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LU Text

LU Text is published by the Press Office on Fridays during term time and aims to keep you regularly informed of the University's news and developments. Editor, Vicky Tyrrell

| 6 February 2009 | Issue 421

Contents: news; people; notices; people in the news; what's on; ads

NEWS

Court

The 45th meeting of University Court took place on Saturday 31 January, chaired by Deputy Pro Chancellor Professor Stanley Henig. The Chancellor Sir Christian Bonington - who was not present - was reappointed for a further period of five years from 1 January 2010. Court also approved the appointments of David Galbraith, Claire Hensman and Ian McCulloch to the Court.

The Pro-Chancellor , Bryan Gray CBE, reported on the work of the Council , focussing on strategy, organisational structure and pay and pensions. Alongside new initiatives approved by Council such as the Estates Master Plan, the establishment of the new School of Health and Medicine, and developments to LEC, he noted that Council was concerned about the sustainability of the pay system and the costs of the pension scheme.

Court received the audited Accounts of the University for the year ending July 2008. In his report , Andrew Neal , Director of Finance and Resources, presented Lancaster’s strong financial position as benchmarked with other institutions whilst outlining the financial pressures facing Lancaster and the sector in the coming years.

In his report to Court the Vice-Chancellor celebrated the successes of the previous year, including the RAE results, excellent staff and academic performance, improvements to campus and a strong financial performance, whilst warning of the major challenges that would be faced by all universities in light of a severe economic downturn, which is expected to continue to at least 2011, and anticipated additional pressures on payroll budgets. The importance of graduate employability, especially in the context of the current economic situation, was stressed in both the VC’s presentation and in the presentation given by the LUSU President, Michael Payne. The need for students to take full advantage of visits to campus by major employers was noted.

Employment processes

Like many other universities, Lancaster has been reviewing its key employment processes. It was agreed today at the meeting of Council to set in train a process that could lead to the establishment of a standing redundancy committee. This issue will be discussed at the February meeting of Senate and will then return to Council in March.

Colleagues will want to know why this step is considered necessary and why now.

For over a year Management has been working with local trade union representatives to develop and introduce a new suite of employment procedures to meet local needs and the changing requirements of employment law. This included proposals to change employment-related sections of University Statutes including redundancy procedures.

Although negotiations have been productive, no agreement has yet been reached on the package of changes. Until such time changes are introduced, the existing procedures including those relating to redundancy as set out in Statute 20 hold sway. The University’s Statutes were developed several decades ago and since then the scope and nature of employment legislation has extended significantly. It is important that the Statutes work in conjunction with this changing environment.

Like any organisation, the University experiences changes in resources and in its requirements, arising out of funding changes and shifts in student demand, and it needs to be able to manage such changes. A standing redundancy committee would deal with potential redundancies affecting ‘academic and academic-related staff’ only. This is the group covered by University Statute 20. For other staff groups the university will continue to use fair procedures consistent with good practice.

Staff may be concerned about this development, but be reassured that there are no plans in place for increased redundancies as the result of these proposals. Any establishment of a committee would be to ensure the University’s procedures work consistently in line with legislation.

The University remains committed to protecting as far as possible employment security and understands how important this is to staff. All universities are operating in a challenging economic environment, but colleagues will know that Lancaster is in good financial health compared to many in the higher education sector and is committed to maintaining this strong position.

Lancaster University and China link to help put food on the table

Lancaster researchers are teaming up with their Chinese counterparts to help meet the growing challenge of feeding the world. The University has received a £1.33m Research Council UK Science Bridge award to improve UK innovation links with China to addresses perhaps the greatest challenge facing humankind. To view the full story

Lancaster scientist consulted on Liberian crop devastation

A Lancaster University ecologist has been quoted widely in the international media this week on the growing crop crisis in Liberia, West Africa. Pests, which have destroyed entire farms in days, were initially thought to be African Armyworms, but were in fact discovered to be a related species - the caterpillars of the moth Achaea catocaloides. More than 20,000 people in Liberia have so far had to evacuate their homes. To view the full story

Peace Studies Lecture by Kosovan Government Advisor

A Kosovan Government official visiting Kosovan students who are part of a prestigious EU study scheme has delivered a Peace Studies lecture hosted by the Richardson Institute for Peace Studies. Besfort Rrecaj, who is advisor to the deputy minister for Foreign Affairs, was part of a delegation visiting a group of 19 Kosovan students who are at Lancaster University as part of the EU-funded Young Cell Scholarship Scheme. To view the full story

Grand finale of “Moving Manchester” project

Fifteen internationally acclaimed scholars are to attend an international conference entitled “Global Imaginaries: Writing/Migration/Place” at both Lancaster University and the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester from 9-12th September. The conference is the culmination of the " Moving Manchester" project which was awarded £356,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to investigate how migration has informed creative writing in the city since 1960. To view the full story

Lancaster University’s Travel Plan is commended

Lancaster University’s Travel plan has been recognised at a national level as the ‘Scheme of the Month’ on the Cycling England website. For more information visit www.cyclingengland.co.uk

The Nuffield Theatre presents “I made you a submarine” by Hauser

The show on Wednesday 11th February is co-commissioned by the Nuffield Theatre – part of the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts - and ICIA Bath. The performance is a multi-layered and surreal story involving Napoleon Bonaparte and the mysterious arrival of a submarine on his prison island of St Helena. To view the full story

Aimhigher

1,400 Disadvantaged young people will take part in 44 events with the Department of Continuing Education this term. All of the events are funded by Aimhigher, the national programme which aims to widen participation in higher education among under-represented groups. 37 different Lancashire and Cumbria schools and colleges will participate in the 27 events which are taking place on campus, with a further 17 events taking place in schools and colleges. A wide variety of activities has been organised to develop the young people’s knowledge of different aspects of higher education, including finance, choosing a course, and student life. Most of the activities are delivered by current Lancaster University students who are trained as student ambassadors and also act as role models for the young people. For details contact Kate Haywood, Senior Development Officer in the Department of Continuing Education, on extn 92747.

People

Lancaster University’s International Observatory on End of Life Care has awarded the title of Honorary Professor to Barbara Monroe, Chief Executive of the flagship St Christopher’s Hospice in London. To view the full story

Professor Steven Jones, Director of Lancaster’s Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research has been awarded a Research Methods Fellowship and Internship by the National Institute for Health Research for a masters level training post in medical statistics that will link to his £2m PARADES research study into bipolar disorder. The research is focussing on the development, evaluation and implementation of psychological approaches to bipolar disorder and co-morbid problems such as substance and alcohol abuse.

Professor Paul Farley (English & Creative Writing) is the narrator of a short film made by artist David Jacques, which was screened this week at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool. Por Convención Ferrer is concerned with ‘the north-west, anarcho-syndicalism and time travel,’ and is accompanied by a book of the same name published by Liverpool University Press. More details can be found at www.porconvencionferrer.com

Professor Richard Bardgett (Lancaster Environment Centre) has been recognised as a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson Reuters’ ISIHighlyCited.com because of the high number of citations of his publications in the field of Ecology/Environment. ISI HighlyCited.com identifies the most cited authors in different disciplines based on data from ISI Web of Knowledge and includes less than one half of one percent of all publishing authors.

Professor Mike Kosch (Communication Systems) appeared on the BBC Sky at Night programme entitled "The Merry Dancers". The broadcast took place on 2 and 3 February on BBC4 and will be re-broadcast on 9 February on BBC1.

Dr Deborah Mawer (Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts) can be heard in discussion with Professor Robert Winston in a programme on Maurice Ravel within the series ‘Robert Winston’s Musical Analysis’, in which he ‘explores the relationship between the music and the medical conditions of composers who suffered mental and physical illness’, to be broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, 17 February, at 13.30. More details: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00h6ysz

An undergraduate in the Department of Politics and International Relations has been making the news with his dissertation. Under the supervision of Dr Mark Garnett, Patrick Allinson has been researching the politics of the Eurovision Song Contest. His provisional investigations into the voting patterns of the countries of the former Soviet Union were discussed by Ken Bruce on Radio 2 last week.

New people

Estate Management Infrastructure team new starters

Mike Harris has moved to the Infrastructure team in Estate Management to take up the new position of Building Surveyor. Mike will be the focal point for all technical related building issues and DDA issues within the department and eventually take on responsibility for fire precaution works. Mike will report directly to Mike Sheppard, Head of Infrastructure and also work with Ian Watson, Fabric supervisor, on the building fabric life cycle replacement programme. Mike has worked in the Estate Management Project Delivery team since 2007 as a Project Manager which included various projects such as the refurbishment in the Biology part of LEC.

James Halton has also joined the team as building Clerk of Works. James will monitor and report on quality of construction, specification compliance, building regulations compliance, Health and Safety issues, etc. on projects. He will report directly to Peter Scullion and work with Andrew Newsham and the project delivery team. James previously worked for Lancaster City Council as a Building inspector.

Notices

Harassment network

The harassment network provides confidential support for any student or staff member who feels they are being harassed or bullied. Contact the network by e-mail at HarassNet@lancaster.ac.uk or see www.lancs.ac.uk/depts/hr/equality-diversity/bullying.html for a list of network members who can be contacted by phone.

Telephone campaign

Help needed for the Lent Telephone Campaign. The Alumni & Development office is looking for sponsorship in the form of prizes and incentives for hardworking students. Any unwanted gifts, bric a brac, etc… would be welcome. For further info, contact Rachel Davis r.davis@lancaster.ac.uk. Calling starts Monday 16th February until Thursday 19th March. Monday to Thursday 6pm to 9pm, in the John Welch Room in University House.

InfoLab21 cold water supply shut off

The InfoLab21 cold water supply will be shut off on Saturday 14th February to allow for the new ISS building to be connected to the mains. Contractors will be accessing the building on Sunday 15th February to carry out chlorination testing on all cold water taps within the building to enable normal use on Monday 16th February.

Road maintenance

William Pye Ltd will be repairing roads across campus over the next two weekends 7th & 8th and 14th & 15th February.

Tax-free bicycle mileage allowance

Staff using their bicycles for business journeys can now claim a tax-free bicycle mileage allowance of 20p/mile. Cyclists should claim in the usual way, using the Business Expenses Claim Form which has been adapted to cycle claimants. Please note that before any bike mileage allowances can be paid, the claimant must first read and complete the disclaimer form - 'Bicycle Mileage for University Staff'. This form can be accessed on the Finance website - www.lancs.ac.uk/depts/finance/general_info_pack.htm The form is also available on the University's cycling webpage www.lancs.ac.uk/estates/travel/cycling.htm The completed form should be sent to Accounts Payable in Finance - accountspayable@lancaster.ac.uk

Cyclists – FREE M2 basic bicycle maintenance course – Friday 6th March 2009 *Please note change of time*

Local bicycle training providers, Pedal Power, will be on campus on Friday 6th March to conduct a FREE M2 Basic Bicycle Maintenance Course for cyclists wishing to increase their knowledge and skills of basic bicycle maintenance. Please note the course time has changed from 10:30am to 2pm - 4.30pm. It will take place in the Brandrigg Room, Barker House Farm, Alexandra Park. Prior booking is essential.

Art Exhibition in the Postgraduate Statistics Centre

From 16th February 2009, there will be an exhibition of works of art by Ann Davidson entitled North from Sutherland: Abstracted Landscapes of Sutherland, Iceland and Greenland. For further details, please contact Emma Evans on e.j.evans@lancaster.ac.uk

Pie & peas

Friday 6th February Start your Friday night off in Gradbar with something to eat or finish your working week with Pie, Peas and a Pint. Pie & Peas + Soft Drink £3.95, Pie & Peas + Alcoholic Drink £4.95, Just Pie & Peas £3.50 From 6pm

The Gradbar quiz

Sunday 8th February from 8pm. Open to all students and staff. Exercise your brain, drink great beer, win loads of prizes.

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

People in the news - Media coverage for Lancaster University.

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