University of Essex
University of Essex

April 19, 2017

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.


August 30, 2016

Benefits for staff

Filed under: Advice & Support,Gender equality — Tanya Clements @ 9:00 am

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.
  • Childcare vouchers and a flexible benefits scheme to help with the cost of child care.
  • 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.



August 15, 2016

Sign up for a mindfulness course

Filed under: Advice & Support,Developing Excellence — Tags: , , , , , , — Seryan Mustafa @ 5:23 pm

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.

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July 22, 2016

University Expenses

Filed under: Advice & Support,Developing Excellence — Tags: , , , — Tanya Clements @ 2:19 pm

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.

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July 20, 2016

Organisation Structure

Filed under: Developing Excellence,People Management — Tags: , , , , , — Seryan Mustafa @ 10:13 am

What is ‘organisation structure’?

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.

 

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June 28, 2016

HR Organiser: Other absence coming soon

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seryan Mustafa @ 12:34 pm

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.

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June 23, 2016

Did you know that today is the third National Women In Engineering Day?

Filed under: Athena SWAN — Tags: , , , — Therese Pagel @ 9:00 am

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.


For further information please see:
Women in Science website of Essex’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
National Women In Engineering Day’s homepage


 

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