Are there any plans for a box junction on Leek Road?

Question:

I would like to ask the Executive if any thought has been given to requesting a box junction at the entrance to the Leek Road campus?  (Box junctions are used on busy junctions such as traffic light controlled crossroads, T-Junctions and even roundabouts. They have criss-cross yellow lines painted on the road.  Box junctions make it possible to keep the flow of traffic moving and therefore keep the junction clear, by preventing traffic from stopping in the path of crossing traffic).

Since the traffic flow changed on Leek Road due to the relocation of the Sixth Form College, the traffic moves very slowly along Leek Road, particularly at rush hour.  This causes problems for entering and exiting the Leek Road campus, as drivers travelling along Leek Road often block the exit/entrance to our campus by queuing across the junction when their lights are on red.

This is a suggestion to ease the flow of traffic in and out of the campus, and to hopefully avoid any future accidents.

Answer:

We have had extensive discussions with the City Council Highways Department about our campus entrance on Leek Road,prior to the installation of the vehicle barriers, to ensure that it allows ease of access,maximises safety and does not disrupt the flow of traffic in either direction.During these discussions the Highways Department engineers did not propose a “box junction” but did request our permission,which we gave,for the installation of induction loops on our entrance to allow the traffic lights to take account of any stationary vehicles on our entrance road.These loops have been installed. 

We maintain very good relationships with the Highways and other Council Departments and will keep this issue under review in future discussions with them,particularly as we progress the University Quarter developments.

Will the planned maintenance programme include decorating?

Question:

Will the Planned Maintenance Programme mentioned in a previous message about refurbishing the toilets in Flaxman include the University investing in a comprehensive in-house maintenance service to include decorating, joinery etc in addition to the existing electricians and plumber?

We are in urgent need of a rolling planned maintenance programme, a large number of offices and teaching rooms have not been decorated or upgraded for many years and the current practice of outsourcing is surely more costly than a well managed in-house provision working to a planned maintenance schedule?

Answer:

The adoption of a planned maintenance programme will result in an annual series of significant building projects requiring the expertise and resourcing of general building contractors who we will need to source by competitive tendering.

There may be some works which will be repetitive over the years and the best way to resource this will be reviewed as we progress through the programme.

Why are there no recycling bins in the Pavilion?

Question:

Could you please explain why there are no recycling bins in the Pavilion restaurant in Stoke? All rubbish is ending up in general waste..

Thank you.

Answer:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention as we are always looking for new opportunities to expand our recycling activities. We will now review all our catering outlets for similar opportunities and action.

Can new doors be installed in Beacon to stop the cold?

Question:

I wondered if it has been considered possible to install revolving doors at the main entrance to the Beacon Building at Stafford?

They are nearly always wide open due to the thoroughfare of traffic and on a cold day, all the heating is lost, leaving the foyer/coffee shop area uncomfortably cold.

Answer:

We have recently completed a new Estates Strategy for Stafford which will refocus our buildings on our students,staff and visitors and therefore the treatment of building entrances will be important in achieving the changes needed.

The entrance to Beacon building will be redesigned to improve access, useability and comfort whilst providing a more obvious and impressive main entrance to the campus.

Whilst we have not yet completed a detailed design it will be the intention to incorporate an extended lobby area which could incorporate revolving or sliding doors but would ensure that the current problem of cold draughts would be removed.

Why do our names appear ‘back to front’ in emails?

Question:

Why can’t our names be displayed in the correct order in emails etc  instead of the surname appearing in front of the first name?  I am continually referred to (by staff and students) by my surname because of this.  I have spoken to many colleagues across the University who experience the same problem, and I am particularly concerned as to how confusing and potentially embarrassing this is to our international students who are unable recognise a ‘traditional’ first name or surname so have to rely on the order which the names appear. 

Thank you.

Answer:

The Exchange email system uses the information from the Global Address List (accessible when you ‘click’ on the ‘To’ or ‘Cc’ button when sending a message in Outlook) to add your name to outgoing emails .

The decision was taken to use surnames first in the address list as this makes finding  individuals easier when sorted by surname, especially as we have a number of users who’s listed forenames may not be the same as the name they are known by (“Elizabeth” known as “Liz” or “Beth”) and there is more duplication on forenames than surnames  (more “John” than “Smith”).

We feel it would become more confusing to change this system and therefore apologise for any inconvenience you personally encounter at the moment.

Why is access to Blackboard so tightly controlled?

Question:

Why is access to Blackboard so tightly controlled? I only have access to Blackboard for modules on which I’m the leader, or where the module leader has requested that I be added. This means that none of us has much insight into the other modules a student is taking.
 
In other institutions I’ve encountered, all staff have access to the Blackboard VLE for all modules. This makes it easy to check, for example, that the students are not being taught the same material elsewhere; and to learn from each others’ ‘best practice’.  I can think of no reason why the same system does not cooperate at Staffs.

Answer:

There is no “policy” as such about this.   Practice here has always been to give access on  Blackboard modules to those staff requested by the module leader.  Staff access to a module gives rights to post and change things that a module leader may wish to control.   We have had requests (for example where a module is taught across partners) to make this even more restrictive, but have decided not to do this.  

It is possible to give read-only access but this would result in a huge list of names on the module in BB which would confuse students and would not be practical.   Guest access would enable ANYONE to view a module, but that is not something Faculties have asked for (as it would make their content freely available to anybody outside of the organisation.)

It is likely that a University that can do what is described as using the BB Content and Community systems (we currently just use the Learning system) – but that comes with a heavy additional cost which is not something we can approve at this time.

Can the heating in certain meeting rooms be fixed please?

Question:

Please could you advise if something can be done regarding the room temperature within a number of meeting rooms?

We have noticed that over the last few weeks, the temperature within the Cadman Conference Room and Cadman Executive Boardroom (at Stoke) and Octagon Boardroom (Beaconside) has been extremely cold.  This has meant that attendees have kept their coats on for the duration of the meetings and the situation has been rather embarrassing when external visitors have been present.

When low temperatures were experienced before Christmas, mobile heating units were placed in certain rooms however I would be grateful if you could advise if this is a problem which is likely to continue until Summer as we may need to re-think which rooms we book for meetings.

Answer:

Thank you for bringing this problem to our attention. We will check that the heating in the rooms you have mentioned is working correctly to try and resolve the issue.

For future reference,  the most appropriate way of reporting any further problems is to contact the Estates Repair Line esarep@staffs.ac.uk so that we can rectify the problem when it occurs and minimise discomfort to both internal and external users. Thank you.