Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/staffblo/public_html/wp-content/themes/vc-blog/library/functions/core.php on line 27

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/staffblo/public_html/wp-content/themes/vc-blog/library/functions/core.php:27) in /home/staffblo/public_html/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php on line 8
University Leadership Team https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:19:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 International Women’s Day – The Gender Pay Gap at the University of Leicester https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2017/03/08/international-womens-day-the-gender-pay-gap-at-the-university-of-leicester/ Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:19:31 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=199 Today March 8th 2017 marks International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is a global day of celebration that marks the struggle for gender equality. It provides a forum for celebrating the role of women and their achievements, identifies challenges for the future and campaigns for change.


We know that one of the greatest challenges to gender equality is the gender pay gap. Despite the equal pay act 47 years ago, women, on average, still earn less than men in the UK today. We at Leicester were reported, along with other Universities, as having a significant gender pay gap in 2016.


The backdrop to the UK gender pay gap is rooted in unequal caring responsibilities, a divided labour market and more men in the most senior roles. We know that as a University that values equality and as a responsible employer we need to be doing more to address these challenges.


Addressing this gap is a priority for us. Simply waiting for this problem to rectify itself would take 39 years. So prior to the report’s publication we had already commissioned a review to identify what we could do to address this.


As the President and Vice-Chancellor set out in an article for the BBC last year, we have a target for a 1.5% increase each year in women professors, with the aim of having 30% of professorships held by women by 2020. Alongside that we are making other changes.


We welcome the introduction of shared parental leave and have a generous parental leave policy. We know that over 60% of those earning less than the living wage are women and so we are proud to be a living wage employer. Our posts are advertised as flexible, part-time or job share unless there is a strong business case not to. We are working hard to support women’s progression to more senior roles, including targeted leadership courses and programmes of coaching and mentoring.


We have fundamentally transformed our approach to academic careers and academic promotion by highlighting the broad range of valued contributions and achievements, recognising that women’s cases for promotion may include significant contributions to academic citizenship, collaboration and teamwork, central to our university mission and taking into account periods away from the workplace (such as maternity and adoption leave). It is well documented that achieving and maintaining equal pay requires a fair and transparent simple pay system. We have a transparent single pay and grading structure based on systematic job evaluations from grades 1-9.


We recognise and are addressing a number of key areas where we can make improvements. These include: a transparent senior pay structure (grade 10+); providing training for all staff who make pay related decisions and consistent application of guidance in responding to market forces which play a role in setting rates of pay to competitively recruit and retain employees.


We look forward to the requirement to publish our gender pay gap data annually, and will report our data but also continue to set out realistic and measurable actions to ensure timely progression.


Our clear aspiration is to address the gender pay gap but we recognise the journey and pace of change is slow. We are grateful that our staff and students recognise the challenges we face and offer important feedback as we strive to take meaningful action.


Kate Bradley – Director of Human Resources

Dr Kate Williams


If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

LGBT month highlights changing attitudes on Campus https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2017/02/28/lgbt-month-highlights-changing-attitudes-on-campus/ Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:55:40 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=193 Whenever I see an LGBT+ event advertised on campus I feel joy that attitudes have changed so dramatically and wonderfully over my lifetime.


February was LGBT History Month, and this year is significant because it marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. Universities across the UK have been holding events looking back and celebrating what has been achieved and preparing for the challenges that still face us. Above all, these events provide an opportunity for people to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and a fair and just society for all.


LGBT History Month was established just over a decade ago, following the abolition of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which banned local authorities and teachers from ‘promoting’ homosexuality or publishing materials that ‘promoted’ its acceptance as a ‘pretended family relationship’.


The University of Leicester has a programme of wide-ranging events open to staff, students and the general public, and Leicester City Council is showing its support by flying the rainbow flag for inclusion and diversity at the town hall and other public buildings.


It is worth noting that in the not-so-distant past, this series of public lectures, research seminars and social events could well have been deemed illegal or, at best, distasteful.


Things have come a long way since I was a teenager, when I was convinced I was the only one with a different sexual identity, and that I had some sort of disease because, growing up, I hadn’t heard of any others like me. I grew up in a very ordinary suburb in a small Australian city, and I neither knew nor learned much about sex.


It was only when I got to university that it started to become clear to me that I was not alone, that there were many people out there with different sexual identities.


The change has been wonderful and amazing but, of course, the work is not finished. There are still LGBT+ people (especially transgender) living in fear and hiding. Young people still get bullied and worry about whether they are and will be OK. There are still people who think we should just shut up about it and don’t realise that it’s hard to shut up when a lot of what you see around you is still shouting out that only heterosexuality is really normal.


There’s a philosophical argument that we cannot learn from what has happened in the past because it is we in the present who construct our history. I would argue that, in practice, we in the LGBT+ community do have a lot to learn from our history and the activism and bravery that has got us this far.


Starting work as a lecturer in Australia in the early 1980s, I kept my sexual orientation to myself – although most people probably realised – and I was once denied a position because, I heard later, members of the panel preferred a “family man” and someone with whom they could “feel comfortable”.


Thirty years later I can not only “come out” as a homosexual provost of a leading UK university but can also, I believe, regard my sexual identity as an asset in my work. It has given me first hand experience of the way the mores and prejudices of a society can impact so negatively on the individual. It has given me a taste for justice and doing things properly, and compassion and sensitivity towards people dealing with bullying, harassment or marginalisation.


It is very important to say to younger people that change happens, that good arguments move people, change their minds and move their hearts. Straight people don’t think about gay people the way they used to. That is an incredible achievement for activism from “our side”, but straight people had to change themselves too. They had to do the work as well, in recognising the humanity and dignity of people who are different and understanding difference as valuable and enriching rather than threatening.


That is why it is so heartening to see so many diverse groups working together to make LGBT History Month a success, and opening up events to the wider community in Leicester.

University of Leicester students during last November’s Pride week event


I hope it is helpful for people who are marginalised, for people who are younger and fear that maybe the world doesn’t change, to hear from someone a bit older who says: “Yes it does but it doesn’t just change by itself, you have to speak it, you have to argue it, you have to live it.“


You have to embody the pride and embody the insistence that you are not going to take the lies and the misrepresentations. Good people listen and they respond and they change.


One of the things I am most proud of is that when I was younger, despite the insults and the fear about what taking a stand might mean, I was prepared to play a part in the activism that has created a world in which I am pretty sure the average teenager with a different sexual identity would no longer think they are the only one. There is always someone they can look to, someone who is confident in their skin, has someone who loves them and has a family that loves and respects them.


A lot of people in my generation didn’t have that at all. We had no one to show us what the end of the journey might look like.


What is different about the world now compared with 20 or 30 years ago is that there are more allies. Some people are legally required to help you, and not to stand by and watch bullying and harassment, but there are even more people who are morally driven not to stand by. That helps us call it out, shout it out. It strengthens our voice.


Big gains have been made and this is a time to look back at the past and celebrate them. It is also a time to reflect on what still lurks beneath the surface because there is still sometimes a gap between what people say and what they feel.


Here at Leicester, the university celebrates diversity and our leadership reflects that. But it is everyone’s business. Young people have just as much ability to influence others with their courage, their example and the power of their arguments.


The work is not yet done, and there are times it feels like it is being undone. You wonder why you have to say certain things again.


But change does happen when people decide to act and when they decide to really listen. It happens when people who are advantaged or “normal” understand the justice of the arguments being made by those who are disadvantaged or “abnormal”, and do something about it. I know, I have witnessed it.


Professor Mark Peel – Provost

This article originally appeared on the Times Higher Education website.


If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.


The National Student Survey https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2017/01/18/the-national-student-survey/ https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2017/01/18/the-national-student-survey/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:40:20 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=179 Once again the National Student Survey (NSS) is upon us: from the end of January through to the end of April the NSS is open for all finalists to respond to. We will be running a campaign with the Students’ Union to encourage as many students to respond as possible so you will see banners around the campus, information on the plasma screens in various buildings, ‘shout-outs’ in lectures by the student representatives and ‘pop-up’ completion events throughout this term. There is also a series of briefings which colleagues are encouraged to attend.

The National Student Survey was launched in 2005 and has taken on increasing significance over the years. This year is no exception: not only does the NSS feed directly into the league tables published by the different media groups, but sections of the NSS now contribute to the metrics that are being used to inform the outcomes of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).  This year, for the first time since its launch, the NSS has been revised with changes to some questions and the addition of questions focusing on two areas:

  • The extent to which students consider their course has enabled them to explore concepts, bring information together and apply what they have learnt
  • The extent to which students feel they are listened to and have had their feedback acted on

Despite its many flaws, the NSS is widely perceived as being one of the main indicators of the quality of the education provided by institutions across the HE sector and this means our performance is very important. The national league tables have major impact on our ability to recruit good students, both from the UK and overseas, and for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Likewise, whether an institution is rated as Gold, Silver or Bronze in the TEF will impact directly on student recruitment for a university such as ours, as well as determining the level of undergraduate tuition fees.

In the 2016 NSS we recovered some of the ground we lost as a result of the poor outcome in 2015 and much good work has been going on in departments to address issues that were identified from the 2016 outcomes with the aim of improving our ranking back towards the levels the University was at four-five years ago. Most recently this has included asking departments to sign-up to the partnership agreements that set out the actions to be taken to support the promotion of the 2017 NSS and to make sure that students are aware that their feedback has been listened to and how it has been acted on.

In recent years we have had a response rate of about 72%, compared with the national figure of about 74%. Our aim this year is to obtain a good level of response, above the national average, early in the process so that our students are not being repeatedly contacted by Ipsos (the company running the NSS) while they are preparing for their finals and not feeling inclined to give time to providing a thoughtful set of answers.

Professor Jon Scott – Pro-Vice-Chancellor with special responsibility for Student Experience

If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2017/01/18/the-national-student-survey/feed/ 0
Reflecting on Transformation https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/12/16/reflecting-on-transformation/ https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/12/16/reflecting-on-transformation/#respond Fri, 16 Dec 2016 09:43:53 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=172 As we reach the end of the calendar year it is normal to reflect and to look forward. In a year when we launched a Transformation programme there is much to look back on; much that has been challenging and much that is positive.


Transformation has always been about implementing the vision in the Strategic Plan. It has been about financial stability and much more. And importantly it has triggered a conversation across our university about how we develop, support and sustain excellent education and research.


Of course it’s been vital that we get the University on a sustainable footing. At the start of 2016 that was looking like a significant challenge. The facts of our situation were clear and we shared them with everyone. It now feels that we are moving in the right direction, in part because of the effort that many of us put into increasing our income through student recruitment, conversion and clearing and in part because of the savings that will flow from the decisions we have made.


There have been some tough decisions and robust debate. As we made clear from the start, we have had to stop doing some things that are not financially sustainable or that are not strategic priorities, despite the quality of the work being done. Past performance is important, but so is future fit and focus. Hard choices have sometimes led to hard words and hard feelings; it’s a situation we are not used to at Leicester, but perhaps robust debate about future directions was one of the things that, in the past, we did less often than we should.


We’ve also insisted on comparing ourselves with the universities whose company we would like to keep. This has sometimes been uncomfortable, because our performance is, on the evidence, below par in several crucial areas. One of the most important outcomes of the debates about Transformation, in my view, is a greater willingness within departments to face the facts, challenge complacency and think hard about practical ways of improving performance.


I wouldn’t say that we have reached our destination, which is the sustainable and successful university described in the Strategic Conversation and the Strategic Plan.  Those of you who came to my recent presentation with Martyn Riddleston (log in with Blackboard using your usual details) will have heard us stressing that no institution can simply cut its way to future prosperity and security. Indeed, the Transformation programme has focused on local changes—including investment in some cases—because while this makes the process longer it also means it can be adapted to departmental differences and changing circumstances.


Our goals must be to build a platform for long-term, intelligent and sustainable growth, which provides a basis for investment in research, student experience and education and in an estate that is not at the moment suited to our current needs, let alone future ambitions. But a sustainable and successful university will also encourage and benefit from accountability, collaboration and an approach to our work in which we all hold ourselves to the high standards that already characterise our strongest departments and divisions.


In a year of difficult conversations, it is all the more important to emphasise the great work being done by colleagues here at Leicester, in teaching and student support, in research and enterprise, in internationalisation and widening participation, and in changing lives. Those of you who came to Paul Boyle’s presentation last week (log in with Blackboard using your usual details) will have heard about the impact of the research we are doing and of the improvements we have made to the experience and success of our students. In terms of our widening participation agenda, we are working hard to bring students from non-traditional backgrounds into higher education. You may have seen the news about our new foundation year in Medicine designed to bring us the most able rather than the most fortunate, or our leading role in the new National Collaborative Outreach Programme, cementing our proud reputation as one of the most socially inclusive of all the research-led institutions.


My hope for the New Year is that we can quickly move on from the restructuring elements of Transformation. Of course, sustainability will continue to be a concern; we have no reason to believe that pressure on student numbers or research funding is going to lessen and we must always plan our future with a view to the risks as well as opportunities of our environment. We must also manage the local impact of the more or less unhelpful decisions of our government.


Our longer-term future is about improved performance and providing the systems and processes that help people in our departments and divisions do great work. It’s about performance development, reward and recognition, and our willingness to constructively challenge. High performance and high standards are a constant focus in our best departments and divisions and it is crucial that we understand what they do so that we can learn from their approach to success. To do that, we have to get better at recognising and sharing what we do well, and be clearer that collective success depends upon individual contributions.


Professor Mark Peel



If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/12/16/reflecting-on-transformation/feed/ 0
Building foundations for students https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/12/14/building-foundations-for-students/ https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/12/14/building-foundations-for-students/#respond Wed, 14 Dec 2016 09:27:55 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=168 It is a known fact that 80% of doctors come from 20% of schools, meaning there is a lot of untapped potential.


Future doctors need so much more than just good A-Level grades, we’re also looking for drive, a readiness to learn and the ability to reflect. I believe that there could be many more talented doctors from diverse backgrounds who we’re just not reaching by focusing our entry criteria on good A-Level grades.


With this in mind, I’m delighted that the School has launched its Foundation Year programme to enable us to reach out to students who may not have the desired entry requirements, perhaps as a result of challenging personal circumstances, but who local schools feel have the potential to progress to being great doctors with the right training and support.


Beginning in September 2017, we will be accepting 25 students for our Medicine with Foundation Year degree, with the aim to provide academic, cultural and social support to the cohort. If by the end of the year they reach our required level, the students will then progress onto the first year of our Medicine degree.


The University is consistently one of the most socially inclusive of the UK’s leading universities and has a long-standing commitment to providing fairer and equal access to higher education. This Foundation Year will help us to continue to build on this reputation. We are now recruiting students from the East Midlands area who will be supported by a local charitable trust which is contributing £2 million towards the cost of the course to help ease the debt burden.


We are planning a great programme which should be a fantastic experience for these students who, often through no fault of their own, may not have set their goals high enough to attain three A grade A-Levels.


The programme will help and support the students, with a strong emphasis on developing the study skills that will be necessary for them to succeed in their undergraduate studies and beyond. We are one of a handful of Medical Schools in the country to offer such a crucial programme for widening participation students, and hope to contribute to a national problem of a lack of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds entering the medical profession.


Professor Philip Baker

Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology


If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/12/14/building-foundations-for-students/feed/ 0
How do we measure ‘Learning Gain’? https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/23/how-do-we-measure-learning-gain/ https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/23/how-do-we-measure-learning-gain/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:36:53 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=164 The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is clearly a hot topic in the Higher Education sector at the moment and occupies the thoughts of many of us across the University for a variety of reasons.


One set of questions being asked by the TEF and through HEFCE-funded projects is “how do students learn, how well are they supported in their learning by higher education institutions, and how can this be measured?”


We are one of ten institutions working with our undergraduate students to take part in a pilot to evaluate a combination of methodological approaches to measuring this ‘learning gain’.


At first glance, this might seem relatively clear-cut. Student performance is assessed and completion marked by the achievement of an award. During that time students will have gained a range of skills which are defined by the learning outcomes of the award.


However, on exploring it in more detail the concept becomes highly complex both in definition and measurement. For example, a simplistic metric would measure entry qualifications against final degree classification. But that cannot be used to compare students’ different learning journeys.


The introduction of a Grade Point Average (GPA), to remove the ‘cliff-edge’ of the 2.1 : 2.2 boundary has been suggested to give results more granularity. But the way results are calculated varies between institutions, as do the intended learning outcomes of the programmes and the ways in which they are assessed.


Each student’s journey is about much more than gaining knowledge. This includes the development of critical skills to research, evaluate, interpret and utilise that knowledge to address complex problems. We also need to support students in developing the skills that will enable their success in the competitive graduate employment market.


On this basis, HEFCE gives its definition of measuring learning gain as ‘an attempt to measure the improvement in knowledge, skills, work-readiness and personal development made by students during their time spent in higher education.’


Currently the main way such outcomes are measured for the TEF is through data

from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. However, this measure provides very little indication of learning gain.


Through the work we are undertaking and helping to shape with HEFCE, we can expect to see a more evaluative assessment which I hope will better reflect learning gain.


This is a reduced version of Professor Jon Scott’s article in the Times Higher Education magazine. You can read Jon’s full article on our website.


If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/23/how-do-we-measure-learning-gain/feed/ 0
Ut Vitam Habeant https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/10/ut-vitam-habeant/ https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/10/ut-vitam-habeant/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2016 10:48:14 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=155 At this time of year my thoughts are always drawn to our University’s founding motto: Ut Vitam Habeant – So that they may have life. As a University we are unique in that we were founded as a living memorial to those who lost their lives in the First World War.


The men and women who built this new institution hoped that it would be not only a living memorial to the darkness of their recent past, but a beacon of hope for the future. Their aim was that sacrifices made in war should be commemorated through education and research that would change the world for the better.


In recognition of Armistice Day we are lighting the Fielding Johnson Building in red as part of the County Council’s Light Your Building in Red 2016 initiative. Run by the WWI Reference group (of which we are a member) and with the support of the Leicestershire and Rutland Royal British Legion, the initiative invites local organisations to Light Up their Building in Red in support of the Poppy Appeal and the Centenary of the First World War.




As we commemorate Armistice Day in the lead up to the 100th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Somme, during which approximately 80,000 men died, it is worth reflecting on how the University continues to live up to the words and ideals of its founders through its continuing work.


We have communities of academics who are specifically looking at security and conflict resolution. We have academics looking into nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, on the peace process in Northern Ireland and on the use of drones in warfare. We also collaborate with the Ministry of Defence on Project Nightingale, an archaeology project in Cyprus which aims to provide a retraining package for military veterans who have been injured in the line of service.


Our newly formed School of History, Politics and International Relations has created a community of interdisciplinary academics with recognised research and teaching strengths in the security field and in international relations past and present. This shared resource and expertise, plus a partnership which has been recently signed with NATO, mean that HyPIR has the potential to become a recognised centre for excellence in security, conflict and international development.


We have held conferences and worked on the role of education to build capacity in post-conflict societies. Indeed, we have worked for the past few years to provide English language support and education in Kurdistan and recently welcomed the EU’s Kurdistan Ambassador to the University to talk on that very subject.


We are an outward-looking global community, in which dedicated and talented people are anticipating, working towards and helping to shape the future. We are committed both to undertaking research that saves, improves and enriches lives, and to fostering a teaching and learning environment that transforms the prospects of our students and those they will go on to influence.


In short, the University of Leicester is becoming all our founders hoped we would be; and doing so in the consciousness of the responsibilities of our unique heritage.


And finally, on a strictly personal note. My thoughts will also be with Gunner Tim Utteridge who was shot dead in Turf Lodge, West Belfast on 19 October 1984. He was with the Royal Horse Artillery but had volunteered to join the 3rd Battalion Royal Green Jackets in order to make up our numbers when we were posted to Belfast that autumn. He was 19.


Dave Hall – Registrar and Chief Operating Officer


If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/10/ut-vitam-habeant/feed/ 1
The Discovering Excellence Awards finalists https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/01/the-discovering-excellence-awards-finalists/ https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/01/the-discovering-excellence-awards-finalists/#respond Tue, 01 Nov 2016 12:57:49 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=143 On Thursday 10 November we have an exciting first for the University; the inaugural Discovering Excellence Staff Awards.


Voted on by staff and students, the awards are designed to celebrate and recognise individuals who have made a difference to the people around them.


We received more than 200 nominations – a terrific response rate for the launch year –highlighting amazing work, some of which has previously gone unseen and unsung. We will be telling you all about this work following the ceremony.


The event is being hosted at our Stamford Court conference centre in Oadby, and to carry on the celebration of all that is great about the University, it will be hosted by Lukwesa Burak. Lukwesa is an alumna of the University and has presented on Sky News, Al Jazeera and the BBC.


I’m delighted to be able to share the full list of finalists below and wish them the very best of luck on the evening. Simply being nominated is a great achievement and deserves celebrating.


Valuing People

These people were selected for demonstrating respect and trust, for recognising the potential of their colleagues and helping them reach their potential.

Finalists: Phil Dalby, Colin Hewitt, Mandy Sands


Creative Innovator

Innovators strive to solve problems creatively. They have the confidence to try new things and learn from their mistakes in order to continually improve their service.

Finalists: Elizabeth Jennings, Hannah Simmonds, Stuart Wood


Working Together

These people and teams have fostered a spirit of knowledge sharing and best practice, creating effective networks to break down silos and effectively collaborate.

Finalists: Athena Swan Teams, Field Biology and Ecology Teaching Team, Aimée Harrisonwild


Exceptional Team Member

These finalists demonstrate a ‘can do’ attitude. They deliver on their promises while showing flexibility and responsiveness.

Finalists: Mercy Aylward, Dr Alison Dunkley, Lynne Howells


Inspiring Leader

Colleagues selected for this category motivate, inspire and empower others to achieve their potential. They value knowledge and expertise while demonstrating integrity, honesty and transparency.

Finalists: Fredy Caballero, Professor Neil Chakraborti, Dr Laura Mongan, Dr Ross Parry


Student Experience

Student experience is one of major focuses and the nominees engage with students, showing a commitment to creating a culture of excellence in recognising and supporting a diverse range of student needs.

Finalists: Dr Steve Baker, Dr Sarah Lee, Becky Talbott


Teaching Excellence

Our excellent academics demonstrate innovative practice, sharing their research and learning while contributing to the continuous development of our academic community.

Finalists: Dr Richard Blackburn, Dr Dylan Williams, Dr Graham Wynn


Research Excellence

Having achieved wide recognition for their research, these academics demonstrate significant or novel results, seize opportunities for creative collaboration

Finalists: Dr Joe Henson, Effie Lai-Chong Law, Professor Martin Tobin, Professor Mark Williams and Professor Jan Zalasiewicz


Digital Excellence

These nominees either embraced innovative new technology to improve collaboration and communication, ways of working and the student experience or demonstrated innovative use of data to inform and enable effective decision making and improvements.

Finalists: Terese Bird, Andrew Gulley


Equalities Champion

Whether fostering a culture of valuing equality and advancing diversity or taking action to break down barriers to achievement, these nominees have shown a significant and measurable impact on improving staff equality.

Finalists: Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy, Professor Henrietta O’Connor, Dr Rhaana Starling


Enterprise Award

These staff have demonstrated an innovative approach to the University’s commercial activities which shows measurable impact on an economic, social or cultural level.

Finalists: Professor Mark Carr, Professor Alison Goodall, Professor Roland Leigh


Team of the Year

This award goes to a large team who have led a successful project in the past year.

Finalists: Clearing Team, College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology Foundation Year Teaching and Development Team , Student Lifecycle Change Programme Team


Keep an eye on the staff webpages for the results on 11 November.


Kate Bradley – Director of Human Resources


If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/11/01/the-discovering-excellence-awards-finalists/feed/ 0
Broadening our international horizons https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/10/11/broadening-our-international-horizons/ https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/10/11/broadening-our-international-horizons/#respond Tue, 11 Oct 2016 13:55:29 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=38 When I was 10 years old I bought myself a ‘Teach yourself Chinese’ book.


Fast-forward to today and I still have that book as a reminder that the exposure to the language and international culture at that young age seems to have set the background to my professional and academic life.


No one can ignore China – whether you are talking about trade, international relations or student recruitment. It has the largest number of students studying overseas by far of any country.



As a University, we are in a fantastic position thanks to the international recognition of the quality of UK higher education. Our International Office works tirelessly to achieve outstanding results. In 2015/16 ‘international’ students represented 27% of the on-campus study body, and if we add in EU students the number increases to 32%.


After Brexit and its obsession with immigration, exporting our education becomes more important. But China is not and should not be our only focus. Countries such as India and Indonesia are equally important.


The quality of the educational experience is key. The perception amongst some people of international students as a money making stream misses the point entirely.



‘International Office’s Kate Walewska and Assel Bazilgalamova, our Regional Manager for Russia and Central Asia, meeting agents in Almaty, Kazakhstan’

In a truly international university our students all bring different cultures and different ideas about how the world works. We already benefit hugely from being located in one of the most multicultural cities in the UK, and this is the ideal place for staff and students to build their international experience, cultural awareness and global perspective .


Alongside this organic internationalisation, there is a strategic effort to ensure that every one of our degrees is making a contribution to the internationalisation of our curriculum . In an era when employability has taken centre stage across our sector, it is important to realise that experience overseas can give graduates the competitive edge in the hugely competitive global jobs market.


We also have a fantastic track record of building provision in countries like Iraq, Kurdistan and other nations facing challenging times or in remote parts of the world. This is not only a positive thing in terms of bringing tangible benefits to emerging knowledge economies, it also allows us to access new and differing streams of research funding.



In the same way that we already export our teaching expertise we should be doing the same in terms of research collaboration. A lot of our international collaborations are dependent on individual faculty links and we want to sustain and develop these to work at an institutional level as well. Sue Page’s work on peatland conservation in Kalimantan, Indonesia, is a great example of this.


Sue Page on location Central Kalimantan

Professor Sue Page on location in Central Kalimantan – research collaboration on tropical peatlands


We need to focus our efforts and new developments on those areas where we can make a real difference and it is my ambition that our international agenda will lead us to the point where we are recognised as one of the most significant, productive and internationalised universities in the world .




Professor Sarah Dixon – Pro-Vice-Chancellor International

You can read a more detailed interview with Sarah here.


If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/10/11/broadening-our-international-horizons/feed/ 0
Welcome and Matriculation https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/09/30/matriculation/ https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/09/30/matriculation/#respond Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:22:49 +0000 https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/?p=19 On Tuesday 27 September, we invited first year and foundation students to a Matriculation Ceremony at De Montfort Hall. This was a great opportunity for me to welcome our new students to the University and outline some of the exciting moments they will face over the next few years.


In the first of their kind, the Matriculation Ceremony was introduced this year as a way to formally induct our new students to the University, and provide the opportunity for me to personally welcome our new starters in the very setting that they will graduate from at the end of their courses.


I was delighted to be joined on stage by Students’ Union President Rachel Holland, and the University’s gospel choir for the occasion and it was great to see so many students excited about the start of their studies with us.


I would like to thank all of our staff who made the ceremonies possible and I am pleased to be able to share with you my speech from the ceremonies in this blog which highlights some of the fantastic new initiatives we have introduced to enhance the student experience this year.


I wish all of our new students every success for their time studying with us at the University of Leicester and I hope you will join me in welcoming our new cohort over the next few weeks as they settle into university life.


Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor


Matriculation speech


Welcome to the University of Leicester – you, the class of 2016, have made a fantastic choice. This event is called matriculation – the time when you formally matriculate into the University and become one of the student body.  It is our opportunity to welcome you into the fold.


My name is Paul Boyle and I am the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University. The next event that you will see me in this hall will be at the end of your degree, in a number of years from now, at your graduation ceremony.  Today graduation will seem like a long way off, but I can assure you that your time here will end before you know it. In between matriculation and graduation you are going to have a wonderful time and if there is one thing you must take away from today, you really must make the most of your time over the next few years.


As President and Vice -Chancellor it is my job, alongside the 4,000 or so academic and professional service staff, to make your experience as excellent as we can. And, in particular, we will do everything we can to make it as personal an experience as possible.  We aim to provide a unique student experience – one which you will value and one which we will be constantly improving. And, as a listening university, we will make sure your views and opinions will help shape these changes.


History of the University

From today you become part of the life and the history of Leicester. If we do our jobs right, that won’t be something that lasts just for the next three or four or more years, but with you for the rest of your lives.


You are joining our University at a very special time; and you are part of a very special generation. As some of you may know, the University of Leicester was established in the wake of the First World War as a living memorial to those who had been lost. We were established up by local benefactors who had lost family and friends, and who wanted to turn from loss to something good. They decided to create a city university, and with it opportunities for a generation of people returning from conflict.


Our motto ‘ut vitam habeant’ – ‘so that they may have life’ – is a reminder of that legacy. And it is something we should all be proud of.


It may not seem it, but we are now getting close to our centenary – and the celebrations will begin sometime next year. It will give us the opportunity to commemorate our founding, from the first idea and a single building to the extensive campus that we inhabit today. We want to make sure that your welcome is as special as it was for our first students in 1921.



As the class of 2016, you are joining a university with a reputation for global excellence.


The people who will teach you are the academics who: have discovered and identified the body of Richard III; have invented novel techniques for identifying cancer through simple, non-invasive blood tests; have designed the forensic kits, based on genetic fingerprinting which was invented here, which help to ensure justice for vulnerable refugees who have experienced sexual violence; who have established the country’s first Centre for Hate Studies, focused partly on understanding the growing spectre of extremism; and who have worked with NASA over the last 50 years to build space vehicles – most recently working on the Juno mission to Jupiter.


Indeed, the only reason the National Space Centre is located in Leicester is because of our University’s world-renowned expertise in space science; and the next honorary degree that we award will be to the astronaut Tim Peake who will be visiting the city’s National Space Centre in a few weeks’ time.


It is the synergy between this world-leading research and our teaching that will make your learning experience particular special.


Student Experience

Of course, you are here to learn and I can guarantee that it will be a fantastic experience. However, universities are not just about the classroom. They provide a much broader experience – one that you will value and should make the most of. At university, academic success tends to go hand in hand with getting involved in and enjoying the life of the campus and the opportunities that come from being a student, so we are keen to see you getting involved.


I want to tell you about just a few of the changes that we have introduced for this year as a result of listening to the students who came before you:


  1. You are the first freshers who have received a book from us on your arrival. Obviously, we hope you will enjoy reading it, but please use it as an opportunity to get together with fellow students to discuss it. There will be various opportunities to meet each other through reading groups if you wish. One of the things we know from working with many cohorts of new students is the importance of you getting to know each other and beginning to participate in the community of students. We think reading a book together is one way of helping you achieve that.
  2. We have introduced a new student app, which we believe is one of the best in the UK. Do download it if you haven’t already done so. For the first time in 2016, we are bringing together all of the key timetabling and other information that you need in one place. As part of that app is a red button, designed to allow you to tell us how you think your university experience is going. Do use it, and tell us what we could be doing better. Please don’t store up any concerns or anxieties. We will not get everything perfect, but we can only improve on things if we know there is a problem. We are a listening university and we want to improve, so help us do that.
  3. We have built a single point of contact for student-facing services in the Charles Wilson Building. From student services to counselling support, for the first time students will be able to access all of the support you need in one place.
  4. We are launching a comprehensive lecture capture system across our lecture theatres. You can revisit your lectures at any time, helping remind you of the bits you missed, or to prepare you for your exams.
  5. We have transformed our curriculum and with a major/minor suite of modules which allows you to mix and match your degree much more flexibly.
  6. We have opened some of the best and most environmentally sustainable new learning facilities in Britain – our new Centre for Medicine is the largest Passivhaus building in the UK by some margin.
  7. And the square in the centre of campus is a new addition that will open fully in the next few days, creating a shared space that will bring the university together. We will be asking all students and staff for ideas of what we should call this area.
  8. We’ve recently become the first university in Britain to start delivering key university services in genuine partnership with the Student Union. Do download the UpayChilli app which allows you to use your phone to purchase food from any outlet and builds up rewards for you as you do so.
  9. We have expanded our Peer Mentoring Scheme, so that all new undergraduate students can be supported by a trained 2nd or 3rd year student to act as a mentor during your first semester with us. If you haven’t signed up for a mentor yet, I would encourage you to do so.

I hope this assures you that we have listened to the generation of students who came before you, and we will listen to you, so let us know what more we could be doing, and we will make changes for next year.



As a university we are involved in a range of major initiatives.


Last week I was in New York, at the United Nations General Assembly at the launch of the HeForShe programme for gender equality on University campuses – the campaign that you may have seen being led by Emma Watson. The University of Leicester has been chosen as one of only 10 universities, alongside 10 National Presidents (including Japan and Finland) and 10 company CEOs (including Barclays and Twitter), who are champions for this initiative. This seems particularly apt, given that of the first nine students who were the class of 1921, eight were women.


And there are three areas in particular that we are committed to delivering:

  • Increasing the proportion of women in senior roles; in the UK, while 50% of our lecturing staff are women, only 23% of our professors are women (we aim to increase that to 30% by 2020).
  • Reducing the gender imbalances among students across different disciplines. Eighty per cent of the students taking Psychology are women, while 80% of our engineers are men and it is interesting that these disciplinary imbalances vary across different countries, so they can be changed. Take medicine, which some years ago was dominated by men, and now 55% of our new medical students are women.
  • And we want to grapple with the problem of harassment and violence. We are proud that according to surveys at least, we have a less serious issue of sexual violence on our campus compared to the average for universities in the UK, but one incident is one too many. Alongside the Students’ Union, we are rolling out Standing Together which is a campaign to acknowledge and resist such violence. One particular element is the Bystander Initiative which encourages all staff, students, bar workers and even taxi drivers to determine that they will not stand by if students are getting in difficulty. You will be encouraged to participate in an online training module about gender equality and this will be explained in more detail there. Suffice to say, we take this issue extremely seriously and hope that you will too.



There aren’t many cities better to study in than Leicester, or that offer a warmer welcome to new students. We’re one of the most creative and diverse cities in Britain. And you may have heard – we’re pretty good at sports.


At the University, we recognise that our relationship with the communities around us makes us what we are. Over the next few weeks we will make an exciting announcement about our student volunteering, internship and engagement programmes accordingly. And watch out too for exciting news on our relationships with local schools and social services. We are going to reach out much more boldly than we have done before, and we want you to be involved.


I’d encourage you to get out and to make the most of all of the opportunities that the University and the city have to offer – from the community garden to the basketball stadium. And for everything that you take out, I’d encourage you to try to put just as much back in.



You have chosen to come to university because you are thinking not just of the next few years, but the rest of your life. You will benefit while you are here, and when you leave. It isn’t just that there are now more jobs for graduates than there have ever been, or that over your working lifetime, you will earn a few hundred thousand pounds more because of your hard work here.


Our purpose is to equip you not just with an education, but with something broader. With the spirit of intellectual inquiry; with a deep curiosity, and with the resilience and the resources to one day go out into the world and make a difference.


But for the meantime, I wish you every joy of the next few years; and on behalf of the University of Leicester – and in keeping with the posters – would like to welcome you formally to the student body.


If you would like to comment on the ULT blogs, please visit our ULT forum on the staff Yammer pages.

https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/ult/2016/09/30/matriculation/feed/ 0