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University of Exeter Weekly Bulletin

For staff at Truro and Penryn

Monday 18 December

Contents \ Top News \ News From Colleges \ Updates from the Senior Team \ HR Updates \ IT Updates \ Campus Works \ In The News \ Rumour Buster \ Learning and Development \ Research news \ Sustainability News \ Research Help \ Notices

Welcome to the final Weekly Bulletin of 2017. Firstly, we want to extend our thanks for everybody who will continue working over the festive period. For those who are heading off for a well-earned break, we hope you have a safe, peaceful and relaxing time. Finally, to every single colleague, we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas – or Nadelik lowen!

Weekly Bulletin will return on Tuesday 2 January; please send any items in by 9am that morning for inclusion. We couldn’t send our last edition before Christmas without celebrating this brilliant tree in the Library, which has been made entirely of books.

Top News

Winter Graduation Celebrations

There were plenty of celebrations at Streatham Campus on Saturday, as we welcomed our newest graduates and their families to Winter Graduation.  Amongst the 1,300 students who crossed the stage to receive their well-earned degrees, we also bestowed degrees on several honorary graduates.  Grammy-award winning Augustin Hadelich was honoured for his outstanding achievements in music, whilst Lord Neuberger received the honour for his contribution to law.  We also awarded Helen Brand OBE, for her outstanding contribution to the accountancy profession, and Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for outstanding achievements in the field of environment and human health.  Find out more online.


Vice-Chancellor’s Christmas message

As you may have seen, our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Steve Smith, has sent a Christmas message to thank you for all you do, and to highlight some of the successes we’ve achieved this year, despite the challenges facing the sector.  The message is available to watch online


Sending festive greetings

Our Design Studio has created an animated greeting card with a snowflake motif based on our crest. This has been sent to alumni, partners, stakeholders and friends of the University. If you'd like one to email to your contacts, please email Tracey Smith before Wednesday and she'll forward you a copy.  See the animation on our Twitter page. There's also a fun video wishing our students a Merry 'Exemas' - see that on facebook


Office space Christmas decorations results

Congratulations go to the FX Plus Hospitality and Events team for scooping first place in the office space Christmas decorations competition, with their entry Christmas Cabin.  This was the first year the team has been able to take part, having previously been involved in organising and judging the competition.  Second place went to the Falmouth Campus IT team for Let it Snow, whilst third place was shared between Little Wonders Nursery and Penryn Campus IT.  The judging panel was made up of representatives from both universities, FXU and FX Plus, and we saw a record 20 entries this year – great festive work everyone!


Super jumpers

Staff from the Professional Services team at Penryn Campus joined in with Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 15 December, donating money to make the ‘world better with a sweater’ and help save children’s lives.

News From Colleges

The Science of Christmas

A big thank you to the CLES team for providing all the entertainment at this year’s annual Science of Christmas, where experts from the Penryn Campus uncovered some of the science behind Christmas phenomena and traditions, without giving away any of the magic. Why are gifts exchanged at Christmas? How do you sort the naughty from the nice? Brendan Godley and his team provided all the answers and the fun, with children joining in and asking lots of questions.


Maths students make fractal from lego

Students and staff from Mathematical Sciences explored fractals as part of the Further Maths Support Network, a year 10 outreach activity. Fractals are self-similar geometrical objects.

They are common in nature, where self-similarity results in complex but beautiful shapes, like snowflakes for example. This idea of self-similarity is beautifully illustrated by a level-3 Menger Sponge, built by the students and staff, using 19,968 of pieces of Lego.

Updates from the Senior Team


A series of lunches is taking place across our campuses so Mike Shore-Nye, our Registrar and Secretary, and Janice Kay, our Provost, can meet with colleagues to hear their views about how it feels to work here. This term Mike met with 21 randomly selected Professional Services colleagues at our Streatham, St Luke’s and Penryn campuses. The topics they discussed included flexible working, transformation and space. This academic year, Janice will be holding two lunches in each college with academic colleagues. This term Janice held lunches in CLES, the Business School, the Medical School, and CEMPS. Discussion points included staff and student recruitment, IT provision and personal training. All groups were interested in our future capital developments plans.


Find out about Education and Student Experience priorities

Tim Quine, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) recently hosted a number of open sessions for colleagues, which explored the University’s current education and student experience priorities.  A recording of one of these sessions is now available to view online.

HR Updates

Q&A session about proposed changes to USS

An information session has been arranged to discuss proposed changes to the USS pension scheme.  Andrew Connolly, Chief Financial Officer, along with Dr Barrie Cooper, Joint President of the University of Exeter Branch of UCU, will take questions on Tuesday 9 January, at midday in the Amory Moot room, Streatham Campus with a video link to Peter Lanyon Seminar Room 10, Penryn Campus.  Members of the USS scheme, union members and non-members are all welcome. Find out more and register to attend online. A recording will be available after the event.  For more detail on the proposed changes see our webpage.

IT Updates

Essential maintenance

Exeter IT is undertaking essential IT network maintenance, between the hours of 18:00 on Wednesday 3 January and 02:00 on Thursday 4 January. Work is also taking place between the hours of 18:00 on Thursday 4 January and 02:00 on Friday 5 January.  Although no downtime is expected during these times, network access to resources should be considered at risk.  The work is occurring outside of normal office hours and out of term time in an effort to minimise the disruption to staff and students. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Campus Works

Restricted access for vehicles, Tremough Barton Lane

On Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 December, vehicle access will be restricted to Tremough Barton Lane, whilst tarmac is re-laid following recent excavation works.  This work will restrict vehicular access to the farmhouse and cottages along the lane, although access will be possible, if necessary, via the greenhouse route to the front of the farmhouse.  There will be no access to the car park by the cottages.  Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times – please contact Michelle Hares with any concerns.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

In The News

News outlets around the world reported the dangers posed to turtles by plastic pollution, following research published in Endangered Species Research with lead author Professor Brendan Godley, Professor of Conservation Science and Director of the Centre for Ecology & Conservation at the Penryn Campus. 

Rumour Buster

Busting rumours through to Christmas

This week on Rumourbuster, find out whether Hope Halls’ communal space is being repurposed.  We also address those rumours about the street food market being closed.  Rumourbuster works as hard as Santa's elves to get you a response to your concerns within seven working days – please be aware that over the Christmas period, it will take longer to reply. You can see all rumours on the website, or if you have a concern and want to get a proper answer, submit your own online.  

Learning and Development

Bitesize learning sessions from People Development

Learning and Development have been busy listening to colleagues across the University, as part of the Positive Working Environment programme.  As a result, the team is working on a number of new initiatives to improve access to learning, increase the range of opportunities and help support career development for all colleagues.  Many people have asked for some short, sharp learning on a range of business topics, and the team are delighted to launch a new programme of bitesize learning based on the most popular requests:

January – Skype for Business
February – Networking skills and techniques
March – Giving feedback
April – ePDR system demonstration
May – Outlook tips and hints
June – CV writing

The sessions are open to all colleagues, and a programme for Penryn is being developed.  Add your name to the sessions via the links above, or just turn up on the day.  If you have any further suggestions of topics you’d like to see covered, please email the team.

Research News

Animals in Science

The Animals in Science Committee (ASC) Harm-Benefit Analysis subgroup, chaired by Professor Gail Davies, has produced a new review of the harm-benefit analysis (HBA) in animal research. This review is an analysis of the underpinnings and implementation of harm-benefit analysis under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. Harm-benefit analysis remains a crucial process in the ethical evaluation of the use of animals in science. The report was commissioned by the then minister Norman Baker in 2014, who asked the ASC to review and advise on the opportunities to improve processes of harm-benefit analysis. Professor Davies’ report reviews the new challenges to HBAs emerging from new data on animal suffering and research benefits, and includes twenty seven recommendations to improve processes of harm-benefit review by those who regulate the use of animals in science and the wider scientific community.

Sustainability News

Switch off for Christmas

With many colleagues soon to finish for the closure period, remember to switch off lights and equipment before leaving.  This not only helps us save energy and reduce costs; it can also prolong the life of equipment and reduces the risk of fires within our buildings. Below are some simple steps colleagues can take to help with this:

• Switch off all lights (including Christmas decorations) if you are the last to leave a building or room
• Shut down your own PCs, switch off monitors and printers, and turn off at the socket if not being remotely accessed
• Make sure no equipment is left on standby and unplug all non-essential items
• Turn off kitchen hot-water boilers, toasters and microwaves
• Close the sash on fume cupboards if they need to continue running
• Close windows and doors to stop heat escaping.

Research Help

Does the Father Christmas myth harm children?

When do children stop believing in Father Christmas?  Did you feel distressed by the revelation that Father Christmas isn’t real?  Were you angry that you were lied to, when you found out?  Was Christmas different after that?  Did the magic disappear?  Psychologists are exploring these questions in an international survey to gauge the psychological impact of the Father Christmas myth.  You can take the survey online.


Out-of-office reminder

We would like to remind all colleagues to set an appropriate out-of-office message for your emails, with details of alternative contacts and expected date of return.  It is very helpful for colleagues to know when the recipient of an email is away, and who to contact to ensure that essential work is undertaken.  Thank you all for your help.


Families for Children

Families for Children place vulnerable children from all over the UK with new adoptive families in the region.  The voluntary adoption agency has a growing number of older children, sibling groups and children with disabilities waiting to be adopted, and are looking for more adopters to come forwards.  Information days take place in the New Year – if you are interested, please do attend one of these:

Friday 19 January, 10am-12pmn – Families for Children offices, the Garden Flat, Castle Hill estate, Barnstaple, EX32 0RQ
Saturday 20 January, 10am-12pm – Families for Children offices, Higher Mill, Buckfastleigh, TQ11 0EE
Wednesday 7 February, 10am-12pm – Foot Anstey LLP, High Water House, Malpas Road, Truro, TR1 1QH