Students Staff

27 November 2018

Become a peer mentor and help your fellow students

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 2.44 pm

Ever thought of becoming a peer mentor in Essex Business School or Health and Social Care in Southend? Rhia Gill explains why she took up the role.

Rhia Gill

Rhia, what are you studying?

I’m a third year BA Therapeutic Care student in Health and Social Care at the Southend Campus.

Why did you apply to be a peer mentor?

I applied to be a peer mentor to support first year students as they settle in.  I really struggled to settle into university and had so many questions which I believed weren’t academic enough to approach lecturers about and I had no one to ask. By becoming a peer mentor I provided a place for students to ask those questions.

What is the role of a peer mentor?

My role as a peer mentor is just to be there for students. I email them throughout the term to check in to see if they’re okay and to see if there is anything I can help with.

How would you encourage people to seek out their peer mentor?

One way students find out about me is through the department’s administration team. They can point you in the direction of the service you need.

What do you enjoy about being a peer mentor?

I enjoy meeting the students and answering their questions to the best of my ability.

Would you encourage people to apply to be a peer mentor next year?

Yes I would. It isn’t an overly difficult role and you are provided with all the training needed to support students. It also looks good on your CV!


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Meet the Accessibility and Wellbeing Advisers at the Southend Campus

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 2.08 pm

Tracey Khan and Lizzie Francis, who work in the Student Services’ Hub in The Forum, explain what they do as Accessibility and Wellbeing Advisers to Southend students.

What are your roles?

We are Accessibility and Wellbeing Advisers working within the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service (SWIS).  The main focus of our role is providing a confidential specialist advice and information to students who have disclosed a disability, long term medical condition or specific learning difficulty and those from non-traditional backgrounds so they can fulfil their potential as individuals and enable them to be active participants in their own educational experience.   Students can meet with us in person or we can work with students by email or by phone.

Head to the Student Services’ Hub to meet the Accessibility and Wellbeing Advisers.

How can you help students?

We can discuss a student’s support needs with them and advise on how Essex can support them. For example, via reasonable adjustments such as individual exam arrangements, student support notifications, accommodation on medical grounds etc. We can also provide information about external support and academic disability allowances where this is needed.

How do students get in touch with you?

We are proactive in contacting students who have disclosed a disability, long term medical condition or specific learning difficulty via their UCAS application and they can respond to our contact emails.  For those who have not been in contact before the best way to get in touch is via the Student Services Hub. The Student Information Team can provide initial advice and information and refer to our specialist services.  Students can also access our specialist services through the SWIS drop-in which is also the access point for wellbeing and mental health support enquiries.

When are the drop-in sessions?

Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service (SWIS) drop-ins are offered each week day between 11 am and 2 pm although, as with any service, these can be subject to change.

Who should students contact if they have out of hours issues?

If you are onsite or in University Square contact security (who can also contact Residence Life for you).

If you are offsite and it is a health emergency then NHS 111 or 999 may apply.

If you want to talk to someone about your emotional wellbeing you can call the Student Wellbeing Support Line on 0800 970 5020

What one piece of advice would you give students if they are considering asking for support?

Don’t overthink it – pop along to SWIS drop-in and ask your questions – we will guide you from there.



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23 November 2018

Make the data count

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 10.03 am

The UK Data Service has launched a new campaign to get every student and researcher who uses data to cite the datasets they use correctly; in the same way they do articles, books, images and websites.

The aim is to support the reproducibility of research, which helps to establish the validity of scientific findings.  Accurate citation also makes identifying and finding data easier, because the UK Data Service provides digital object identifiers (DOIs) which will always link to the data used, even if the location of the data changes.

Matthew Woollard, Director of the UK Data Service, says: “Citing the data we use – and doing it correctly – is crucial, because each dataset is one of the sources of evidence which support a researcher’s argument. So, any publication, whether it’s printed, electronic or broadcast, needs the correct citation and acknowledgement.

“We make it easy for researchers by providing a citation with every record in our Data Catalogue. Each citation comes in multiple formats, so when they publish, researchers can switch easily to the style of the journal in question.”

Citing data correctly also means the UK Data Service – and funding bodies – can measure the impact of particular datasets, because it’s easier to track which datasets are being used.

The UK Data Service is holding a competition to give students and researchers a chance to find out more about data and citation – and win a £200 Amazon voucher. Come and visit us near the Enormoboard opposite Zest between Square 2 and 3 between 12.30pm and 1.30pm from 27 November to 7 December.

There is more information about citing data correctly on the UK Data Service website.

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21 November 2018

New online system for extenuating circumstances and late submission

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 10.38 am

We’ve launched a new online system if you need to submit claims about extenuating circumstances and late submission of your assessed work.  We spoke to Kevin Delves, who has helped develop the system, to find out more.

Tell us more about the system – what is different for our students?

We’ve introduced a new online system for students to submit claims about extenuating circumstances and late submission. We wanted to make the experience as easy as possible for our students, so we’ve moved away from the old paper-based system and made sure everything is easy to find online. That means that you don’t have to queue up to hand in a form anymore, you can just submit it online and will automatically go to the people who need to see it.

The main change in the form itself is that the new form combines requests about extenuating circumstances and late submission. We made sure that we spoke to students whilst we were developing the system so we could make sure that it was as easy as possible for people to use the system. We’re really happy with the results.

Where can people access this new system?

We wanted to make it as easy as possible for students to find this form so you can access it in lots of different places like My Essex, Faser, and our own website, but here’s the link.

What about any supporting evidence people need to submit? Can this all be done online too?

Yes, you can now upload all of your evidence onto the system electronically. This means that you can scan, photograph or attach that evidence directly to your claim. We’ve also published some new guidance, so people can see what evidence they need to submit to support their claim.

When should people apply for something like this?

You should submit your claim as soon as possible if there are circumstances that are impacting your studies. We understand that this is not always possible, but the sooner you submit your claim we can explore ways to support you. There are deadlines for submission, which you should check on the website.

Once people have submitted the form, how long will they have to wait to know if a decision has been made?

A big part of the project to improve this system has been about improving the ways we keep students informed and we’ll be emailing you regularly throughout the process.

For late submission there will be at least two meetings a year in your department, where staff will meet to make a decision about your claim. After this meeting has taken place we’ll be in touch by email to let you know about what decision was made.

For extenuating circumstances the departmental meeting will make an initial decision, but if they think your claim is valid it will be referred to the Board of Examiners who will make the final decision about what action to take.

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20 November 2018

Make the most of your meals

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 5.01 pm

Daisy Malt works in our Sustainability team. She talks to us about the ways our whole community can help us reduce food waste.

Daisy Malt

Daisy Malt

We firmly believe that when everyone does the small things, it adds up to make a big difference; and it can help you to save money too. We’re working hard to help make sure our campuses are environmentally friendly, and we need the whole University community to take part to make sure we achieve our goals on waste.

When you move to University you might be getting used to cooking all your own meals and find that you’re throwing some of it away if you’ve got too much. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that people throw away £13billion worth of edible food every year. We’ve put together some tips on how you can avoid food waste – helping you to do your bit for the environment and save some money in the process.

  • If you can, plan your meals so that you only buy the ingredients you need – it means you won’t overspend too
  • Make the most of your fruits and vegetables; there’s lots of nutrients in the skins of things like carrots, potatoes, cucumbers. By eating those you’re getting your money’s worth AND avoiding waste
  • ‘Best before’ dates on packaged fruit and vegetables are just a guide – if they still look OK, they most likely are! Some food will keep for weeks past the date printed on the pack
  • If you have fresh meat, fish, eggs or dairy, they need to be consumed by their ‘use by’ date as they become unsafe to eat. Meat and fish can be frozen and kept for a month
  • Buying frozen foods – from vegetables and fruit to meat and fish – means you’ll have them when you want to cook, without the worry of them going bad
  • You can also freeze meals to save time and effort when you’re studying hard. Cook up a big batch and then divide into containers to store in the freezer. When you want to eat it, just defrost it and reheat
  • Make the most of your leftovers – if you’ve made a meal you can’t finish, keep leftovers in the fridge for another day
  • Help the supermarket avoid food waste – if you take something from a fridge and change your mind, put it back on the right shelf. Chilled items left out have to be thrown away for safety reasons, as they won’t know how long it’s been out
  • Donate what you won’t eat. Non-perishable foods, such as rice, oats, tins of beans etc., (as long as they are unopened and in date) can be donated to foodbanks

If you’d like more information, here are some useful links:


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15 November 2018

One student’s role in commemorating the end of the First World War

Filed under: Colchester — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 8.33 am

History MA student Olivia Smith has spent four months working as a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) intern at the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme in northern France. Last week she gave Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron a tour as part of the centenary commemorations. Here she tells us what it’s been like to play a role in ensuring the First World War dead are never forgotten.

Olivia giving a reading at the memorial

Olivia giving a reading at the memorial

Every day on site we give tours to visitors of the memorial. Only last week I had a school group of around 35 ask me for a tour, all around the age of 13 and14 so quite an impressionable age. I told them the story of one of the Victoria Cross winners William Macfadzen who died on 1 July 1916.

Macfadzen won his Victoria Cross because of his instant bravery. In the early hours of 1 July he was in a trench with his men preparing for battle. He was handing out grenades to his comrades and accidentally dropped the box of grenades. Two of the safety pins came out and without hesitation Macfadzen jumped on top of the box and sacrificed his life so that the rest of the men in the trench would be spared.

I told this story and I looked over to a little boy who was crying. He was crying in his sisters arms and said “I will always remember this story”. I felt so glad that he cried, because to me that meant he understood exactly why he was here.

Why it matters to keep telling the story of those who died

For me the most important aspect of this whole job is ensuring the younger generations understand what they are visiting on the Western Front and why.

It is down to my generation now to ensure this educational message is passed on.

Four months seem like such a long time but it really isn’t.

I feel very sad that the internship is coming to an end. I have no war dead in my family, but I have built up a wonderful personal connection with the stories of the men I have learnt about and I feel strongly that as part of the younger generation, it is now our duty to ensure these men will never be forgotten.

What it means to be part of the centenary

I can’t put into words how lucky I am to have spent just over a quarter of a year working in France with the CWGC. It is an experience I truly wish didn’t have to end; I am beyond proud to have worked with the CWGC. I am proud to say I have been a part of the centenary and I am more proud that I have played a role in ensuring the men of the First World War will not be forgotten.

11 November 2018 marked a century since peace on the Western Front; it marked the end of the centenary years but what it won’t mark is the end of remembering the men who died.”

Find out more about Olivia’s experience working at Thiepval.

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8 November 2018

Welcome to Essex, Welcome to LEAP

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 2.49 pm
A student next to our LEAP poster

LEAPing into Essex from all over the world

During Welcome Week we met students from all over the world who came to tell us where they came from and find out more about LEAP, our new Learner Engagement Activity Portal, which focuses on what you do rather than who you are.

We believe that engagement is a crucial part of becoming more effective, independent learners and achieving your study goals. LEAP is a platform where you can check the university resources you have used recently, such as Faser, Moodle, Listen Again, your attendance and University computer logins.

A huge part of being engaged is sharing information with each other, so we also asked students to share their top study tips with us. Here are our favourite top 5 tips:

  1. Don’t be scared to make mistakes.
  2. Download a study timer app.
  3. Move around. Switch locations to keep fresh.
  4. Sit close to the front; participate and question things to dig deeper.
  5. Take 15min breaks after 2hrs of study.

Remember, to reflect on how you are getting on with your studies so far, head to My Essex or Pocket Essex, find the LEAP tile and log in using your Essex ID and usual Essex password.

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6 November 2018

Call for contributions open to all University of Essex students, staff and alumni

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 11.46 am

Following from the publication of the previous two volumes in our University of Essex Reader inclusivity series ( “LGBT+ Perspectives” in 2017, and “Race, Ethnicity and Inclusion” in 2018), we are now seeking contributions to our next interdisciplinary edited volume entitled “Health and Wellbeing”.

The volume, edited by Ilaria Boncori (Deputy Dean Education, Faculty of Humanities) and Tracey Loughran (Deputy Dean Research, Faculty of Humanities), will include short chapters written in a conversational yet academic tone by Essex staff and/or students and alumni for a wide audience (teachers, students, the public).

We would like to invite colleagues and students in all departments/professional services teams to send contributions based on research, teaching practice or personal experiences in the form of short academic essays (approximately 4000-5000 words including references). We welcome contributions on including, but not limited to:

  • Mental Health
  • Disability
  • Strategies to foster wellbeing
  • Health and wellbeing in Higher Education
  • Health and wellbeing in and through writing
  • Specific stages and related issues in one’s life (adolescence, menopause, dementia)
  • Parental or care leave
  • Workloads and work-related stress
  • Human resources management
  • Healthcare services
  • Community work
  • Human rights
  • Teaching and learning practices

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Ilaria ( or Tracey ( ) to discuss submission details or get more information regarding the edited volume.

The deadline for contributions is Thursday 28 February 2019.

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2 November 2018

Celebrating Black History Month in Southend

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 1.01 pm

Andrea Lungay, our Students’ Union VP Southend, looks back at an action-packed Black History Month


‘October is probably my favourite month!

To me, it’s like the welcome of autumn (my favourite season) and the month dedicated to celebrating Black History in the UK. Naturally, I made sure that Black History Month was recognised as something of a celebration a bit like Christmas, but more political.

We kicked off the month with a thought provoking debate night – exploring the effects of drill music on the black community and discussing white privilege. We also welcomed the educational reggae artist Scratchylus who helped us “Reset our mind-sets” and think about the current problems we face in the world today.

We then went on to acknowledging and celebrating one of the most exciting events in Black British culture, the Notting Hill Carnival by making our own headdresses in the SU Lounge whilst listening to the sounds of famous Soca and Dancehall artists booming through the Lounge speakers!Towards the end of the month we explored music further with our Evolution of Black Music Open Mic night where we quizzed the student body on their knowledge of black British music. Congratulations to a team of East 15 and HSC students who won the challenge.

Our final event was one a bit closer to home (literally) – tea, cakes, rum and jerk wings with stories from my mum and Godfather. They opened up about their journey from the Caribbean and what it is like living in England having migrated in the Sixties.

Everyone was engaged and asked loads of questions and OF COURSE enjoyed the jerk wings, dumplings, plantains and rum punch!

Although we say goodbye to Black History Month, we now warmly welcome Diwali celebrations, our infamous Entrepreneurial Week and the introduction of our new SU Student Parliament during November so keep your eyes peeled!’

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1 November 2018

Essex Data Analysis Award winners announced

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 2.38 pm

The UK Data Archive has announced the winners of this year’s Essex Secondary Data Analysis Award.

The prize recognises and rewards Essex students, alumni and staff who have recently submitted their dissertations and who have demonstrated flair and originality in using quantitative and qualitative data available through the UK Data Archive.

The judging panel of lecturers and researchers from the Faculty of Social Sciences has selected winners for the Masters and Undergraduate level of study.

Masters dissertation winner 2018

Nina Heyden

Dissertation title: “The Effect of Immigration on Task Specialisation in Great Britain

Nina Heydon

Nina Heydon. Photo courtesy of Afshin Feiz.

Undergraduate dissertation winner 2018

Camille Georgiou

Dissertation title: “To what extent does anti-immigrant sentiment influence support for European integration?

Camille Corti-Georgiou

Camille Corti-Georgiou

Professor John Preston, Deputy Dean (Research) (Social Sciences) said: “These awards mark the excellent dissertations of students and staff who have used secondary data analysis. They also demonstrate the wider importance of the UK Data Service as the trusted archivist of secondary data for UK social science as a whole. Secondary data analysis is an area where Essex students and academics are leading the way in terms of innovative methods and techniques.”

The winners from each category have been awarded a prize of £200 Amazon vouchers.

We would like to thank students who submitted their work and the judges who gave up their time.

  • Prof Nick Allum, Department of Sociology
  • Prof John Bartle, Department of Government
  • Dr Karon Gush, Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)
  • Dr Dorothee Schneider, Department of Sociology
  • Dr Deborah Wiltshire, UK Data Archive
  • Cristina Magder, UK Data Archive
  • Dr James Scott, UK Data Archive
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