RUSU’s Advice Service

A lot of people start the New Year wanting to sort out issues or queries they have had the year before. Did you know that at RUSU they have an Advice Service that offers independent, confidential and completely free advice from specialist advisers, covering Money, Housing, Academic and Welfare. The Advice Service holds the Advice Quality Standard and is a member of several professional bodies. The Advice Service is open to all students

Students can pop in to the Advice Service without an appointment during the drop in sessions held on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11.00am-1:30pm and Wednesdays 2.00pm-4:30pm. The service is also open outside of term time with sessions still running every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. There is also a drug and alcohol drop run in by IRIS every Thursday in term-time, 11.00am-1:30pm.



How many hours a week should academics work?

Published on 14th January in the Times Higher, David Matthews discusses how research casts doubt on whether working long hours is a productive work routine.

‘How many hours do you work in a week? Many academics feel overworked and exhausted by their jobs. But there is little evidence that long hours lead to better results, while some research suggests that they may even be counterproductive………………………………. At parties, Michel is constantly asked what she has published recently. Working at the weekend is a “badge of honour” for academics, she says. And because knowledge workers, be they academics or bankers, are constantly competing against each other, their hours keep ratcheting up’.

Although not discussed in this article the problems associated with working long hours would also apply to PhD students.  How many hours do you work in a week?  Would you be more productive if you changed your work routine?

The Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award

The Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award is made to support the promotion of women in STEM. The medal is accompanied by a grant of £30,000 for activities s/he undertakes to promote women in STEM in the UK and to support research activities. The recipient of the award is expected to spend a proportion of the grant on implementing a project to raise the profile of women in STEM and is required to give a public lecture suitable for a non-specialist audience. The call for nominations closes on 1st February 2016.

The research must be based in the UK in a scientific or technological discipline within the remit of the Royal Society. There are no restrictions on the age of nominees, but it is anticipated that the award will be made to a Recipient in mid-career with a maximum of 20 years or equivalent post PhD. Nominees who have taken a career break will also be considered.

Further details can be found via the Royal Society website


Rosalind Franklin

Stop procrastination

The first talk in the ‘Life Tools’ series for 2016 will be of special interest to students who find it hard to get their work started and/or difficult to hand completed work in on time.  Some may also have returned to University this week having intended to get some studying done over the Christmas break – but haven’t done as much as they wanted to! ‘Stop procrastination!’ will:


  • Identify strategies to manage distractions,
  • Build confidence in your ability to study effectively and
  • Strengthen your willpower to get things done.


The talk will be given on Thursday 14th January at 3.00pm in Carrington 101.  There is no need to book a place – students should just come along on the day.


The ‘Life Tools’ talks are designed to enable students to acquire academic skills to help during their time at University and beyond.  Here are some of the comments they made last time which explain why attending this talk is such a good idea:


  • “Just DO IT!  Attend the talk rather than thinking about it”
  •  “Very honest!  Uses lots of examples which are effective”
  • “Just go!  There will be helpful and relevant information and techniques that will be very beneficial”
  • “It’s good for motivation and identifying problems so that they can be fixed!”
  •  “Go if you’re stuck on a piece of work – it might make you think differently about working”


 This talk will last around 45 minutes and there will be the chance to ask questions at the end.  It is one of a series of talks run by Student Wellbeing.



The Numbers Game

Athene Donald posted a really interesting blog on 9th January about equality, gender divisions and stereotypes:

‘Recently I attended a small, select lunch of diverse academics whom I’d not met before. As it happened there were four women and three men. As it happened there were four vocal women and three rather silent men. It felt quite extraordinary and I found that terribly sad. I was sad that I’d noticed this gender split, sad that it felt so unusual, and sad that we couldn’t just be people but that I was so aware of the way we behaved by gender…………’

Follow Athene’s blog to read more. Do you notice a gender split in meetings? Is this gender split very obvious, or are you noticing it because you are aware of potential divisions?


International Women’s Day

This year International Women’s Day (IWD) is on March 8, 2016 and the theme is Pledge For Parity.  See their website for more information‘The World Economic Forum estimates that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress means that it will take until 2133 for the world to entirely close the economic gender gap. On International Women’s Day each of us can commit to take action and together help accelerate the achievement of gender parity worldwide’


Postgraduates’ struggles with workload raise ‘concern’ for HEA

Happy New Year!  We are starting 2016 with a link to an article by Chris Havergal published in the Times Higher on 7th January concerning Postgraduate workload:

‘More than one-quarter of full-time postgraduates studying for a master’s and nearly half of those working towards certificates or diplomas do not believe that their workload is manageable, according to a major survey. The Higher Education Academy’s latest Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, which attracted responses from 72,200 students at UK universities, found that 72.2 per cent of full-time master’s students felt their workload was manageable. A much lower proportion of full-time certificate and diploma students, 58.4 per cent, felt that they were able to keep up with what was expected of them. “That nearly half do not think their workload is manageable is of concern, not least because of a possible impact on their depth of learning,” says the HEA in the report.’

Do you feel your workload is manageable? Do you need support?  What more can be done?  What advice do you have…….?