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Abundant Academy: emerging with new life and perspective for our new times

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We’re all well aware this has been a difficult year. As we approach the winter months, many of us may be feeling that the prospect of six more months of stress and uncertainty is too overwhelming to even think about. There are many different ways we can learn to recognise and safeguard our mental wellbeing over the next few months.

Our Chaplaincy team have built a new programme to help our community manage and protect their mental health and wellbeing. The Abundant Academy courses will run across two semesters and are open to all staff and students. While a small donation is needed for the core programme, there are alternative payment options available.

Here Revd Dr Harriet Harris, University Chaplain and Head of the Chaplaincy Service, explains a bit more about the programme.

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Tropical livestock are key to help feed the world

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Professor Appolinaire Djikeng is the Director of the Centre of Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), based at the Roslin Institute. Here he talks about how the pandemic has shown the work done at CTLGH is more important than ever.

Professor Appolinaire Djikeng

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The escape artist: avoidance and other disappearing acts

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Have you noticed that sometimes you can be moving along, getting things done, looking after yourself, meeting deadlines when suddenly, you’re not anymore? The balance tips and things you didn’t have to think about now take much more effort. Here Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, talks us through how to recognise the impact of stress on our day-to-day lives, and how to deal with it.

A path in the woods

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Thought for the week – 6 October

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week Professor Mona Siddiqui, Assistant Principal Religion and Society, reflects on the importance of empathy right now.

A close up of two people holding handsA few days ago I was taking part in an online conference on healthcare chaplaincy. I was in conversation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby who has been volunteering as a chaplain at St Thomas’ hospital in central London. During the conversation we spoke of the value we place on certain jobs and how important it was to recognise the significance of healthcare chaplaincy in the whole healthcare and hospital environment.

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Coming soon: People and Money, your new HR and finance system 

Reading Time: 2 minutes

From 28 October, the University is transforming our HR and finance services and giving everyone a simple, online system for the tasks we need to get done day to day, like recruiting staff or booking holiday.

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Black History Month: supporting EREN

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The murder of George Floyd, the mass protests and the toppling of statues have made this year a keystone of Black History. These events have shown that now, more than ever, we need to address issues that have long been swept under the rug.

Although we shouldn’t need an excuse to educate ourselves, Black History Month is a particularly poignant time to reflect and engage with issues around race and racism.

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New Season of Sharing things podcast

Reading Time: < 1 minute

The Alumni Relations team are back with a third season of the popular Sharing things podcast.

University staff appearing in season three of the Sharing things podcast, along with their conversational partners

University staff appearing in season three of the Sharing things podcast, along with their conversational partners.

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Virtual Doors Open Days tours still available

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Like many things this year, the popular Doors Open Days went online. Although the doors to Edinburgh and East Lothian’s favourite buildings remained closed on 26 and 27 September, the University was able to provide the Cockburn Association, organisers of the event, and the general public with virtual and video tours.

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Edinburgh Seven 150th anniversary celebrations finish

Reading Time: < 1 minute

The end of September saw a special event to mark the close of the year of Edinburgh Seven 150th anniversary celebrations, originally due to take place in March 2020.

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The 2020 Principal’s Medals for Exceptional Contribution

Reading Time: < 1 minute

The 2020 Principal’s Medals nominations are now open, having been postponed during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Need to know – 22 September

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. New Covid-19 reporting form for staff

If you (or someone you line manage) need to self-isolate, please inform the University here.

You will also need to contact your manager and let them know.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have informed the University that you are self-isolating and then subsequently test positive for Covid-19, you will need to resubmit this form and let us know about the positive test.

Further guidance on self-isolation, Test and Protect and the Protect Scotland app can be found in our University health, safety and travel information pages.

2. Voluntary Severance Scheme closing

The Voluntary Severance Scheme is due to close at 5pm on Wednesday 23 September, 2020. Anyone wishing to find out more about this scheme before it closes can find all the information on the dedicated VS SharePoint site.

3. Support for early career researchers

The range of support available to early career researchers (ECRs) and their line managers has been published. The resource was developed in recognition that the careers of ECRs have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On a related note, the University has announced that it is looking to appoint new 30 Chancellor’s Fellows. These prestigious five-year tenure track fellowships will be drawn from the existing pool of talent within the University and are designed to support ECRs and innovators to develop their careers in a supportive, world-leading environment. You can find more information of how to apply here.

4. Video for staff returning to campus

As Scottish Government guidelines continue to shift, it’s natural that you and colleagues will have questions about what things will be like when you return to campus. This short film provides a snapshot of the measures that you will see in place when you return – whether that be in the coming weeks or further down the line.

Messages explaining the University’s expectations around student behaviour will continue to be communicated to new and returning students throughout Semester 1 and beyond.

Getting back to campus

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Five months ago, Edinburgh was deserted. As we all came to terms with lockdown, and our lives shrunk to the size of our living rooms, the University and its estate was quieter than it had been in a long, long time. Only our key workers were continuing to travel in to work, keeping an eye on things and making sure the disturbance to our community was as minimal as possible.

Now, Scotland is slowly opening up and we’re beginning to welcome back more of our staff and students. Bulletin invited you to share your snapshots and stories so we can celebrate our staff who are gradually returning to work, as well as those who never stopped.

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Improving support for early career researchers

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Professor Christina Boswell, Dean of Research in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, understands what it’s like to wrestle with uncertainty at the start of a career in academia. Here she shares why early career researchers have been hit so hard by the pandemic, and explains how the University is improving the support available.

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