Students Staff

20 December 2019

Improving access to higher education for refugees.

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, People pages — Communications, CER @ 3:22 pm

Professor Geoff Gilbert was in Geneva this week at the first Global Refugee Forum, where the pledge to improve access to higher education for refugees was officially announced.

Our University signed the pledge back in November, committing us to improving access to higher education for refugees. A full list of pledge signatories is online.

Speaking from Geneva, Professor Gilbert said: “Our pledge regarding support for our continued work in research, teaching and training on the international protection of refugees and other displaced persons, commitment to providing scholarships, and for support to the new Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network have all been gratefully received.”

This work forms part of our bid to gain University of Sanctuary accreditation, which builds on our commitment to promoting a culture and practice of welcome, safety and inclusion within our campus communities and in the wider world.

More information on our bid to be named a University of Sanctuary is on the Student Action for Refugees (STAR) website.

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Award winning digital and print communications

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 2:27 pm

Chris Oldham is our Director of Estates and Campus Services.  Here he tells us about the way forward for our print and design business and a new era working with the award winning digital and print communications agency CDS.

Chris Oldham

Chris Oldham, Director of Estates and Campus Services

Following an involved consultation period and close exploration of our options, a way forward has been found regarding our print and design businesses.

Award winning digital and print communications agency CDS have been appointed to take our Copy Centre, Graphic Design and Print functions forward.

As of 2 January 2020, CDS will be leading these business functions through a transitional period ahead of formal handover, with staff transferring under TUPE arrangements. There will not be any redundancies and all affected staff have been consulted with and informed of the new arrangements.

Copy centre

Customers will not experience any changes to our Copy Centre service during the initial transition period. The space and its staff will remain and CDS are looking forward to working with the team to further evolve and enhance the customer experience.

Design and Print

The Graphic design team will continue functioning as the client facing design link, managed by CDS and supported by their wider business.

Some of the design team will be retained on site at Colchester Campus to work on strategic branding projects and to help redefine and develop our University brand.

As per current arrangements, the majority of printing will be undertaken off-site, but management of this will move to the extensive print business that CDS operates.

What changes will customers see?

Initially, you should not experience a change and will still order design / print jobs using the existing creative brief form.

Your order will be processed and passed to the right team either on site or at CDS in Leeds and you should receive your order in line with agreed timescales.

Processes and procedures for ordering design / print will change in the future. You will be updated and supported through any changes in advance.

Stakeholder workshops

In the New Year, colleagues from CDS will run a series of workshops with internal stakeholders at the University to ensure everyone feels part of the new function.

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Placing diversity, equality and inclusivity at heart of YUFE experience

Filed under: Latest news — Communications Office @ 7:29 am
YUFE representatives from across Europe

YUFE representatives from across Europe

We are part of the Young University for the Future of Europe (YUFE), one of the alliances selected by the European Commission to create the first truly European universities. YUFE is led by eight young universities from across Europe and six associate partners from the higher education, non-governmental and private sector.

Our Deputy Dean of Partnerships (Europe), Dr Nadine Rossol, is closely involved in the YUFE project and has just visited the University of Bremen with colleagues from Essex to discuss a shared approach to diversity, equality and inclusivity.

What was the event about?

“This was our kick-off event for the diversity, equality and inclusivity work we are doing as part of the YUFE project. We want diversity, equality and inclusivity to run through every part of the YUFE experience ranging from curriculum choices and teaching content, over to staff recruitment and progression and student wellbeing. Essex is leading on this work, with our partner at the University of Bremen co-leading and hosting this first meeting.”

Who was there?

Staff and student representatives of all of our YUFE universities and associated partners. There was a truly European community represented – all brought together by a strong passion for the topics being discussed.

The Essex team included Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Karen Bush – Essex’s key expert on the topic, myself as Deputy Dean of Partnerships due to my responsibility for our links with Europe and YUFE,  and student representative Ana-Maria Bichir, Essex Student Union’s VP Community and Welfare.

What were the key takeaways?

Through sharing good practice we learned more about our European YUFE partners and we will create an inspiring and comprehensive equality, diversity and inclusivity policy which will be embedded in everything we do. At Essex, we felt that we could learn from the focus some of our YUFE partners have placed on making higher education accessible for refugee students.

What are the next steps?

This is the beginning of a three-year process which, for the first time, will lead to a comprehensive and shared understanding of the topic across our European partners. We are currently formulating our mission statement that will be followed by the implementation of practical policies and guidelines bringing together partners from 11 countries.

Find out more

Visit the YUFE website

Contact Dr Rossol

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17 December 2019

Have yourself a very sustainable Christmas!

Filed under: Latest news — Laura Mathias @ 4:09 pm

Santa rides bikeWith Christmas around the corner our Sustainability Engagement Officer, Daisy Malt, shares some top tips on how to have a happy, and environmentally-friendly, Christmas.

Switch off for Christmas

  • It’s important to make sure your office equipment gets a break, just like you do, so shut down your PC.
  • Unplug any phone chargers that you’re leaving here.
  • Turn radiator thermostats down, make sure windows are shut and switch off all the lights.

Deck the halls

  • Try using natural decorations – if you have holly branches, berries or ivy growing in your garden you can use these to give your home an eco-friendly rustic Christmas aesthetic.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, this can be collected for recycling by most councils in January (check your council’s website for more information).

Secret Santa

  • Resist next day delivery as it has a huge carbon footprint from diesel emitting vans and cardboard packing – try sourcing homemade gifts or help support local businesses instead.
  • If you got a jumper you don’t like, or too many pairs of socks, don’t let them take up space in a drawer all year –sell unwanted gifts on small-ads, donate them to charity or, if you’re channelling Rachel from Friends, exchange them at the store.
  • Consider gifting an experience or your time – maybe you could take them out for afternoon tea or to the cinema? We forget that everyone probably has enough stuff already…

Driving home for Christmas…

  • Travelling this Christmas? Get the train or a bus instead. The man in seat 61 has some great travel options to help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Ramblers is running the festival of winter walks. This is a chance to explore local landscapes and meet new friends. Check out some of the walks in your local area.

Food, glorious food

  • Christmas dinner pie is a brilliant way to repurpose everything you don’t manage to eat on the big day. Put your leftover food in a dish, add gravy and top with pastry or potato. Pop it in the oven until warmed through.

That’s a wrap!

  • Recycle wrapping paper, or keep the good stuff to reuse. (Remember, paper with shiny coatings and glitter can’t be recycled, so best to avoid these).
  • Scrap the wrap, how about using reusable gift bags? Or you could try wrapping presents in lengths of decorative fabric; in Japan this is called ‘furoshiki’.
  • Try to reuse ribbons, bows and decorations for another year if you’re going to have them, or be 100% waste-free and avoid them altogether.
  • Keep your Christmas cards to use as gift tags next year.
  • You can always send an eChristmas card, this will cut your carbon footprint and help save the trees.
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10 December 2019

Take a Fellow to Lunch scheme

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 4:49 pm

We’re trialling a new Take a Fellow to Lunch scheme to foster engagement between Visiting Fellows and our postgraduate research students.

The scheme, which is part of our International Visiting Fellowship programme, will give postgraduate researchers a unique insight into the research and career plans of our Visiting Fellows whilst they share a meal together.

Visiting Fellow Dr Sotirios Konstantinou-Rizos, a leading scientist from the Centre of Integrable Systems of P G Demidov Yaroslavl State University in Russia, and four postgraduate students from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, were the first to take up this opportunity, sharing lunch together at Wivenhoe House.

Dr Sotirios Konstantinou-Rizos and postgraduate students from the Department of Mathematical Sciences

Dr Sotirios Konstantinou-Rizos with some of our postgraduate research students

During the meal they discussed each other’s research and Dr Konstantinou-Rizos shared his experiences of working in academia. He also gave the students advice about career options, post-doctoral opportunities and exchange programmes and shared ideas for future research collaboration.

Dr Sotirios Konstantinou-Rizos said “I believe it is very important for PhD students to socialise and interact with Research Visitors from other Universities that may lead to potential research collaborations and joint grant applications at a personal, but also an institutional level.”

We’d like more postgraduate students to get involved in the Take a Fellow to lunch scheme and engage with our world class Visiting Fellows to learn more from their experience, broaden their horizons, and become more involved in international research projects at Essex.

All you need to do to take part is invite a Visiting Fellow from your own discipline to lunch or email us for more information.

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6 December 2019

Professional Services Sections Christmas Closures

Filed under: Campus news, What's on — Communications, CER @ 10:46 am

Our Professional Services teams will be closing for their Christmas lunches or annual conferences in the run up to the festive break. 


Wednesday 11 December 2019 from 12pm

Academic Section

Thursday 12 December 2019 from 12pm

Wednesday 18 December 2019 from 12pm, including the Student Information Team

Vice-Chancellor and Registrar’s Office

Thursday 12 December 2019 from 1pm

Human Resources

Friday 13 December 2019 from 12:00pm

Finance, Planning & Data Insight

Friday 13 December 2019 from 12:00pm

Southend Campus

Friday 13 December 2019 from 1pm

Estates and Campus Services

Estates Helpdesk

Friday 13 December from 12.00pm.  An answerphone and out of office email will be available.  Emergencies should be directed through the Information Centre which will be staffed.

Accommodation Essex

Friday 14 December from 12.30pm.  The SIT front line service will be available for accommodation queries, as will the Information Centre

Print Essex and the Copy Centre

Friday 20 December from 12.30pm.  An answerphone will be available, and staff will respond to calls and emails on their return.

The Post Room will remain open.

The Day Nursery, Essex Sport and Essex Food will be open as normal.

Students’ Union

Tuesday 17 December 2019, all day

Please note offices will also be closed on Monday 16 for the Mission Checkpoint Day.

Albert Sloman Library

Tuesday 17 December 2019 from 9.30am – 3.30pm.  The Library will still be open but staffed by the Reassurance team.


Wednesday 18 December 2019, half day (until 1pm)

Innovation and Technology Solutions

Thursday 19 December 2019 from 12.30pm

The section across our Colchester and Southend campuses will be closed for the afternoon and the Helpdesk email addresses will continue to be monitored ( and

The AVS service desk in the Colchester LTB will remain open.

First line IT support will be available from Library staff for the afternoon at the Southend Campus (from the Info Point) and at Loughton Campus (from the Library and IT Centre).

ITS staff will respond to all queries as soon as possible and thank you in advance for your patience.

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5 December 2019

Social Prescribing at Essex

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 6:04 pm

Our Workplace Health and Wellbeing Manager, Stuart Henty, tells us more about the Social Prescribing pilot that’s been taking place at our Colchester Campus this term and how we’re planning to develop it more in the future.

Stuart Henty

Social Prescribing is already being used by the NHS and local GP surgeries to take an alternative, holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing by connecting them to community groups and statutory services for support. Our Social Prescribing Pilot is designed to apply these lessons to our own community and support staff and students who are dealing with low mood, depression, social isolation and loneliness.

Since October we’ve been running a weekly Wellbeing Hub at the Hex with Community360, a local charity first formed in 1968 who are committed to building thriving local communities. Community360 have already established similar Social Prescribing projects in the Colchester area and have been working with us to deliver art and craft sessions in the Hex every Thursday, as well as community led activities like origami, board games, comedy sketch workshops and yoga sessions every Friday. You can find details of all these sessions on our events calendar.

Now the Wellbeing Hub is established, we’re going to be providing more Social Prescribing activities at our Colchester Campus with Community360 who will be facilitating free wellbeing activities and volunteering opportunities for staff and students. These will take place both on and off campus and will support people to make positive changes in their lives. We’re really keen to understand the impact of these opportunities, so we’re also going to be working with our academics to evaluate the project and measure its impact.

If you’d like to take part in the pilot there are a variety of ways you can get involved:

1. Speak to Community360 at the Hex every Thursday and Friday between 12noon and 2pm;
2. Call Community360 on 01206 505250;
3. Email

Many of the activities we have run so far have been organised by our staff and students. If you have suggestions for other wellbeing activities you would like to see, please contact me.

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