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| 28 February 2011 | Issue 513

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

NEWS

Process Review Project

The University is reviewing a number of its core administrative processes to identify those areas of administration that could run more effectively and efficiently. Our challenge is to eliminate unnecessary work and duplication and to clarify administrative roles and responsibilities. This collaborative university-wide project will enable us to focus the money spent on administration in the best way to deliver our strategic plan.

Where possible, improvements will be implemented by the summer.

The initial scope of the project includes aspects of Finance, HR, Student Based Services, Research and Enterprise Services, Information Support Services and Marketing and External Linkages (including Admissions). For each of these areas the review will take into account work carried out in all parts of the University, including Central Services, Faculties, Departments and other areas.

The project is being led by Andrew Neal (Chief Operating Officer) and overseen by a steering committee made up of Faculty Deans (or nominees), Divisional Directors and the University Secretary.

Paul Rodaway (HR) is Project Manager. Each Central Services division (excluding Facilities) and each Faculty has nominated a project lead who will co-ordinate information gathering, and who will act as a first point of contact for enquiries. They will be working with external support from Maxxim Consulting who will provide a structure and methodology for the work.

Up to the end of March, members of the project team will be meeting key people to piece together a picture of how and where administrative processes are currently being performed and to identify potential ideas for improvement. The nominated leads are:

It is recognised that reviews of this kind raise all sorts of questions for those involved. If you have any concerns about the project or its potential consequences, or any ideas for its improvement then please raise these with any project team or steering committee member.

Progress updates will be given in March, and early April.

USS pensions briefing

Following the conclusion of the USS members’ consultation, a meeting of the USS Joint Negotiating Committee is set to take place on 2 March to decide upon revised proposals. The changes, once agreed, are due to be implemented on 1 April 2011.

Background
Following the end of the formal USS members’ consultation on 22 December 2010, a small group of four USS Board Trustees comprising of one UCU, one UUK and two independently appointed members reviewed the members’ responses.

The group of four Trustees proposed a number of changes to be considered in these areas. When the USS Group of the EPF met on 12 January they agreed that the employers could support minor modifications to address member concerns.

On 20 January the full USS Trustee Board carefully considered all the responses to the consultation and in turn suggested to the Joint Negotiating Committee that it should support certain modifications, as supported by the USS Group of the EPF, as follows:

Why change the scheme at all?
The cost of providing the current scale of benefits under USS has risen considerably since the scheme was established in 1975. Much of this is due to increased life expectancy – on average USS pensioners receive their pension for 13 years longer than they did in 1975. The only way to make sure that USS remains affordable, for both members and employers, while continuing to be able to provide high quality benefits is to introduce reforms to benefits for future service.

Full details of the background to this, other communications from the EPF and a list of the overall proposed changes to the scheme can be found here

Energy Lancaster

The Rt Hon Charles Hendry MP, Minister of State for Energy & Climate Change, will officially open Lancaster University’s new energy research centre, Energy Lancaster, on Thursday March 10th at 3pm. The launch will involve a presentation outlining Energy Lancaster’s activities by its Director, Professor Colin Boxall, and a presentation by the Minister on the UK’s energy agenda. This will be followed by a Q&A debate with the Minister and key members of Energy Lancaster. There will also be an exhibition showcasing Energy Lancaster’s activities in the following areas (among others):

For a full programme and registration details please vist the website. Registration is required not later than 7th March, 12pm. All LU staff and external organisations are welcome to attend.

Energy Lancaster mini 'Sandpit' - 7th & 8th April

Energy Lancaster invites interested parties from across the University to participate in a 2 day mini Sandpit on the 7th and 8th April.

This is an opportunity to get away from the office to explore collaborative links and develop interdisciplinary research proposals in the area of energy. The Sandpit is available for all those already working in the area or those with no current research activities in energy but who have a desire to engage with the energy agenda.

The event will take place at the Grange Hotel, Grange-Over-Sands. The costs of overnight accommodation and subsistence (including a workshop dinner) will be met by Energy Lancaster. Participants should plan for involvement over the two days.

To register your expression of interest in attending, email your name, department, energy interests and job title to the event administrative support, Emily Bowes by 16th March 2011.

Evaluating the impact of Disability Equality Schemes in England

Lancaster University is participating in a research project commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) looking at disability equality in higher education. The aim of the project is to help higher education institutions to implement disability equality holistically, to encourage and enable disabled staff to be recruited and to progress in their careers. The project is being carried out by the Learning Skills Network (LSN).

If you are a member of staff who considers yourself to be disabled (i.e. you have a long term impairment that has a significant impact on your life, including mental health issues and learning disabilities such as dyslexia) the LSN project team would like to invite you to take part in a group discussion which is to be held on Tuesday 15th March at 10.30am. The focus group will last for approximately 60 - 90 minutes and refreshments will be provided. For details of how to participate in the focus group or to find out more, click here.

Lancaster University's website - we want to hear from you

The Staff Consultation Blog that was set up by the Web Strategy Group to capture your thoughts on the University's website has had many constructive suggestions from staff. We would like to thank everyone who has commented so far. Issues identified include: the use and abuse of photographs, problems of linking dynamic course information to what prospective students actually see, the difficulty of co-ordination across the web presence of the University as well as questions about the appropriate pages to offer in other languages and the difficulty of finding useful information for staff. It is good to find that you often have similar concerns to the Web Strategy Group, which encourages us to think we are moving in the right direction.

However, the Group would like to hear from as many people as possible, so if you haven't already contributed please do so by going to the website. As you will see from the blog, we are reading these messages regularly and have already started to feed these comments into the further development of the University’s web presence. Chair of Web Strategy Group, Christopher May.

People

Peter Stevens (FASS) is taking part in the 2011 BUPA Great North Run on behalf of the charity SCOPE in Gateshead on 18th September. He will be running it with his wife Claire and has been in training for a year. If you would like to sponsor Peter, see his page here.

Lancaster University Subject Librarian and ‘Ironman’ competitor Andy Holgate has given a number of media interviews about his new book ‘Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run’ including two live interviews on British Forces Broadcasting Service, North West Evening Mail, The Lancaster Guardian. He has also appeared on Radio Talk Europe which reaches about ½ a million listeners.

Lancaster in the news

Contributions to the media this week include Lancaster student Sarah Cooper in the Sunday Times(who started her own marketing and design firm with help from LUSU Involve) and Dr Fiona Measham (Applied Social Science) who has been quoted in the Guardian about British drug use. Follow link to see a list of people in the news.

Notices

The Jobshop and the Student Employee of the Year award

If you have employed a student using the JobShop service this year and feel that the student has successfully combined study with part time work, making an outstanding contribution to your operations you can take this opportunity to nominate them for the ‘SEOTY 2011’. SEOTY gives you the opportunity to give your student employee something back. In a difficult time for graduates, and the employment market as a whole, your student can really benefit from you taking the time to nominate them. It’s really simple and there are great ways in which you can use your involvement in SEOTY to promote your department and Lancaster University. You can make a nomination very easily on line here

Staff Development IT Training

Limited places are still available on the following FREE staff development training sessions:

Fire training programme

As part of the University’s fire training programme, Lancashire Fire and Rescue will be coming onto campus to help conduct a number of exercises which will involve simulated fire drills in the Bowland Tower area, including providing access to the Tower for training purposes. The drills will not involve any kind of evacuation and any fire alarms that take place during these times will NOT be part of the training and should still be treated as a real fire. The times that the training will occur are as follows:

If you require any more information regarding this training exercise please contact the facilities help desk on 93333.

Notice of electricity outage

The new sports centre will be connected to the University’s electricity supply on Saturday 5th March 2011. Therefore there will be a short outage of electricity for 1 hour to the following buildings at some point between 9am and 2pm. Facilities hope to be able to give a more specific idea of timings before the end of this week.

If you have any specific concerns please contact Alastair Brock on 01524 510863.

Bowland Refurbishment

To read the first contractor’s newsletter about the Bowland refurbishment project click here to visit the Current Projects section of the Facilities website.

WHAT'S ON

For a full list of all events, please see Events.

Lancaster India Centre Seminar

Tarun Sainani, PhD Research Student at the HighWire Doctoral Training Centre at Lancaster University Transformation Design Rural Development Education System at ‘Vigyan Ashram’ in rural India” On Wednesday 2nd March @ 4 pm in LUMS Lecture Theatre 11. www.lums.lancs.ac.uk/events/22155/

Live at LICA events

Exhibition Launch Wednesday, 2 March at 18.30
Time Pieces (3rd Mar – 2nd Apr) and Gathering Time (3rd Mar – 2nd Apr)
Peter Scott Gallery

Dance Wednesday, 2 March 2011 at 20.00
Candoco Dance Company – RENDITIONS (2nd Mar)
Nuffield Theatre

Concert Thursday, 03 March 2011 at 19:30
ALL CLASSICAL MUSIC EXPLAINED
www.lancasterconcerts.co.uk

The Richardson Institute is delighted to announce that it will host the Conflict Research Society (CRS) Annual Conference at Lancaster University on 6-7 September 2011. The theme of this year’s conference will focus on how the global financial crisis has affected issues surrounding peace and conflict, though papers will not be limited to this theme alone. All staff and PGR students at Lancaster who are working on issues relating to aspects of conflict, peace and security are very welcome to participate in the conference. The keynote address will be given by Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke on the theme of ‘why conflict prevention offers better value for money than war’. Full details, including the Call for Papers, can be found on the conference web site

Departmental Litfest at DELC

Due to popular demand, the Department of European Languages and Cultures presents its second Departmental Litfest. Open to the public - do join us at any time from 2.15 onwards as students and staff in modern languages read their favourite pieces of foreign literature (in the original and English translation). Wednesday, 9 March 2011 Time: 2.15pm-6.00pm in Bowland North, Resource Centre (B 83). Free entry and all welcome.

Reading with Larissa Boehning

German author Larissa Boehning received great critical acclaim with her debut collection “Schwalbensommer” and her novel “Lichte Stoffe”. Now she is in Lancaster and reads from her latest short stories. Wednesday, 16 March 2011, 6 p.m. Faraday Building, Frankland Colloquium Room LB 1 Reading in German and English. Free entry and all welcome.

Faithshare

Everyone is welcome. People of different faith traditions are meeting to discuss the topic: ‘How do I pray?’ The meeting will take place in the Central Lounge of the Chaplaincy Centre at 7:30pm on Monday 28th February 2011. There will be a short presentation from each of the participating faith groups, followed by a general discussion, after which there will be light refreshments.

ADVERTS

All adverts - posted by staff.

Contact Victoria Tyrrell on (01524) 594120 with items for LU text, LU News or for external publicity.
Events information should be sent to Laura Mitchell (01524) 592103.

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