Students Staff
University of Essex

December 14, 2018

Celebrating our University of the Year with a year of celebrations

Our Registrar and Secretary, Bryn Morris, tells us what we’ve got planned to celebrate the title of University of the Year.

Bryn Morris

Our Registrar and Secretary, Bryn Morris

Our University won the prestigious title of University of the Year as a result of the hard work and dedication of every member of our community.

It is through our combined efforts and our shared commitment that we have seen our achievements recognised – and so by way of thanks and celebration, we are organising a year full of events.

And to begin our year of revelling with a bang, I want to announce that we will be giving everyone an extra day of annual leave.

The additional day will be given to all staff at all our campuses including our Students’ Union and Campus Services staff. The extra day should be taken during the year in which we are University of the Year i.e. between December 2018 and November 2019. The addition will be added to each member of staff’s leave allocation for 2018/19 and if not taken will be rolled forward into 2019/20.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. We have a host of other celebrations in store for the coming year, including:

• A celebratory tea party at each of our three campuses
• Free ice cream, music and games at our summer picnic
• University of the Year themed Celebrating Excellence events for both academic and professional services colleagues
• A University of the Year badge on all our Graduation materials
• A free Students’ Union event for our students

We’ll be looking to add University of the Year twists to other events throughout the year.

Recognising the contributions of all members of our community in these ways is incredibly important. We’ve achieved this accolade by putting people first and so I hope that everyone will be able to take part in and enjoy our year of celebrations.

December 6, 2018

We remain an international community where you find the world in one place

With a vote on withdrawal from the EU imminent, our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster, reaffirms our position as an international University community. 

Parliament is currently debating the EU Withdrawal Act and will vote on this next week. We are a University which prides itself on our international outlook and I want to take this opportunity to reassure our community that no matter what the outcome of next week’s vote – the University of Essex is and will remain an inclusive international community and a home for those who want to make the world a better place.

Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster

As I first set out in my blog following the EU referendum our approach will not change – we will continue to seize opportunities to support our mission and to collaborate, share, and work in partnership with colleagues in Europe and across the globe, in our tireless pursuit of excellence in education and excellence in research.

We will continue to work closely with Universities UK and with friends and supporters in Parliament to secure access to research funding, free movement and mobility schemes for staff and students and to safeguard the rights of our EU 27 staff. I have written an open letter to the Minister for HE and published an article in the Guardian  setting out why strong links in Europe are core to promoting a global Britain agenda, once the UK leaves the EU.

Our commitment to nurturing strong links in Europe is underlined by our inclusion as one of the 18 founding members of the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN). A pan-Europe initiative, YERUN aims to empower researchers, help design the future research environment, work with industry to ensure research is aligned with the labour market and ensure graduates have employability skills.

Professor Forster played an integral role in the establishment of the YERUN network.

We have strengthened our recruitment presence across the globe to ensure we continue to recruit our fair share of talented students from around the world. We are developing new partnerships, we are using our global network of alumni to engage in more locations and reach more people, and we are using our in-country teams to identify emerging opportunities and make new connections through local knowledge.

On our campuses, we have run a range of events and activities to support and advise staff on residency and nationality issues. Susie Morgan, our Director of HR has recently published a blog on the steps we are taking. Our EU referendum web pages contain information for staff, from details on naturalisation, permanent residence and information on funding for research projects to details of the EU settlement scheme.

And it was in direct response to our community’s concerns, that we established our ‘One Essex’ inclusivity campaign. ‘One Essex’ puts our vision and our ethos succinctly: One World One Spirit, One Essex and it is this thought I want to leave you with: that while UK’s position in relation to the European Union may change, our values will remain the same. The University of Essex will always be a cosmopolitan community, committed to inclusivity and internationalism, and a place where you can find the world in one place.



At Essex we’re proud of our diversity, our people and our inclusive spirit.

We’re proud of our global community and we’re celebrating these values with One Essex.

Our One Essex inclusivity campaign puts our ethos succinctly.


Essex is home to people from all over the world.

We’ll respect and support each other, no matter who we are or where we come from.

Join us in making sure that we are a welcoming and supportive community and a place that feels safe and inclusive.

Celebrating Excellence at the Vice-Chancellor’s Christmas Reception 2018

The annual Christmas Reception is a chance for our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster, to say a personal thank you to everyone for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Read his speech here and take a look at the photos on Flickr.

I just want to take a few moments to thank you all for your contribution to the success of the University over the last year.

People at the reception

The VC’s Christmas reception is a chance for celebration and recognition of everyone’s hard work throughout the year.

And what a year it has been! I think many of us are still reeling from the award last week of the wonderful title of University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2018. We knew in our heart of hearts, as we put together the submission, that we were worthy of the accolade but to actually be named ‘University of the Year’ and to have experienced the tremendous positive response that we’ve had from students, staff, friends and supporters across the sector and beyond, has been life-enhancing.

I am incredibly proud of our achievements and each of you is here today because you have been a part of this success. You have achieved excellence and through your actions, demonstrated the Essex spirit over the course of the last year. This event is about saying thank you and congratulations to you all.

I’m not intending to speak for long so will not be able to name check all the various teams and individuals from academic departments, professional services and the Students’ Union across our three campuses who are here today, but you’ll see that, as has become the tradition, we’ve tried to capture all your various contributions and successes on the powerpoint presentation running on the screens around us.

Some of you are here in recognition of the valuable contribution that you have made to the research mission of the University

  • by undertaking and publishing research of the highest quality
  • by continuing to apply for and secure significant external funding
  • by being recognised through fellowships and other professional recognition
  • by sharing your work through public lectures and events, and
  • by winning prestigious national and international awards.

I also want:

  • to congratulate those of you who have been promoted this year
  • to thank those who have been instrumental in the establishment of our 21st academic department The Edge Hotel School; and of the University of Essex International College
  • those of you who have been instrumental in the planning, building and successful operation of our fantastic new STEM building
  • those of you who have work tirelessly in planning and delivering open days and applicant visit days and in other marketing, student recruitment, admissions, and registrations roles resulting in another record year for us in terms of achieving our growth ambitions
  • Library colleagues who have continued to innovate in all sorts of different ways and who have made our 24/7 Library a reality
  • Staff and students from across the University who rallied round in all sorts of ways to support our University of the Year submission and ‘inspection visit’
  • And all our fabulous students who remind us each and every day why we’re all here.

Finally, I would like to thank our Students’ Union President, Tanki, and the superb team of sabbatical officers. And also the SU permanent staff for their energy and sustained commitment to supporting the sabbatical officers and providing the continuity that is essential in maintaining the sector-leading Students’ Union that we are so proud of.

So thank you all personally and on behalf of ‘the University of the Year’  – no less – for making our success possible through your hard work, dedication and commitment throughout another fantastic year.

I hope that you enjoy the evening and I wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year.

Thank you.