops     
11-11.30am, 18 January  

Book your place at the next Pedagogical Power of PebblePad workshop. In this series of online sessions, colleagues from across the University share innovative and interesting ways they’ve used PebblePad. Booking for the following workshop on 22 February is also open and recordings of previous sessions in this series are available.  

Student panel on academic personal tutoring    
2-3.30pm, 22 February 

Join an event to learn more about student perspectives of academic personal tutoring (APT). A panel of our students from a range of schools and backgrounds will reflect on their experiences of APT. The session is open to all colleagues, and is designed to facilitate authentic and honest conversations to support the development of our practice.   

Leading in Student Education Development programme  

Sign up for a series of workshops exploring leadership in student education for colleagues working in leadership roles within this area. The next workshops run in February, with sessions built around three themes: understanding your role within the wider landscape, influencing others and building consensus, and creating presence and authenticity in your leadership.    

Development drop-in sessions (Grades 2-5)   

From January to March next year, the monthly OD&PL drop-in sessions for colleagues in Grade 2-5 roles will be temporarily relocated to the Esther Simpson building. Sessions, usually held in the LOGIK Centre, run every fourth Tuesday of the month from 10am to 12 noon. There’s no need to book and all colleagues are welcome, including those who support colleagues in these roles.    


Understanding autism 
12.30-1.45pm, 15 December 

Join Disability Coordinator Carly Miller and Anita Collins, Programme Manager (Learning and Teaching), for an online Women At Leeds Network session on autism spectrum condition. The event will cover what it’s like being an autistic woman, how this can affect the way you work, and how inclusive environments and teaching can make life better for everyone. 

Save the date | Looking ahead to the Lunar New Year 
10 January 

Join the Business Confucius Institute in HELIX for a programme of cultural activities, language tasters and engagement activities aimed at generating excitement for Spring Festival and providing support for anyone planning their Lunar New Year events and communications to welcome the Year of the Dragon.  

Register | Developing a Sustainable Health and Social Care Workforce 
5.45pm, 18 January 

With the UK’s health and social care workforce under unprecedented strain, join a panel discussion focused on innovative solutions. Panellists including Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin and Lord Nigel Crisp, former NHS Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, will explore how we can ensure a sustainable health and social care workforce for the future. Register to attend in person.  

Book | Join the latest Professional Services Open Meeting    
1-2pm, 15 January    

Join Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rachel Brealey at the latest COO session, where you’ll hear updates on the work planned in response to the Employee Engagement Survey. Director of Digital Education Service (DES), Dr Megan Kime, will introduce colleagues to DES and share highlights from the past year with an overview of their Annual Report. She will talk about work done to develop partnerships with other professional services and examples of ongoing collaboration with both with the University Library and the Careers Service. Our Chief Information Officer, Dan Simms, will discuss his responsibilities at the University. He will provide an overview of the IT Services leadership team, their primary duties, recent achievements and current priorities.    


eNews deadlines  

Due to the Christmas University closure, eNews will be taking a break during the festive period from today. The first eNews edition of 2024 will be on Wednesday 10 January, with the deadline for submissions on Friday 5 January. 

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

Tell us your story    

We’d like to hear about the great work you’re doing. Contact internalcomms@leeds.ac.uk to share your stories.    

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Keeping up to date    

You can keep up to date with our latest news on the For Staff website and the staff Twitter account.   With best wishes,    

The Internal Communications and Engagement team    

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