Students Staff

Campus news

20 September 2019

An holistic approach to student development

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, People pages, Student experience — Communications, CER @ 10:55 am

Daniel Fox, our Head of Student Development, tells us more about his new team and their priorities for the new Academic Year.

This summer saw the formation of our new Student Development team within the Student Life Directorate.

Daniel Fox, Head of Student Development.

Created through a restructure, Student Development incorporates Skills for Success, formerly known as the Talent Development Centre, alongside Careers Services, Faculty Co-ordination and Industry and Placements, formerly under the banner of Employability and Careers.

I just wanted to take a further opportunity to briefly highlight the work of this new team within the University as we move towards Welcome Week and the return of our students.

Through the creation of the Student Development service, we aim to achieve a more holistic approach to student development and, over time, a consolidation of initiatives with a greater emphasis on outputs and impact. This, alongside other new initiatives and ways of working, will allow us to become much more agile and focus our services when responding to student need.

As part of the restructuring we are changing the way students access our services in Colchester and Southend. On the Colchester campus the Employability and Careers Centre on Square 2 and the TDC Helpdesk on the ground floor of the Silberrad Student Centre have closed. The access point for initial enquiries is now the Student Services Hub (SSH) on each campus; since the creation of the Student Services Hub, it has been the intention to have a one-stop-shop approach, giving all students easy and clear access to services. This is also an opportunity to ensure parity of experience across our campuses is achieved, as well as extending opening times to students who want to access these services.

Clearly this is the start of an exciting journey where we aim to work closely with colleagues to ensure students are supported not only during their time here but also as they move into the next stage of their lives.

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19 September 2019

Are you looking after your eyes?

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — Tags: , , — Laura Mathias @ 10:46 am
With National Eye Health Week coming up, our Health Safety and Wellbeing Manager, Stuart Henty, talks about the importance of looking after your eyesight.

Many people fear losing their vision but take minimal steps in caring for their eyes.

National Eye Health Week (23 – 29 September 2019) aims to inspire and educate on the importance of eye health.

Stuart Henty

Stuart Henty, Health Safety and Wellbeing Manager

Did you know that:

  • 2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss that has a significant impact on their daily lives. Half of this sight loss is avoidable.
  • A sight test can detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, which can be treated if found soon enough.
  • During a sight test, other health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure could be detected.

A poor diet, smoking and failing to wear eye protection in bright sunlight have been shown to affect eye health.

It is also important to take regular, short breaks away from your computer screen. By taking your focus off your screen, you are relaxing your eye muscles and ultimately reducing eye fatigue. Staring at a computer screen for a long period of time can lead to a number of health issues, including blurred vision, tired and dry eyes, and headaches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend booking an eye test.

Are you entitled to a free eye test?

If you use Display Screen Equipment (DSE) or require protective prescription goggles then you are entitled to a Smart Employee Eye care voucher once a year. The voucher entitles you to a free eyesight test at an affiliated optician and a free pair of single vision Video Display Unit (VDU) glasses or safety goggles from the SEE range or a £25 contribution towards a pair of glasses of your choice.

Click here to claim your voucher and find out more

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23 August 2019

Can you help us welcome our new students?

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, People pages, Student experience, What's on — Communications, CER @ 11:52 am

Welcome and Registration volunteers – we need your help!

Could you spare some time to volunteer during Arrivals Day or Welcome this year?

The Registration and Student Experience teams are busy preparing for the start of the new academic year and are keen to hear from anyone who can donate some of their time to support Welcome and Registration events for our new students in October.

Help is needed on Arrivals Day, Sunday 29 September, as well as during Welcome Week. This is a great way to have positive contact with students who will be grateful for all the help and support they can get to make their transition into University life a smooth one.  It’s also a chance to work with staff and student volunteers from across the institution so it really is a win/win opportunity.

If you’d like to get involved in activities that aren’t part of your usual job please speak to your line manager and complete the online form and the team will be in touch.

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Cycling to campus and reducing our carbon footprint

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, Student experience — Communications, CER @ 9:47 am

Cycling to work plays a key part in reducing our carbon footprint, improving the health of staff and students and managing our environmental impact.

New cycle parking now located under the STEM building.

As a University, we have made a commitment to reduce our carbon emissions by 43% against a 2005 baseline by 2020/21 through energy usage, but our community’s travel emissions are important too.

As a step to meet this goal, we are keen to encourage our community to cycle to work. Please see more about the cycle scheme we offer staff.  Currently, we have 15 cycle rack locations across our Colchester Campus ranging from The Copse to the Sports Arena.

We have also recently installed a number of cycle hoops following the completion of the STEM building. These are located underneath the STEM Building and can be accessed via Valley Road.

With the introduction of cycle storage at both ends of Valley Road, cycling the full length of Under Podia will no longer be permitted. This change is to ensure the safety of all cyclists.

Since last year we have increased our cycle storage provision by adding over 100 additional spaces. In total that will bring us to over 1100 cycle spaces across our Colchester Campus.

We are also going to move the Cycle Fixing Station and bike pump under Square 5 by the two tier cycle rack to beside one of the supporting pillars alongside the cycle hoops opposite. This will allow for cyclists to support their bike safely whilst work is undertaken.

An additional repair station will also be installed in North Towers Cycle Park by Rayleigh Tower; both works will take place by the end of September 2019.

We have added additional dates for Dr Bike to be on campus over the summer to provide servicing, repairs and affordable second-hand bikes on the following dates:

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Cycle parking under podia

They will be located on Square 5 from 8.30am- 2.30pm. For further information on Dr Bike please visit our webpages

Finally we are updating some of our cycling signage across campus, clarifying a number of pedestrian only access routes to the Squares and where it’s appropriate to cycle under podia. This work is anticipated to take place in September.

We want to make the University campus a safe place for everyone. Please find the link to our recently updated cycling rules on campus

If you would like to find out more information about cycling on campus please visit the Estates webpages.

Our Sustainability and Transport team have also undertaken a full review of travel and infrastructure which has included stakeholder engagement, surveys and pop up stands.

Based on the findings the team will be creating a set of initiatives to allow growth and development within our approaches to travelling around the University. External stakeholders have also been brought on board to advise on ways to improve journeys to and from campus.

If you need any further advice on cycling please contact

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18 July 2019

New academic building set for Colchester Campus

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, Student experience — Communications, CER @ 12:37 pm
 architects image of the new academic building Colchester Campus

Our new academic building will provide accommodation for staff and help us provide a transformational educational experience for our students.

Our University Strategy 2019-25 maps out an exciting period of growth for our University, anticipating expansion to 20,000 students and 1,000 researchers.

Our Capital Investment Plan outlines the ways in which we will accommodate this growth, including plans for a new Academic Building on our Colchester Campus.

The proposed £26m new building will house approximately 250 staff while also helping us provide a transformational learning experience for our students through multi-functional learning spaces, collaborative working spaces, study spaces, adaptable events spaces, a common room, department receptions and a café.

Situated on the north side of Colchester Campus the project will also see the refurbishment of Rayleigh square to provide outdoor space for socialising and outdoor study and learning. See what the new building will look like on Flickr.

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28 June 2019

Reaching out to young people this summer

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, People pages, Student experience, What's on — Communications, CER @ 1:51 pm

Two summer schools will invite young people to our campus this summer to learn about and experience university life.

Over the next two weeks, the Outreach team will be welcoming around 150 students onto our Colchester Campus for a university residential experience that they will never forget.

Our summer schools are designed for students who come from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education and are the perfect opportunity for them to discover more about university. They raise aspirations, knowledge and attainment through an innovative set of activities.

Two summer schools will give students the opportunity to immerse themselves into university life, both academically through taster sessions and socially as they will be staying in our University accommodation.

Our year 10 summer school, funded through Make Happen – the Essex partnership for the National Collaborative Outreach Program-  will see students taking part in a one-night residential, working with University of Essex academics to produce an academic poster arguing passionately for or against one of the following topics:

Year 12 visitors will experience the five-day programme filled with lectures, seminars, and independent research time to prepare them for university applications and degree-level academic writing. As part of the application process, students were invited to write a  500-word application on one of the following strands:

  • Mental Health Uncut: Critically consider the role of social media in the development of mental health problems.
  • Detention in the USA: Trump has detained many asylum seeking families, do you think this affects people’s Human Rights?
  • Global Meltdown: Young people in the UK are not affected by worldwide environmental concerns. Discuss.
  • Biological Sciences: A life for a life: Is the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research justified? Argue passionately for and against.
  • Business Studies: Write about somebody in business you admire: Tell us why you think they make a good business person. Think about their professional image, behaviour and reputation.
  • Literature, Film and Theatre Studies: Delve into the fascinating world of relationships by immersing yourself in one of our key texts. Critically analyse how relationships are depicted in your text by writing an essay. Or, you may feel inspired to write a poem, song, rap, short story, piece of drama, epilogue or prologue.

Both year groups will be living in our on campus accommodation, using the academic and social facilities and experiencing life as a University of Essex student. Current students act as role models throughout the summer school to share their experiences and inspire them to follow their footsteps into university.

Summer schools are part of the University’s outreach program of activity which is designed to work with underrepresented groups in higher education and give them to tools and confidence needed to progress to Higher Education. More information about the University’s outreach activities can be found on our outreach website.

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30 May 2019

Routes for reporting an incident

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, People pages, Student experience — Communications, CER @ 11:49 am

We want to make it as easy as possible for any member of our community to report an incident. We have a number of routes for reporting, and we encourage anyone with a concern to consider making a report.

  • We launched our Report and Support system to make it as easy as possible for anyone, including visitors, to report an incident. The system is available on our website and reports can be made anonymously if preferred.
  • Our Student Conduct Office can receive and deal with complaints and full contact details are on our website. Our Code of Student Conduct is built on the principle that all students are expected to maintain a standard of conduct which supports the University’s commitment to excellence, promotes good order and the good name of our University. In accepting an offer of a place at Essex, every student is bound by our rules and regulations – including those in the Code of Student Conduct.
  • Our Human Resources section deals with formal complaints made by staff or students – about our staff. Our People Supporting Strategy seeks to ensure we have a diverse workforce in a safe, discrimination/harassment-free environment.
  • Our Security team provide 24/7 cover to our campuses and deal with complaints and incidents reported from across our University. All of our emergency contact details are on our website.
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28 September 2018

Essex STEM Centre – putting Essex in the lead with 21st century facilities

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — Communications, CER @ 3:30 pm

Professor Anthony Vickers is the Head of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE). Here, he talks about our new STEM Centre and the difference it will make to teaching and learning within CSEE.  

Professor Anthony Vickers, Head of the School of CSEE.

CSEE will be using the exploratory space within the STEM Centre – can you tell us more about the facilities in that space and what you’ll be using it for?

CSEE will make use of the computer laboratory floor which includes the new Exploratory Space, specifically designed for team working. The School has three core modules running in years 1, 2, and 3. These are team work modules in years 1 and 2. The ability to teach a large group (~150 students) of teams on one floor, supported by academic staff, and graduate laboratory assistants, using top class computers and AV facilities put us in a leading position regarding 21st century facilities. We are very excited by the new exploratory space and will be using this both for team work and for a break out area to enable staff to guide groups with similar blocks in their understanding. We will use the floor for the whole of Week 2 as a base for our 1st Year Challenge Week, recently presented an Excellence in Education award. Later in the year the whole computer floor and the Event Space on Square level will be used for our Final Year Project Open Day, an event designed to showcase capstone project work to companies and recruitment agents.

Is this an improvement on the facilities you had before? What difference will it make to the type of work you can do with students?

As a growing School, and one focussed on the use of computers, the added facilities in STEM gives us additional top quality machines for students to use 24 hours a day. In addition to STEM we have completely rebuilt our electronics/embedded systems/electronics laboratory in the Networks Centre Building, and created a new student centred computer laboratory across the Square from STEM. This new laboratory will also be open 24 hours and will not be timetabled for teaching, providing a true 24 hour availability for CSEE students. This laboratory will also house a new Techical Support School Office, providing 9-5 support on a range of technical matters from coding to 3D printing, to PCB design.

What sort of events will you be running in the event space? What do you hope to achieve with them?

We will use the Event Space for applicant Days and later in the year the whole computer floor and the Event Space will be used for our Final Year Project Open Day, an event designed to showcase capstone project work to companies and recruitment agents. Out of term time the event Space will be used for Conferences, such as our locally run CEEC conference, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year in September.

Do you think a dedicated science square will help encourage more young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects?

Square 1 will become known as the Science Square as all Schools and Departments in the Faculty of Science and Health utilise the Square and create events using it. In Week 2 we will have a marquee in the square acting as a point of contact for all CSEE first year students undertaking our Challenge Week. We look forward to working with colleagues across the Faculty to develop whole Faculty Science Square events.

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21 September 2018

Streamlining our printing

Filed under: Campus news — Communications, CER @ 2:56 pm

We currently have more than 1,000 printers in operation across our three campuses – and are using 22 million sheets of paper a year for in-office printing. Our printing services need to be streamlined and centrally managed so we can save paper, reduce our carbon emissions, improve efficiency and cut costs. 

Marc Albano, our Deputy Director of Finance, tells us more about the project aimed at tackling this situation – and what we can all do to help.

Can you outline the situation for us?
Most print and copy facilities across the University are either individual or small networked devices with no consistency or standardisation that are only accessible by either one person or a small number of individuals in an office. Colour printing is not available as a norm and there are limited remote/mobile printing options.

Student-facing printing is centralised, and a recent pilot at the Southend Campus has shown that a centralised model for staff and student printing can enhance and increase the functionality and availability of devices across a campus, whilst also reducing costs and allowing the University’s printing requirements and habits to be understood and better supported.

We are now working to centralise and standardise our print, copy and scan devices across our three campuses. This will include remote/mobile printing and scan to email/box/SharePoint.

How many printers are there in the university?
An audit carried out last year identified 1,025 print/copy devices, of which about 90% are small office or individual devices.

How much are we using the equipment, the paper, the toner?
The 120 Large Office Multi-Function Devices (MFD) handle over half of all printed/copied content. The cost of the remaining 90% of the print estate is largely spent on toner cartridges and replacement of old or failed machines.

We’re producing around 17.8 million mono and 4.3 million colour print/copies a year.

Why is this a problem?
Every 8,000 sheets of A4 paper equates to one tree, so just through print/copy alone we’re getting through at least 1,624 trees a year. Aside from the environmental issues, we’re also spending a lot of money on expensive toner and, because of the variety of printers we currently use, maintenance is also costly and inefficient.

What are your plans to tackle this situation?
Budgets held by departments and sections for printers and consumables will be consolidated into a single budget held by IT Services, who will work with a supplier across all campuses.
Paper will be procured centrally and toner will be replenished by an automated just-in-time process.

Diagnostic tools will proactively monitor the fleet, passing alerts to support operatives who can troubleshoot or escalate any issues using Service Level Agreements that match the University’s core needs.

The MFD devices will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure we have the right devices in the right locations, so we can move, expand or reduce the fleet as required.

What is this going to mean for colleagues? Will they have to change the way they print?
To support the University’s Green Impact initiative, print jobs will default to double-sided mono, and will be held in a queue until the user releases them at the device (follow-me printing). This not only removes waste from unwanted/uncollected print jobs but is much more secure – for printing confidential material.

Print jobs can be released at any device around the campuses.

Remote/mobile printing will also be significantly enhanced, allowing students and staff to print from any device, whether they are connected to the University network or wifi.

Where do you think we can make savings?
“Follow-me” printing prevents any unwanted or uncollected print jobs from being printed and by setting the machines to a default setting so they only print double sided black and white saves toner and paper.

Moving from over 1,000 mixed devices to something closer to 200 standard models will allow us to significantly reduce future replacement costs and reduce the amount of spare toner held on site.

What can we all be doing to help?
The project team will be contacting departments and professional service sections to help with identifying the best locations for these new devices. We will also be looking for volunteers to become our new Print Champions.

The Champions group will receive comprehensive training on how to get the most out of the devices in their area. Their feedback will also help us develop and improve the way we print over the coming years.

This project will ensure that the University has the best quality devices running and operating in an efficient and cost effective manner but every member of staff needs to consider their own level of printing so we can reduce the volume of printing being produced – 22 million sheets of paper per year is a lot of printing.

What work is going to be done?
Following a device audit, preferred locations will be mapped against existing provision to help inform the University’s new Print Policy. Where these replace existing devices, the project team will work to plan as seamless a switch over as possible. Should any devices be planned for areas without current data/power, works will be undertaken to prepare these areas – working alongside Essex Access Forum and Fire Safety.

When and where will this happen?
A technical proof of concept is underway now in IT Services, Finance, Talent Development Centre and Strategic Planning and Change. It is anticipated that two pilots will then take place starting in October, one introducing the new devices into our new STEM building, the other introducing them into an existing area of the University.

Experiences from these pilots will help improve and refine the design of the service, and help produce a deployment plan and timetable for the rest of our three campuses. It is anticipated that the Centrally Managed Print Solution will be deployed across the University before the end of the 2018/19 financial year. We will replace all student accessible MFD devices to provide a single service for all- so this will follow the main roll out of devices for staff.

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1 June 2018

Being an Essex Intern changed my life – let it change yours too!

Filed under: Campus news, Student experience — Laura Mathias @ 10:57 am
Recent graduate, Mihaela Popova, reflects on her time as an Essex Intern

Recent graduate, Mihaela Popova, reflects on her time as an Essex Intern

My name is Mihaela and I am just about to finish my internship as an Executive Support Project Officer in the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar’s Office (VCRO). I graduated from the University in 2017 with a BA in International Relations. During my years at Essex, I worked close to full time to support myself, so I didn’t really take part in many extracurricular activities, such as volunteering, and my CV was a bit bare. I knew that, in order to get a rewarding job, I needed to gain more experience, so I decided to sign up for Essex Interns. And what can I say, to this day, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

I was receiving emails about different internships from Essex Interns almost every day and there was a wide variety of opportunities to choose from. However, I didn’t want to apply for just anything, I wanted to apply for an internship I felt I was right for. I waited for a while and then I received an email about a research orientated internship in the VCRO. When I read the job description, I knew I was perfect for the job. I put a lot of effort into my cover letter and I contacted the Employability and Careers Centre to review it. The staff were amazing and provided support and guidance throughout my application. Still, I read it over and over again and submitted it at the very last minute (typical). I was quickly invited to interview, and got the internship! I was so happy, I knew I was perfect for the job and was glad that the panel thought so too.

I started the role in November on a four month contract and immediately felt like a part of the team. I was extremely grateful for having a chance to work in the Executive Office of the University. Looking back now, I am even more grateful to my amazing manager who trusted me with so many different tasks. She gave me support through the completion of my assignments and even arranged for me to meet members of staff working in the areas I was interested in. She was always providing me with different development opportunities, which is really the point of Essex Interns.

Although the internship was mostly research orientated, there was so much more to it – I helped with events management, focus groups, I set up a survey, created the University organisation structure chart, selected artwork, supervised students, and so much more. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy but it was rewarding. I worked really hard and got offered an extension to my contract… twice! I was so happy, I felt that my hard work was being recognised and appreciated – I had never felt that way before.

Now we’re approaching the end of my internship and I can honestly say that these last seven months have been incredible. I have learnt so much and I don’t even know how to explain how much I will miss the time I’ve spent in the VCRO. I met amazing people, inside and out of the office. I was able to attend meetings and talk to senior members of staff which has made me confident and improved my communication skills dramatically. I used to be this shy girl with the empty CV and now I am a confident young woman with a great set of skills. I will be forever grateful to everyone in the VCRO, especially my manager who supported me from day one. My experience was outstanding and I’m really sad that it’s coming to an end but it’s time to start the next chapter.

I strongly advise graduates to pursue intern opportunities because they really are a once in a lifetime experience which will open a lot of doors. As an intern, you will meet professionals around the University and you’ll build connections and networks which will benefit you in the future. All internships are different but they will teach you the same thing – it doesn’t matter whether you’re a student or graduate, the University will help you achieve your goals, you just need to let it.

One last word of advice from me: if you’re in your final year, make sure you seek the help of the Employability & Careers team and Essex Interns. I have them to thank for everything!


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