What are the 2012-2013 term dates?

QUESTION:

What are the University term dates for 2012 – 2013 and when will they appear on the web?

 

ANSWER:

The 2012-2013 term dates for undergraduate students are as follows:

  • 17 September – 14 December
  • 7 January – 22 March
  • 8 April – 29 June

Postgraduate term dates are currently being discussed, so once these are confirmed, all term dates for 2012-2013 will be published on the web site.

Do cleaners operate during the day?

QUESTION:

Are there no cleaners in the University during the day?  The toilets can get quite dirty and obviously as staff have to share them with students this can be an issue as you can imagine how unhygienic students can be, especially in the men’s toilets.

 

ANSWER:

The main cleaning operation takes place on campus between 6:00am and 9:00am so as not to cause disruption or inconvenience.  We do however have a small domestic presence available at other times of the day, supported by the campus team so that we can respond to any issues that are reported to us.

Should facilities require attention, please report this to the Estates team by e-mail to estates-helpdesk@staffs.ac.uk or telephone extension 4472.

Can we please stop inconsiderate parkers?

QUESTION:

I have come to Stoke on more than one occasion recently and found cars parked in such a way that they are using two parking bays. This is either down to inconsiderate parking or individuals ‘saving’ spaces for friends and colleagues arriving later.

As parking spaces have recently been reduced in number anyway, can anything be done to stop this happening?

 

ANSWER:

We appreciate that there are still many people who park inconsiderately on our campuses and we are continuing with our review of ways to improve the situation.

Please note that we returned most of the parking bays to parking use upon completion of the landscaping works on College Road Campus.

Why are there limited promotion opportunities for academics?

QUESTION:

I’d like executive to explain the reasoning behind why Staffordshire University provides limited opportunities for academics to be promoted for their academic achievement. This relates to all three points of promotion: from lecturer to senior lecturer, from senior lecturer to principal lecturer/reader, and then to professor.

Prior to adoption of the Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) at this university it was relatively straightforward to progress from lecturer to senior lecturer. Can the university confirm that the re-grading of lecturer to senior lecturer since the implementation of HERA is far less frequent?

In practice it seems that lecturers and senior lecturers are effectively doing the same role at this university, with most having indistinguishable levels of responsibility (e.g., running modules, administrative roles).  The progression from senior lecturer to principal lecturer/reader is even more problematic.  A promotion to principal lecturer seems to require a move away from one’s academic role to a more administrative/managerial position (e.g., award leader).  The position of reader is rarely given, and perhaps not at all in some faculties.  Where an appointment is made, it seems to be exclusively assigned to the creation of a designated role/job.  There seems no opportunity for a senior lecturer to be re-graded to the next tier because their academic expertise and success deserves it (i.e. their CV has developed to a level that is more consummate with the next grade).

For instance, a senior lecturer who can show that their achievements relating to teaching (exceptional student feedback, teaching qualifications and awards, teaching leadership) and research (e.g., gaining external grants, research publications, successful supervision of PhD students) should have the opportunity to have the title principal lecturer or reader conferred on him/her (with the accompanying salary re-grading).

The conferment of professorship has been available in the past, but the last call for professorship applications was some years ago (over five I believe). There have been recent rumours that there may be a call for applications soon, but nothing has been announced.  But without a similar call for principal lecturer/readership appointments there is a tier missing, which means that the vast majority of senior lecturers have to present a case that is a near-impossible leap from their current position.

The lack of promotional opportunities for academics at Staffordshire University is a de-motivating influence, and means that an appointment at another university is the only available route for academic advancement.

 

ANSWER:

Staffordshire University provides the same promotion opportunities for all members of staff regardless of the role they perform.  Promotion at the University can be either via a reassessment of the current grade (see Reassessment of Grade Procedure) or by applying for vacancies as they arise.

Progression from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer since the introduction of the HERA process is exactly the same as the progression process for any other member of staff at the University, i.e. to identify role changes/requirements and to complete a HERA Form and have this reassessed. This means that providing the member of staff is working at the higher level, they do not need to wait until they reach the top of the scale before applying for promotion as was the case prior to the introduction of HERA.

The University does not confer titles of Principal Lecturer or Reader, but requires Faculties/Schools to determine whether they have a requirement for such a role and these would be advertised as appropriate as with any other vacancy at the University. As with most organisations, there are less opportunities available at more senior levels, however, the achievements and experience of any member of staff would  be taken into account if relevant to the post to which they were applying.

A call for professorial applications may be considered later in the year.

 

Which conference rooms on campus now have a cost?

QUESTION:

We have been informed that we can no longer book certain meeting rooms in the Octagon Building as they are conference suites and have heard that we will also be charged for certain rooms, but nothing seems to have been circulated to university staff.

Can you confirm which rooms these are (Stafford and Stoke) and also the costs?  What is the procedure, will a booking form have to be completed and authorised by the relevant Business Manager?

If bookings were made prior to this decision will they be honoured or will the Faculty be charged?

 

ANSWER:

As part of the new conference and events strategy that was agreed last year, the university has rebranded the conference offer as venue:staffs.

As part of the strategy, certain rooms on both campuses are now under the management of the conference office to primarily sell to external customers and to be used for corporate teaching.

The rooms now managed by venue:staffs are listed below:

Stoke
Ashley Building:  Dudson Boardroom LT014,  Emma Bridgewater LT111,  Susie Cooper LT113, Clarice Cliff LT115

Stafford
Octagon Building: Octagon Boardroom, Shugborough Room (K350), Knightley (K352), Haughton Room (formally Octagon Annex)

The rooms now managed by venue:staffs are still available for use by university staff, if  the internal booking is an externally facing meeting that has a sales or external income stream for the university.

The primary purpose of the rooms is to generate additional revenue. Any bookings made prior to January 2012 will be honoured.

To book one of the venue: staffs rooms and for prices, please contact Nicki Morris on ext. 2701 or email hospitality@staffs.ac.uk

Will expenses rates be changed in light of the new HMRC mileage rates?

QUESTION:

With the cost of motoring constantly going up and with HMRC raising the approved mileage rates from 40p per mile, up to 45p per mile (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/travel.htm) why haven’t the University followed suit and increased their own rate to 45p?

I think it is unfair for University staff to end up out of pocket for travelling which they are forced to do to carry out their job.

 

ANSWER:

The HM Revenues and Customs outlines a rate for which mileage may be reimbursed, to a maximum before tax would be due. This  has recently increased from 40 pence per mile to 45 pence per mile.  This is not a recommendation for organisations, merely a stated amount before tax would be due.

The University is currently reviewing the expenses rates within our regulations to ensure they are appropriate. This review will be shared with the unions and following their views will progress to Executive to discuss and finally approval.

Mileage rates will be looked at as part of this process.

 

Can the NHS blood donation bus visit the University?

QUESTION:

Would it be possible for an NHS Blood Donation Bus to be able to come to the University to enable those that wish to give blood to do so.  Only 5% of people who can give blood actually do so and I think that it is something that we could support.

 

ANSWER:

This was an initiative that was considered and introduced in the past, however, at the time there was very little take up of the service and therefore it did not continue.

This was some time ago and therefore we will consider this further as part of our continuing health and well being agenda.

Thank you for raising the matter.

Are there any Stoke City ticket deals for staff?

QUESTION:

Now that Staffordshire University sponsors one of the stands at the Brittania Stadium, are there any ticket deals or offers available for staff members? Quite often I hear that Stoke offer tickets for £5 to staff members of sponsors but I have never seen anything where Staffordshire University staff can access these deals.

Also, does Staffordshire University have access to an executive box at the stadium?  If so is there any opportunity for staff members at all levels to use this – or incentives in place for staff to win a place in the executive box?

 

ANSWER:

The corporate hospitality package (ie Waddington Suite corporate box) the University has negotiated with Stoke City is mainly used to network with and strengthen relationships with existing and potential business clients and partners. Corporate guests for hospitality are carefully selected on a set of business benefits criteria and we ask the members of staff who attend  to write a short report following the match on the outcomes and business opportunities gained by hosting this type of event at the Britannia Stadium.

We do however feel that hospitality should be opened out to staff and students as reward for some of the great work that they do, so for example the Winners of the Celebrating Staff Success ‘Cross University team’ will be taking one of the Waddington Suite hospitality slots for 12 people at the upcoming Stoke City vs West Bromwich Albion match.

As well as staff, we have also invited 18 of our international students to watch the West Bromwich Albion game and have a tour of the Stadium.

Our partnership with the Club has opened up lots of other ‘money can’t buy’ opportunities for our students. The Students’ Union are working with the Club on a number of projects including offering recreational sport sessions as part of their Premier Sports Project and the Union’s  Active Uni’s project. They are also working with Stoke City for the upcoming ‘One Game One Community’ Week of Action.

In addition, Stoke City have said that they will look into the special £5 ticket deals for staff (as club partners) for one or maybe two of the 2012 home games.