Students Staff

31 January 2020

What do students think? How you can help us find out.

Filed under: Latest news — Laura Mathias @ 4:19 pm

As three major student surveys launch on Monday 3 February, Professor Madeline Eacott, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, introduces eight key facts about the surveys, and why they matter.

Professor Madeline Eacott

Professor Madeline Eacott

Here at Essex, we believe in putting student success at the heart of everything we do. The NSS, UKES and PTES surveys, give the University the opportunity to receive direct, anonymous feedback from our taught students on how they think we are doing. And, of course, this gives us an opportunity to improve.

Whether our roles involve encouraging students to explore new ideas, assessing their coursework, staffing the library, building new classrooms, fixing IT systems, or devising timetables, we’re all here to help students get the very best out of their time at Essex – and to encourage their feedback.

Please take a few minutes to read these key facts, so you can help and play your part in continual improvement at Essex – as we strive to ensure every one of our students receives an excellent and transformational education.

Eight key facts about the upcoming 2020 student surveys

1. On Monday 3 February the 2020 NSS, UKES and PTES student surveys will go live, running until Thursday 30 April. Each year, University-wide effort encourages students to complete their survey. Our response rates are usually good: last year we reached a 76.8 per cent NSS response rate compared with a national average of 67.4 per cent. This year we’re aiming for at least 70 per cent for all departments, and 76 per cent institutionally. We’re also hoping to achieve 25 per cent participation in UKES and PTES institutionally, with all departments above 15 per cent. We donate £1 to local charities in Colchester, Southend and Loughton for every survey completed; last year we raised £3,000 for local good causes.

2. The results of the annual National Student Survey (NSS) the UK Engagement Survey (UKES) and Postgraduate Taught Engagement Survey (PTES) are hugely important. We believe in putting student success at the heart of everything we do. These surveys for all levels of taught study give us an opportunity to receive direct, anonymous feedback from our own students on how they think we are doing. And, of course, this gives us an opportunity to improve. The National Student Survey (NSS) – whose campaign theme this year is “What do you think?” – is for most final year undergraduates. The UK Engagement Survey (UKES) is for all other undergraduates. And, to support our postgraduate taught community better, this year we’re also running the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES).

3. Once surveys are complete, and the results are in – this is what happens next. We make institutional improvements, informed by what the results are telling us. Results are scrutinised in many places. Each department, for example, considers the results from their own students and agrees a plan of actions with their Executive Dean in relation to improving their courses. Alongside this departmental scrutiny, the results are considered at an institutional level to see whether there are any broader issues raised. For example, the library examines results across departments to see how we can improve the library services we offer to our students and the Student Experience Committee considers all the free-text comments to pick out any common themes which could be addressed.

4. NSS results are also made publicly available as an aid to potential students choosing their university.
NSS results are made public at Discover Uni to help prospective students make informed decisions about where and what to study. They also make a significant contribution to our rankings in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, as well as other UK ranking systems. The results from the UKES and PTES are used internally to help us understand the experiences of our undergraduate students who aren’t eligible for the NSS, as well as those of our PGT community.

5. A coordinated, university-wide response to our results is really important. Our Student Satisfaction Surveys Coordination Group – attended by Executive Deans and senior colleagues from Academic Section and CER – ensures a coherent approach across the University. Together, we deliver on various action plans that arise from our results, with the ultimate aim of ensuring we offer our students an excellent education, and achieve great student satisfaction.

6. When it comes to making meaningful improvements, students are at the heart of the process. Current students and the SU also help us understand how we can use the survey data to improve student satisfaction. For example, departments hold student focus groups to understand how they can better support their students’ learning. One outcome has been that many departments have launched for the first time this year in-module feedback to allow students to give feedback early in the module so that action can be taken to rectify any issues before the module ends.

7. Whatever job you so, you can help to encourage a student to take part in their survey. The NSS, UKES and PTES are a snapshot of our efforts, through the eyes of our students. When the 2020 surveys launch, we should all be ready to play our part. That means coordinating our efforts to achieve the best response rate and attain the best results. Once the results are in, we will then act with renewed energy to make continual improvements towards excellence in education.

8. Be briefed! Familiarise yourself with NSS, UKES and PTES. The three surveys ask a range of questions on all aspects of academic and wider university experience. It is important we support good practice and do not impose inappropriate influence. For more details on supporting the surveys, and for details of the NSS survey questions, visit

Got any questions?

The Student Experience Team within Academic Section are overseeing arrangements for NSS, UKES and PTES.  Please contact Mira Dragieva, Student Voice Manager via ext 4639.

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Research Support Sessions at Southend

Filed under: Latest news — Laura Mathias @ 3:38 pm

Need some scholarly communications and research support?

We’re hosting workshops at Southend Campus on Monday 10 February.

Study space

The sessions are aimed at Early Career Researchers, but anyone with an interest in the topics is welcome to come along.

Find out more and book your place:

We look forward to seeing you there.

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30 January 2020

Update on our new print services

Filed under: Latest news — Laura Mathias @ 5:29 pm

As per Christopher Oldham’s update in December, CDS have taken over the University of Essex Copy Centre, Graphic Design and Print functions. Take a look at some of the changes below.

Print Essex ordering process

New orders and amendments

From January 2020 we are encouraging all orders and amends for Print Essex to come through the online form which you can find here:

This form will be sent to the CDS client service team who will review and process your order.

Any content or amends can be attached to the online order form which will speed up the process.


Going forward, CDS will quote costs before starting any work. This will give you a chance to review and agree to costs, avoiding any amounting costs to be paid at the end of the project.

In order to be transparent, CDS quotes will be fully inclusive with no hidden fees. Quotes will state what is included and if you need more time than is quoted for amends, we can requote based on your requirements.

All quotes will need to be approved prior to CDS starting any work – a reply email simply stating your approval of the quote will get the team started on your project.

Contacting CDS Print Essex

To contact CDS regarding an order, email

You can also call the CDS client service team on 01206 87 3141.

We do request that any new orders or amends are requested through the online order form to enable us to track your order more efficiently.

The Essex university email accounts will no longer be monitored from Monday 3 February 2020.

Further updates to the Print Essex process

As we move forward into the contract we will be updating and refining the process for orders to be processed by Print Essex. These will be communicated via the Essex Daily newsletter and blog.

Volunteers for helping to shape the future process

CDS are looking for volunteers to share their findings of the Print Essex process to help CDS shape the future process.

If you are interested in helping, we will be conducting workshops and one-to-one meetings to gather as much information as possible. All information is welcome!

To register your interest please follow the instructions below and we will be in touch about setting up a session in due course.

  • please email
  • with the subject: “Print Essex: the good, the bad, and the ugly”
  • detailing in the body of your email;
    Email address
    Job title
    Happy to attend a workshop or prefer a one-to-one session
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24 January 2020

Copyright Licensing Agency collection exercise Jan-Feb 2020

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — Communications, CER @ 4:39 pm

What’s happening?

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) is doing a periodic collection of data relating to the type and quantity of paper copies we make for educational purposes.

What is the CLA?

The CLA is one of the UK’s intellectual property licencing agencies. They undertake periodic data collection to inform the payment of royalties for authors. The University holds a licence for copying and digital scanning and so is included, among other organisations for the data collection.

When is the data collection taking place?

For six weeks between 13 January to 21 February 2020.
If you are printing packs using a local printer, please print an extra copy and deliver it to the Copy Centre, where all paper copies will be collated. If you are printing a pack from an electronic original, please upload the electronic version to the CLA Cloud –  Login Name: UniversityofEssex  Password:Monday14!
Packs ordered from the Copy Centre will be automatically collected.

What is the purpose?

Once every five years the CLA requires us to tell them approximately how many paper copies we are making for educational purposes. Their motive for collecting this data is to ensure that the authors of the publications we copy and use are paid the correct amount of royalties. It is not an audit to check our use against our licence. As many of our academics are published authors, you will understand the importance of accuracy in this exercise.

Who does it apply to?

It applies to anyone making copies for teaching; including academic and professional services staff and Graduate Teaching Assistants.

What do I have to do?

This exercise relates to publications copied onto paper for educational purposes only – you are not required to declare copies made for personal or private research purposes. Yellow boxes have been installed next to some our printers. When you copy something for teaching, simply make a copy of the back page including the bar code, fill in a CLA label and pop it into the yellow box. Anyone making copies for teaching will be required to take part. If you are making paper copies on a local printer, please create an extra copy and deliver it to our Copy Centre who will collate them all. Alternatively, if you are creating a paper copy from an electronic original, please upload the electronic version to the CLA cloud. Copies ordered from the Copy Centre will be automatically collected.

What about digital scanning and born-digital copies?

Scanning of paper items for digital use is not included. Copies of copies are included. Paper copies of digital born materials are to be included. Course packs that are printed are to be included.
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New safeguarding training

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, What's on — Communications, CER @ 4:09 pm

The Safeguarding Team have launched a bespoke training session for staff that builds upon the Moodle Safeguarding Essentials training.

Safeguarding at the University provides information on distinguishing between the legal and frequently adopted definitions of safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk and looks at relevant internal policies and guidance.  In the training, we will consider what may cause someone to be vulnerable to the different types of abuse and neglect and identify the procedures and routes for escalating concerns about members of our community.  Case studies will also be used to embed learning and help those attending the course see how safeguarding works in practice at our University and what their role might be.

Safeguarding at the University supersedes and replaces the Workshop to Raise Awareness about Prevent training that over 1,500 members of staff attended since its launch in January 2016.  This new training session looks at relevant scenarios where members of our community may be at risk and vulnerable to a wide spectrum of abuse and neglect, such as the vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism, County Lines drug trafficking, emotional, physical and financial abuse and modern slavery. 

There are currently four sessions scheduled that can be booked via HR Organiser, with further sessions to be organised across all three campuses.

  • Thursday 30 January, 2.00pm-3.30 pm (Colchester)
  • Monday 23 March, 10.00am-11.30 am (Colchester)
  • Monday 11 May, 10.30am-12.00 pm (Colchester)
  • Monday 29 June, 2.00pm-3.30 pm (Colchester)

If you have any questions, please contact the Safeguarding Team:

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21 January 2020

Holocaust Memorial Week at our Colchester Campus

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 3:46 pm

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place each year on 27 January and we’re marking this international event with a week of activities at our Colchester Campus. Professor Andrew Le Sueur, our Inclusivity Champion for Jewish Students and Staff, and Professor Maurice Sunkin, Chair of our Holocaust Memorial Week Group tell us more.

Professor Andrew Le Sueur

Professor Andrew Le Sueur

This year Holocaust Memorial Day marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia. During the week we’re recognising these anniversaries with events remembering all those who’ve died in recent genocides.

On Monday 27 January we’ll hold our annual Reading of Names. The Reading of Names is informal, if solemn, and each name we read aloud represents the many whose names remain unknown. The Reading of Names is a significant act of remembrance that is best expressed by David Berger, a victim of the Holocaust who was killed at the age of 19 in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1941. David said: “If something happens, I would want there to be somebody who would remember that someone named D. Berger had once lived. This will make things easier for me in the difficult moments”.

Active remembrance of the Holocaust is important for the victims of those events, but also gives us a prism through which to see nationalism, intolerance of minority communities, and populist governments that continue to impact on people’s daily lives in many countries. Those who lived through the Holocaust saw clearly that human rights could be the blueprint for a free and equal society and the week also provides an opportunity for us to consider wider human rights issues. That’s why Anthony Clavane, from our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, will be leading a discussion on how football can challenge Racism on Monday lunchtime.

Professor Maurice Sunkin

Professor Maurice Sunkin

Monday 27 January also sees our Procession of Light when we’ll walk together across our Colchester Campus. This is always a popular event and we invite as many as possible to join us. There will be a lantern making workshop in the Art Exchange and the procession will finish with a gathering in Square 5 for a moment of reflection.

On Tuesday 28 January Dr Roman Nieczporowski will lecture on Art and Memory of the Holocaust; and later in the evening the acclaimed Don Kipper will perform Kletzmer, Roma and other music of communities of eastern Europe that were devastated by the Holocaust.

This year is the eighth anniversary of the Dora Love Prize, which sees schools from Essex and Suffolk come onto campus to discover the links between the Holocaust and intolerance, discrimination and outright hatred of those regarded as ‘different’ in the world today. This year around 17 schools are attending the prize evening on Wednesday 29 January, where they will present their own Holocaust awareness project designed to speak up against hatred wherever it occurs. This event is organised by Professor Rainer Schulze, from our Department of History, who first marked Holocaust Memorial Day at our Colchester Campus in 2007, both as a way of remembering the millions of people who died during the Holocaust, but also as a way to work for greater tolerance in our society.

On Thursday 30 January Professor Lars Waldorf, from our Human Rights Centre, will be giving a talk about the genocide in Rwanda, students from our Human Rights Society will be leading a roundtable discussion on the intolerance that different groups face and we discuss The State of Antisemitism Today.

The week closes with our Friday evening Service. This event is open to all members of our community and we would be delighted if you were able to join us. Based on a Friday evening synagogue service, it encourages all to come together in the spirit of peace and friendship.

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17 January 2020

Our zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and sexual violence

Filed under: Latest news — Communications, CER @ 12:58 pm

We are committed to creating an environment where everyone is safe and treated with respect. Here is an update on our ongoing work in this area.

The University of Essex has a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and sexual violence. We do not and will not tolerate such behaviour and, together with our Students Union, we are committed to making our University an inclusive and welcoming environment, where everyone is safe and treated with respect.

If you witness or experience any behaviour that does not uphold our values, report it online. Search Essex, Report and Support

You may be aware that a number of historic cases of sexual harassment have been covered in the media as part of a wider focus on how Universities are tackling this issue. All of the allegations made were investigated and we have taken action where it is possible for us to do so.

However, as a consequence of these and other cases, we undertook a full review of our policy and processes last academic year. This has resulted in a number of changes to our disciplinary and support processes. The most important change has been the substantial revision of the Code of Student Conduct, which we also strengthened to ensure we have the tools and policies in place to improve our handling of such cases. The new Code of Student Conduct and the accompanying expectations of behaviour formed the basis for much of our communications to all new and returning students at the start of the academic year.

We have also extended the visibility of our reporting platform Report and Support.

Alongside improving reporting and disciplinary processes, we have also introduced consent training for all students; bystander training; additional security patrols at night and CCTV coverage across all our campuses; and have provided additional resources for our conduct team to ensure issues are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Importantly, University Senate now receives a termly assurance report on the implementation of the Code of Student Conduct 2019-20. This report will be available to all staff following the Senate meeting next week through the Committee portal.

We have taken independent external advice to ensure we are creating a fair and transparent process that supports students who make complaints and ensures their wellbeing is monitored, and will continue to do so, on an ongoing basis.

If you are the victim of, or witness to, an incident that you feel is a breach of the Code of Student Conduct; you should report the incident through Report and Support. The University’s conduct procedures are not intended to replace criminal proceedings and if the allegation you have made might be an offence under criminal law, you are expected to report the matter to the Police.

This area remains a priority for our whole community, and we all need to play our part in ensuring we are a safe and inclusive environment. We are a community of supportive and courageous people who, working together can and will instigate change.

If you have any suggestions or feedback or if you need support with any of the issues raised above please contact our Human Resources section.

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10 January 2020

Ditching plastic bottles in 2020

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 4:29 pm

We’re committed to reducing our use of plastic and in the last two years we’ve embarked on a programme of replacing bottle-fed water coolers with plumbed-in units. This year we want to make sure that we have no bottle-fed machines in use on our campuses.

Plastic is a key element of our target to reduce our carbon emissions by 43% by 2020, compared with a 2005 baseline. As part of this work we’ve replaced 50 bottle-fed machines with mains-fed units since June 2019, which has provided a series of financial savings and sustainability benefits. These include:

  • A reduction in plastic as mains-fed water coolers do not need plastic bottles to be used/replaced.
  • Reducing the environmental impact of making and transporting the bottles.
  • No more heavy lifting/awkward manoeuvres when the bottles need to be changed.
  • A cut in plastic used on our three campuses.

The target for the year is to no longer have bottle-fed machines. However, we need your help in creating cultural change. We’d like to hear about any remaining bottle-fed units, so please get in touch if you still have one.

Contact our Sustainability Team.

We’d also like to hear from you if you bring in bottle-fed units for events, so we can work with you to explore solutions. We’re already working with the team behind Graduation to see how we can use fixed, plumbed in machines instead. Graduation get through around 80 bottles a year and installing them also takes up our porters times, so a move to mains-fed machines would make a real impact financially and in terms of sustainability.

By working as a community we can make a real impact and reduce our impact on natural resources.

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2 January 2020

Dancing Portraits donated to our School of Health and Social Care

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 12:56 pm

Our School of Health and Social Care have been given three portraits after delivering two creative arts events with One Colchester.

The portraits were given to the School by Gemma Wright from Colchester’s Dance Network Association. Called the ‘Dancing Portraits’, they were originally painted by Hannah Garnham who is a local portrait artist. They are now hanging in the foyer of the School of Health and Social Care.

The Dancing Portraits by Hannah Garnham.

The Dancing Portraits by Hannah Garnham.

The School worked with One Colchester to deliver the two creative arts events. One Colchester is a multi-agency organisation that aims to break down operational barriers to social change in the local area, helping to build stronger, more resilient communities.

The first event was a performance of Grandma Remember Me at the Lakeside Theatre by the Az2B Theatre Company. The play explores the changing relationship between Lilley and her Grandma, who is developing Alzheimer’s disease, through a mix of puppetry, drama and storytelling,

The play was followed by a Creative Arts and Dementia workshop in The Hexagon, which brought together health and social care staff, students and professional artists. It was great opportunity to engage in the arts and to share and reflect on the value of creativity when working with people and their families who live with dementia.

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