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21 November 2017

All I want for Christmas

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 2:06 pm

Heather’s daughter has now completed her studies at Essex, but here she remembers that first visit home.

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.

Before you know it, it’s the middle of December and your offspring are on their way back from University for the winter break, one whole month of being together again.

Yes, that’s right ONE WHOLE MONTH. We had just about got used to our own company again, our home was beautifully tidy and we had even decorated our daughter’s bedroom.  The washing and ironing had reduced by a disproportionally large amount as had the food bill and now all that would change.

I had only instigated one rule for home visits from University – no laundry. I had never forgotten visiting a friend whose son was home for the holidays and her entire hallway was strewn with a term’s washing. She was very calm about it, while I was in inner turmoil.

So there we were all together again. While she had been away I had been in more contact with our daughter than my husband, so for the two of them, always the best of friends, it was valuable time to reconnect and get back to the important job of putting the world to rights.

Meanwhile I was biting my tongue as the dishes piled up, the ironing basket overflowed and the television seemed to be on a permanent loop of The Kardashians.

School friends were still a major part of our daughter’s life, of course, and there were plenty of catch-ups over the holidays. Most of them had gone to University so it was a great opportunity to exchange their varied experiences, different but often with the same pluses and minuses.  Every time she came home from a night out, I think she felt more reassured that her friends felt the same about being away from home and grappling with essays and presentations.

In a way it’s a funny time of year for the first big visit home. There are so many parties, celebrations and family gatherings that the winter break can make life at home seem like one big bundle of fun. The summer holidays before University, when, by the end, everything was ‘so boring’,  are instantly forgotten in a haze of presents.

Our daughter hadn’t enjoyed the best of University starts but there was never any doubt in her mind that she would be going back. That’s not always the case, after the Christmas break is when most universities see their biggest drop-out rates – so don’t be surprised is students find being at home a little too easy and question whether they should go back.

For us, our daughter was now thoroughly enjoying her course, had made friends and was looking forward to some Society events in the New Year.

Before we knew it, the house was not only stripped of the Christmas decorations but also of the presence of our lovely daughter who had headed back to her student flat with supermarket bags full of food essentials for another ten weeks,  including washing powder of course.


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Life as a commuting student

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 1:28 pm


Ifra Qureshi

Ifra Qureshi

Ifra Qureshi is a second-year student studying a BSc in Marketing. She decided to commute, rather than go to a university further away, because she wanted to save money and at the same time be close to family and friends at home.

How long is your commute?

I commute from East London to the Southend Campus. It takes approximately an hour each way.

What are the benefits of commuting?

One of the many benefits of commuting is that I save money, and I don’t have to do all of my own cooking and cleaning! I decided not to get the maintenance loan which forced me to have a part-time job alongside my studies, and this experience made me feel very independent.  I decided to only use the money that I have generated myself for my expenses.

How have you found commuting?

Although some may believe that commuting would restrict a student’s experience at university, I personally feel that it has made me push myself out of my comfort zone to make the most out of my university experience. It has motivated me to do more and experience every corner of university.

 Apart from juggling my degree and job, the long commute was difficult. This forced me to construct an effective study plan for myself. I used my journeys to do additional reading or assignments and I stayed in the library for extra hours to make the most of the learning environment. I found it difficult to carry numerous books back and forth, so I use the lockers at university and try to use E-Resources for my assignments, including online books. Travelling from London to Southend can be very expensive. I have a railcard, which cost £30, but it gives me 30% off travel fares. Some banks provide the railcard free of charge if you open a new student bank account.

Attending evening events can be difficult, which is quite annoying! The Southend SU has collaborated with the university accommodation team to bring commuting students an amazing deal – a night’s accommodation for just £23.15! Also, treat the SU Lounge/Bar like your second home. Commuting students may find their class mates already know each other, because they possibly live in the same house. This means commuting students have to put in extra effort to build relationships. Facebook has helped me get more involved with the frequent updates on any upcoming events at university.

What advice do you have for other commuting students?

I would definitely encourage students that commute to not let this reason limit your options and experiences at university, make the most of it! Don’t feel as if you should come to university to only attend lectures. University of Essex has a lot to deliver, from Just Play to Societies to large cultural events. Aim to get as involved as possible!

What can friends and family do to support a commuting student?

Family and friends can help students with driving them to university or the nearest transport links. Generally, students need support for making this impactful decision of their life, otherwise it can be quite discouraging.  I prefer to study in the library, rather than at home, but if students are studying at home, they need space and some peace and quiet!

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17 November 2017

Glittering array of stars at East 15.

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:25 am

Stage and screen stars continue to pour out of the doors of the East 15 Acting School based at the Loughton and Southend campuses.

Melissa 3 weekly

Melissa Johns pictured centre

Disability campaigner and BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Melissa Johns hit the national headlines this autumn when she took on the role of Imogen, a love interest for Kate Connor in ITV’s Coronation Street.

In an interview in the Radio Times Melissa said: “There is a responsibility there – with soaps, you’re in people’s living rooms almost every night of the week, so it’s an amazing platform to make a social change. We still have huge barriers in society because people can be incredibly awkward around disability. And the more we see it on our screen, the more positive effect it has on society as a whole.”

Melissa has also been named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World, awarded by the global Junior Chamber International charitable organisation, for inspirational achievements in their chosen field.

Earlier in the year BA Acting’s graduate Katie Neil joined the cast of BBC One’s EastEnders playing Debra Hammond and Robert Gwyllim and Philip Hill Pearson both took on roles in the Saturday night drama Gunpowder.

The force is with Lily Newmark who is currently filming the Star Wars Han Solo Anthology feature directed by Ron Howard and she has been nominated in the British Independent Film Awards in the Most Promising Newcomer category for her work on Pin Cushion.

A trio of graduates are following in the footsteps of BA Acting alumnus Lee Armstrong, who had played the lead role of Albert in the last nationwide tour of National Theatre’s War Horse before having the honour of the opening lines in the blockbuster Dunkirk.  Sebastian Charles, Stephen Love and Tom Quinn have joined the cast of War Horse, scheduled to tour the UK until mid-2018.

Also on nationwide tour is BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Jo Ben Ayed who is playing the lead role of Hassan in The Kite Runner.

In London’s West End, BA Acting graduate April Hughes has joined the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child alongside fellow alumna Sandy McDade.  BA Acting graduate Ed Pinker is sharing the limelight with MA Acting graduate Harriet Leitch in the cast of The Mousetrap.

Behind the scenes, BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Jasmine Woodcock-Stewart is now Staff Director on Network at the National Theatre, featuring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) in the role of Howard Beale.

Having collected many accolades for her one-woman show Yvette at The Pleasance during the Edinburgh Fringe, BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Urielle Klein-Mekongo has been gathering prizes for her writing, including a place at the recent Lyric Theatre’s Lyric Fest where Jude Law performed a scene she wrote for him.

The success rolls out into 2018 when BA Acting graduates Dannie Pye and Blake Harrison will be sharing the small screen with Hugh Grant and Ben Wishaw in a new Russell T Davies production A Very English Scandal for BBC One directed by Stephen Frears.

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

14 November 2017

Plug in for IT advice

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 6:09 pm

Buying electrical goods is an expensive exercise and can go wrong.  Matt Softly our IT Manager at the Southend Campus highlights some of the pitfalls and what to look out for.

IT team Weekly

The Southend Campus IT team – Matt Softly is pictured left.

Matt said: “We do recommend purchasing anything electrical from a reputable retailer. This way you ensure you have a decent warranty and it will be perfectly safe.

“The good news is we can help you save money!

“We appreciate there are some very good deals on auction sites and in second hand shops, but you have to watch out for the warranties, which can be reduced.

“Do check the storage capacity of any laptop.  Anything under 100 gb may be too small for Windows, Office and University work.

“If you are ordering from outside the UK, check the power adaptors are the right ones. You can find some useful information plug safety on our website

“It may ruin the surprise, but you can often get a discount if you use a National Union of Students card,  or go through Student Beans or UNiDays, so it might be worth a chat with the student you are buying the gift for.

“The good news is we can help you save money! Every student can access a free copy of Microsoft  Office 365 and we can recommend good anti-virus software that you don’t have to pay for.

“It is also not essential that students have their own computers. We have more than 820 available in PC Labs in Colchester, 150 in Southend and 50 in Loughton and some of these are accessible 24/7. Digital screens around campus tell the students the current availability of the PCs, especially useful in the run-up to exam season.”


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10 November 2017

Meet the Essex Business School team in Southend

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 12:17 pm

There’s a new structure to the Essex Business School Academic Services team at Southend. Manager Emma Aldridge explains the changes.

The growing numbers of EBS Southend academic staff (which includes more senior level posts) has meant that the level of support needed to assist them has increased. This is particularly the case regarding support for research activities within the MSE group.

Additionally, changes in the organisation of recruitment and induction activities for students, including the introduction of Applicant Days and a bespoke Southend Welcome Week, has meant that the team requires a dedicated post to deliver non-academic services activities.

To meet this demand  we now have a Southend Manager providing senior level leadership and management to the Team and allowing for independent decision making and work planning that is necessary as EBS Southend grows.  The new post Academic Officer/Deputy Manager has been created to provide a clear hierarchy within the team.

EBS team photo daily

Left to right: Liz Frazer, Emma Aldridge, Alex Nicholas, George Goldhawk, Daniela Ivanova, Elaine Beattie and Deborah McColgan.

Can you please introduce the team?

Emma Aldridge – Southend EBS Manager

Alex Nicholas – Academic Officer/Deputy Manager

George Goldhawk – Academic Administrator

Deborah McColgan – Student Services Administrator

Liz Frazer – Student Services Administrator

Elaine Beattie – Operations Assistant

Daniela Ivanova – Project Worker

Aideen Sadler – Faculty Employability Officer

Are there any new team members?

George Goldhawk – Academic Administrator

How did Welcome Week go?

Welcome Week was a great success with departmental events involving all academic and Professional Services staff.  Students enjoyed taking part in various activities, particularly the ones where there were cupcakes! 

What have you got planned for this term?

More than 60 students have signed up for Career Insights, put together by Daniela, our Project Worker and Aideen,  our Employability Officer.

Various local employers will be in attendance providing an insight into their career path and achievements.

Daniela is also sorting out Christmas events for the undergraduates and postgraduates.

Does anyone in the team have any hidden talents?

Our Operations Assistant Elaine Beattie is a qualified day skipper and about to be Lady Captain at Ballards Gore Golf Club!

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UROP student wins prize at conference

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 11:00 am

UROP student Isabella Davis presented a poster on Mouth care in Acute Hospital Settings at the  British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy annual conference in Harrogate, earlier this month,  collecting a Student Prize for her work.

Isabella Davis at Harrogate daily

Isabella Davis

UROP, or the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme, is our placement scheme specifically for undergraduate students from the University of Essex to become research assistants and become part of our academic community.

Isabella worked with Dr Camille Cronin, senior lecturer, and academic and dental hygienist Tiffany Laybourne at the School of Health and Social Care on the Southend Campus, partnering with staff at two acute wards at Southend University Hospital to collect data.

Camille said:“Everyone in the School of Health and Social Care is very proud of Isabella. She was very active throughout the research programme.”

Isabella, who is from Stroud in Gloucestershire, has now graduated and is working as a dental hygienist in Brighton and Rustington. She said: ”The conference was really enjoyable and it was a great opportunity to network with a variety of people. It was interesting to attend lectures on the most up to date oral health to help enhance myself as a clinician.

“Presenting the poster provided a fantastic opportunity to give others insight into the research we have undertaken at Essex and allowed me to be aware of other areas of research that had been carried out elsewhere.

“Taking part in UROP was an invaluable experience giving me a more in depth knowledge and awareness about how research is conducted in real life and it was great to be involved in this.”


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31 October 2017

Assist the emergency services

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:53 am

Volunteers are needed for an emergency planning exercise on Southend Pier on Monday 27 November.

RNLI boat daily

All the blue light services, including the coastguard, Royal Naval Lifeboat Institution and Ambulance Service, are involved in this event, being co-ordinated by Southend Borough Council.

Volunteers, who will need to be at the pier from 11.30 am until 4.00 pm, will be acting as casualties and will be based at the end of the pier where they will be ‘treated’ or ‘evacuated’ as part of an exercise to assess how the emergency services and the council would manage casualties from the pier should a crisis arise.

If staff or students are interested please contact who is considering all applications to take part.

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.


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 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.

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You’re invited: Citizenship and civic engagement 

Filed under: Latest news, What's on — Communications, CER @ 11:29 am

Do you feel disengaged and disconnected with the political system? What barriers are preventing you from being more involved, locally and nationally?

Come to our event and let us know what you think. Your views will help shape the House of Lords inquiry into citizenship and civic engagement.

The big issue

British society is changing. People have low levels of confidence in the political system. We now need to find new ways of building bridges within and between communities.

At the event, we will be asking you:

  • If you feel connected to the local community
  • If you feel government listens to you
  • How you could be supported to participate more in public life

How can you help?

Are you someone who feels disconnected and disengaged with the political system? If so, come to our event and help shape the inquiry.

When and where?


Date: Tuesday 31 October

Time: 1-4pm

Venue: Community Voluntary Services Tendring, 22 Rosemary Rd, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 1NZ

The event is free to attend, but please book using our Eventbrite page as places are limited.

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

Research Information System (RIS) – impact module

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Communications, CER @ 10:49 am

Earlier this year we launched a new Research Information System (RIS) to collect information about publications by University researchers.  For those who are new to the University, and as a reminder to everyone else, you can access your profile for the RIS by visiting and login using your University of Essex login details. Guidance on how to use the RIS for publications is available on the RIS help page.

We have also been developing an additional Impact Module within the RIS to allow users to store impact information alongside publication details.

I am happy to announce that the Impact Module is now ready to use, and to invite you all to start uploading information about your impact.

Purpose of the Impact Module

The Impact Module is a repository for academic staff to store and track information about the impact of their research outside of the academy. Its purpose is to give you a place to record your impact when it happens and to update your Department, your Faculty, and the REO while minimising the need for meetings, emails, and monitoring forms.

The Impact Module will deliver important benefits which include:

  • Linking of impact and impact activities to underpinning research (publications) already stored on the RIS
  • A single place where researchers can manage the links between grants, projects, professional activities, teaching responsibilities, publications, public engagement activities, and impact to generate a narrative around the reach and relevance of their work
  • A platform in which REF submission and Impact Case Study monitoring can be managed with minimal re-keying of data or completing of forms.

Guidance for use of the Impact Module

To use any part of the RIS, including the Impact Module, visit and login using your University of Essex login details.

Guidance and help for using the RIS Impact Module takes the following forms:

Written step by step guidance: attached to this email and available on the RIS help page, linked here.

Video guidance: also available on the RIS help page, linked here.

In-person lunchtime drop-in sessions: for those who would prefer an in-person introduction to the Impact Module, the Research Impact Officers will be available in person for a hands-on introduction to the Impact Module. Lunchtime drop-in sessions will be held:

  • 1-2pm, Wed 25 October, IT Training Room (4SW 3.3)
  • 1-2pm, Wed 1 November, IT Training Room (4SW 3.3)
  • 1-2pm Wed 8 November, IT Training Room (4SW 3.3)
  • 1-2pm Wed 15 November, IT Training Room (4SW 3.3)

Contact the team: if you have questions about the Impact Module please contact me by reply to this email. Questions about the RIS not related to the Impact Module should be sent to

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