Can we increase email quota?

QUESTION:
Hello, can I ask if we can increase the quota which is allocated to students and staff for email. The current quotas were set a lot of years ago and with the increased use of this technology this is a constant battle with warnings saying you are over quota. Staff are increasingly receiving large attachments from students and from outside organisations which will need to be saved for future review. Also all of the email needs to be saved for future evidence if required with students saying they sent you one thing and actually sending you something entirely different. External email providers are now supporting into the gigabytes of storage per user. I notice that York university have gone down this route giving each member of staff and student 25 Gigabytes of storage. http://www.york.ac.uk/it-services/it/google/

 

ANSWER:
Email quotas are used as a mechanism to ensure the stability, availability and performance of the email system for all users. We aim to provide users with the largest possible default quotas within the constraints of the number of users and technology that we use. Currently the staff email server utilises 4TB of disk storage on a high performance disk system, and a further 90TB of backup archive to allow recovery in case of disaster. Information Services are investigating the use of newer technologies for staff email, including a new version of the Exchange email server, and alternate storage methods that will allow quotas to be reassessed moving forwards. Use of external email providers is not under consideration for staff, due to the requirements around the ability to provide evidence of communications that you have highlighted in your query, and which is lacking in external providers.

For student users, Information Services are actively evaluating the use of Microsoft Office 365 as an external email provider. It trials go well and this is adopted by the university then the benefits will include larger email quotas for students.

We would remind users that email is not always the best mechanism for distribution of large attachments as many organisations limit the size of messages. Information Services provide alternative methods such as our ZendTo Dropbox site that provide a simple secure mechanism for transferring these files outside of email.

Is Nelson library being sold?

QUESTION:
We have heard a rumour that Staffordshire Police Headquarters have put in a bid to purchase Nelson Library from the University and that it’s been accepted.
Can Executive make any comment to confirm or deny this?
And if true, what are the plans to relocate the books and resources currently housed there?

 

ANSWER:
As you are aware we are currently undertaking a broad review of our Estate – assessing occupancy, space utilisation, location and future development – with the outcomes of the consultation due in January 2014.

As we develop this new Estates Strategy, if opportunities arise that will benefit the University, we will consider those options. We would not disclose information on discussions that may be commercially sensitive but we can assure all staff and students that student experience and the impact on staff will be our prime concern and no actions would be agreed that had a material impact on the options being considered as part of the Estates review.

Will you be able to book a place on the new minibus?

QUESTION:
As I don’t drive I use the X1 to travel to Stafford from Stoke, although this is not on daily basis. When I do use the bus I need to be able to guarantee getting there for a specific time – for meetings or teaching. Will there be an option to book a place on the mini-bus on a particular time or date? I would not want to have to leave the office an hour earlier to give myself two chances on getting a bus – that does not seem an effective use of time.
Also who will have priority for places – students or staff? When we had a mini-bus previously the priority was staff and students could be asked to give up a place if there were staff wishing to use it. I am assuming that this will no longer the case. Will it just be ‘first come first on’?

 
ANSWER:
The shuttle minibus service between Stoke and Stafford will be free of charge, with student or staff cards required to board. The service will run hourly between 7am and 7pm and will be a direct service. We are in the process of finalising timetables and all other details and will publish this information to RSS as soon as the detail is confirmed.

Will a minibus be big enough to replace the X1 service?

QUESTION:
I don’t know if this is something that you are able to answer, but I have a concern regarding the changes to the bus service. I am not a driver so rely on the X1 bus to get me from Stoke to Black Heath Lane. I gather that there will be a mini bus shuttle in place, which is great, but at the moment, the international students pretty much fill a double decker, and there has been times that because they have completely filled the bus, I have had to stand all the way. I’m just worried that a mini bus may not be big enough, and that if it is full of students, there wont be room for me to get on the bus, therefore meaning that I will be an hour late for work due to waiting for the next one?

 

ANSWER:
We are working with faculty colleagues to make sure that we have the best information possible about demand for the bus service before confirming our timetable. By managing the service in-house we will have the flexibility to respond to any issues very quickly.

How might the Estates strategy impact on staff?

QUESTION:
I note the recent ask executive questions related to the future of the Stafford site e.g. in the light of the Stafford Hospital announcements.

If the decision is made in due course to close the Stafford site, what would be the effect on staff whose normal work base is Stafford? Would they have to accept the move to Stoke or would there e.g. be the option of applying for Managed Severance?

 
ANSWER:
There has been no decisions on the estates strategy consultation as yet. These will be due in January 2014. The current consultation with staff and stakeholders will need to ensure that whatever long term decisions are made about the University’s estate, they are appropriate for our needs going forward.

In the event of any recommendation to reduce the number of sites, then the University will look to see what activities are performed on the site to be relinquished. If those activities are no longer required, then those roles who support that activity will be at risk of redundancy. In those circumstances we will look to redeploy staff wherever possible, as is our current approach, or seek expressions of interest in voluntary redundancy, before moving to compulsory redundancies.

If the activity and the roles supporting this are still required and will move to a different university site, then individual’s employment will continue. Staff are required to work on any university site, as one of their contractual terms. Change of Base Allowance would be available for those staff who fulfilled the criteria. All these policies are available on the personnel services website.

How will changes to the X1 service affect intersite travel?

Executive have received several questions around the recent X1 bus service announcement. Please note that they have been placed together within this featured post to avoid repetition.

QUESTIONS:
1) The X1 bus service provides an excellent link between the Stoke and Stafford campuses as well as shuttle service to / from Stafford rail station and Beaconside. One of the issues however is the need to pay up front for the journey and reclaim this later.

Would it be feasible for staff to be able to show their staff cards in exchange for free travel thereby saving the need for them to reclaim this expense in due course?

2) I understand that the X1 bus will only go between Stoke and Stone from September, rather than on to Beaconside. If so, this is a potential problem, especially for the international students studying Computing in Stafford where the majority live in Stoke, and have travelled to and from Stafford via the X1 bus in the past. It also hinders our attempts to get to staff to use the bus for inter-site travel, and makes staff at Beaconside who are aware of the discussions on the “estates strategy” start to feel more isolated. I also hear the frequency is reducing, to one bus every two hours.
I know Baker is an outside company, but I seem to remember that we subsidise the company to some extent to support the intersite bus system? So we might have a say on their routes and timings. What plans are in place if Bakers are indeed abandoning Beaconside to enable students to travel there and back to Stoke where many of them live?

3) The X1 Bakerbus service that connects both campuses is under review (http://www.bakerbus.com/route-changes/) and it is going to operate between Hanley and Stone (also with reduced frequency) from September. A number of students and staff rely on that service daily to get to Beaconside. Does the University have any input on this, as this will affect people’s daily commute both in terms of additional travel time and cost?

 

ANSWER:
The X1 bus service will be curtailed from the beginning of September to run between Hanley and Stone only. The University has decided to operate a shuttle minibus service between Stoke and Stafford exclusively for students and staff, which will be free of charge.

To board the minibus, student or staff cards will be required. The service will run hourly between 7am and 7pm and will be a direct service. We are in the process of finalising timetables etc and will publish this information to RSS as soon as the detail is confirmed.

Were organisation charts ever published?

QUESTION:
Dear Ask Executive,
In reference to the question of 26 August 2011, were the organisation charts ever published?  The only one I can find on the website is for Finance, dated February 2012.
Thanks.

 

ANSWER:
Thank you for this question. We did collate on a quarterly basis the organisational structures for the University. Copies were supplied to each Dean and Director. We did not at that time place on the web in a suite of documents, which with hindsight was an omission. We are collating all charts again for August 2013 and will then place these on the web and communicate by RSS there location. We will endeavour to keep these updated on a regular basis.

How will the Stafford Hospital announcement impact on our Health School provision?

QUESTION:
With the disappointing news today of acute services at Stafford hospital potentially being relocated to Stoke and Wolverhampton after consultation, what effect will this have on our health school for placement students based at Stafford, especially the midwifery courses? This will likely affect recruitment and the awards offered at Staffordshire will it not? Will the Health School remain based at Blackheath Lane or be relocated to Stoke as well?

 

ANSWER:
The proposals, if implemented, will have an impact on placements particularly in Midwifery and Children’s nursing but also to a lesser extent in Adult nursing.
The University is actively involved in the consultations and in constructive dialogue with as many of the parties involved as possible with a view to:
• retaining as many services as possible at Stafford Hospital, and
• identifying alternative placements if that should become necessary.
Those parties with whom we are in contact include the Trust, the Trust Special Administrators, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy and Health Education West Midlands who commission our programmes.
As part of the consultation, we will be emphasising the high quality education we provide as evidenced by our consistently high rating in the Guardian’s Subject Guide and responses to the National Student Survey.
It is noted that the report indicates that no changes can start to be made at the Hospital before April 14 and that some proposed changes will require considerable time to implement so we don’t envisage any immediate changes to our course provision or our ability to recruit students. Applications to our nursing and midwifery programmes have been particularly buoyant this year.

Meanwhile consultations are continuing on our Estates Strategy. We will take into account both the outcome for Stafford Hospital and the new education opportunities which are expected to form part of National Health Service reforms. A decision on the future development of the University is not due before the end of this year.

 

What is the future of Stafford campus following the Stafford Hospital announcement?

QUESTION:
As Professor Gunn previously stated that the consultants were asked to look at future of a campus in Stafford with “at least” health here…..

How much impact will the report into Stafford Hospital, released on Wednesday 31st July by the Trust Special Administrators and detailing proposed cuts to services and departments, have on the new Estates Strategy and the future of the Stafford Campus?

I know that their report only gives recommendations, but it is more than likely that some, if not all, of the proposals will go ahead.

 
ANSWER:
The proposals, if implemented, will have an impact on placements particularly in Midwifery and Children’s nursing but also to a lesser extent in Adult nursing.

The University is actively involved in the consultations and in constructive dialogue with as many of the parties involved as possible with a view to:
• retaining as many services as possible at Stafford Hospital, and
• identifying alternative placements if that should become necessary.

Those parties with whom we are in contact include the Trust, the Trust Special Administrators, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy and Health Education West Midlands who commission our programmes.
As part of the consultation, we will be emphasising the high quality education we provide as evidenced by our consistently high rating in the Guardian’s Subject Guide and responses to the National Student Survey.
It is noted that the report indicates that no changes can start to be made at the Hospital before April 14 and that some proposed changes will require considerable time to implement so we don’t envisage any immediate changes to our course provision or our ability to recruit students. Applications to our nursing and midwifery programmes have been particularly buoyant this year.

Meanwhile consultations are continuing on our Estates Strategy. We will take into account both the outcome for Stafford Hospital and the new education opportunities which are expected to form part of National Health Service reforms. A decision on the future development of the University is not due before the end of this year.