Students Staff

19 October 2018

Handy hints to help you park on campus

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 11:36 am

We know that it can be difficult to find a space at our Colchester Campus sometimes, so here are some useful tips to make sure it’s as easy as possible to park your car at our Colchester Campus.

Make sure that any car you’re planning to drive onto campus is registered

Inside our MDCP

Inside our MDCP

You can register your vehicle online and start parking at a reduced rate straight away.  If you can’t apply online, visit the Estate Management Helpdesk to complete a paper form. These take two working days to process. If you’d prefer to pay daily, remember you need to pay when you arrive, not when you leave.

Know where to park…

The Multi Decked Car Park and Innovation Centre Car Park are for staff and visitors only.  Staff can also park in Car Park B, Valley Car Park and North Towers Car Park.

and what to do if the car parks are busy

You can find our temporary overflow car park on the north side of campus. You can reach it from Boundary Road. We’re also creating some new parking at Capon Road – 149 extra spaces will be available in April and 210 in June.

Keep your eyes peeled for our helpful staff

If you’re struggling to find a spot then our friendly Traffic Officers, Mark, Gary and Joe will help you find somewhere to park. They’re the ones in bright orange jackets, so they’re pretty easy to spot. Please follow their instructions, and remember to be nice. You might be stressed looking for a spot, but they’ve been doing it all day!

Make sure you know the rules about parking on campus

Remember to take a look at our parking signs and make sure you only park in one of our car parks. For more info, take a look at our full terms and conditions.

Park on campus? Are you mad! How else can I get here?

Our sustainable transport initiatives promote lots of different ways for you to get to campus like walking, cycling and using public transport. You can find out more about our sustainability initiatves by signing up to our monthly newsletter. Just email sustainability@essex.ac.uk.

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18 October 2018

Wivenhoe Park is one of the best

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:24 am

Wivenhoe Park has been named one of the nation’s favourite parks following a public vote, being placed top ten in the Green Flag Award People’s Choice vote covering more than 1,500 parks and green spaces.

We spoke to Grounds Manager Marcus Clayton about what the award means, and his team’s plans for our campuses in the future…

How does it feel to have Wivenhoe Park be among the top ten parks in the UK?

Our Grounds Team

Our Grounds Team

We’d already retained the Green Flag Award for the second year running which was brilliant in itself, but to be voted in the top ten out of all green spaces in the UK is absolutely fantastic.

I wouldn’t be able to do it without my team. They’re all 100% dedicated and for most of them this is their hobby too. It couldn’t be done without them – it’s as simple as that. We’re about 10-strong and at Colchester we maintain 200 acres of parkland and a further 30 acres of sports pitches. It’s hard work!

To be the only university featured in the top ten is absolutely fantastic. I’m lucky to be the custodian of this historic parkland – that’s an honour in itself – but to top it off with the Green Flag Award and coming top ten in the People’s Choice is great.

What’s changed in Wivenhoe Park over the last year?

We are always making improvements, but recently we have focused on the arrival experience at the campus entrances, along with the replacement of the main boundary fence. With new signs, fencing and landscaping these improvements have already brought a really significant visual improvement.

We’ve also done a lot of work around the lake which has proved really popular. We’ve introduced a significant amount of new seating, a fire-pit and new paths, planting and bank protection.

We’ve revamped some of the landscaping around accommodation areas, with new block paving and bedding schemes, along with improvements to the rear of the LTB which was previously uninspiring.

What’s happening next?

This is going to be a really busy year for us. We’re doing a lot of work at all three campuses.

At Colchester we’ll be revamping the planting at North Housing with new planting, seating and wildflower areas. In addition we’ll continue to create more outdoor social spaces at South Courts so students living there can really enjoy the area. We are also reviewing the seating on the Squares with the aim of bringing new designs and capacity, as these are such an integral part of the Colchester campus.

At Loughton we’re planning on making improvements to the beautiful grounds, looking at planting, hard landscaping and generally making it the best environment we can for students studying there.

Finally, we’ve got a big project at Southend where the planters are going to be improved and additional seating added so students can get out and enjoy their outside space.

Our focus is absolutely on enhancing the student experience and it’s great for the wellbeing of both staff and students to have nice outside spaces to enjoy, relax and unwind.

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12 October 2018

Paperless – Coming to a Committee Near You

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 12:33 pm

Karen Bowlby from our Governance team tells us more about the Paperless Committees project, which is now underway, and which will be going live this academic year.

Since 2016, SharePoint sites have been developed for a variety of committees across campus. These committees have served as the preliminary test subjects for the paperless committees system the Governance team will be rolling out across Essex over the next academic year.

Utilising our newly acquired Box (a cloud based document storage and collaboration system similar to Dropbox) licence along with the standard that has been tested and approved for committee SharePoint sites, each committee will be moving to paperless operations by the end of this academic year.

Besides the obvious benefit of reducing costs associated with the production and distribution of committee papers, adopting the paperless operations of committees will see

  • an increased efficiency in the creation, amendment, storage, distribution and destruction of committee papers
  • there will no longer be the requirement to add blank pages for seamless printing, and the days of putting hundreds of papers together in neat packs for committee members will be a distant memory that will join the likes of the Rolodex, or the ink blotter
  • External committee members will share the benefit of an improved ease of access to review papers
  • both committee members and secretaries alike will benefit from improved information security as papers will be accessed via links requiring passwords rather than being mailed out in their entirety to personal email addresses or in hard copies via the post

Staff involved with committees will be contacted for an initial consultation by the Paperless Committees’ project manager in the coming months. Following this consultation, a SharePoint site will be developed according to your committee’s specification and a plan laid out for as seamless a transition as possible.

For more information, please contact the Governance team at Governance@essex.ac.uk.

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Say hello to the College Director for the new University of Essex International College

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:38 am

Meet Danny Martin, College Director for Kaplan’s new University of Essex International College at Colchester.

Danny Martin

How long have you worked for Kaplan?

I’ve been with Kaplan for just over three months. Prior to that, I spent a decade in China working for Pearson with Wall Street English. I was responsible for the daily operations of 25 language training centres, involving 23,000 students.

My original plan was to stay in China for one year, but I really loved teaching. I loved going to work every day knowing I was helping students to open the door to future opportunities.

 What attracted you to this role?

After I returned to the UK, I saw this opportunity with Kaplan which has brought me to Essex.  I wanted to continue working with international students and I was looking for a role with a company that shared the same common values. I felt that with Kaplan, and when I came to Essex I was really impressed by all the people I met at the campus and the prospect of working with a really great university.  It was a perfect storm of opportunity.

How many people are there on the UEIC team?

We have four people in the support team and 17 teachers.  Between the team , we speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, Italian,  Arabic, French and Russian. I’m afraid to say I don’t speak much Mandarin after all my time in China!

How many students do you have?

We currently have 115 students on three different courses. The first programme is a foundation certificate for students who have completed their high school education in their home country. They come to us to work on their academic skills, their English and subject knowledge before progressing to their undergraduate degree at Essex.

In addition, we offer two International Year One programmes which allow students to progress to the second year of Business or Economics degrees at Essex.

Finally we offer pre-Masters courses to help develop English language and study skills.

Why is Essex so attractive to internatlonal students?

It really depends where you come from. For some students they want to work abroad and a UK degree is easily recognisable.

For many though, they want to work with international companies in their home countries. It is more prestigious, and more highly thought of, to achieve a degree from a good university abroad.

The students are also looking forward to embracing a new culture and environment.

What do you think of your new home in the Constable Building?

We are privileged to have such a great working environment. Estates and Campus Services, the Academic Partnerships team and the IT team have been tremendous, a lot of thought has gone into this.

For instance, all the classrooms have natural light which helps you mentally and physically and the rooms are designed to encourage collaborative learning.

What extra curricular activities are you arranging? 

We are trying to run at least one major outside activity a month for the students. The next trip is to Fright Night at Thorpe Park. We have been to the zoo and we will head to some museums. In the long term we will look to go further afield, perhaps to Edinburgh or Cambridge.

I’m looking forward to seeing our first cohort progress through to the university and to seeing their friendships form. We are looking to recruit student reps. I am a thorough believer that we can always improve.

What did you miss the most when you were in China?

I will be stereotypically Scottish and say Irn-Bru!

 

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5 October 2018

Thank you

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 1:00 pm

We’re nearly at the end of Welcome Week and we’re sure like us, you are ready for the weekend!

Hannah Lamb and Hannah Gott

Hannah Lamb and Hannah Gott

Welcome week is University-wide effort involving every department, school, professional service, and of course the Students’ Union. Staff and volunteers have clocked up the hours this week, with many working Arrivals Day on Sunday as well as through Welcome week to ensure that activities run smoothly.  We’ve had volunteers working in force in registration, helping students to find their way around campus, queue-busting and supporting events.  It’s been great to work with you all and to see so many of the University community coming together to support new and returning students.  The positive energy you create is palpable and is key to the happy welcoming atmosphere on campus, showing Essex off at its hospitable best.

So whatever your usual job, or what you’ve stepped up to do at Welcome, a massive thank you to you!

Whilst Welcome Week might be nearly over, students are still arriving on our campuses and we will continue to work with colleagues across our University over the next few weeks to ensure that these students are welcomed and inducted.  So, as you go about your normal day, please remember to smile and be helpful by supporting students to find their way, an making sure they have a warm welcome into the autumn term!

Still fancy volunteering?

It’s not too late to get a green ‘Welcome’ t-shirt or volunteer as a Welcome helper to support registration and induction activities over the next couple of weeks.  Give us a call on 3459 or pop in – T-shirts can be collected either from the Student Engagement Team office (4.403 on square 2 in Colchester) or the spare office in TF.2.24 in Southend, either by individuals or on behalf of a group.  Just remember to return T-shirts, so we can use them for future Welcome weeks.

Want to offer some feedback?

We’re keen to hear your feedback in order to inform planning for Welcome in future years. We want to know what has gone well, what hasn’t gone so well and what could be done differently to improve the Welcome experience for students and staff. Perhaps you’ve overheard a student making a particularly positive comment and want to feed that back, or you’ve received the same query a number of times and you think communications to students could be improved for future years. Please tell us all about it.

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Attention Committee Paper authors

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 9:55 am

Is that blinking cursor on that blank screen the bane of your existence?

Do you wish you had a template or guidance that might help you get started on that report that’s due to that committee secretary that keeps sending you “Sorry to chase, but…” emails?

Wish there was just one standard cover sheet that would work for every committee across the University?

Can’t remember where the University’s Diary of Meetings got moved to on the internet? Kicking yourself for not bookmarking it when you had the chance?

Did you know there is now a Committee Portal on SharePoint dedicated to providing you with all of the information and guidance you might need for that upcoming paper, along with loads of useful links to obscure corners of the University website? No, you didn’t?! Well, no wonder that cursor is so lonely on that blank screen!

Using the experience and feedback of committee secretaries and paper authors across the University, the Portal has been designed with your needs in mind. Broken up into three sections:

  • Resources for paper authors and sponsors
  • Committees, sub-committees and groups
  • Resources for committee secretaries, each deals directly with the questions that have come from various committee roles and the resources that have provided the most assistance over the years.

So, what are you waiting for? Check it out!

For more information, feel free to contact Karen Bowlby or another member of the Governance team at Governance@essex.ac.uk, subject: Committee Paper Authors

 

 

 

 

 

Using the experience and feedback of committee secretaries and paper authors across Essex, the Portal has been designed with your needs in mind. It is dedicated to providing you with all the information and guidance you might need for an upcoming committee meeting, along with useful links to relevant University webpages, including the University’s Diary of Meetings.

The Portal is broken up into three sections

  • Resources for paper authors and sponsors
  • Committees, sub-committees and groups
  • Resources for committee secretaries

Each deals directly with the questions that have come from various committee roles and the resources that have provided the most assistance over the years.

For more information, feel free to contact Karen Bowlby or another member of the Governance team at Governance@essex.ac.uk, subject: Committee Paper Authors.

 

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4 October 2018

New online system for extenuating circumstances and late submission

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Communications, CER @ 10:58 am

A new online system is being launched that will digitise extenuating circumstances and late submission claims. Here, project manager Kevin Delves tells us more about the project and the benefits of new system.

Tell us, briefly, how this new system/approach has come about. What problem was it setting out to tackle?

We wanted to make the experience as easy as possible for students – modernising the process by moving from a paper form that needs to be handed in to an online form. We also had feedback from colleagues that processing extenuating circumstances claims at the busy exam board time was a real pressure point. We developed the idea for the system through consultation with the Students’ Union and with colleagues.

When will the new system go live?

Monday 15 October.

Where can students access it?

Via My Essex, Faser, and the Essex University Website.

Where can staff access it?

In the first phase staff will be notified of Extenuating Circumstances and Late Submission claims via email to a central inbox that is department specific. In subsequent phases of the project, which will be delivered during this academic year, we will enhance the staff screens with additional functionality to support the management of claims.

What are the main changes?

The main change for students is the ability to complete the form online and submit supporting evidence as part of the same application. The online system has also combined Extenuating Circumstances with Late Submission so that it is now one form for both claims.  The system will also improve communication with students about progress with their claim.

What are the benefits to students?

Ease of use and more convenient and better communication throughout the process.

What are the benefits to staff?

Improved consistency in the management of claims, reduction in the number of claim submissions mislaid/misfiled, reduction in administrative time to manage the process, reduction in time and costs associated with a paper based process, and better information on the understanding of issues affecting students.

For anyone who doesn’t know, what are: “Extenuating Circumstances?” and how do they differ from “Late Submissions”?

Extenuating circumstances are circumstances beyond your control which have an impact on your assessed work. Extenuating circumstances can fall into the following categories:

  • Circumstances which cause you to perform less well in the assessment
  • Circumstances which cause you to miss an assessment event or not to submit an assessment

The University has a specific policy and guidance on Late Submission:

  • Circumstances where you are unable to submit coursework by the deadline or to attend a summative assessment event
  • Circumstances which mean you need extra time to submit a dissertation (taught postgraduate students only)

In general, extenuating circumstances will be of a medical or personal nature affecting you for any significant period of time and/or on the day of the assessment event, or immediately preceding the time of the deadline.

How will streamlining the process save time and improve the experience?

The solution is aiming to enhance the student experience of submitting a claim by making it easier to use, and ensuring communication at all stages. It will also support staff in the more effective management and processing of claims by reducing inefficiencies in the paper process by moving it online.

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