Students Staff

Latest news

16 February 2018

Check in with Loughton Library

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 12:33 pm

Say hello to Anna Zajda, the new Library Supervisor at Loughton.

Anna weekly

Anna at work

What is your job title and how long have you been here?

My job title is Loughton Library Supervisor. I have worked at the East 15 Library at Loughton Campus since September 2017, at first as library assistant and then I progressed to the supervisor role in January this year.

What does your role involve?

I oversee the day-to-day running of the library helpdesk at East 15 llibrary and manage a small team including a Senior Library Assistant and student assistants who provide out of hours services.  I offer support to students and staff using the library facilities and respond to IT queries. I also act as a point of contact between library users in Loughton, the Subject Librarian in Southend and the Albert Sloman Library in Colchester.

What did you do before?

I have worked in information services, including public and higher education libraries, since 2013 and before that I worked as a freelance translator.

What do you like  about the new Loughton library?

The new library is a purpose built modern space which is lovely to work in. It feels bright and welcoming and I hope the students like it as much as I do!

What’s the best thing about your job?

Satisfaction from getting the right resource into the right hands, and generally interacting with students and staff who visit the library.  Everyone here is so friendly, it creates a great atmosphere at the school.

Do you have a secret passion?

I have long been fascinated by fragrance, so feel free to come to the library with any perfume-related queries!


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Give your wellbeing a workout with a circuit session

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:43 am

PTAIT_20170717_0093_300x200If your wellbeing could do with a workout, there are still opportunities to join the Wellbeing Workout Programme.

Activities are in eight week blocks over the course of the year – and everyone is welcome to come and give it a try.

Circuit based gym sessions

2 x 1 hour sessions per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Beginning on Tuesday 13 February 2018 at 11am-12noon in the brand new Essex Sport Arena  – Studio 1, on the second floor (There’s still time to sign up!)


1 x 2 hour session per week on Wednesdays

Beginning with an introductory session in April 2018 – days and time to be announced

Green exercise

1 x 1 hour 30 minute session per week (day and time to be confirmed)

As part of the research you will be asked to fill in some questionnaires.

If you are interested in joining, or if you would like more information please email our postgraduate researcher Jayde at

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13 February 2018

Five Essex graduates shortlisted for British Council Alumni Awards

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 4:19 pm

Inspirational Essex graduates from China, Kazakhstan, India, Saudi Arabia and Thailand have been shortlisted in this year’s British Council Alumni Awards.

alumniawards (2) 300x200Essex alumni winning recognition include a leading academic, a chief roboticist, a biotechnologist dreaming of being on the first human mission to Mars, an innovator in the Central Asian finance sector and an English school founder who has become a YouTube sensation.

They are among finalists from 125 countries selected from more than 1,700 applications to the awards which celebrate the achievements of international alumni who studied in the UK.  This is the second year running, the University of Essex has five finalists in the British Council Alumni Awards.

The five Essex graduates to reach regional finals are:

Kanatip Soonthornrak from Thailand is the founder of one of the most renowned English tutorial schools in Thailand and has found huge success launching language tutorial videos on YouTube. Kanatip, a finalist in the Professional Achievement category, completed an MA in Theatre Directing in 2009 at East 15 Acting School at our Loughton Campus.

Aivar Baikenov has been chosen as a finalist in the Professional Achievement category for his significant contribution to the development of the financial sector in Kazakhstan. Aivar graduated in Economics and Politics in 2010 and said he used his studies at Essex to create a positive change within business and finance in his home country.

Turki Althubaiti, a leading academic at Taif University in Saudi Arabia, has been named as a finalist in the Professional Achievement category for his work initiating new academic programmes enhancing access to higher education. He says his time at Essex, where he completed a Masters Degree followed by a PhD in English Literature in 2007, continues to inspire his work.

Anushree Srivastava from India is a Crew Biologist on The Mars Society’s Mars 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analog Mission which is investigating how humans might survive on the Red Planet. A finalist in the Professional Achievement category, Anushree completed an MSc in Biotechnology in 2016 and is using this experience to contribute to research into the future astrobiological exploration of Mars.

Ruijiao Li, also a finalist in the Professional Achievement category, created the hugely successful AMY Robotics in China. He graduated in 2015 with an MRes Computer Science in Robotics and is now the Chief Roboticist at his company AMY Robotics.

The British Council Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni from UK universities and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. The winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying in the UK to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries. The Essex finalists will each attend regional award ceremonies between now and April, with finalists of the Regional Awards being put forward for the prestigious Global Alumni Award. The winner will be announced in April.


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9 February 2018

Undergraduate student surveys

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:52 am

At Essex, the views, ideas and feedback of our students are at the heart of what we do. We’ve just launched two surveys for our undergraduate students to tell us about their experiences of studying here. Hannah Gott from our Student Engagement team tells us more.

Hannah Gott

Hannah Gott, Student Engagement Manager

This year, our undergraduate (UG) students are being invited to take part in either the National Student Survey (NSS) or UK Engagement Survey (UKES) to tell us what they think about studying at Essex

The two surveys will run concurrently from 5 February to 30 April, to allow every UG student, whatever their year of study, to take part.  To avoid any confusion, all students are being asked to visit our survey gateway page  so we can make sure they complete the right survey.

Broadly speaking, final year UGs will be invited to take part in the NSS and all other UGs will be able to complete UKES.  However, it’s not quite as straight forward as that as not all final year UG students are included within the NSS data sample. If a UG student isn’t eligible for NSS, they ‘ll be invited to take part in UKES.

This year, we’re really trying to encourage early participation in the surveys by a adopting a departmental led focus. We’ve helped develop a plan for departments to communicate the right information, at the right time, and to avoid the usual clash of communication from Ipsos Mori.  These plans kick off in February and include NSS in-class time for students to learn more about the surveys and to complete them. We’ve also developed a comprehensive set of NSS and UKES staff guides, emails, poster and PowerPoint templates and other useful resources which we’ve shared with all of our departments.

We’ve also been working closely with the Students’ Union and together we’ve developed a cause-based campaign, to encourage students to complete their survey. We’ll be donating £1 to charity for every survey completed, which will be split between the following three charities, chosen by the Students’ Union:

Some departments are also planning their own incentive-based activities, like pizza parties, and we will continue with our NSS Prize Draw, where students who complete the NSS before 28 February can win a VIP Graduation package.

The feedback from these surveys is very important. It helps us to learn more about the experience of our students, and to make improvements for current students and future members of our community.

The results of the NSS are made publicly available on Unistats to help prospective students make informed decisions about where and what to study.  They also make a substantial contribution to our ranking in the The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, as well as other UK ranking systems.

If you have any queries about NSS or UKES you can email us at or take a look at our student voice pages to find out more.

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8 February 2018

Agresso (Unit4 Business World) system upgrade

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 11:28 am

The Agresso system software will be upgraded from 6pm on Monday 19 February to 9am on Thursday 22February. This means that you will not have access to the Agresso (Unit 4 Business World ) system during this time.

The owners of the software have renamed the product Unit4 Business World.

The web address will also change and when the system is available we will share the new URL.  The system will be referred to as Unit4 Business World from this point onwards.

In respect of purchase/supplier invoice processing there will be a  revised payment run week commencing Monday 19 February.

The Payments Team will process a payment run on Monday 19February. Please make sure you send all approved documents to the Payments Team by the end of Tuesday 13 February so that these are processed for payment (please note that payments will be paid in accordance with the supplier’s credit terms).

Payment runs scheduled for Wednesday 14 February and Wednesday 28 February will not be affected.

If you have any questions, please contact the Payments Team.

For REO related functions, work will continue where possible, but there is a risk of delay in responding  to enquiries whilst Unit 4 Business World (Agresso) is unavailable. The REO team will plan to ensure that funder related deadlines are not impacted. Research authorisations will continue but where necessary they may be handled by email while the system is offline.

In the meantime if you have any concerns or queries, please email them to

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6 February 2018

Exam revision – top tips for students and parents

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 3:57 pm
Heather, left, and Manda, right, have both had children go off to university.

Heather, left, and Manda, right, have both had children go off to university.

Revising for exams is stressful for everyone involved.  Even as parents we can all remember our own exam times as if it was yesterday. I can remember feeling pretty helpless as my daughter prepared for A-Levels, my main show of support was sliding food under the door, but now they are at University, how far can you go?

Mick Kavanagh from our Talent Development Centre said, “Revision is not always fun. It may be an idea to do a little revision yourself on exam technique so you are ready if a student turns to you for help. Like A-Levels, though, maybe don’t interfere unless you are asked! Also, don’t over-communicate: If you’re texting or sending cheery images from home, this can be very distracting. Try to find a time of day when you know they may be relaxing rather than working on revision.”

Here are his top tips:

  •  Environment: Deciding where to revise may depend on the task at hand. Our learning hubs and libraries are well equipped for effective revision, with lots of quiet space available, but many students prefer revising in their room, especially as they can have all their resources to hand.
  • Planning: Careful planning is crucial to successful revision. A revision timetable helps with allocating sufficient time to revise each topic in depth.
  •  Organising: Arranging lecture and reading notes helps with an overview of the job at hand. Prioritised topics can then be fed into the revision timetable.
  •  Techniques: Different students learn in different ways, and the methods used at school may need updating for this higher level of study. Revision cards and last-minute cards (to look at just before the exam) help to make everything manageable. Vary the tasks by reading, writing, drawing diagrams, and discussing.
  •  Personalise: Adding questions and comments to texts/notes, and using colours and graphics, makes them more individual. Sticky notes around the room helps in absorbing key information.
  •  Ask for help: Lecturers are here to help and if you don’t understand an area of study, ask for support. The TDC and the Library are also good sources of advice.
  • Take regular breaks and get some exercise.
  • Keep hydrated and eat well – this BBC article has lots of good ideas.



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2 February 2018

Web staff profiles – update

Filed under: Latest news — Communications, CER @ 5:33 pm

Thank you all for your engagement with our new staff profiles on the web.

We realise that there have been a number of initial problems and are working hard behind the scenes with our external developer to solve them. Although testing was carried out in advance of launch, some of the problems were not showing in the test environment so only came to light once the site went live.

Departmental pages

When we went live, our department pages were not presenting staff structures. We have fixed this problem and all department pages should now be displaying both academic and support members of staff correctly. We are now working to ensure PGR students are presented too, and we will continue to improve these pages.

If you are still having problems with your department page, please email

Staff profiles

In order for your staff profile to display correctly on the website, please ensure that you have updated your profile information in our RIS system or using the Staff Profile Builder, if you are a member of Professional Services.

Academic staff web profiles are fed by the information included in the RIS; so please check your RIS information is up-to-date and includes everything you want to display.

Our Web Team worked closely with the faculties in advance of go-live to clean up profiles and prevent messy profiles being published. However, a number have still been published.

Please go back and have a look at yours to make sure it is tidy, and displaying all your information correctly.

Formatting issues

Cutting and pasting from other websites can mean that incompatible source formatting is also copied which can prevent your profile from displaying properly.

Please avoid cutting and pasting if you can and always preview your profile to ensure it is displaying properly. This will give you the chance to see and rectify any display problems yourself.

Thank you all for your time and effort in helping us get this right. It is a work in progress and we do value your feedback.

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26 January 2018

New website – staff directory now live

Filed under: Latest news — Communications, CER @ 4:39 pm

Our brand new Staff Directory is now live.

It’s the go-to place for you to find the information you need about Essex and the work that we do.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us get ready for this important launch. Whether you’ve been uploading new content, redeveloping your existing webpages or helping out behind the scenes, we just wanted to say ‘thank-you’.

The directory currently contains more than 250 articles, with information covering some of the most common queries and questions about working at Essex. With your help, this number will continue to increase as we move more and more information onto our new site.

The site may be new, but we’re still getting things up and running so if you experience any problems, please do email our web team. If you’re struggling to find your old page, just search for it using the search bar at the top of the screen.

Staff profiles live next week

Next week we’ll be making our new staff profiles live.  Every member of staff will have a new profile, with a photo and information about their role and area of expertise.

You can access your profile now and are free to update it before we go live on Monday 29 January.

If you need a new photo for your profile, contact The Communications team can either organise a photo shoot for your whole office or you can come along to the next photo drop-in session. For more information or to report problems with any of our new web resources, contact our Web Editing and Digital Media team.

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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.


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.


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.

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12 January 2018

East 15 alumni return to the nest

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 6:32 pm

Familiar faces will be on the stage at the East 15 Clifftown Theatre in Southend  this term as alumni return with their new touring productions, The Lost Leigh Goose on Saturday 27 January performed by new Southend company, Wild Story Theatre and Joan,Babs & Shelagh Too on Monday 29 January presented by Conscious Theatre.

Wild story theatre weekly

Wild Story Theatre, founded by Elaine Hartley, aims to produce local stories about wildlife, folklore and history around Essex.   This project, which is backed by Metal Culture, includes several East 15 alumni, Dylan Tate, Assistant Director and Media Marketing, Emily Essery and Kate Austen, both performers and devisors and Rhea Locker-March, devisor.

Elaine said: “Dylan was on the Community Theatre course in Loughton. He graduated in 2008 and now tutors at East 15 in Southend, this term he is focussing on puppetry for the Physical Theatre course and BA Acting and Stage Combat. I met Dylan at an audition in 2010, we both got a job working with Flabbergast Theatre, and have been touring and creating exciting comedy puppetry shows ever since. We are now married and living in Leigh-on-Sea where Dylan is from.

“Emily was on the Physical Theatre course in Southend. We have been working with her for about four years and she is so much fun to work with, very creative and has great energy and input for devising and performing.

“Kate Austen, from Leigh-on-Sea,  was on the BA Acting course and I met her this summer at the Edinburgh Festival. We got chatting and realised we had Leigh-on-Sea in common among other performance interests.  It is great to involve another local in the production who feels close to the project matter and who can bring some  local knowledge to the production.

“Rhea was also on the Physical Theatre course and joined Flabbergast last year. She is a very talented and creative performer and I am excited to work with her on this production. Rhea is based in Southend so it is fantastic to have her on board. Rhea is helping with the development and devising of the show.”

Elaine chose Clifftown Theatre to launch this production as it is such a fantastic space that supports smaller theatre productions. She said: “I have been to watch a number of shows here and have always come away impressed, whether it is a student production or touring company.

“It is so important to have theatres such as Clifftown that will support upcoming companies and productions and provide an alternative to the large, commercial receiving houses that so often dominate theatre. The staff at Clifftown are always so friendly and helpful. Southend is lucky to have such a wonderful theatre on its doorstep.”

Joan, Babs & Shelagh Too is brought to Clifftown by Loughton Campus Contemporary Theatre graduate Gem Rudd-Orthner who is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Joan Littlewood’s birth, the woman many consider to be the mother of modern theatre.

Gem in role

Gem as Joan

Gem said:”Joan, Babs & Shelagh Too was inspired by Ken Campbell who taught me at East 15 just before I graduated. A few years later, when it was the centenary of Joan’s birth, I decided to take Ken’s advice and be Joan. Joan’s students founded East 15 to carry on her extraordinary actor training method. Debuting at Edinburgh Fringe as a work in progress, it attracted Oliver Senton who expressed an interest in redirecting it. I am so grateful for the journey I have taken with Oliver making the show into what it is today. I feel the whole process has been a tutorial from Joan because I have learned so much about producing shows as well as writing and performing them.

“I wanted to bring this piece to Clifftown because Joan is our guiding light and I feel that we, of all the theatre practitioners out there, should know about Joan and her enormous legacy. All contemporary theatre, especially the work that we all make, is derived from her.”

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