Students Staff

29 September 2017

Welcome is on its way – make sure you’re prepared

Filed under: Latest news — Communications, CER @ 3:14 pm

Welcome is on its way and with lots of new faces arriving on campus this weekend, make sure you know how to help our new students settle in.

If you are unsure how to deal with an enquiry, please take a look at our Welcome webpages.

Our Welcome week programmes including registration, welcome talks and departmental welcome events at each of our campuses can all be found on our Welcome pages and on our Events Calendar:

Our ‘get help and support pages’ which pull together sources of support from around the University and Students’ Union, are also useful.

Students with any queries should contact, but take a look at our Welcome essentials and Frequently Asked Questions to help you understand what’s going on and how our students can start to feel at home.

If you have a question relating to any of the arrangements for Welcome, please contact the Student Engagement Team –


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Meet the IT team at Southend

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 2:42 pm

The IT team at the Southend Campus is expanding its opening hours and adding new team members. Matt Softly IT Manager (Southend and Loughton) explains their role.

How has the team grown?: I’ve been at the Southend Campus since it first opened and I was the only IT expert! Now we have three full-time members of staff, myself, Nick Cosh and Mark Chamberlain and we have just taken on two new colleagues Owen Cable and Danny Lewis.

What are your opening hours?: We are based at the InfoPoint on the second floor of The Forum. Owen and Danny will split the day between them so we will be available to offer support from 8.30 am until 6.00 pm Monday to Friday.

How do you help staff?: We look after staff and students, providing support for teaching staff in lecture rooms and studios. We also offer general PC and software support for academic staff and Professional Services staff and assist with compute replacements and upgrades.

What’s the one thing staff should know about IT at the University?:If you have any IT problem, report it straight away rather than just ignoring it and waiting until it becomes a bigger problem. Also staff might not know that every member of staff or student can get the latest version of Microsoft Office for free. The IT team can help you with this.

What’s the most complex task you’ve had at the Southend Campus?: Before The Forum opened we had to get the systems, which are shared between Southend Borough Council, South Essex College and the University, up and running in time for the opening, as well as moving all the Professional Services team from The Gateway Building into The Forum. We also had to mic Professor Brian Cox up for the opening lecture on the first night!

We know you are partial to a team takeaway on a Friday, what’s your favourite? It depends on the week!  But we are particularly loyal to The Colonel at KFC.

Learning hub PC new

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Southend’s got talent

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 11:21 am

There’s a new team member at the University’s Talent Development Centre in The Forum.

Academic skills tutor Angela Whitby will be available Tuesday-Friday, providing support to all students to help develop their study and language skills and academic writing.

She brings previous experience of providing academic skills support to UK and international students in higher education, with a particular focus on the development of inclusive educational practices and the embedding of academic literacy into higher education teaching.

Angela said: “I took on this role because of my experience in academic reading and writing development in higher education, and the potential to contribute to the support offered to students through the Talent Development Centre.

“I have a particular background in student diversity and the role of academic literacy support in creating inclusive learning environments that enable all students to participate as fully and successfully as possible in higher education.”

Angela holds an MA in Higher and Professional Education from the Institute of Education, University College London, and has recently completed an MA in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching from King’s College London.

She added: “I am most looking forward to offering academic support to both home and international students, with the opportunity to teach on embedded discipline-specific academic support provision, and through providing workshops and advising students from across disciplines.”

The TDC is opposite Student Services on the second floor of The Forum or email

Angela Whitby 1 Weekly

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28 September 2017

We know how you feel!

Filed under: People pages, Student experience — Heather Leathley @ 2:40 pm
Heather and Manda, our "empty nest survivors"

Heather and Manda, our “empty nest survivors”

As two ’empty nest survivors’, Manda and Heather, who compose our friends@essex newsletter, appreciate that friends and families will have a lot of questions as they watch new undergraduates head off to University.

Manda’s daughter has just started at Liverpool and Heather’s daughter has completed her degree here at Essex.

Here are a few of their top tips for getting through the first few weeks:

  • It’s a real balancing act – walking the tightrope between interested and interfering parent.  And when students are heading off to university, even the most laidback of parents have their moments when they are in danger of crossing the line.
  • When you get to the new bedroom, prop the door ajar while you unload.  If you keep the bedroom door open in those valuable first few hours, it’s a welcome sign to all the other flatmates, who can pop their heads in to say hello. All the bedrooms have fire doors, so wedging the door open shouldn’t become a habit.
  • You may be planning a big supermarket shop before you head off.  There’s a large Tesco near the Colchester Campus and the best advice is to get there as early as possible.  By mid-afternoon on arrivals day it can be very chaotic.
  • In Southend, there’s a large Sainsbury’s supermarket opposite University Square, so no car required.  It is open 10am until 4pm on Sundays. In each kitchen at University Square you will find some cotton tote bags which can be used to carry back the shopping.
  • Disappear for an hour or so for a cup of tea and then come back to say goodbye. It doesn’t make that farewell too final and gives you both time to compose yourselves. It’s one of the reasons we now offer free tea and scones at Wivenhoe House on Arrivals Day, Sunday 1 October between 11am and 3pm.
  • In Southend you can blow off the cobwebs with a stroll on the promenade. It’s a good excuse for an ice-cream!
  • Let your student be the first to make contact, after you’ve departed for the journey home. It’s their moment to spread their wings and you don’t want to cramp their style by calling every 10 minutes, especially if you are having a whale of a time at home.
  • Be tough if you get that gut-wrenching homesick call. It will be one of the hardest things you have to do as a parent, but you have to do it, otherwise it could lead to regrets and recriminations on both sides.
  • If you head back during term-time for a visit, make a few frozen packs of a favourite family meal, in individual and group size. But whatever you do, don’t turn up unannounced!!!
  • A few silly little presents through the post can be a nice touch, even the most stoical of students will welcome the odd surprise gift or two.

Just remember, Christmas isn’t that far away.

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21 September 2017

Car parking registration is now open

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:47 am

Car parking registration for 2017-18 is now open.

All staff with cars registered to park at our Colchester Campus for 2016-17 will receive an email including your registered vehicle details. If these are correct, and you do not want to make any changes to the way you pay for your parking , then you do not need to do anything and your chosen car parking option will roll over to 2017-18.

If you need to make any changes, or if you’d like to register for a different type of parking, then please log onto our staff parking pages to update your details and your payment options.

You can find details of the various parking options in the ‘Fees and payment’ section of our website.

Like last year, we are no longer issuing parking permits and everyone should register their vehicles online.

Please make sure that you register for parking as the hand held readers used by our parking enforcement team automatically know which vehicles are authorised to park and which have paid. All 2016-17 permits run out on Thursday 5 October 2017.

Changes to reserved parking

Reserved parking spaces expire on 30 September 2017. You must re-apply for reserved parking each year and spaces are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register for reserved parking online.

The reserved parking area is on level 3 of the multi-decked car park. The price for reserved parking is 0.15% of your salary per month plus £225, which will be taken via salary deduction at £18.75 per month.

All permits for 2017-18 will be valid until 30 September 2018.

Rules and regulations

Changes to the rules and regulations for driving, parking and registering of vehicles for Colchester Campus can be found on the staff parking application portal .

The University is committed to sustainable travel, therefore please consider, where possible, all  travel options when accessing campus such as our journey sharing scheme and our fabulous discounted bus tickets.

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19 September 2017

Meet our new head of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: — Communications Office @ 4:43 pm
Professor Anthony Vickers

Professor Anthony Vickers

Professor Anthony Vickers is our new Head of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, so we thought we’d catch up with him and ask him about his new role.

How long have you worked at Essex and what roles have you had?
I have worked at the University for 32 years, in the Department of Physics, the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering, and now in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE). I have held many academic positions within those departments, including Head of Department (ESE), Director of Education, as well as a University role as Head of Study Abroad.

What is the best thing about working at Essex?
I have always enjoyed working at Essex due to the friendly, cooperative, and professional way of colleagues across all areas.

What are your plans for the School?
The School is currently in a strong financial position with a rich portfolio of courses and research activities. The plans are to further strengthen our education and research excellence. We are currently recruiting new academic and professional service staff. Eleven new academic staff will have joined us during the Autumn term, with more due in spring and Summer. New professional service staff will strengthen our administration of degree apprenticeships and international partnerships. New, internationally competitive research and education laboratories are planned, including visualisation, neuro engineering, embedded systems, and games AI (artificial intelligence) laboratories. The School is introducing a new Week 2 for all first-year students as a transition week, with the emphasis on ‘build something wonderful’. This initiative is part of a larger initiative to encourage our students to focus on creativity and imagination, in the use of the skills they acquire with us.

What is your area of research/expertise?
My research activity is mainly in the physics of optoelectronic materials and devices, focusing on novel materials for photodetectors and Terahertz emitters/detectors. Photodetectors are the receiving element of fibre optic systems. Our research aims to develop new more efficient detectors to reduce costs and increase sustainability. Terahertz emitters and detectors are used in the development of instruments to study proteins for future drugs. The aim is to be able to design drugs, through simulation and experimental studies, to reduce drug costs and make them more widely available. I collaborate on this work with Dr Phil Reeves and Professor Chris Reynolds, from the School of Biological Sciences.

Tell us about any student achievements you are particularly proud of?
The School has an excellent record of providing students to the local, national, and international community, with a graduate destination record which has hovered around 90% for the last three years. The School is also proud its showcase Capstone Project Day at which over 30 company representatives see and discuss our students’ achievements, giving both students and company representatives, an insight into each other’s work. Finally our MSc and PhD students develop into our colleagues, with many of them taking research positions, either with us, or with other universities.

Describe in a sentence what makes CSEE special?
CSEE is a friendly School, with dedicated students and staff, all with a strong emphasis on creativity and imagination.

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12 September 2017

Curtain lifts on autumn season

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 3:36 pm

Clifftown Theatre is starting the autumn season with two thought-provoking productions, including a new play from an East 15 Acting School graduate.

Fringe First award winner at Edinburgh in 2016, Growth, written by Luke Norris, can be seen on Monday 2 October. It is a comic and touching production focussing on the taboo subject of testicular cancer.

Georgie de Suys (pictured below) only graduated from the BA World Performance course this summer, and this talented poet and playwright is back already with her new play To Finally Feel on Saturday 14 October.

The show, inspired by a family friend of Georgie’s, plots the dilemmna of a young male to female trans person trying to come to terms with her gender dysphoria. The cast includes the non binary trans actor Ed Zephyr.

The play has been supported by BBC TV actor Rebecca Root from BBC-2’s Boy Meets Girl and has been produced by trans actress and writer Simona Continente of TransEssex Theatre Project and Theatre Writers Workshop with support from Arts Council England and Southend Borough Council’s 125 Fund.

Tickets for both shows can be ordered on 01702 328335 or through the website

Georgie de Suys Oct 17 EW

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Fun at The Forum

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:07 am

Do you have a knack for knitting or a passion for painting, or wish you did? If so Fun Palaces at The Forum is for you.

The public library on the ground and first floor  is joining more than 300 Fun Palaces across the UK set to erupt with free and fun activities on the weekend of Saturday 7 October and Sunday 8 October , celebrating the fantastic culture in our Southend community.

Fun Palaces is a nationwide campaign to bring together the cultural skills of people in  local communities for people of all ages to learn and enjoy, and has previously included artists, scientists, theatre-makers, knitters, astronomers, magicians, gardeners, singers, conservationists, swimmers, dancers, theatre-makers, crafters and more, showcasing and sharing arts, science, technology, history, crafts, digital and sports.

Iona Farrell, senior Library assistant (Southend) at the University will be there all weekend. She said:  “I think it’s a brilliant thing to have in Southend. The University is part of the local community and it’s an opportunity for us all to do something different.”

If you have a skill you would like to share as a maker sign up here or if you have a burning desire to learn something new, enrol here.  If you would like any more information you can chat to Iona, who is based at the Info Point on the second floor of The Forum, or email her.

fun palaces small


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5 September 2017

5 reasons to cycle to work

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 3:00 pm

I live in Highwoods (four miles from our Colchester Campus) and have been cycling in since I started working at Essex a few years ago. Cycling isn’t an option for everyone of course, but if it’s ever crossed your mind, here are some reasons to consider it again…

5 reasons to cycle to work

  1. Save money– I’ve saved £483 so far in petrol and parking charges that I would have paid on the days I’ve cycled to work.
  2. Eat more biscuits– I burn 250 calories on the round trip. That’s five Maryland cookies, six jaffa cakes or seven rich teas. Or half a pie from the bus.
  3. University facilities– The univeristy is pretty good when it comes to supporting cycling. There’s plenty of cycle parking, plus changing rooms with showers down on Floor 3 under the Extra Store.
  4. It’s safer than you think– Once you start exploring, Colchester has a pretty decent network of cycle paths. I can get all the way from my house to the campus without having to cycle on the road at all.
  5. No more rush hour road rage – You’ll cycle as fast as you can. There’s no-one holding you up and no traffic jams!
An image of Sarah Allen.

Sarah Allen cycling on the beach








And the reasons not to sometimes

I don’t cycle every day. I drive when I’m doing the Tesco shop on the way home. I drive when it’s too cold. Or too wet. Or too windy. Or too hot. You don’t have to cycle every day – you can just do it on the days it works for you. Anything’s better than nothing!

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Here to serve

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:30 am

The Interserve team is now in charge of facilities management at the Southend Campus.

Interserve, which provides support services to businesses all over the world, is also working at the Loughton Campus and Knowledge Gateway, the research and technology park at the Colchester Campus.

Nigel Bradbrook, facilities management supervisor, Richard Stephenson, account manager and Agnes Warchol, contract manager, explained how they are here to help.

What parts of the campus are you responsible for?

Nigel: “The Interserve team will be looking after The Gateway Building, Clifftown and University Square, including cleaning, grounds maintenance and security as well as electrical, water and mechanical services. We all work together and muck in when necessary.

“You will still see the CBRE staff in The Forum, which is covered by a separate partnership contract with Southend Borough Council and South Essex College.”

Richard added: ”Interserve has a one team approach focused in making the customer and student experience as positive as possible by taking responsibility  for delivering excellent customer service.”

How many employees do you have in Southend?

Nigel: “We have 17 cleaners in The Gateway Building and Clifftown. We also have a Security Manager with eight security officers as well as three on-site engineers. ”

Richard: “Security officers are on duty at University Square 24/7 and others are available at The Gateway Building and Clifftown until late each evening.”

What is your role?

Agnes: “I man the helpdesk and liaise with contractors. There’s something different happening every day here, so I am kept busy.”

Richard: “I manage the contract and  liaise with the University, but day to day we all work together and help each other out.”

Nigel: “I’m involved in all sorts of different tasks each day. I’m an electrician by trade but I have to say that this job is more varied.”

How does the cleaning rota work?

Nigel said: “The cleaning team do most of their work between 6.00 am and 8.30 am. We then have a couple of housekeepers here during the day and then a couple of additional cleaners during the evening.”

Do you have any advice for University of Essex staff?

Agnes: “Yes, the normal room temperature should be 19-21 degrees, if the temperature is higher or lower than please report it via Planet FM.  and please use the recycling bins around the campus and encourage students to do so.”

Interserve Daily

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