A word from our Interim FVP – March 2020

Dear Colleagues

Welcome to this month’s edition of the Pulse, published at a truly extraordinary time for us all.  I do hope that you had as peaceful a weekend as current circumstances allow, and managed to enjoy and celebrate Mother’s Day, even if not by gathering together in person as we would all have liked.   

As you will all know, the Prime Minister announced last night a further instruction to us all, amounting an almost complete lockdown across the UK, which will have a further and profound impact on us all, both in our professional and personal lives.  As a University we are already working in what can be described as a highly restrictive Christmas out of hours-like mode, with all staff working at home unless absolutely essential to enter University or faculty premises to maintain vital activities. Restrictions on entering University premises will no doubt escalate even further now as a result of the PMs new instruction, and more guidance on this will be issued very soon.

At this time of uncertainty and worry for everyone, it is clearly very important that we all keep in touch to share information and support the wellbeing of each other, staff and students alike.  With this in mind, we will be holding an open Faculty Forum by videoconference for all staff tomorrow Wednesday 25th March from 3-5 pm.  We will be using Zoom as our videoconferencing platform, and the invitation link is https://zoom.us/j/641783737.  Up to 500 people should be able to join the virtual forum. The Forum will begin by some brief updates from myself and members of the Faculty Executive Board but the bulk of the time will be given over to Q & A from any member of staff.    Staff are encouraged but not required to submit any questions in advance if they can, by midnight today, Tuesday 24th March, so that we can ensure we have as up to date and accurate answers as possible, using this link: https://forms.gle/DsjiWNKyZ2Y47US47.  We will be recording the forum so that those colleagues that are unable to join us can nevertheless replay the discussions after the meeting. 

The format of The Pulse reminds us, even in these difficult times, that there are excellent things taking place right across our Faculty. I am especially pleased that the Spotlight for this month focuses on the appointment of Dr Louise Preston as our Faculty Director for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. 

To finish, can I reiterate my own sincere thanks for your extraordinary efforts and contributions in these times of unprecedented challenge for us all in both our working and personal lives. All line managers have been asked to be flexible and pragmatic, recognising that many members of staff are trying to undertake their roles to the best of their abilities at the same time as home schooling children and possibly supporting friends and relatives who are self-isolating and unwell. Please be assured that we trust all of our staff to do their absolute best during this difficult time, and acknowledge that it may simply not be possible to fulfil all aspects of your role as you would normally. If you need additional support, please speak to your line manager. Please remember that support is also available via the Health and Wellbeing pages and Health Assured, the staff helpline and counselling service. 

With kind regards

Chris