Are their plans to increase scholarly activity days for non-academics?


It is my understanding that academic staff are allowed generous self-managed scholarly activity time to study for approved qualifications such as a PhD. However, as a non academic member of staff I am only allowed 3 days per annum to study for approved qualifications such as a PhD which makes it impossible to do so.

Is there a plan to offer all members of staff the opportunity to progress if they so wish, or does the University prefer non academic staff not to develop in this way?


The academic contract includes a time allocation for advanced scholarship for academic staff. The outputs from these days of advanced scholarship are determined by the Faculty and may include some time for PhD study in some cases.

Professional support staff are able to take time away from work for qualifications being undertaken if appropriate under the training for approved qualification scheme (TFAQ). The scheme allows for various types of sponsorship subject to certain criteria being met and also allows for 3 days study leave for examinations etc.

The University is committed to the development of all staff as appropriate.

What is Audacity?


I’ve seen a new programme installed on my computer called audacity.  It looks great, what is it?



Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder.

You can use audacity to:

  • Record live audio – for broadcast as a podcast for example
  • Using additional equipment you can convert other media into digital recordings or CDs
  • You can edit pre-recorded sound files
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording

See the complete list of features 

For help, see Frequently Asked Questions or the following resources:

Documentation – Read the user manual and quick reference

See the Audacity Wiki, which is an extensive user-editable help resource including:

  • Tutorials – step-by-step guides on performing common tasks in Audacity, such as making ringtones, removing vocals, mixing, creating podcasts and transferring tapes and records to computer
  • Tips – these articles will help you work with and understand Audacity and audio hardware
  • Audacity can be used to create podcasts, these can then be added to the University Media Library for viewing, conversion, embedding and storing.

Please contact for any further advice or help


Why do we use external training when we have a strong internal skill set?


Please could you tell me if there is a process for checking whether expertise is available within the university before we commission external providers to deliver training?

There have been a couple of occasions recently when external organisations have offered staff development that I would have thought was part of our internal skill set. The results may not only demoralise those who feel they have been overlooked in preference for an external organisation (what a message to send to outside organisations about our expertise!), but also incur costs that could have been prevented.


The staff within the Centre for Professional Development have a wide repertoire of training skills, experience and knowledge, and offer a broad range of courses, both accredited and non-accredited. Occasionally, however, they will look externally for providers if they consider that a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ would add value. This is always done in full knowledge of what can be offered elsewhere within the University, which is assessed first. A good example of this is the use of an external company to deliver a 7 day accredited course in coaching, entitled ‘Solution Focussed Management. This will build upon the Centre for Professional Development’s existing Creating a ‘Coaching Culture’ workshop and the 2-day Coaching for Success ULM programme. Participants on the new course will then be advised of possible progression routes within the University such as the post-graduate courses in coaching and mentoring in both AMD and the Business School.
Many of the Centre for Professional Development courses use the expertise of staff from across the University who are invited to give specialist inputs based on their knowledge, experience and/or research. This partnership approach is considered both a strength and good practice; it is highly valued by participants, and is always given willingly, free of charge.

A great example of this is the Higher Education – Leadership and Practice course.  If other staff from across the University would like to contribute, free of charge, to any of the Centre for Professional Development’s course, please do not hestitate to get in touch- their input would be most welcome.