Women held back by ‘old boys’ network,’ says report

Published on the BBC News website on 23rd March – ‘Nearly a third of the UK’s biggest companies largely rely on personal networks to identify new board members, the study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found. Most roles are not advertised, it said. “Our top boards still remain blatantly male and white,” said EHRC commissioner Laura Carstensen. The study, which looked at appointment practices in the UK’s largest 350 listed firms, which make up the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, found more than 60% had not met a voluntary target of 25% female board members.’

Relying on personal networks to identify new members is not just limited to the UK’s biggest companies.  What can be done to change this?


THE WELLBEING CAFE – ‘Revision First Aid – How to Revise Effectively’

THE WELLBEING CAFE in the RUSU Study (behind Cafe Mondiale).  This Wednesday (23rd March) – 1 to 2.30

Have the right intentions but end up leaving revision to the last minute?

Make revision plans but never stick to them?

Concerned about whether you are revising the right things?

Worried that nothing is going in?

DON’T PANIC! – come along to this friendly session on how to make your revision more effective and efficient. Michelle from Study Advice will be sharing some tips, strategies and planners to help you set realistic revision goals and make the whole process more manageable and motivating. Come along and have a coffee – and help yourself to exam success…


How Not to Chair a Committee

Today I would like to highlight a recent blog post by Athene Donald (Professor of Experimental Physics University of Cambridge) on How Not to Chair a Committee

‘Whether as a student or a professor (or indeed at any level in between) I would suspect there isn’t a reader of this blog who hasn’t had to sit through a meeting of some type or other where the Chair has intensely irritated them somehow. There are of course a huge variety of ways to fail to chair a committee well………..’

I suspect we can all think of examples!  Do you have any advice for how to chair a committee?


The Feel Good factor: Increase your knowledge, enhance your life – for University and beyond

Many people don’t realise how making small adjustments to their everyday life can make a real difference and help them feel more able to tackle those overwhelming projects.  With this in mind, the next talk in the Life Tools programme (the last one this term) is particularly designed to help students make those changes to help them ‘feel good again’.

‘The Feel Good factor’ is on Thursday 17th March at 1.00pm in Palmer building, room 103.  At this talk, students will be able to learn how ‘Mindfulness’ can make a difference in daily life, no matter how busy they are.  As part of the talk students will also be encouraged to take the ‘Wellbeing M.O.T.’ to see if there are areas they can work on to feel good.

Students were asked what they thought of this talk last year and the following comments come from their feedback:


“A really good lunchtime session to remind you of what you can do to feel better”

“Helpful tips and insightful thoughts and information”

Really useful.  Loved the ideas about meditation”


This talk is one of The Life Tools series run by Student Wellbeing and is a part of the Step training programme. There is no need to book a place – it is open to all students and they should just turn up on the day.

feel good




Has Twitter transformed the PhD experience?

Published on 12th March in the Times Higher, Jack Grove discusses Twitter and how it has changed the PhD experience:

‘Just a few weeks after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the platform’s first tweet in March 2006, the social media network gained its first PhD student. Indiana University computer science student Andrew Keep (@andykeep), now a software engineer at Cisco, is listed among the first 100 people to have signed up to the fledgling site, which now has 320 million monthly users. Dr Keep is still an occasional tweeter, broadcasting his thoughts on everything from home baking and everyday irritations to computer coding formulas, much like the hundreds of thousands of PhD students to have embraced the medium since then. But some advocates of Twitter, which celebrates its 10th anniversary on 21 March, believe its influence on PhD candidates has been more profound than just providing a way for them to let off steam or catch up with friends. For many, Twitter has transformed the PhD experience altogether……………………..’

What are your experiences of Twitter? Has it transformed your experience of doing a PhD?  Or are you a post doc/lecturer? Has it increased the visibility of your research and enabled you to network in a way that would not have been possible a few years ago?


How do I stop feeling like a fraud?

Since starting this blog we have included a number of posts on the Imposter Syndrome because the topic resonates with so many people.

‘It can happen to anyone who notches up achievements in life – at some stage, many people feel unworthy of their success. They may tell themselves they’ve just been lucky, and fear that one day they’ll be unmasked or found out’

The BBC have now posted an interesting piece under a number of headings:

  • Living a lie
  • False pretences
  • Managing your thoughts
  • How did I get here?
  • Where next?

What advice would you offer?



International Women’s Day 2016

Today is International Women’s Day ! There are lots of activities, events and discussions taking place today (including on campus).  The Guardian have live coverage of events around the world and are asking: “What does equality mean to you?”

On the BBC website they are posting discussion articles on a range of topics:

100 women

In pictures: Women making technology work for them

Women see little improvement in world of work – ILO

Sexism rife in textbooks, says Unesco

Call for women to speak before men at meetings

Why women can thrive in science fiction

And so much more……….. What is listed above is just a tiny snapshot of the events and discussions that are taking place.  Hopefully these will inspire you to look further….



More women in senior university jobs, says report

Published in the Times Higher on 2nd March, Jack Grove highlights analysis which shows an increase in the proportion of women in management or governor roles.

The pipeline is looking quite healthy, but the real crunch is at professorial level, where only 23 per cent are women” (Norma Jarboe, director of Women Count, a not-for-profit organisation that indexes gender representation in public, private and third-sector bodies and who have published Women Count: Leaders in Higher Education 2016)

Managing academic pressure

Managing academic pressure ranks high on the list of priorities for many students.  Meeting deadlines, coping with assignments and preparing for exams:  all of these require strategies if a student is to be successful in managing the pressure.  It is with this in mind that the next Life Tools talk this week addresses this issue. 

Managing academic pressure  is on Thursday 10th March at 3.00pm in HUMSS G74.   There is no need to book a place – students should just come along on the day. 

Our talks receive very high ratings from your students.  The phrases  ‘‘amazing’, ‘really helpful’, ‘motivating’, ‘well worth attending’ regularly appear on our feedback forms.  Students wrote the following comments about this talk when it was given earlier in the academic year.  They sum up the reasons why students should consider coming:


‘It is very useful and gives a fresh perspective about doing a degree’


‘This talk puts University work into perspective and allows you to understand that you are capable and can do it.’


‘ It all makes sense and many people will be able to relate to what is said’


‘Very good tips that will help’ 


This is one of the ‘academic tools’ talks in the Life Tools series run by Student Wellbeing.  All students are welcome to attend.

Life Tools Talk - Managing Academic Pressure



The Wellbeing Café – ‘How good enough is ‘good enough’?’

Feeling like nothing you do is quite good enough? Struggling to get started with assignments? Seeing others as better or more successful? How good enough do you have to be to be ‘good enough’?

Come along to this informal session with Odelia from Student Wellbeing (1.15 to 2pm) looking  at how to get the best out of yourself without having to put yourself though the wringer.