Category: Features Page 1 of 7

Caring for our community: a new way to support students

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The coronavirus pandemic revealed the importance of community and belonging within universities but long before Covid-19 threw a spotlight on this, the School of Economics was tackling the challenge with the appointment of a Student Welfare Manager. Bulletin speaks to Lorna Quickfall about her new role.

In 2018 the School of Economics was faced with a problem; the community reported feeling a lack of belonging and connection within the School. Their answer? A dedicated role to listen and support both students and staff in overcoming the many challenges that come with the journey through higher education.

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Life on campus

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As the University slowly prepares for a phased return to campus, it’s important to remember those who never left. Here we speak to colleagues from Estates and Accommodation, Catering and Events (ACE) about adapting to the pandemic, and how their jobs have changed over the past 17 months.

Sarah Thomson is Catering Manager for four of the Grab and Go cafes. Her job has changed a considerable amount over the past year.

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The festivals return

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In August 2020 Edinburgh was quiet for the first time in years. The pandemic meant that the city was unable to host its famous festivals last summer. The Royal Mile was devoid of tourists, and the University Central Area stood empty of the famous purple cow.

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Continuing our commitment

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In September 2017 the University signed the Technician Commitment, pledging to raise awareness of our technicians, recognise the work that they do and support their career progression. The commitment is a nationwide initiative overseen by the Science Council and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Technicians Make It Happen campaign.

Sarah using liquid handling platform to normalise DNA samples to send away

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We are open: a message from the Principal

Reading Time: < 1 minute

The University is committed to offering students as much in-person teaching and support as possible next year. Ahead of a wider return to campus, Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, talks about the plans in place to keep our community safe.

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Q&A: Hybrid working at Edinburgh

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The University’s Hybrid Working Programme is looking at how working practices might evolve as we transition out of the pandemic and how best to support all staff whether working on or off campus. Here Gavin McLachlan, Vice-Principal and Chief Information Officer of the University, explains more.

A man is sat at his laptop where he is watching a woman on zoom

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Why we need to talk about class in Classics

Reading Time: 7 minutes

When state schools are forced to offer narrower subject choices, the student experience in higher education is affected. But it also narrows social change and, arguably, the development of societies as a whole writes Claire Simpson, Philanthropy Communications Manager in Development and Alumni.

A crisis is looming for Classics. The subject, often perceived as elitist, is becoming harder to access for many working-class students, as many forms of Classics teaching disappear from state school syllabuses, especially in Scotland. Staff in Edinburgh’s School of Classics are working to tackle this challenge and improve class diversity.

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Why do we need a Sustainable Travel Policy? 

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In June, the University announced that a new Sustainable Travel Policy will go live in late 2021. What is it and why is it needed? We asked SRS Communications Manager Sarah Ford-Hutchinson to explain… with the help of some party snacks. 

Policies in the workplace are a bit like snacks at a party:  

  • they’re essential 
  • they need refilled often 
  • they attract people and can encourage them to stay.

I pay close attention to party snacks, and increasingly, to workplace policies. Beyond the dry roast titles and lightly salted text lies a document that is modestly trying to help you through your day; whether that’s booking leave, claiming back expenses, or booking travel.

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The sky’s no limit

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As the first female Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Professor Catherine Heymans is on a mission to lift our eyes to the marvels of the universe – writes Corin Campbell, PR and Media Manager in Communications and Marketing.

Professor Catherine Heymans at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.

“Utterly breathtaking,” is how Professor Catherine Heymans describes it.

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Cycle2work: Introducing e-bikes

Reading Time: 5 minutes

After a rather wet and windy spring, we’re all hopeful for a bit more sun this summer. Getting out in the fresh air can do wonders for our physical and mental health, and as we slowly return back to campus, many of us might be thinking of alternative commuting methods to public transport.

a road in the meadow with several people riding bikes with the trees full of blossom in the background

The Cycle2Work scheme is a great option. Through monthly salary deductions, members of staff can purchase a bike to commute to work with. Last year the spending limit rose to £3,000 in order to give staff the flexibility to purchase a much wider variety of e-bikes through the scheme, as well as normal bikes. The cost of the bike is deducted from your salary before tax, which means you can save between 32 to 47 per cent on the usual cost of a bike and accessories. You can choose to pay over 12 or 18 months.

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Develop your skills: get involved in leadership and management

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In Spring 2020, the Learning and Organisation Development team in HR launched a new suite of leadership and management programmes. The new courses have been designed to help support both current and aspiring managers and leaders throughout the staff community and have recently been shortlisted for Best L&D Initiative in the CIPD People Management Awards 2021.

A year later, and the programmes are incredibly popular. A mixture of self-directed learning, online workshops and facilitated discussion groups, the courses run twice a year with increased capacity to offer places to all eligible members of staff.

To cover a range of opportunities, the courses are split into The Aspiring Manager, The Edinburgh Manager, and The Edinburgh Leader. Regardless of which of the three options you choose, the courses encourage delegates to examine and reflect on themselves, their role, and their goals, to help them maximise their potential.

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Edinburgh Science Festival returns

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The University community will play a key role in the return of the Edinburgh Science Festival this year, with dozens of staff sharing their expertise and insights, leading events and designing experiences for the public.

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How to cope with eco-anxiety

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Mental Health Awareness week last month took nature as its theme, recognising the positive impact that the natural world can have on our wellbeing. But what happens when the health of nature is the very reason for us to feel sad? Meet eco-anxiety, a long-established phenomenon that’s gaining new ground.

Here, SRS Communications Manager Sarah Ford-Hutchinson explores the concept of eco-anxiety and what we can all do to soothe and be soothed by nature.

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