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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. To view previous editions see LU Text Archive.

| 11 March 2011 | Issue 515

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


UCU ballots and potential industrial action

The results of the UCU ballots on pay/job security and USS Reforms are now known.

Some of you will currently be considering whether or not to support industrial action and the University acknowledges your right to exercise this choice. At times like these it is the University’s duty to clearly articulate the impact of strike action on you as an individual staff member and we do this in the spirit of transparency and clarity.

For all those participating in strike action, the University will deduct pay for each day at the rate of one day's pay. This is calculated as 1/260th of the annual salary. Action falling short of a strike (called partial performance), for example, a refusal to carry out particular job duties, also constitutes a breach of contract. The University will not accept partial performance and will withhold a full day's pay for each such day of action in these circumstances. Staff will be asked to declare whether they are engaged in strike action, or action short of strike action. The amount withheld will be calculated at the rate of 1/260th of annual salary for each strike day or day that duties are partially performed.

With regard to USS pension benefits, membership ceases during a strike period or where there is partial performance. Contributions will not be paid by the University, and the University will inform the USS of the names of those involved. Where contributions are not being paid, the staff member is not covered for death in service.

As such you may wish to approach your UCU representative to establish whether UCU will be arranging alternative cover for the periods that strike action is called for.

Confucius Institute

Lancaster University is to establish a major new hub for Chinese language and culture on campus which will complement the extensive China research and teaching activities across the University. When it opens early next year, the focus of the new Lancaster University Confucius Institute will be the development of credit-bearing Chinese language and culture programmes for students in all faculties and for staff. It will also offer programmes for the local community, schools and businesses. Aimed at the North West, it will be distinctive through its commitment to developing programmes which are adapted to support innovation, management and sustainable development - areas of expertise in which both partners excel. The Institute is awarded jointly to Lancaster and its partner the prestigious South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, and will be the 14th Confucius Institute in the UK to be approved by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban).

Former Home Secretary to give inaugural lecture at Lancaster

The former Home Secretary Charles Clarke is to make a three day visit to Lancaster this month in his role as Visiting Professor of Politics and Faith in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion (PPR). The former Cabinet Minister, who played a central role in Tony Blair’s Government and its response to terrorism, will give student lectures and will attend a UCAS Open Day with two hundred prospective students and their parents.

All staff are welcome to attend Charles Clarke’s inaugural lecture at the Storey Institute in Lancaster on Wednesday 23 March, entitled “Politics and Faith: Why they are increasingly intertwined”. The lecture starts at 7pm. Admission is free, without ticket, but please email if you wish to attend.

On the final day of his visit, Charles Clarke will give a postgraduate seminar followed by a talk to undergraduates on politics and human rights.

Wellbeing at Work Survey

The results of the Wellbeing at Work Survey have been widely communicated during February, and all Faculties, Departments, Divisions and other areas of the University have detailed reports (subject to minimum group size of 14), which are being shared with staff.

We now want to encourage Faculties, Departments and Divisions to form their own Solutions Groups. Advice and assistance with this is available from HR Partners and members of the Steering Group, who are receiving training from Robertson Cooper. In addition, starting on 11th March, a number of Solutions Groups facilitated by Robertson Cooper will also run in selected areas to explore issues and potential solutions aimed at improving staff wellbeing.

Solutions Groups – invitation to staff

The Steering Group has identified a number of issues in the survey results that would benefit from action using a cross-University approach. Two such issues are:

  • Bullying & harassment
  • Work-life balance
  • We are preparing to set up a separate Solutions Group of up to 14 people for each of these issues, and wish to invite staff from all parts of the University to take part. We are keen for each group to be balanced by including individuals with both positive and negative experience of these issues. The Solutions Groups will be run by Robertson Cooper consultants. To enquire about taking part, contact

    See the results of the Wellbeing at Work Survey here.

    Underpass closure and changes for Buses and Car Parking

    The University has had to temporarily close the underpass for the ongoing construction works until further notice. The bus terminus has been relocated to Bowland Avenue outside the Chaplaincy Centre and all of Bowland Avenue has been reorganised to support the new temporary arrangements.

    This has implications for deliveries and car parking. Bowland Avenue is now access only for buses, deliveries, drop-offs and disabled parking. A 10mph temporary speed limit is now in force in Bowland Avenue. All visitor parking has been removed and relocated to North West drive. A plan showing the new layout of Bowland Avenue can be viewed here For further information about the changes to car parking, buses and deliveries click here For any further information about any of the above, please contact the Facilities help desk on 93333.

    Staff Travel Survey – March 2011

    In October 2010 the University introduced major changes to travel and parking policies. The changes support the University’s Strategic Plan and Environmental Policy to manage the environmental impacts of travel and enable the site to grow and function effectively without the negative consequences of excessive parking demand and congestion.

    All staff are asked to participate in a survey so that we can understand travel patterns and views of staff following the changes. Most importantly, we want to identify what improvements you would like to see made to ensure we can offer you the most benefit. The survey will be available to complete online from Monday 21st March. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and the data you provide will not be attributable to any one individual. Paper copies will be available for those staff groups unable to complete the survey online.

    You will also be entered into a prize draw to win £200 worth of prizes. To view further information on the Staff Travel Survey and to complete the survey online when it is available from Monday 21st March please click here.

    Plaza Piece: Mass participation dance

    Students, staff, friends and family, with little or no dance experience are invited to participate in Plaza Piece, a short mass dance event. Part of the festival taking place in week 21 to launch the new LICA building, Plaza Piece is a short, fun, large-scale outdoor work for movement and voice conceived and directed by professional choreographer and LICA lecturer Nigel Stewart.

    If you want to participate in the dance it is essential that you are able to move quickly; willing to use your voice in a variety of ways; and available to rehearse continuously from 9am to 12noon (with a break) on Wednesday 30th March, and then perform at 1pm for about 10 minutes. To participate, register via the event website, and if possible bring bikes, scooters, rollerblades and wheelchairs. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Registration will close on the 23rd March or when we hit maximum numbers.

    Audiosnap: Participatory music event. Music and music technology students will host a live radio broadcast on the 30th March, from 2-4pm. See here for further details. The campus community is invited to record and send in short sound clips – audiosnaps – for the students’ improvisations to

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

    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 costs of overnight accommodation and subsistence (including a workshop dinner) will be met by Energy Lancaster. 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.


    Obituary for Professor Phil Levy who died on 23 January 2011.

    Phil Levy was appointed to the Chair in our Department of Psychology as a 38 year old in 1972. His first job was to plan the design of the labs and testing rooms, to hire all the staff [a secretary, three lecturers and a technician to begin with] and to purchase enough equipment for practicals and staff research to begin in 1973. He was lucky in that psychology was taking off as a popular university subject but his great knack, as this week’s Independent obituary suggests, was to appoint a string of brilliant researchers on the slimmest of evidence – a PhD [almost] completed and perhaps a few papers. Phil created an environment in which cutting edge research was a core activity of every member of the department, and he stimulated a healthy competition between colleagues for scarce resources. Lunch with Phil was regarded as a pleasure but also a follow up PhD viva, as he was keen to find out just what his new colleagues were thinking and to stimulate them to achieve more. Phil carried on in this way in increasingly wider circles, particularly in setting up and chairing the University’s Research Committee, but also in the British Psychological Society, in partly setting up the first Research Assessment Exercise and in the ESRC. Although he ruffled a few feathers in this work, colleagues from around the world felt both a great respect and deep affection for Phil. We shall miss him. (Written by Professor Charlie Lewis)

    Follow the link to an obituary published in the Independent.

    Michelle Leek has been appointed Deputy Human Resources Director. In this role Michelle will be responsible for leading the delivery of key HR strategies, policies and practices in support of the University’s strategic plan and continue to lead the HR Partner team. Michelle first joined the University in 2007, as Head of HR Business Partnering, following private sector appointments with the AngloAmerican Group and Centrica Energy.

    Alan Deane has been appointed as Safety Officer. Alan will take up his appointment in May, and brings several years of safety management experience, having formerly held several appointments within Lancaster City Council. Alan’s appointment completes the recruitment of a new team for the Safety Office, led by Angie Park.

    Ann-Marie Houghton joins the HR Division as Equality & Diversity Adviser. Ann-Marie will work on a part-time basis of 2 days per week and will report to Rob Kemp, Manager Wellbeing, Equality and Diversity. Ann-Marie has been with the University since 1993 and brings much knowledge and expertise to her new role.

    Dr Rich Ranker, the ISS Learning Technology Group Manager, has recently been elected to the Steering Group for the Heads of eLearning Forum. HeLF is the professional society which brings together the heads of all HE teams which support eLearning or Learning Technology in the UK. Rich’s role within the Steering Group is to help the Chair manage communications with other professional organisations.

    Distinguished Guardian international journalist Gary Younge spoke about his new book ‘Who Are We: and why should it matter in the 21st century?’ on March 8th at a lunchtime seminar in IAS organised by the centre for Transcultural Writing and Research. The event was chaired by Dr Lindsey Moore and led to a wide discussion about culture and identity attended by about 60 members of staff and students.

    The AHRC Chief Executive, Professor Rick Rylance, will be visiting Lancaster University on 1 April and will give a presentation on the development of the AHRC's strategy followed by discussion. Open to all Arts and Humanities researchers and others interested in the development of the AHRC's strategy. Date: 1 April 2011; Time: 11.15 am to 12.00; Venue: Meeting Room 2/3, FASS Building.

    Lancaster in the news

    Subject Librarian Andy Holgate, has been filmed on campus for BBC Television, demonstrating his Iron Man skills. Presenter Jim Al-Khalili filmed at the low temperature physics lab in the Department of Physics last week, for the BBC 4 series The Story of Electricity where he explained how cooling helium to low temperatures increases its ability to conduct electricity. Follow link to see a list of people in the news.


    Assistant Dean appointments for 2011-2012

    Furness, Cartmel and Lonsdale College are inviting applications for the post of Assistant Dean. Assistant Deans are responsible for the investigation of disciplinary cases and the presentation of such cases to the Dean for adjudication. They may also be required, on occassion , to assist in the preparation of cases for presentation to the College Tribunal, University Dean, or University Tribunal.

    Assistant Deans are senior members of college and form an important part of the college officers’ team. The successful candidate will be required to live in a staff flat in college. Remuneration takes the form of a substantially reduced rent for such accommodation. As residents, the Assistant Deans are expected to be pro-active members of the college who engage with other college officers, college staff (including the College Administrator, College Residence Officers, and College Porters). The position would particularly suit a junior member of the academic or academic-related staff, a postgraduate student undertaking a research degree, or a student beginning a masters course. You must be able to show responsibility and initiative as well as good communication skills, lots of common sense and be able to work occasional unsociable hours. Appointments are subject to confirmation by the College Syndicate and a successful Criminal Records Bureau check.

    Candidates should submit a covering letter and CV to the relevant College office by the date and time as listed below:

    Carbon Awareness Roadshows and Wind Turbine support

    Another opportunity to view the information and talk to the University’s Environment and Sustainability Manager about the Carbon Management Plan, Travel Plan and proposed Wind Turbine Project. The displays will be available all day and staffed each day from 12:30 to 14:30.

    If you are in support of the wind turbine planning application there will also be the chance to write a letter of support to Lancaster City Council at the Carbon Awareness Roadshow or you can do this online. The decision by Lancaster City Council’s Planning Committee will now not be made until April.

    Mobile Lancaster

    The Mobile Lancaster project, which provides university based content to mobile devices, will come into operation after the Easter break. Once installed on personal mobile devices, users can check their timetable, access lists of events going on, reserve library books, view a campus map with key areas highlighted and much more. A mobile web browser based version will also allow any other web enabled devices to be included.

    Please contact Brian Green in ISS if you want to be involved in this development, have existing content that could be included, or want more information. ISS IT User Forum

    LUSI training

    LUSI Academic Marks: Friday 18 March, 10:30am – 12:30pm, Training Suite 2, Library. This session is aimed at all staff who will be expected to enter marks and work submission information into LUSI.

    Update on LUVLE Service Disruptions

    The Learning Technology Group (LTG) which supports LUVLE would like to apologise again for the disruptions that users have experienced in using LUVLE. During February there were ten unexpected service disruptions, resulting in reduced LUVLE services for a limited number of active users. Typically, the services were fully operational again within six minutes of being disrupted. In order to fully reinstate LUVLE services, IBM (provider of the server software used by LUVLE) is working to resolve software problems. LTG is in close communication with IBM during this period of work.

    In addition, LTG will further upgrade LUVLE servers over the Easter period. This will make LUVLE services less susceptible to disruptions. To report any problems you experience using LUVLE, please contact the ISS Service Desk:

    You can access regular brief updates on the LUVLE Service status LUVLE Service status. In addition, a site has been set up to provide access to more detailed information on the status of LUVLE Services. This can be accessed here.

    Organisation & Educational Development (OED)

    Staff who are managing others for the first time can attend the First Line Supervisors and New to Line Management course on 23rd & 24th March.

    Honing your own people management skills is an ongoing process and there are opportunities for middle/senior managers too. Key Skills for Managers runs on 22nd March and the popular Effective People Management is returning for a four day programme on 30th, 31st March & 7th, 8th April.

    Coaching can be an extremely effective approach when developing your team. Introduction to Coaching is taking place on 11th April with Coaching Through Change happening on 14th April.

    For academic managers and senior researchers there is the Intellectual Property for researchers and academics on 21st March, Navigating your Research Career on 29th March, Development Programme for new and prospective Principal Investigators happening on 1st April and Ethics in the University: research and other issues on 5th April. New programmes that are presently under development include: Practical facilitation skills; Effective postgraduate supervision.

    For further information or to book a place on any of these programmes please click here or email

    Relocation of cycle centre

    The cycle shelter located outside the old ISS building will be removed over the weekend of 12th/13th March and will be relocated to the opposite side near Bowland Main. This cycle shelter will be out of use for one week.

    External Works to Bigforth Drive

    External works to Bigforth Drive in front of the New Sports Centre will begin week of 14th of March. These works are to install new footpaths and crossings as well as a new bus stop and shelter. The project will be divided into 3 sections that will take 3 weeks to complete. The first week (starting 14th March) will involve the closure of the left of the two lanes heading towards the A6 from campus. This will allow for the assembly of the new bus shelter. The second week (starting 21st March) will involve the closure of the right of the two lanes heading towards the A6 from campus. This will allow for the works on the central reservation to be completed. The third week is to be confirmed. For any queries regarding these works please contact the helpdesk on 01524 593333 or on For further details click here


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

    Green Links Day – Tuesday 15th March

    Green Lancaster will be holding a range of events throughout the day and evening for the environmental themed day of the university’s One World Week celebrations. This will be a chance to celebrate some of the fantastic green initiatives going on at the university, and also to raise awareness and educate people on a range of environmental issues. Daytime activities will culminate in a large Green Links networking event, giving students the opportunity to talk to local and national environmental organisations and companies about employment in the sector. This will coincide with an interactive presentation from Small World Consulting’s renowned author, Mike Berners-Lee, and a Future Choices employability workshop. To view a programme of events for the day click here. To view the Green Links poster click here. To view the Green Links flyer click here.

    Centre for Transcultural Writing and Research event

    Bermudan Novelist Angela Barry will read from her novel ‘Goree: point of departure’ on March 16th IAS MR2/3. She will be joined by Jeremy Poynting to discuss 25 years of production from Peepal Tree Press and the event will be chaired by Professor Roger Bromley, author of ‘Narratives for a New Belonging’. 5.30pm start, entry free.

    Live at LICA events

    Symposium Saturday, 12 March
    Making Time – a symposium. Nuffield Theatre | 11am - late
    Nuffield Theatre

    Concert Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 19:30
    Valeriy Sokolov Violin & Kathryn Stott Piano

    Grad Bar events


    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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