University of Essex
University of Essex

April 26, 2017

Interest Free Loans for Visas and Health Immigration Surcharges (HIS)

Filed under: Developing Excellence — Mohammed Alam @ 1:29 pm

The University has a long tradition of employing a rich mix of staff from around the world.  As we have grown in recent years, recruiting academic and professional staff from outside of the UK has allowed us to keep growth in our staff base in line with increases in the student body.

As part of our commitment as an employer, the University is offering an Interest-Free Visa Loan to staff.

The loan initiative underlines our commitment to being a cosmopolitan University that is internationally-oriented and welcoming of students and staff from all countries.

What can the loan be used for?

The loan is designed to cover costs relating to Home Office Application Fees, such as visa application fees, Health Immigration Surcharge (HIS) costs and related legal fees, up to a maximum of £10,000. You can use it to cover your own fees and those of your accompanying dependents, including your spouse/partner and children.

Take a look at the full policy to see if you’re eligible.

To apply, complete our Interest Free Visa Loan form, making sure you provide a full breakdown of your anticipated/actual costs and submit the form to your Head of School/Department/Section for approval.

For further information, please contact your link HR contact.



April 19, 2017

Aurora: A Leadership Development Programme For Women

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Developing Excellence — Tags: , , — Mohammed Alam @ 11:03 am

Aurora is a women-only leadership development programme created by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in the UK. The aim of the programme is to help address the under-representation of women in senior posts in higher education.

The Aurora programme is targeted to all women up to senior lecturer level or professional services equivalent in a university or higher education college. The programme is aimed towards women who are ambitious for a career in the sector and interested in exploring leadership and management as an option for progression. It is designed to introduce fundamental leadership skills in 4 workshops (1 workshop = 1 day) with networking opportunities and guest speakers at each event. Furthermore, on-going support is ensured through action learning (1 day scheduled for this as part of the programme), online resources and institutional level support including mentoring and institutional Aurora Champions.

 

aurora

This year we have had five successful delegates’ cohorts, from left to right: Emma Appleton (Senior Financial Analyst), Dr Amanda K Chaplin (Post-Doctoral Researcher), Dr Victoria Nolan (Longitudinal Studies Project Manager), Dr Nadine Rossol (Senior Lecturer in Modern European History) and Dr Louise Marsland (Health Services Research Adviser and Lecturer).

 

In 2016-17, the University produced 5 funded places on the Aurora Programme which commenced in London on 8 March 2017, with attendance on 4 further dates: 29 March 2017, 26 April 2017, 24 May 2017 and 28 June 2017.

We were able to catch up with Dr Victoria Nolan on her success in the programme. She has kindly provided us with her experiences with Aurora.

Who are you?

I am the Project Manager for Understanding Society (the UK Household Longitudinal Study), based at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. My role involves project planning, coordinating, tracking and reporting across the eight directorates and a range of other subprojects that make up the Study, and liaising with project stakeholders, funders and data users. I also have line management responsibility for two members of the Understanding Society team.

What’s your view of Aurora?

Aurora is an excellent programme for developing leadership and management skills, and for learning about your personal strengths and weaknesses as a leader and skills that can be developed further. Aurora is helping me to identify ways of improving my workplace behaviour to develop into a better leader, which is helpful both now, and as my role may develop in the future.

Aurora is also helpful for networking and meeting colleagues from around the University, and also from other universities across the country. We are learning a lot from each other and are making connections which will endure after the course itself has finished.

How is Aurora helping you?

The Aurora programme is really helping me to develop leadership skills that I can put into practice in my day-to-day work. I am learning about my identity in the workplace, techniques for “being heard”, different styles of leadership, and developing a presence within the team. We have gone on to learn about managing credibility, profile and influence, and building effective networks. We are developing “Action Learning” techniques to identify and find ways of resolving challenges that we face at work.

What does Aurora bring to the table? Why should people do it?

Aurora is useful as it is provided externally to the University hence, enables networking with a broader range of people, but is bounded by being focussed on higher education professionals, so all the delegates share fairly common experiences. The training days are well-structured with a combination of presentations from successful female role models within the industry, and group discussions where delegates can share their experiences and discuss challenges and possible solutions.

I would recommend that people apply for the Aurora scheme as it is a well-structured, interesting and useful course which covers a broad range of skills, and provides advice and guidance for better understanding your workplace self and gives you the tools to develop your leadership skills further in the future.

What does it mean to be a Successful Aurora Delegate?

I was very pleased to be chosen to take part in the Aurora programme. It is encouraging to be recognised as someone with future potential and I am pleased to be given the opportunity to develop my skills further within the context of this programme. Once the programme is finished I am certain I will have developed personally and been able to take some essential leadership skills back to the workplace.

 

You can find more information for the Aurora Programme here.

 



Celebrating International Woman’s Day 2017

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Gender equality — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 10:57 am

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8th March. Thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. This year, Essex Women’s Network organised a number of events centred around the theme of Health and Wellbeing in order to mark this special occasion.

To start the day, Psychotherapist Vanessa Murphy ran an experiential mindfulness session, exploring ways in which the simple practices of mindful breathing and meditation could help us respond, rather than react, too stressful and difficult situations.

This was followed by an open discussion facilitated by Susie Morgan (Director of Human Resources) and Dr Valerie Gladwell (Senior Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science) on the topic of health, wellbeing and maintaining a work-life balance.

We were also happily joined by Dr Caroline Marfleet, a Consultant in Family Planning and Reproductive Health at Colchester General Hospital, who provided information on the menopause. This was well attended by students and members of staff in Colchester and also in Southend, as the session was available via a live video broadcast. The session covered information such as the stages of the menopause, the symptoms and long-term impacts that may occur, how these symptoms can be reduced by using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the potential side effects that HRT may cause. Dr Marfleet also answered questions from attendees both regarding the menopause and wider fertility topics.  If you would also like the slides used by Dr Marfleet during this session, please email Jamais Webb-Small at jwebbs@essex.ac.uk.

Alongside these sessions, there were also a number of events that were held throughout the day. Free NHS checks were conducted by ACE Lifestyle, and Emma New provided wellness profiles that included the measurement of fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density and water percentage. In addition to this, a number of stalls were also held on square 3. Some were run by organisations centred around the theme of health and wellbeing (such as Health in Mind, Mid and North Essex Mind, Robin Cancer Trust and Occupational Health) whilst others instead showcased the facilities that the University has to support staff and students (Parent’s Group and the Women’s Network), and to improve the University’s environment to allow for equality of all genders both within academic departments and professional services (Athena SWAN). The Women’s Network organised a free lunch of soup and bread through Hospitality Essex, with a collection pot for monetary contributions to be donated to Colchester and Tendering Women’s Refuge. A total of £77.36 was raised!

In addition to this, both members of the Colchester Soroptimists and the Students’ Union LGBT* and Friends Society also ran stalls in order to fundraise for their organisations and provide information about what their respective groups are about, the aims that they have, and the type of events that they hold for their members.

However, the highlight of the day for many was the Motivational, Empowering and Inspirational (M.E.I) Women’s award. Sixty members of staff and students across the University, who identify as women, were nominated by their peers, students, friends and colleagues to be recognised for their inspirational achievements and their empowering attitudes that motivate and encourage others to be the best that they can be.

The awards were opened by the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and the Diversity Champion of Gender (including gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, Professor Aletta Norval. This year, the awards were attended by the Chancellor of the University, Shami Chakrabarti, who provided a short speech exemplifying the importance of recognising and celebrating the achievements of others both inside and outside of the University.  Shami humorously referred to the occasion as a ‘reverse Twitter’ as, in an era where online ‘trolling’, harassment and abuse are something that is experienced by many,  students and staff across all three of the University’s campuses nominated others anonymously for uplifting and remarkable reasons. Shami strongly stated that it is important to hold events like this, as the incredible impact that individuals have on others around them can often be forgotten or deemed as insignificant when faced with criticism, derogative comments and self-doubt.

Shami then commenced with presenting each nominee with their award by reading the reasons behind their nomination and inviting them down to collect their certificate.

The awards were extremely well attended, and enjoyed by all. One attendee said that it was “lovely to attend a ceremony based around honouring people for what they do to help others rather than purely on personal achievement.”

Some images from the day’s events can be found here.