Mindfulness for stress reduction

Managing stress during the examinations period can be really challenging and having a few extra practical strategies to help cope can be very useful.  With this in mind, the two ‘Life Tools’ talks next week are specially designed to enable students to reduce their stress levels and manage the pressure.

The first talk ‘Mindfulness for stress reduction’ is on Wednesday 4th May at 1.00pm.  Students should come along to learn some practical techniques to enable them to cope with the challenges of the exams period.  The talk will be in Carrington 101 and there is no need to book a place –  just come along on the day. 

Professor Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre says that “Mindfulness can be an antidote to the “tunnel vision” that can develop in our daily lives, especially when we are busy, stressed or tired…………  Most of us have issues that we find hard to let go and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively.”   Mindfulness is also one of the 5 steps for good mental wellbeing advocated by NHS Choices (2014).

The second talk on Thursday 5th May at 3.00pm is Managing exams pressure’At this talk student will learn strategies to manage revision and exams pressure effectively.  The talk is also in Carrington 101 and will be around 45 minutes, followed by the chance to ask questions.  Again, there is no need to book a place – just come along on the day for hints and tips to help you through the exams.

Life Tools Talk - Mindfulness for stress reduction 4 May 2016



Athena SWAN results announced!

The results have been announced this morning and SAGES have been awarded a Silver Athena SWAN award!! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who worked so hard towards achieving this award. You made a difference!


Ruth Gilligan, ECU’s Athena SWAN manager said:

We are delighted to announce the 84 successful awards today. It is the culmination of many months work for institutions and departments, and for ECU as well. We held 32 assessment panels over the course of 11 weeks, and would like to thank the 168 panelists from across the sector for taking part.

‘It is encouraging to see universities engaging with the Athena SWAN Charter across disciplines, and rolling out the benefits of this work to colleagues in professional and support roles. It is a pleasure to confer the first awards to applicants under the expanded criteria.

‘We have seen a slight decrease in the overall success rate of applications, 66% down from 70% in the previous round. We provide unsuccessful applicants with full feedback straight away, so they know which areas to prioritise and where they are doing well. The difference in success rates can be attributed to the lower success rate of applications using the new process. We are providing ongoing support for applicants in how to participate in the expanded charter, through materials and workshops.’



On your feet Britain Day

Get on your feet – On your feet Britain Day is April 29th.  The aim is to raise awareness of the ill effects of sedentary work.

Prolonged sitting can increase the risk of the following:

  • Lower back pain
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity

 The campaign encourage employees to look at how they can sit less at work.  These are some of the ideas you could try at work:

  • Take regular breaks form sitting by standing every 30 minutes
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Standing up or pace while on the phone
  • Walk over to speak to colleagues instead of emailing.
  • Move your rubbish bin away from your desk
  • Limit the amount of time you look at your screen
  • Hold a standing or walking meeting.

As part of the campaign there will be two lunchtime walks to invite you to move away from your desk. The walks will be at  12.00 and 1.00,  and will be for approximately 25 minutes.  If you are interested please meet in front of the library . For more information please contact Dawn Grout or Alan Twyford.



‘So this is it! – How to Do Your Best in the Exam Room’

Ever wondered how best to approach questions in an exam?

How should you allocate your time?

Is it important to do an essay plan?

Should you answer the most difficult question first?

What should you do if your mind goes blank?

IF YOU WANT TO HONE YOUR EXAM ROOM TECHNIQUES…  come along to this friendly session.  Sonia, one of the Study Advisers, will share some effective exam room strategies to help you make the most of what you know in the exam. THE WELLBEING CAFE in the RUSU Study (behind Cafe Mondiale)   Wednesday (27th April) – 1 to 2.30

Come along and have a coffee – and help yourself to exam success…


Liverpool v-c calls for funding link to improve gender balance

Published in the Times Higher on 23rd April, Janet Beer (Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool) argues that a change in policy is needed to increase the number of women working at higher levels in universities.  Professor Beer has ‘called on senior figures within the research community to emulate the “incredible sector-changing leadership” shown by Dame Sally Davies, who, as chief medical officer for England in 2011, said that medical schools without an Athena SWAN silver award would not be eligible for Department of Health research funding.’ What do you think?  Would this work?  Could it be done….?

Professor Janet Beer

Professor Janet Beer

Managing exams pressure

The Life Tools programme continues next week with talks particularly designed to help students prepare for examinations.

Coping with the pressure of exams ranks very high on the list of student priorities at this time of year so the talk on Monday focuses on this subject:   ‘Managing exams pressure’ is being given on 25th April at 1.00pm in Carrington 101.    Students will be offered advice on strategies to manage revision and cope better with their exams.  The talk will last around 45 minutes, followed by a chance to ask questions.


On Tuesday 26th April at 4.00pm, a second ‘Life Tools’ talk will focus on ‘Increasing concentration’.  At this talk, student will find out how to focus better and work more productively.  This talk will also be given in Carrington 101.

Many of you will know the very high ratings these talks receive from students.  The phrases  ‘‘amazing’, ‘really helpful’, ‘motivating’, ‘well worth attending’ regularly appear on feedback forms.  Feedback last summer included:  

‘Good advice and learning techniques’

‘Useful tips for positive thinking, focus and motivation’

‘Gives you perspective and brings you back to reality’

‘It makes you more confident in your abilities’


These talks are part of a series run by Student Wellbeing. There is no need to book a place for either talk – students can turn up on the day.

 Life Tools Talk - Managing Exams Pressure



Professor Dame Athene Donald to present ‘Women Progressing, Progressing Women’

The University is delighted to announce that Professor Dame Athene Donald DBE FRS, University of Cambridge, will present the first of a series of seminars focusing on Diversity and Inclusion on Tuesday 3 May.

Our new series of seminars will be presented by leading figures working for diversity and equality, both in the UK and internationally.

The lecture, Women Progressing, Progressing Women, will take place from 2pm until 3pm, at LT1 Chemistry Building, Whiteknights Campus.

Staff across the University are welcome to attend. After the seminar, refreshments will be available in the ground floor foyer of the Chemistry building. To help us plan the refreshments, please inform Frances Raimo if you wish to attend.

Using personal experience and a little well-placed science, Professor Donald will discuss how seemingly small culture changes and heightened self-awareness can have a profound effect on team morale and an individual’s ability to feel encouraged and supported.

Professor Donald is an eminent physicist, working particularly in soft matter physics. She is Professor of Experimental Physics and Master of Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, and amongst her many scientific accolades, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999.

She has long been an outspoken champion of women in science, chairing the national Athena Forum from 2009–13, this an organisation which aims to provide a strategic oversight of developments that seek to, or have proven to, advance the career progression and representation of women in science, technology, mathematics, and medicine (STEM) in UK higher education.

Currently she is a member of the BIS Diversity group and the Gender Balance Working Group of the ERC.  From 2006–14 she was Director of WiSETI, Cambridge University’s Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Initiative, and she was the University’s first Gender Equality Champion from 2010–14. She regularly writes on the topic of women in science in both mainstream media and on her personal blog(We have highlighted many of Athene’s blog posts here!)


Keep Calm & Carry On – Effective Strategies to Manage Exam Nerves

THE WELLBEING CAFE in the RUSU Study (behind Cafe Mondiale)    Wednesday (20th April) – 1 to 2.30

  ‘Keep Calm & Carry On – Effective Strategies to Manage Exam Nerves                           

Exam nerves are natural – the trick is for them not to become disabling…

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to do?

Are you having difficulty getting to sleep at night?

Do you panic that your mind will go blank in the exam?

DON’T PANIC! – come along to this friendly session on how to Keep Calm & Carry On!  Mark from the Chaplaincy will be sharing some simple but powerful strategies to help manage exam nerves and make the whole process of doing exams less daunting.

Come along and have a coffee – and help yourself to exam success…


Understanding Stress

This week, two talks are on offer to help students through the stresses of the exams period:   ‘Understanding Stress’  will explain what stress is, why it happens and most importantly,  how you can minimise its effects on your academic study and maintain your healthOpen to all students, the talk is taking place on Wednesday 20th  April  at 3.00pm in Carrington 101.  Students who have been to this talk have said it is  “very good for stress management strategies, clearly delivered, good questions and answers” and that the “information given is phenomenal – it is the kind of information all students need to cope”.    


This talk is followed on Thursday by:  ‘Stop Procrastination! which will provide students with advice about getting work started and handed in on time.  The talk will be on Thursday 21st  April at 2.00pm, also in Carrington 101.  Students who have attended this talk in the past commented that it:  “is very helpful;  targets specific ‘conflict’ areas and teaches you how to resolve the problem effectively”, “it’s a great short start to a more positive attitude to work.”  One student added, “the talk was ‘spot on’.  It was really what I was experiencing and it was good to get what I was feeling into perspective.”

These talks are both part of the ‘Life Tools’  series run by Student Wellbeing. There is no need to book a place – students should just come along to either talk on the day. 

Further talks will be run in the coming weeks on: Increasing Concentration; Managing exams pressure; Getting a good night’s sleep and Mindfulness for stress reduction



Henley Business School announce Women in Leadership Scholarship 2016

Henley Business School are delighted to announce their prestigious MBA Scholarship competition which provides the chance to win a fully-funded place on the Henley Executive or Flexible Executive MBA programme starting in September/October 2016.

Now in its fourth year, the scholarship is a collaboration between Henley, the 30% Club and the Financial Times which is designed to pave the way to a greater visibility of women in leadership across all industry positions and reflects Henley’s mission to encourage and increase gender balance.

To enter, participants need to provide:

  • An 800-word opinion piece entitled, ‘How will women shape the future of business over the coming ten years?’ The article should consider factors such as globalisation, technology and evolving societal attitudes.
  • A video clip (maximum 60 seconds) which answers the following: ‘Which words tend to be those used to describe successful women versus successful men? How does the vocabulary differ? Does it depend on whether a man or a woman is speaking? Do the age, level of education, nationality and background of the speaker or person being described matter? What impact do the words used have on the advancement of women in the workplace?’ The video can include several speakers. Videos should be shot on a smartphone and will only be judged on content and the creativity displayed in using this medium.

The deadline for entry is 5pm on Tuesday 3 May 2016. Entries should be sent to mba@henley.ac.uk entitled ‘Women in Leadership Scholarship application’. Up to 10 finalists will be shortlisted from all entries received by the deadline. A panel of judges will choose the winning entrant who will be notified by the end of June 2016.

For further information, see the Women in Leadership Scholarship page.