Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: November 2014

Bursary opportunities

Are you going on a placement or study abroad experience during 2014/15? Don’t forget that you may be able to apply for a Placement Bursary.

If you are undertaking an international extra-curricular experience the Ede & Ravenscroft International Experience Bursary might be something for you.

The Julia Boorman Award has been introduced to support disabled students from specific study areas (Theatre Arts or History) who are undertaking study, travel or work abroad.

Information and application forms for the above bursaries are available by clicking on the bursary/award names above or by using the Search for Funding ‘tool’ on the Money Matters page.

If you have any questions please contact Student Financial Support by emailing

Did you know the University distributed about £7m in student financial support last year? Click here for more information.

We’re on it!

Improving the student experience

At the University of Reading, we’re aiming to give you the best student experience possible.

Your university years will be life-changing. Many of the friendships you form will last forever. Studying at a high level will change the way you think and learn for good. And you’re building the wider skills that will put you on the path to a successful career.

The University often asks for feedback on your experience and we try and act on it. At this time of year, we like to let you know what we’ve done to improve your experience and to support you through university.

In many areas we work very closely with your independent representatives, Reading University Students’ Union – one of the top ten student unions in the UK. They run the clubs and societies you enjoy, for example, and the University supports them. And when they lobby for your interests, from quicker academic feedback to outstanding social spaces, we act.

The more you engage with the University, via student representation or directly through surveys or contacting staff, the more we can do to improve your time here. Here’s some examples of how we get ‘on it’. And on top of these, don’t forget the Christmas fair coming up – funded and organized by the University and promoted and supported by RUSU.

Supporting you, personally and academically

Ready to thrive?

£7m distributed in student financial support every year
Through bursaries, hardship funds, scholarships and fee discounts, the University of Reading helps to ensure finance isn’t a barrier – spending over £7m a year on financial support.

£300,000 from former students, to current students
Many University of Reading students want to give back after they’ve graduated, and alumni donations, through the Annual Fund, support around 40 projects to improve student life every year – from equipment for student societies to funded work experience opportunities. Most of this £300,000 is additional to the £7m mentioned above.

1:1 support when you need it, personally or academically
Whether it’s help with study or support when you’re down, we’re here for you. Academically, support is provided through Personal Tutors, Study Advisers, Liaison Librarians and the Maths Support Team. And IT Services are on hand to help with computer and network needs. For welfare, there is a counselling service available and many other sources of support, including Hall Wardens, and we have increased staff in these areas year on year.

£4.4m spectacular Library renovation
The Library renovation is ongoing and provides superb study space for you, whether you want a quiet, silent, or group study area. In response to student demand, it is now open 24 hours a day during term time.

The Library also invests every year to make sure you have the right learning resources. This year it has continued to invest heavily in electronic resources. In addition to buying 1,525 eBooks in a range of subjects, the Library purchased several key databases, archives and reference works.

100% wifi coverage on campus
Whiteknights Campus and London Road Campus now have full wifi coverage indoors and throughout all the key external spaces. All halls have wifi in communal spaces and soon all hall student rooms will have wifi too (already over 80% are covered).

15-day turnaround time: our pledge to you
As of this academic year, the University is implementing a new 15-day turnaround time policy for assessment of coursework, in direct response to student feedback through the National Student Survey (NSS) and via other channels, including RUSU campaigning.

We pledge that the standard turnaround time for individual feedback and marks on coursework (formative and summative) will be a maximum of 15 working days from the submission date.

The policy applies equally to full-time and part-time students, and to full-time, part-time and sessional staff.

Major pieces of work, such as dissertations and final year projects (normally 40 credits) are exempt. Moderation of coursework can also take place outside the fifteen working day turnaround period, but students must be appropriately informed when feedback is provided if the mark is still subject to internal or external moderation.

The updated University feedback policy also sets out expectations in relation to feedback quality, the use of assessment criteria and feedback forms.

Read the University Feedback Policy in full

If you’re not receiving your feedback within the allotted time you should report this to your School Director of Teaching and Learning (School Director of Studies at HBS) and your Course Rep (or the RUSU Educaton Officer

Helping you succeed in your chosen career

Ready to succeed?

2,000 students every year on work placements
The opportunity to do a work placement is available on every undergraduate course and 2,000 students every year take it up.

For those who need them, placement bursaries (to support living costs while on placement) are available – one hundred were given out in the last year, a big increase on the previous year.

Internships are another opportunity to prepare for the world of work, and the University offers many internship opportunities through the careers service. We also invest in funded internships to provide a salary where the internship itself does not, so you can make the most of the opportunity without being out of pocket. These numbered around 30 last year, on top of 45 paid internships through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP), in which students work on top-level research projects with academics across the University.

Opportunity for every student to do a Henley Business School leadership course
As of this year, the one-day Henley Future Leaders programme is available to all University of Reading students and offers the chance to take advantage of the triple-accredited world-leading business school right on your doorstep.

The programme is an opportunity to develop your understanding of leadership, change, entrepreneurship and personal development through a series of stimulating lectures and seminars. You will be inspired by influential business leaders, entrepreneurs and experienced academics who will share their own reflections on what has made them successful.

You will also participate in interactive career development sessions run by Henley Careers designed to help you recognise your own leadership skills. You will develop an understanding of how you can use your full potential to boost your employability.

Language learning and/or study and work abroad opportunities as part of any degree
Having a global outlook will really give you an edge. Language learning is available to every student, either for credits within the degree or alongside it. Study or work abroad opportunities are available on many courses.

Making the most of your free time

Ready to get active?

£1.2m transformation of Student Union social space – Mojo’s and Mondial
RUSU’s social and drinking spaces are the adjoined Mondial (a café by day and a bar on club nights) and Mojo’s (a pub/bar). The University is investing £1.2m to build an extension of the Students’ Union lounge area adjacent to Mojo’s bar and Cafe Mondial to join and extend the two, making a bigger, more versatile, first-class social space.

24-hour bus service to and from town
The University negotiated with the local bus company to ensure that the bus service coming onto campus runs all night.

More sports facilities
The University is providing two new sports pavilion, due in 2015, and has resurfaced the hockey pitch.

A superb new football facility is being created at Bulmershe, with five pitches and changing rooms that meets the FA specification for lower-league games. The facilities will be used by University football teams on Wednesday afternoons; for inter-university matches; and by the local community at weekends. The new pavilion will also have a meeting room and kitchenette.

Another sports pavilion is going up right on Whiteknights campus. The pavilion will include a multi-sport changing facility and club room to be used by everyone booking outdoor pitches: rugby, football, cricket, hockey, lacrosse, American football etc. The club room can be used for team meetings and coaching talks or to provide refreshments.

A–Z of activities, from Animé to Zumba
RUSU offers clubs and societies covering a huge range of interests – and opportunities to set up your own if a club for your particular enthusiasm doesn’t already exist. 2,500 students are involved in clubs and societies at any one time.

No lectures on Wednesday afternoons
In response to student requests, Wednesday afternoons are clear for sporting and other pursuits.

Christmas Fair!
The University is working with RUSU to get the whole community feeling festive. Come to the Christmas Fair on 3 December for skating, fairground rides, seasonal food and drink, and a novelty photo booth, and remind yourself why you love being at the University of Reading.

Ready for Christmas?

Ready for Christmas? Banner image with mince piesOn Wednesday 3 December there will be a Christmas fair on Palmer quad to get you feeling festive.

Running from 17:00-22:00 and leading right into the Flirt! Winter Wonderland special at 3sixty, the Christmas fair will feature a skating rink, helter skelter, big wheel, seasonal food and drink, and a very special ‘photo booth’ where you can say why you love your University.

For the first time ever, Whiteknights campus will have its very own Christmas tree, which will be lit up for the season by the Vice-Chancellor at 19:00.

The Christmas fair is funded and organized by the University and promoted and supported by RUSU. Open to all – come and get in the festive spirit!


NUS Blackout 2014

Carrington and Palmer Buildings at nightFriday 28 November brings the NUS Blackout to the University of Reading for the first time – and we need your help. We’ll be sweeping the campus to find out how much electricity is wasted over the weekend so why not join us for a night out with the lights out?

From our Blackout Mission Control, we’ll be sending out teams from 18:00 to explore buildings across the Whiteknights Campus. Your mission: find out what’s left on, make sure it gets switched off and report back what you’ve discovered.

We’ll have live data feeds back at Mission Control so we can track the amount of energy we’re saving, plus all sorts of competitions, surprises – and free pizza.

You’ll need to attend a training session ahead of the event and you can find more info and to join us at:

The event will contribute 1 hours training and 3 hours volunteering to your RED award too!

UCU industrial action and possible effects on students

Message from Gavin Brooks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning):

As you might be aware, the University and College Union (UCU) currently is in dispute with a number of Universities in the sector, of which Reading is one, about proposed changes to the pension arrangements for members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Those UCU members who are participating in the action began a boycott of assessment and marking, including the setting and marking of examinations, from Thursday 6 November. On behalf of the University, I would like to assure you that we are doing all within our power to ensure that the learning experience of our students is maintained throughout the period of industrial action and that assessed work will be set and marked in the normal manner and within the expected timeframe wherever possible. If you have any concerns about how the industrial action might affect you, please contact your School or Department.

Update 20/11/2014

The University has received official confirmation that the current industrial action has been suspended with effect from 20 November until after a national meeting scheduled for 15 January 2015.

Professor Gavin Brooks said:

Further to my recent message concerning the University and College Union (UCU) dispute and the possible boycott of assessment and marking of student work by some University of Reading staff who are members of UCU, I am pleased to report that the current industrial action has been suspended with effect from 19 November until at least after 15 January 2015 when the USS Joint Negotiating Committee is next scheduled to meet. The University has asked staff who took part in the industrial action to make up any missed work (that includes work to be assessed) within a reasonable time scale. If you have any concerns about how this might affect you, please contact your School or Department.



Undergraduate Research focus group

Calling all first year students!

The University of Reading Undergraduate Research Project is looking for participants in a focus group on undergraduate research. This will take place as a one-hour lunchtime session, with sandwiches and soft drinks supplied.  The session will be audio-recorded.  You will receive a £10 Amazon voucher for taking part, which will be emailed to you after the session.

The aim of the focus group is to explore undergraduate students’ perceptions and experiences of research and enquiry in the curriculum, and to identify existing practice in relation to research and enquiry. Your answers will remain anonymous in any written report, publication or discussions resulting from the project, and your responses will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Date, time and location

Wednesday 3 December, 12:00-13:00
University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus.

Places for the focus group are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. We will email you the exact location once you have been allocated a place. To apply for a place in the focus group, please enter your details on this brief online form.



Armistice Day Memorial Events 2014

Each year, the University marks Armistice Day with a brief service of memorial, during which we also remember colleagues and students who have passed away over the last year.

This year is, of course, a significant year in the memory of the nation. To mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, and to recall all those who have died in warfare since, may I invite you to acknowledge the silence at 11:00 on Tuesday 11 November, in whatever way you feel appropriate.

Those who wish to mark the occasion by gathering together are welcome to participate in one of three short services led by the University Chaplains across the Whiteknights, London Road and Greenlands campuses.

All members of the University, staff and students, are welcome to gather at the most convenient location for them at 10.50am on Tuesday 11 November 2014.

Click on the image below to download further details.

Armistice Day Memorial Events Flyer - click to download PDF

Enhancement Week

3-7 November 2014

Enhancement Week offers dedicated time and resource for you to improve your study skills and enhance your employability, with a range of activites on offer.

The Enhancement Week is not a break from study or engagement with the University; it should be seen as a different type of study rather than a break from study.

Your School/Department has arranged a number of programme-specific activities alongside some University-wide initiatives, including:

The content and structure of the week in future will be informed by student feedback and we would strongly encourage you to feedback any comments on the week to your Course Representatives.

Additional study spaces

The University has allocated some rooms as additional study spaces for the last few days of Enhancement Week.

Thursday 6 November. 09:00-18:00
HumSS 175 and 128
Palmer G04, G05, G06 and 108

Friday 7 November, 09:00-18:00
HumSS 175, 301, G25 and G 74
Miller G05 and G19


Let us know what you thought of the University’s first Enhancement Week. You can send comments about School and Department events via your Course Reps, and leave any general comments in the comments box below.

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