Where are our bins?!

QUESTION:
It seems this week that staff have lost their bins!

Last week we had a bin each under our desk, and now have one within the office (for 7 staff) to walk to when we have something to put in it.

Can we have the reasoning explained? As this is going to take a lot of getting used to (we are automatically putting rubbish under our desks to remember the bins are no longer there).

 
ANSWER:
Some of the individual bins are of an old metal design and can present a hazard. As we replace these bins, we are taking the opportunity to provide larger swing bins for offices where there are multiple occupants. This makes collection of waste from offices more efficient and also encourages people to use recycling bins so that we increase our on-site waste segregation in line with our recycling ambitions.

Anyone wanting to discuss local arrangements can contact the appropriate cleaning team:

cleaning.services.stoke@staffs.ac.uk or cleaning.services.stafford@staffs.ac.uk

Are there plans to bring Costa Coffee to Stafford?

QUESTION:
I’ve been up to Stoke recently and noticed they serve Costa Coffee and I was quite envious of the people up in Stoke.

Do you have any plans to introduce Costa Coffee in Stafford?

 
ANSWER:
The Campus & Commercial Services team is continually reviewing the services we offer and this may include the introduction of new brands. We recently brought Grumpy Mule coffee to the University in the Ashley Cafe at Stoke and will be happy to look into the possibility of bringing Costa to Stafford.

Are electronic cigarettes allowed in class?

QUESTION:
I had a student today ask if he was allowed to smoke an electronic cigarette in class. I’m not aware of where we stand with requests like this. Can you advise?

 

ANSWER:

Electronic cigarettes are used by some people as an alternative to a conventional cigarette and also to aid smoking cessation. Whilst there are no reported passive smoking effects or smoke/odour associated with the use of these devices, they do look very much like a conventional cigarette with a glowing tip.

For this reason, the use of these devices in buildings or within 5 metres of entrances and open windows is prohibited. The concern is that use of these devices may lead other staff and students to think that smoking is generally permitted, and will hamper staff trying to enforce the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006.

Why are Blackboard down times scheduled to coincide with exams and assignment hand-ins?

QUESTION:

Why are Blackboard down times scheduled to coincide with exams and assignment hand-ins?

On 18 December staff in the School of Computing received an email announcing that Blackboard would be unavailable on 5/6 January and were told that this had been scheduled from the start of term. This was the first that I, and as far as I know other members of teaching staff had heard of this.

Exams began on 7 January which meant that students needed access to revision material. My students were scheduled to hand in via Blackboard on 6 January. Term had finished on 14 December which meant a scramble to email students to ensure they knew they had to download in advance/that the assignment hand in had been extended.

Can IS: (i) avoid scheduling downtime for the week preceding the January exams, the week preceding the start of the summer assessment period, the week before the referral week.  (ii) email teaching staff well in advance to inform them about downtimes so that we can make sure our students know.

 
ANSWER:
Information Services publishes a calendar of planned maintenance via the web and also provides updates of this regularly via RSS.

The first weekend of every month and the last weekend following the end of term was approved by Deans/Directors (at the Information Strategy Group) as the agreed period when IS may need to schedule planned IT maintenance.

The work on 5th and 6th January was the essential replacement of end of life core network equipment which would become unsupported if not replaced. This upgrade had been scheduled to utilise one of the defined maintenance periods and was publicised as follows:
•The downtime was first notified via RSS on 1st October as part of the published schedule to August 2013.
•A reminder was published on RSS on 23rd November and again 18th December.
•It was also included on the IS blog.

RSS is the University’s communication mechanism and we use this to publish information about planned downtime. We have added the following message now to these communications asking that staff consider the impact of the planned downtime and let colleagues and students know if they think it will have an adverse impact:

We do publish the details of this Scheduled IT maintenance unavailability in as many places as possible to give advanced warning, but appreciate it is sometimes difficult to inform everyone especially distance learners. If you feel the work detailed below may affect your colleagues or students please can we ask that you pass this information onto them too, to ensure all are aware of any interruption to their access to resources and services. As always if you have any queries please contact the service desk

Moving forwards, a cross University group is in the process of being formed to refine the principles agreed by ISG to minimise the impact on University activities.

Why are important development sessions scheduled during prime teaching times?

QUESTION:
I note that the open staff sessions for the development of leadership behaviours are planned for prime teaching time. Unfortunately, this means that I shall not be able to participate because I shall be teaching for the two hours of the session in Stafford.

It is very disappointing that Executive and faculty managers continue the recent trend of scheduling important events at times when academics are engaged in their primary responsibility (for example, the recently announced roadshows by Professor Gunn are also at times when I shall be teaching).

Is this a deliberate or accidental tactic to prevent many academics from engaging in the processes that shape the university?

 
ANSWER:
Thank you for the question. We appreciate there is never an ideal time to run these sessions. We are however in the process of arranging an additional session to run on a Wednesday afternoon which we hope will be well attended.

Could the Beaconside Campus exit be improved?

QUESTION:
With the recent talk of improving both campuses, has any thought been given to improving the exit from Beaconside Campus?
Could an exit be added down past the Nelson Library?

 
ANSWER:
There are no current plans to carry out modifications to the exit from the Stafford Campus. Whilst potentially feasible, other routes would impinge upon the pedestrianisation in place between the Octagon, Nelson Library and Beaconside with its benefits of improving the general amenity and pedestrian safety.

Did the sale of beer breach licensing provisions?

QUESTION:
In relation to the question regarding the sale of beer at Dolche Vita and other locations in Stafford, can Commercial Services confirm that this did not contravene the applicable licensing provisions? If a breach was undertaken will appropriate disciplinary action be taken against those responsible?

 

ANSWER:
It would be inappropriate to discuss disciplinary action in this forum, however we can confirm that the Campus & Commercial Services team did not breech any licensing provisions.