Following the European Union referendum on 23rd June 2016, a shockwave has been travelling through the communities of non-British EU citizens who have built their lives in this country. The prospective withdraw from the European Union, known as Brexit, is understandably causing a lot of uncertainty and worry, especially for EU citizens who are part of the University’s diverse education and research community. Ritta Husted, Director of Education for International Academy, has found two excellent resources to help EU citizens and their families.
The first is a closed Facebook group called UKCEN (UK Citizenship European Nationals). The group is supported by a number of immigration lawyers who offer individual advice to questions posed by members on topics such as permanent resident applications and the naturalisation process—this service is free and simply invaluable. You can also read a plethora of informative FAQs and fact sheets through the group.
The other is a not-for-profit organisation and support network called The 3 Million, which campaigns to safeguard and guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and British citizens in Europe, after Brexit. It takes its name from the estimated number of EU citizens who moved from another member state to live and work in the UK. The organisation is working with politicians and the Government to preserve the rights of all EU citizens in the UK, as well as British citizens living in Europe, now and in the future. It also engages with businesses and public sector organisations to support EU workers. As well as their website, The 3 Million also manage a closed group on Facebook.
Both of these organisations are a fantastic source of support and give those affected by Brexit a way to discuss their options and share experiences.
High standards of professional behaviour and conduct are essential for the maintenance of a good working environment and the delivery of the University’s strategic plan. The aim of the disciplinary procedure is to help and encourage required standards of behaviour, conduct and attendance.
The emphasis of the procedure is on tackling issues as they arise and dealing with matters informally without recourse to formal procedures. If this has not been possible, then the procedure provides a fair and consistent approach – the individual has the right to see the case against them and to have a hearing where they are able to put forward a response.
The new procedure covers all University staff, supplementing the provisions of Ordinance 41. The procedure sets timings at each stage to encourage a prompt resolution, to the benefit of all involved.
Link HR teams can provide more advice and support on the procedure.
The University has launched a new grievance procedure. This is part of our commitment in the People Supporting Strategy to justice in the workplace, ensuring that our staff have access to proper processes to address concerns which includes the right to a fair hearing.
Our new procedure emphasises informal and prompt action wherever possible. Dealing with issues as soon as they arise and having an honest discussion can help resolve things quickly and protect relationships. However, if this has not been possible, then it is important that we have an accessible and fair formal process.
The new procedure covers all University staff. The provisions supplement those of Ordinance 41 and provides more opportunities for employees to have a grievance heard and potentially resolved.
Flowcharts are provided so that all parties are clear about what should happen next, with detailed information about who can take decisions at each stage and what needs to be provided and when.
Link HR teams can provide more advice and support on the procedure.
Your working life is inextricably intertwined with your personal life; it is difficult, even sometimes impossible, to separate the two. By continually improving our policies, services and terms and conditions of employment, the University of Essex aims to provide an excellent working environment for all, while also encouraging staff to develop a healthy work/life balance. With this aim in mind, we currently offer a selection of benefits to staff, which include:
Access to a purpose-built nursery (Colchester campus), which offers outstanding day care to children from three months to five years of age.
Cycle to work scheme. This Government run tax initiative, first introduced in 1999, is designed to encourage more people to stay fit and healthy by cycling to work. The scheme also aims to reduce the amount of pollution caused by commuter traffic.
Further information on support for your health and wellbeing is available on our website.
Please Note: The University does not automatically assume that partners of staff are of a different sex, and makes every effort possible to ensure that policies, services and workplace benefits apply equally to same-sex partners, as they do to different sex partners, whether or not their partnerships are recognised in the eyes of the law.
Workplace Health and Wellbeing are offering our staff the chance to attend an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course at our Colchester Campus. With increasing pressure both in our professional and personal lives, this course will equip you with improved skills to manage modern day lifestyles and encourage mindfulness practice.
Currently, the University handles approximately 7,300 paper claims per year, which amounts to £1.3 million of reimbursements being made to staff members. The current process is manual; from the completion of the claim form, to the input into the payment system.
What is changing?
The University is moving to an online system utilising our current HR and Payroll system, iTrent, to make our processes more efficient and reduce paperwork. It will also allow us to collect information in one place, enabling us to identify issues and take remedial action. Claims will be able to be made directly on HR Organiser, and workflow utilised to move information from claim to approval to payment.
The organisation structure is the backbone of our University. It gives details of the departments and jobs in which people work, and their relationship to each other.
A clearly mapped structure allows the University to highlight vacant positions and those to which we are recruiting; this helps us to understand how changing certain jobs can impact other people and their jobs. It also enables the University to estimate financial staffing costs both now and in the future.
A clear and well planned organisation structure helps us create a robust plan for a successful future.
Did you know that the University has a number of policies in place which may allow staff to take leave to manage commitments outside of work? Some of these you may be familiar with – for example, time off for dependents. But there are other leave allowances in place to provide support when needed –the full range of provision is set out in the following University policies and summarised in the other absence entitlements list.
What will it mean for me?
From July 2016, rather than filling out a paper form to record or agree this leave, your reporting manager will just need to record the leave through People Manager following a discussion with you. You will then be able to view the details of this leave within HR Organiser.
Did you know that only 15.8% of engineering and technology undergraduates in the UK are female? This is much less compared to India where over 30% of engineering students are women on engineering courses. Furthermore, only 9% of the engineering workforce in the UK is female and only 6% of registered engineers and technicians (i.e. CEng, IEng, EngTech) are women.
The University of Essex’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering is taking positive steps to promote gender equality in this field and is applying for the Athena SWAN Bronze Department Award this November. To promote this the School has created a website which informs about woman in the CSEE department and showcases female role models of the faculty.
Martin Sands talking to delegates about his use of ThingLink.
Last week, we ran the first Technology-Enhanced Learning conference at the University of Essex. I’m pleased to report that the event was a resounding success. In total, 79 people turned up to take part in TEL-Con 2016, far more than we had expected. We were especially pleased by this level of attendance because the day we picked for the conference ended up accidentally clashing with the first day of a two-day strike organised by the University and College Union (UCU)!
There was a palpable buzz in the atrium of Essex Business School as people start to turn up and register for the event. The conference was opened by Aletta Norval, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education, who gave delegates a brief overview of TEL activity at Essex. She also highlighted the distance that we’ve travelled over the past year and a half, and encouraged staff to explore and develop their own digital capability. Next, attendees were treated to four “TEL talks”, each focusing on a different technology or pedagogical approach.
The first talk was given by Susan Stallabrass, who is a lecturer from the School of Health and Human Sciences. Susan spoke to the expectant crowd about how she has redesigned a research methods module to make better use of Moodle, and encourage her students to improve their own digital skills; her presentation included a specially prepared animated video that outlined the process she used (see video below).
Susan’s video documenting the process of transforming HS858: Research in Healthcare.
This was followed by a talk on ThingLink by Martin Sands, a physiotherapy lecturer also from the School of Health and Human Sciences (pictured above). ThingLink is a web-based tool that allows you to create interactive images. Martin’s talk answered the following intriguing question: Can using ThingLink keep learners in Moodle for longer and, as a consequence, improve student engagement? Both of these talks proved to be very inspiring and garnered a lot of interest from the attentive audience.
The next topic of conversation was video production using a tablet or smartphone. Samer Gharib from the EBS Learning Team gave attendees an overview of the SWIVL—a robotic camera mount (and app) that can automatically track your movements during a lecture or seminar. Samer showed several uses for this exciting new technology. This included filming lectures without the need for a camera operator, and recording student presentations for performance analysis purposes.
The final TEL talk was given by Louise Beard from the School of Biological Sciences. Louise talked about the benefits of live audience participation technology. She got the attendees to answer questions in real time using credit-card sized voting handsets, which she uses on a regular basis with her students for both formative and summative assessment (TurningPoint handsets are available on short-term loan from AVS). Louise even gave prizes out to the people who got the highest score on her quiz! This interactive talk proved to be the perfect end to the first session of the conference.
A video about Turning Technologies, the company that make the audience response clickers that Louise uses with her students.
After the TEL talks, everyone went back into the atrium to get a well deserved cup of coffee and Danish pastry. We then spent the next hour chatting about technology and its place in the teaching and learning process. Several technology experts, both from within and outside of the University community, attended this event. Delegates were able to talk to staff from IT Services, the Albert Sloman Library as well as fellow TEL-Con attendees. Katherine Bone, our representative from Jisc, also made the journey to Essex to talk about the support and services she can offer to University members. In addition to this, Matt Softly kindly brought his Virtual Reality kit all the way from Southend for people to play with, and Satnam Darar came to answer any technical questions about the SWIVL (Satnam runs company called TechInvasion, who are the sole UK distributors of the SWIVL).
The conference ended with three optional, hands-on workshops on ThingLink, the Moodle Quiz tool and Live Audience Participation technology. All three workshops were well attended.
The Technology-Enhanced Learning Team would like to thank everyone who attended TEL-Con. We’d also like to thank Susan, Martin, Samer and Louise for preparing and delivering four excellent presentations, as well as all of the technology experts who gave up their time to attend the networking session. Without your input the event wouldn’t have been possible. I’d also like to thank Aletta for opening the conference for us, and Jo Hopkins for helping us organise and run the event.
We managed to recorded the four TEL talks, they’ll be available via Moodle next week for those people who were unable to attend the event in person (an delagates who want to refresh their memories!). For more photos taken at the event can be found in the TEL-Con album on Flickr.
If you’d like to be involved in next year’s TEL-Con, or you’re interested in any of the technological approaches mentioned in this post, please contact the Technology-Enhanced Learning Team (email: tel).