Students Staff
University of Essex

June 13, 2017

Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s Diversifying Leadership programme

Filed under: Developing Excellence — Tags: , , — Mohammed Alam @ 12:30 pm

As part of the University’s commitment to increasing the diversity of staff at senior levels, the University has funded two places on the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s Diversifying Leadership programme designed to support black and minority ethnic (BAME) staff transition into leadership roles. The programme is aimed at early career BAME academics and professional services staff, up to and below senior lecturer level (or equivalent).

This year Ai Gooch and Kojo Koram were selected to attend the Diversifying leadership programme. Below is Ai’s experiences of the event and how it has impacted her.

ai gooch

Subject Librarian for Business and Law

‘’I am a Subject Librarian for Business and Law. I applied for this programme because I am fairly new in my position and I wanted to know more about leadership in the context of UK higher education. The programme has been intensive, but rewarding. The course combines a theoretical framework of leadership and practical exercises to develop skills. For example, we looked at leadership theories through different timelines and across the world to raise awareness of the variety in the concepts of leadership. I also discovered various concepts and approaches related to leadership – sponsorship, for example, is something I had never heard of but I now have two sponsors, who have been a fantastic encouragement to me. Practical exercises, on the other hand, provide opportunities to do things without worrying about failure and to receive feedback. Such examples include ‘elevator pitch’ and ‘active learning sets’. Another positive thing about the programme is to have an opportunity to work with BME staff from other institutions and share experiences. It is really encouraging to meet people who struggle and succeed in similar circumstances. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to progress.’’

 

For more information on the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s Diversifying Leadership programme and other development programmes please email Organisational Development at ldev@essex.ac.uk

 

 



June 2, 2017

Removing the ‘one box identity’: The effects of intersectionality on life experiences

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Developing Excellence,Developing Knowledge,Gender equality — Mohammed Alam @ 1:22 pm

Many of you will be aware of work going on around the University to improve the experiences and outcomes for different groups of staff and students through participating in initiatives such as Athena SWAN and the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. This work has led to a number of changes to policy, practice and process across the University, all designed to create a more inclusive environment, but what challenges remain, what barriers still exist that prevent people from being accepted without exception and how can we move towards understanding how individuals’ multiple identities interact to affect their working, learning and social experiences?

This is the beginning of a series of discussions on the broad topic of inclusivity which we hope will create a platform for bringing together people with a range of expertise and personal experiences which in turn can help inform our work in this area. The session will take the form of short talks by each of the speakers followed by a panel discussion, taking questions from the audience.

Event details:

Monday 3 July 2017
6pm until 7.15pm followed by a drinks reception until 8pm (Colchester Campus)
Essex Business School building EBS.1.1 and video linked to Southend campus room GB.2.18
Bookings to be made via HR Organiser for staff.  For students, friends and family please email ldev@essex.ac.uk

Speakers

Thomas Currid, Lecturer, Health and Human Sciences

Thomas will talk about how he uses intersectionality in session content design and in his teaching. His expertise lies in the area of mental health and he will describe how he asks students to reflect on the multiple identities of the mentally ill and also the challenges they face e.g. sexism, racism, ageism, singularism, homophobia, etc. Thomas will also talk about intersectionality approaches in dementia and others with mental illness and through this lens, discuss mental health and the LGBTIA+ community.

Dr Sonia VirdeeDirector of Strategic Planning and Change

Sonia will give a brief personal narrative to stimulate discussion on attitudes and approaches to equality in Higher Education, from the perspective of a woman and an ethnic minority.

Fr. Alex Gowing-Cumber, Anglican Chaplain, Essex and East London Workplace Chaplains 

Alex will reflect on his evolving nature as a disabled spiritual practitioner who has never fitted neatly into tick box exercises and as a result faced prejudice and discrimination at the cross section of most junctions of his life. He will also briefly touch on 24 years and counting in a mixed race marriage and what it was like, as a couple, flying back into England having been at a conference in Rome, the day after the Brexit vote.

Further information:

Stonewall has produced some very useful information on their web pages around LGBT in the workplace.  If you are interested in finding out more about other issues in the workplace i.e. Bi-Sexuality and Trans equality these links might be helpful.



May 15, 2017

Athena SWAN: Success for the departments of History and Psychology

Filed under: Athena SWAN,Uncategorized — Mohammed Alam @ 4:00 pm

Congratulations to the departments of History and Psychology who join the Schools of Biological Sciences and Health and Human Sciences in holding a Bronze Athena SWAN award.

 

PSYCHOLOGY

“The Sciences suffer from a marked decline in women the further along the career path you look, and Psychology is no exception. We are extremely pleased that our department’s commitment to equality was recognised through the Athena Swan bronze level award. We look forward to implementing our 3-year action plan and to providing an even more inclusive environment where everyone, staff and students of any gender, has the opportunities they need to thrive and succeed.”

Dr Helge Gillmeister, Self-Assessment Team lead and Dr Dominique Knutsen, Self-Assessment Team co-lead

 

HISTORY

“Everyone in the Department is very proud of the award and keen to make progress on our action plan.  It’s wonderful that our work and commitment has been recognised”

Dr Matthew Grant, Self-Assessment Team Chair

 

Athena SWAN awards are given to institutions and departments in recognition of the work they have undertaken to address gender equality. You can find out more about what the University is doing to promote gender equality on the Equality and Diversity website.



May 12, 2017

Looking for contributors to a discussion about intersectionality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mohammed Alam @ 2:59 pm

Many of you will be aware of work going on around the University to improve the experiences and outcomes for different groups of staff and students through participating in initiatives such as Athena SWAN or the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. This work has led to a number of changes to policy, practice and process across the University, all designed to create a more inclusive environment, but what challenges remain, what barriers still exist that prevent people from being accepted without exception and how can we move towards understanding how individuals’ multiple identities interact to affect their working and learning experiences?

 

The first of what we hope will be a series of discussions on the broad topic of inclusivity is taking place on Monday 3 July and we are keen to use the wealth of expertise we have in our staff population to look at the issues from different perspectives. The focus of this first session will be on intersectionality, specifically the intersectionality between gender identity and other protected characteristics such as age, religion or belief, race or disability.

 

So, we are looking for members of staff who would like to take part. The format of the session will be a short talk (5 minutes) by each speaker followed by a panel discussion, taking questions from the audience, chaired by another member of staff.

 

If you are interested in being a speaker, please contact Jo Hopkins on ldev@essex.ac.uk by Friday 19th May, to express your interest and to indicate the specific topic on which you’d like to speak. You will need to be available at the Colchester campus between 5.45pm and 7.15pm.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.



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.



February 15, 2017

UKCEN and The 3 Million

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: — Marty Jacobs @ 11:10 am

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.



December 15, 2016

New disciplinary procedure: a fair and consistent approach

The University has launched a new disciplinary procedure.  This is part of our commitment in the People Supporting Strategy to justice in the workplace, including the right to a fair hearing.

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.



December 8, 2016

Grievance 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.

 

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