Students Staff

Campus news

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.

When centralised printers are installed, any existing printers will be collected by IT Services for redeployment, spares or recycling, along with spare toners which will go into a bank of spare toners for old printers until all our new devices are in place.

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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28 March 2018

Knowledge Gateway – our growing research and technology park

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — Communications, CER @ 4:58 pm

The next phases of our Knowledge Gateway research and technology park is taking shape next door to our now thriving Parkside Office Village.

Our new Innovation Centre is is taking shape.

Our new Innovation Centre is is taking shape.

The next phase of Parkside – just beside the current site – will be ready for autumn 2018 and the level of interest from potential tenants is already high.

Across the road, our £12m Innovation Centre is taking shape thanks to a £2m grant from Essex County Council plus £2m from South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.

We’re on track to open the Innovation Centre in spring 2019 and it will provide a home to more than 50 start-ups and fast growing hi-tech businesses.

The success of our Start-up Hub at Parkside which has seen our team help establish 20 registered companies is also giving us confidence about what we can achieve at the Innovation Centre.

We’ll share more detailed plans soon including our proposals for a state-of-the-art digital suite which can build on our artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Our partners are sharing our excitement.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, told us: “Essex is leading the UK on start-ups of new enterprises and Essex County Council’s investment of £2million into the Innovation Centre at the University of Essex demonstrates our commitment to support these businesses by providing the right types of workspaces.

“We also recognise the importance of Colchester as a digital cluster and this investment will help to further enhance Colchester’s presence in this sector.”

The businesses and organisations now at Parkside have given us a solid foundation to build on.

We’ve invested a total of £50m so far in creating our Knowledge Gateway research and technology park to bring together great infrastructure, talented academic researchers, space for start-ups, and opportunities for anchor tenants to establish new regional centres on our campus.

Our long-term vision is to create more than 2,000 high-value jobs within 15 years by offering a home to more start-ups, SMEs and global businesses.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

2 March 2018

Taming the Beast from the East 

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — ckeitch @ 11:40 am
Our Colchester Campus in the snow

Our Colchester Campus in the snow

Our fabulous staff have been hard at work all week making sure our campuses remain open, despite the wintery weather.

Staff from our Grounds team , Domestic Services teams and Estates team have made their way in  from Ipswich, Braintree, Jaywick and Brightlingsea for 5am starts and used:

  • 25 tonnes of salt;
  • 6,000 litres of brine;
  • 3 tractors;
  • 3 ATV buggies;
  • dozens of shovels.

Take a look at the photos of our Colchester Campus in the snow.

 

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26 January 2018

Get sustainable for our next Applicant Day – Wednesday 31 January

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — ckeitch @ 1:24 pm

Next week we are set to have one or our busiest ever Applicant Days.

On Wednesday 31 January we’re expecting record numbers of potential new students to come and visit our Colchester Campus, so parking will be very limited.

However, we’ve been working hard to make sure there are plenty of alternatives to driving in, so join us in being more sustainable for the day.

Cycling

Ditch the car and hop on two wheels for your commute to enjoy some great cycling related activities.

From 8.30am to 2.30pm you’ll be able to get a free safety check of your bike and do some minor repairs at a discounted rate from Doctor Bike.

Our cycle sleuth will also be out and about dishing out rewards for 10 lucky cyclists.

To find out more about our cycling facilities and our bicycle purchasing scheme, take a look at our cycling pages.

Walking

Walk to campus and record your steps using a smartphone, FitBit, or other similar device, and you could win a reusable keep cup and a food voucher for use on campus.

Just email Daisy Malt, our Sustainability Project Officer, on Thursday 1 February to let her know how many steps you covered and where you walked in from.  The person who records the most steps will win the prize.

If you don’t have your own pedometer, you can request one from Daisy Malt.

Free Bus travel

We have 100 all Essex First Essex Bus tickets valid for one day’s unlimited travel in Essex on Wednesday 31 January to give away.

If you fancy a change from the hassle of driving and walking or cycling is not an option, just pop into the Estates Management Helpdesk and pick up a ticket.

The tickets are limited and will be issued on a first come first served basis.

Park and ride

We’re running our own free park and ride service to help you get to campus.

You can park at Colchester Park and Ride for the day and catch one of our shuttle buses.

You’ll just need to give your vehicle registration number and name to the Parking Assistant to get your bus ticket. This is so you can leave the car park in the evening using the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system.

The buses will be stopping at the bus stops at the junctions of Hewes Close, Avon Way and Magnolia Drive to pick people up on their way to campus.

They’ll be dropping off at all three bus stops on Boundary Road – South Courts, Valley Road and North Towers.

Buses will run every 20 minutes from 7am to 9am and from 4pm to 7pm.

The last bus to leave the park and ride in the morning will be 9.40am and the last bus from campus in the evening will leave the North Towers bus stop at 6.40pm

As an added extra, all park and ride users will be entitled to complimentary ECC Park and Ride bus travel on the day. Destinations include the town centre, station and hospital in a ‘hop on, hop off’ style. The last return bus to the site from the town centre is just before 7pm.

If you have to drive

If you do need to drive, please be aware that it will be difficult to find a space after 9am.

Staff are encouraged to park in either the multi-storey car park, the Innovation Centre car park or the North Towers car park.

We will have parking staff on site to help you with finding a space. Don’t worry if they ask you to park somewhere that you wouldn’t normally be able to – you won’t have to pay a fine. However, please only park where they ask you to.

Please contact the EMS Helpdesk if you have any questions about parking on our Applicant Day.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

27 October 2017

Zero tolerance of sexual violence, harassment or hate crime

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, People pages, Student experience — Communications, CER @ 3:14 pm

The University of Essex does not tolerate any acts of sexual violence, harassment, or hate crime.

Zero tolerance means that we will take action and that the action will be proportionate to the circumstances of the case.

We recognise that the issue of sexual violence, harassment and hate crime is a global problem, but we are doing what we can  to tackle it here – and are working hard to put a stop to it in our community.

In March our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster, set out our commitment to being an inclusive community with a zero tolerance of hate crime and sexual violence.

Since then, work has progressed. Here’s an update of what we’ve achieved so far:

Progress on the Tackling Sexual Violence, Harassment and Hate Crime Project

We have a high level University Action Plan. Our Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jules Pretty, is the senior lead for this work, and the Director of Human Resources and the Academic Registrar are the people responsible for delivering the actions, all of which will be completed by the end of the academic year 2017–18.

A Project Officer has been appointed until July 2018 to support the implementation of the University’s Action Plan, and to work with colleagues from across the University and the Students’ Union to embed activity to shape the institutional culture in relation to sexual violence, harassment and hate crime.

Prevention

The university now offers bystander intervention awareness workshops. Bringing in the Bystander® is a bystander intervention workshop with a robust evidence-base. Rather than focusing strictly on the roles of perpetrator and victim, the highly interactive curriculum focuses on what you can do to intervene. It teaches bystanders how to safely intervene in instances where sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking may be occurring or where there may be risk that it will occur.

Book your place online now.

Watch our #ItEndsNow videos on YouTube and Vimeo

These workshops will help students, academics, professional services staff and community members to:

  • IDENTIFY behaviours on a continuum of violence
  • DEVELOP empathy for those who have experienced violence
  • PRACTICE safe and appropriate intervention skills
  • COMMIT to intervene before, during and after an incident of sexual abuse, relationship violence and stalking occurs

Read our guidelines for dealing with harassment and bullying.

Reporting and support

Contact itendsnow@essex.ac.uk for information and support. If an assault has just taken place and you are not in a safe place, feel at risk, or have any injuries that require urgent attention, call the emergency services on 999.

If you are on campus, please follow the guidance available online about emergency contacts.

If you are living in University accommodation on the Southend or Colchester campuses, Security can alert senior on-call Residence Life staff.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

20 October 2017

STEM building update – road closures and water supply

Filed under: Campus news — Communications, CER @ 3:16 pm
Our STEM centre on Square 1

Our STEM centre on Square 1

The tower crane will be removed over the weekend of 17-21 November.

Some parts of Boundary Road will be closed: from 9am Fri to 2am Sat and again on the Sunday from 8am to 1pm.

Valley Road will be closed for the entire weekend; from 6pm on the Friday to 6am on the Monday.

The latest photos from the site are on flickr.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

3 October 2017

Give your wellbeing a work out

Filed under: Campus news, People pages, Sport, What's on — Communications, CER @ 10:53 am
To join the Wellbeing Workout programme: contact Jayde on jhubbaa@essex.ac.uk

To join the Wellbeing Workout programme: contact Jayde on jhubbaa@essex.ac.uk

If your wellbeing could do with a work out – why not join the Wellbeing Workout Programme?

This special wellbeing initiative is looking for new recruits to take part in three different activities over the course of the year. They are:

  • Circuit based gym sessions
  • Green Exercise
  • Mindfulness sessions

You can also get involved in green exercise sessions:

Next Session: Tuesday 10  October (the sessions are weekly – each Tuesday until 14 November)

Time: 11am (the duration of the activity will be 1 hour and 15 minutes for each session)

As part of the research you will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire.

For more information and to sign up – please email our post-grad researcher Jayde on jhubbaa@essex.ac.uk

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

24 August 2017

Electrical works

Filed under: Campus news — Communications, CER @ 9:52 am

Electricity shut downs will be taking place on Colchester Campus this week.

Affected areas:

Friday 25 August

Wivenhoe House and Constable Building electricity supply will be switched off at 10.30am. The supply will be off for 15mins before all buildings in the vicinity are connected to the generator. The generator will supply power for the duration of the works.

Buildings affected:

  • Constable Building
  • Grounds Barns
  • Sports Pavilion
  • Lakeside House
  • Wivenhoe House

Saturday 26 August

Square 5 electricity supply will be switched off at 8am and will remain off, without any back-up power, until all works are finished. Once work is completed, the electricity supply will be reinstated. Power is expected to be back on by 4.15pm.

Buildings affected:

  • 2001 Building; including LiFTS and History departments
  • Ivor Crewe Lecture Theatre
  • Lakeside Theatre
  • Albert Sloman Library (including extensions 1&2)
  • Route Master Bus No64
  • Silberrad Student Centre
  • All Square 5 buildings; including Art Exchange and Waterstones bookshop

Buildings affected:

  • Constable Building
  • Grounds Barns
  • Sports Pavilion
  • Lakeside House
  • Wivenhoe House

If you have any questions, please contact the Estates Helpdesk on ext. 2959 or email ems-helpdesk@essex.ac.uk

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

 

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