Students Staff

26 April 2019

Meet the Reading List Team

Filed under: Latest news — Laura Mathias @ 10:23 am

Keziah Gibbs, Hannah Groom and Hannah Pyman.

This week, we met with the Reading List Team to discover how their work is improving the student experience, their love for the library and their quest for the perfect office snack.

So who’s in the ‘Reading List Team’?

We’re a fairly new team and it’s just the three of us.

I’m Hannah Groom, the Core Resources Coordinator. Then, we have another Hannah (Pyman) who is Interlending and Document Delivery Assistant and Keziah Gibbs who is our Senior Library Assistant (Core Resources).

How do you support students?

We ensure that all the module materials required by students are available through the library, in print or online.

Over the last year we have processed 2765 live digitisation requests, with the School of Philosophy and Art History racking up the most, with an impressive 592 scans!

What support can you offer to academic staff?

We provide training and guidance to all academic and support staff in using the reading list system, Talis Aspire. We review all published reading lists, sourcing the materials and ensuring online access where possible.

Tell us something people might not know about pulling together a reading list…

We have to ensure the copyright compliance of all digitised materials.

Now, tell us something we might not know about you?

We love food nearly as much as we love libraries!

Each of us is either studying or has completed a Masters in Library and Information Studies so, when we’re not talking about our courses, you’ll find us discussing our plans for dinner (usually over a mid-morning snack!)

Any big projects coming up?

We’re currently working on the reading lists for next academic year.

The 2018/19 lists have been rolled over to 2019/20 and are ready for academics to edit and submit by Monday 1 July 2019. We then review them before the new students start in October.

How can we get involved in your work?

We need input from staff and students to develop a best practice guide for creating reading lists.

If you have any thoughts on what makes a good reading list, we’d love your feedback. Get in touch at

What project are you most proud of?

When students shared concerns about the availability of core resources in the 2018 National Student Survey, we knew we had to take action to make things better. We increased the number of Talis training sessions for academic staff and reviewed all newly published lists in record-breaking time.

79% of modules now have published reading lists. After this year’s rollover, we’re hoping for 100%!

Need help updating your reading lists by Monday 1 July?

Head to the team’s help pages here.

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23 April 2019

Health, happiness and top marks: 10 tips for exam success

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 2:18 pm


Students of positive psychology have revealed their top tips to keep spirits up during the gloomy exam season.

The third-year students have been studying the psychology of happiness and have drawn on scientific evidence to come up with advice on staying happy and increasing your chances of exam success.

Exam time can be extremely stressful, but making some small adjustments to your daily routine can make all the difference, according to module coordinator Dr Gillian Standstrom. “It’s probably not surprising to learn your close friends and family are an important source of support, but complete strangers can also lift your mood. Chatting to the barista as they make your coffee, or smiling at someone as you pass them in the street has a positive impact,” she said.

Dr Kathryn Buchanan, who co-cordinated the module, points out that “Spending time with others is the most beneficial thing you can do, but you can help yourself in other ways. Random acts of kindness, particularly if you do them surreptitiously, benefit you just as much as the recipient, and taking time to be thankful for all the positive things in your life will also bring rewards.”

The students’ top 10 tips are:

  • Spend time with people who make you happy
  • Treat your study buddy to a coffee – spending money on others makes us happy
  • Take a 24-hour detox from social media
  • Know when to take a break – don’t feel guilty about it and give yourself a reward
  • Make expectations realistic
  • Chat to the barista on your coffee break or to a stranger in the street
  • Leave a £1 in the vending machine – random acts of kindness boost your mood
  • Be grateful – count your blessings before bed or thank your parents for their support
  • Go to the gym or do 10,000 steps a day
  • Eat well, sleep well.

Exams start in just a short few weeks, so take action now to give yourself the best chance of success.



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10 April 2019

Strengthening our links with the University of Konstanz

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 2:18 pm
Staff from Essex and Konstanz

Staff from Essex and Konstanz

Staff from across the university took part in the sixth annual staff exchange trip with the University of Konstanz in March.

Fifteen members of professional services staff spent four days at the University of Konstanz, where they discovered more about the Higher Education sector in Germany and shared knowledge, experience and practice with their German counterparts and each other.

Everyone taking part had an individualised programme, reflecting their own area of work, and spent the week meeting staff, attending team meetings and discovering more about living and working at the University of Konstanz from staff and students.

Staff also took part in a range of cultural activities, including a visit to the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, where they discovered more about Konstanz’s research focus on Collective Behaviour and Ecology.

Vicky Beckwith, from our Human Resources team, said: “Taking part in the programme was incredibly rewarding; spending time in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Constance with our hosts in the Equal Opportunity Office gave a fascinating insight into the issues that Germany is facing in terms of diversity and inclusion, and we were greatly encouraged by their enthusiasm about our inclusive approach at Essex”.

The staff week is recognised as an example of good practice by the German Academic Exchange Service and illustrates our ongoing commitment to our relationship with Konstanz through research collaborations, student and staff exchanges, two dual Masters degrees and our mutual membership of YERUN.

Ivan Hutchins, Head of International Business Development, said: “Visits such as these, to a close and long term institutional friend and partner, are all the more important in this era of uncertainty and change brought about by the UK leaving the EU. While Brexit did form the basis of a lot of initial discussions, the Essex group found out that Konstanz too is facing a period of uncertainty as they await the outcome of their submission to the German Government’s Excellence Initiative”.

Overall the trip highlighted that whilst there are lots of differences,  there are just as many similarities between Essex and Konstanz, and the Higher Education sectors in Germany and England.

Dates for next year’s exchange, which will see staff from Konstanz visiting our Colchester Campus, have already been agreed, and we’re looking forward to learning more through our ongoing relationship with each other.

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