Students Staff

29 March 2017

Making a green impact on the planet Bog 

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:10 am
An image of students at St John's Green Primary School

Theatre students working with pupils.

Staff and Students visited St John’s Green Primary School in Colchester last week to help spread our Green impact message.

The Social Sciences Office and Arts Education teamed up with our theatre students to help 60 eight and nine year olds visit the fictional planet of Bog. After a successful journey to the unexplored planet, the children helped tidy up the mess, recycle the rubbish, plant flowers and food and teach the Boggles how to care for their planet.

The visit is part of the Social Sciences Office gold ward project for green impact 2017. The performance and teaching will now be developed and rolled out to other primary schools in the area.

The best way to make sure that our own planet is healthy for future generations is to teach children about recycling now, so that they grow up with awareness about waste and an appreciation for preserving resources.

Thanks to our visit, the School Council at St John’s Green will be ensuring that recycling bins are in place in every classroom and that the importance of recycling is understood by all the pupils in the school.

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28 March 2017

Curtains rise on Clifftown youth theatre group

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 4:41 pm

East 15 Acting School third year students Grace Duggan and Katie Greenall have successfully launched the Clifftown youth theatre, creating a valuable legacy for their fellow Community Theatre students.

After a popular taster session in the autumn, Grace and Katie have been running a sellout theatre group for Southend’s five to eight year olds on Saturdays this term, with a further programme for next term already in place.

Grace said: “I researched the concept of a youth theatre group at Clifftown as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) and together with Katie we started this group for younger children.

“The sessions are based on story-telling, with the children creating stories and acting them out, with a short show for relatives at the end of each term. It’s been a huge success so far and we have had to move to The Gateway Building as we needed a bigger space.”

Katie added: “Next term we will be shadowed by some second year Community Theatre students as they will take it over when we finish in the summer.

“We are really enjoying it and it is a good thing to talk about on our CVs when we are applying for jobs. The support from the University has been tremendous, helping us with the space and resources so we could create something so magical and fulfilling.”

The next course begins on Saturday 22 April for five weeks. Places are £35 for the entire course and can be booked via

Youth theatre in action

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Empowering young people

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 4:02 pm

More than 200 children from south Essex are learning all about the latest computer technology at the University of Essex Southend campus this week.

Working with the University’s Education Outreach team and tech company Dell, The Transformation Trust, a UK based educational charity, is giving Year 7-9 pupils an insight into the latest technology as well as gaining an invaluable experience of university life through visiting the campus and engaging with students.

Year 9 students from Chase High School, Westcliff, were among those attending this week. Head of year Anthony Sturge said: “This is a great opportunity for students to engage in independent research as well as learning about what university has to offer.”

EW pic from Transformation

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Learning from our European partners

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 11:37 am
An image of staff from Essex and Konstanz.

Staff from Essex and Konstanz.

Our partnership with the University of Konstanz, continued to evolve during this year’s bi-lateral staff week, which saw staff from across the University heading to Germany to take part in our innovative development programme with our YERUN (Young European Research Univesities) partners.

The programme, which was first established in 2014, has grown every year and this year almost 20 members of staff from seven different departments were able to benefit from the trip to Konstanz.

Each member of staff was given an individual schedule before the visit, so they could prepare for the trip, and they spent their mornings job shadowing counterparts from the university of Konstanz and attending meetings on campus.

The afternoons were reserved for cultural activities, which gave staff from Essex and Konstanz the chance to network with one another in a more relaxed setting. Delegates were able to explore a variety of towns around Lake Constance, including Meersburg, St. Gallen and Konstanz itself, and plan how they could put their findings into practice.

Dave Parry, our Director of Sport, said “Future plans for collaboration include sending our Essex Blades Volleyball team to Konstanz, and potentially becoming involved in the ‘EuroKonstantia’ programme we learned about during our visit”.

During the visit, our Head of International Mobility, Ivan Hutchins, emphasised the strong bond between our two Universities and plans are already being made for the next staff week in March 2018, as well as plans for a tri-lateral staff week in Barcelona involving Pompeu Fabra University.

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22 March 2017

Parking at Colchester Campus – Monday 27 March to Monday 1 May

Filed under: Campus news — Communications, CER @ 5:37 pm

As part of the work on our new Meadows Phase 2 development, we will be closing the contactor’s car parking area on Capon Road from 5pm on Friday 24 March.

From Monday 27 March until Monday 1 May, part of the Innovation Centre car park will be cordoned off for use by our contractors,  whilst work on a new temporary car park for contractors is completed.

During this time, parking will be limited at the Innovation Centre and staff are encouraged to use one of the other staff car parks on Campus.

Students are encouraged to use one of the other designated student car parks.

If you have any questions about these works, please contact the Estates Helpdesk on ext. 2959 or email

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15 March 2017

Meet the Departmental Managers

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:36 am

What does it take to be a Departmental Manager (DM)? We spoke to Camilla Thomsen, the DM for Sociology, to find out the secrets behind their superpowers. 

How many DMs are there?

An image of Camilla Thomsen

Camilla Thomsen

There are as many DMs as there are Departments/Schools at the University, so 15. In addition the University has a Centre Administrator for both the Centre for Psychoanalytical Studies and the Interdisciplinary Studies Centre. There are also similar managerial roles in the UK Data Archive and the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER).

What does the job of being a DM involve?

The job is very wide ranging. DMs take overall responsibility for ensuring the smooth running of the Department, so this includes everything from day-to-day operational issues to providing high level support for the implementation of the Department’s strategic plan. This broadly falls into the following categories:

  • Leadership
  • Operational and resources management (including HR and Finance)
  • Strategic planning
  • Quality assurance
  • Compliance and student administration.

Each Department has a Professional Services team to help deliver all of these objectives under the direction of the Departmental Manager. DMs are accountable to the Head of Department and work very closely with the Head, and as required with the Faculty Manager, Faculty Support Team and members of Central Professional Services.

Do you all work closely with one another?

The full DM group meets every other month and the Faculty DMs meet more frequently. We often ask each other for advice via email. Our day-to-day roles don’t usually involve working closely with each other however, unless it involves joint degrees for example.

An image of some our Departmental Managers.

Some of our DMs.

Tell us something funny or unusual about yourselves.

We’re a fairly diverse group in terms of personalities and approaches to the job but we all enjoy a good get together at Valentino’s in Wivenhoe, where we’re keen on the chickens! (Those that have been there will know what that means!)

We all take pride in our roles and sometimes wonder how we manage to keep going with very complex and heavy workloads. The truth is… that we have superpowers! Ask any one of us and you’ll discover a hidden talent!

What’s the most challenging aspect of the job?

Acting as a human Swiss army knife – being all things to all people, managing your team and keeping them motivated, whilst meeting deadlines and finding time to plan ahead.

What’s the busiest time of year for you?

This can vary quite a bit from Department to Department, as different team members might take on different responsibilities, but generally speaking we’re busiest in the summer Exam Board period from the middle of June to the start of July. It’s very intense as there is usually such a tight turnaround for getting the results processed. February also has numerous deadlines and is when Departments are working on their Departmental Plans and updating all of their modules and courses for the following year.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve got coming up?

We’ve just had our Periodic Review for our postgraduate provision. We have to undergo these reviews every five years for both UG and PG provision. A lot of preparation goes into these and usually there are a number of follow up actions required.

I’m currently working with academic colleagues to introduce new degrees for October and shortly I’ll be working on the teaching allocation and workload allocation for next year.

What is your top tip for working at the University?

Take advantage of the excellent facilities, beautiful campus and opportunities to collaborate with fantastic people.

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14 March 2017

Baking off for Fairtrade Fortnight

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 5:25 pm
An image of our bake off finalists.

Our bake off finalists with their cakes.

Departments from across the University took part in our Fairtrade bake off to raise awareness of Fairtrade Fortnight from 27 February to 12 March.

Each Department hosted their own bake offs, before the departmental winners came together to battle it out for the crown of Ultimate bake off champion.

On Wednesday 8 March, entrants from Event Essex, the Department of Mathematical Sciences, the Estate Management Section, the Faculty of Social Sciences, Language and Linguistics and the Finance Section came together with their fantastic entries.

All of the delicious cakes were baked using Fairtrade ingredients and were judged on criteria including taste, texture and presentation.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jules Pretty, headed up the judging panel with Sheila Abdul Aziz from the Department of Mathematical Sciences taking the crown, for an impressive Black Forest Gateau.  Sheila won a selection of Fairtrade goodies, and all entrants received a bar of Fairtrade chocolate to thank them for their efforts.

Products certified as Fairtrade ensure better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. You can buy a range of groceries, from bananas and sugar to coffee and beauty products, which are sourced responsibly. To find out more, visit the Fairtrade Foundation website.

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Hear the LGBT+ stories from Essex

Filed under: Latest news, People pages, Student experience — Tags: — Communications Office @ 1:50 pm

LGBT-newStudents and staff from the University have written a book about their LGBT+ experiences and stories.

The book – LGBT+ Perspectives – The University of Essex Reader – was compiled and edited by Dr Ilaria Boncori, from the Essex Pathways Department. It contains stories, experiences, narratives and subjects from all different people’s lives.

This book conveys different perspectives of gender identity and sexual orientation and can help to enlighten many people who feel uneducated on this topic, as well as help those who feel unsure about whom they are.

Dr Boncori explained: “This book offers a collection of different perspectives on LGBT+ matters written by University of Essex staff and students for all of us – students, teachers, parents, friends and workers. LGBT+ Perspectives includes personal experiences, research findings and professional stories that provide further insight on how gender identity and sexual orientation permeate our private and professional lives, with the aim to foster understanding and inclusion.”

LGBT+ Perspectives – The University of Essex Reader is available from the publishers Editoriale Scientifica and will soon be available on Amazon.

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In the pink at Colchester Half Marathon

Filed under: Latest news, Sport — ckeitch @ 12:43 pm
An image of Glenn Doel

Glenn Doel sets the pace.

More than 2,760 runners took to the streets for the Colchester Half Marathon on Sunday, including over 30 runners from the University of Essex.

Thomas Kaye, running for the Army, won the race in just 1hr 14mins and 25 seconds, whilst Helen Davies, from Ipswich Jaffa, won the women’s race in a time of 1hr 17 mins and 02 seconds, beating her time from last year’s race by over a minute.

The first runner home for Team Essex was Glenn Doel, who crossed the finish line in 29th place, with a time of 1:22:00. Close (ish) behind Glenn were Graeme Chatten (1:31:45) and Charlie Keitch, who finished the race in 1:33:20, as he continues his recovery following a knee injury.

Beverley Goodman was the first of our women to finish the race, with a personal best (PB) time of 1:51:13. Just behind Beverley was Jo Pearson, who was running her first half marathon. Jo finished the race in 1:52:53 and has plenty of potential to improve on that time in the future.

Speaking after the race Jo said “Running with so many other people really helps you push yourself to keep going when you’re flagging. There was a great atmosphere throughout the event. I really enjoyed the day and plan to do it again next year”

Jo was swiftly followed by Helen Ivory who crossed the finish line in 1:56:45.

An image of a volunteer handing out jelly babies.

Clare Ruffle keeping the runners supplied with jelly babies.

The University was, once again, sponsoring the race this year and our students and staff also helped out by volunteering to make sure everything went smoothly on race day. Our volunteers lined the route as it passed through Langham, handing out jelly babies and water to all of the runners, as they approached the second half of the race.

“Langham is a beautiful part of the course, but it’s where runners really do need a bit of a boost as they approach the final section of the race. We know people really appreciated the jelly babies we gave out last year, so we decided to do the same thing again. All of our student and staff volunteers had a lot of fun”, said Holly Ward, who co-ordinated all our volunteers on the day.

Take a look at all of the results from the day, just filter by Team to see the results for our ‘Essex University Runners’.

You can also see all our photos from the day on Flickr.

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10 March 2017

New building update

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 5:26 pm

Work on the new student facilities on the Loughton campus is progressing well.

The Phase 1 two-storey building, which will initially form a temporary refectory and kitchen, is now taking shape, with all the below ground work, foundations, structural steelwork and pre-cast concrete ground floor in place. Since this photo was taken work has also started on the roof coverings.

Everything is on schedule to start the second phase of the development in May, when the existing conservatory, bar and kitchen will be demolished to be replaced with a facility double the size.

Loughton March update


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