Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: January 2015

Enhancement Week: Your springboard to success

16-20 February 2015

Enhancement Week (aka ‘Opportunities Week’) is coming up and you should make sure you don’t miss out! Enhancement Week gives you dedicated time and events to enhance your employability, personal development and study skills to help you get the degree you want.

The week will offer you the chance to stretch yourself academically by taking part in fun, challenging and engaging learning experiences. The opportunities on offer aim to help you engage with the real world via team and leadership programmes, training in work based skills (such as IT), trips and visits, employer and alumni presentations and much more…

The week is not a break from your study or engagement with the University. It will enrich your development by focusing on your professional skills in a format that is fun and different. It is a continuation of your course but with a change of pace and focus but essential for future success. Your School/Department has arranged a number of programme-specific activities alongside some University-wide initiatives, including:

  • IDEAFEST – How to get started
    The IDEAFEST Competition is your chance to launch your entrepreneurship career. If you’ve got a great idea we can help you realise it
  • Student Training and Experience Programme events
    STEP sessions will help you hone your study and personal skills (and they count towards the RED Award)
  • Extra study spaces
    The Library might get a bit crowded this week, so we’ve freed up some extra spaces for individual and group study
  • Just added!
    We’ve got some late sessions including Data Analysis drop-in clinics and School based sessions open to all students

The sessions organised by your School/Department are compulsory (they will appear in your timetable, or your School/Department will have notified you via some other means); the centrally organised sessions are optional, but will give you the opportunity to explore themes and ideas around employability and personal development.

Student Training and Experience Programme sessions

The Student Training and Experience Programme will help you get ahead in your studies and develop key life skills. Sessions that are running during Enhancement Week include:

Date Time Title Venue
17/02/2015 14:00-14:50 Leadership Skills with EY Palmer 106
17/02/2015 14:00-16:00 Excel Essential S@iL 108, Library
17/02/2015 16:00-17:00 PowerPoint Hints and Tips S@iL 108, Library
18/02/2015 14:00-15:00 Logs: Understanding the basic laws Room 2s21, URS
18/02/2015 16:00-18:00 Microsoft Draw S@iL 108, Library
19/02/2015 10:00-12:00 Word Intermediate S@iL 108, Library
20/02/2015 10:00-12:00 PowerPoint Essential S@iL 108, Library

Additional study spaces

We have allocated some rooms as additional study spaces for the duration of Enhancement Week. The following rooms will be available between 09:00-18:00 on the days listed:

Monday 16 February
Engineering 318
Systems Engineering G39
Carrington 201
Palmer 102

Tuesday 17 February
Engineering 318
Systems Engineering G39
Carrington 201
Agriculture 1L06

Wednesday 18 February
Engineering 318
Systems Engineering G39
Carrington 201
Miller G05

Thursday 19 February
Engineering 318
Systems Engineering G39
Carrington 101
Miller G05

Friday 20 February
Engineering 318
Systems Engineering G39
Carrington 101
Carrington 201

Recently added events

The Maths Support Centre will be two drop-in clinics for Data Analysis, intended for final year undergraduates who need help with statistics for their dissertations.

Drop-in Clinics for Data Analysis
Tuesday 17 February and Wednesday 18 February
Room 111, Library
Click here for more information.

Some Schools/Departments have also contacted us to let us know that their sessions are available to students from across the University.

“Polite” words in American and British English talk
Are the English always ‘sorry’? Do Americans really want you to ‘have a nice day’? Find out how usage of ‘polite’ words differs on either side of the Atlantic and colours our perceptions of Britons and Americans in this talk from Lynne Murphy, hosted by the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics.
Tuesday 17 February
Room 107, Palmer Building

Settlers of Catan
Test your skills against other students and in this game that tests your diplomacy, strategic and economic skills. If you’re interested in building a better tomorrow this game will give you the perfect arena to test your mettle!
Monday 16 February
Room G25, HumSS
Click here to book (by Thursday 12 February)
Or, Tuesday 17 February
Room 108, Palmer Building
Click here to book (by Thursday 12 February)


Let us know what you thought of this term’s Enhancement Week. Your suggestions will help us to improve Enhancement Week and ensure that it is meeting your needs. You can send comments about School and Department events via your Course Reps, and leave any general comments in the comments box below.

Student Experience Surveys

This term you will get the chance to tell us about your experiences of studying at Reading.

National Student Survey

For all our final year students, there is just one week to go until the 2015 National Student Survey opens here at Reading. The survey gives you the chance to have your say about your time at Reading, it takes just five minutes to complete and you’ll be able to claim a free cup of coffee, hot chocolate or tea, or a soft drink from either Café Mondial in RUSU or Eat and Drink at London Road. Watch this space for more details.

Student Wellbeing Survey

For non-finalists you can tell us about your time at Reading by completing the Student Wellbeing Survey (being run by colleagues in the Economics Department). It would be great if you could spare a few minutes (no more than 5) now to fill in survey which you will be find on the RISISweb Portal. A link to the survey appears as soon as you log onto the RISISweb portal. This survey is open to all non-finalists.

The results will be treated anonymously and in the full respect of your privacy. For more information read the recent article in the Spark.

Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES)

PTES is run by the University of Reading in partnership with the Higher Education Academy. It is open to all taught postgraduate students (including those on distance learning courses). The aim of the survey is to identify areas where improvements could be made to the provision of taught postgraduate degree programmes.

The survey will be launched later this term and eligible students will be contacted via email with a  link to the survey, a username and password.


IDEAFEST – Student Business Idea Competition 2015

The Centre for Entrepreneurship (HCfE) at Henley Business School is running a competition open to all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) at the University of Reading, to be held during spring 2015. The competition, which is sponsored by Pitmans, is looking for the best business ideas, with finalists being invited to an event where they will present their ideas to a panel of judges.

About the Competition

The competition will give students the opportunity to present their business ideas and gain support that could lead to them being commercialised. No prior knowledge of entrepreneurship is needed but students should be passionate about developing and pursuing business ideas. It will be particularly beneficial for students taking a module in entrepreneurship, to consolidate their learning and put theory into practice.

Before the entry closing deadline, participants will be invited to attend a workshop to help develop their ideas and provide insights into the theory and practice of business idea generation and development.

Entries are to be made online by Friday, 1 May 2015 by completing a questionnaire and making a short (3 minute) video about the idea.

All entries will be reviewed by a judging panel and a shortlist of 5 finalists selected to present their ideas on Wednesday, 27 May 2015. At the presentation event, attended by students and faculty members, the winners will be selected by the panel and announced, with prizes then presented.

Students may enter as sole participants or in teams – maximum three students.

The best business idea, as judged by the panel, will win a £1,000 cash prize.

There will be cash prizes of £500 and £250 for second and third places. In addition to the prize money, the top 3 teams will receive mentoring from a Pitmans executive to help them develop their business plans and commercialise their ideas.

Competition Schedule

Workshop ‘Developing your Business Idea’ Workshop Monday, 23 March
Entries open Wednesday 1 April
Entries close Friday 1 May
Finalists announced By Friday 8 May
Presentations and winners crowned event (14:00-17:00) Wednesday 27 May


The workshop  is open to students who plan to enter the competition, to help them develop their ideas, applying the teaching provided during the workshop. Numbers are limited so will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

The workshop is a one day event covering a range of topics, presentations and group working sessions, and will be delivered by members of the HCfE faculty, HCfE Business Development Lead and a partner from Pitmans.

Students will be asked to submit answers to questions 1-4 of the questionnaire on the Competition Entry Form ahead of the workshop, to help prepare facilitators to support their assigned groups.

Judging the competition

The business ideas will be evaluated and a shortlist of 5 selected by a judging panel.

Pete Doyle, Founder & CEO, Social Retail Limited
John Cavill, Director, Intermezzo Ventures Ltd
Norbert Morawetz, Lecturer at Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Christopher Avery, Managing Partner Pitmans
Jurek Sikorski, Business Development Lead & Executive in Residence, HCfE
Jenny Tooth, CEO UK BAA

Entries will be judged against predefined criteria that will address the key questions including:

  • How unique and viable is the business idea?
  • Does a (sufficiently large and growing) market exist for the business idea?
  • How well does the business idea compete with existing suppliers
  • Will the business idea make money?

The winner and runners up will be chosen from the shortlist of candidates by the panel in front of an audience. The audience will also be will be polled for a popular vote via social media.

Presentations and Prizes

The 5 finalists will be invited to attend an afternoon session at Henley Business School to present their ideas to the judging panel and an audience of current students, alumni, competition entrants, faculty members and guests.

Winners will be announced and awards presented by the Managing Partner of Pitmans, followed by a networking session.

Presentations and awards will be held on Wed 27 May 2015 between 14:00-17:00.

Competition Terms & Conditions

  • The competition is open to students who are studying for an undergraduate or post graduate degree programme on our Whiteknights campus on the closing date
  • The business idea must be the original work of the student team
  • Entries must be received by the closing date; there will be no extension
  • Prizes may be withheld if in the opinion of the judges there is no application of sufficient merit
  • The decision of the Panel is final
  • Students agree to presentations being recorded and used by Henley Business School and Pitmans in their marketing campaigns


The competition is sponsored exclusively by Pitmans LLP

Competition website

Click here to visit the competition website and find out more information.


RUSU Elections

Each year you are given the chance to decide the future direction of your Students’ Union. This term you can elect five Full-time Officers, seven Part-time Officers, eight Undergraduate Faculty Reps and two Student Trustees.

Nominations are now open for these leadership and representation roles in RUSU. All of the roles give you new skills and experiences and will look great on your CV.

Head to the RUSU website for more information and details on how to get involved!

Voting opens at 10:00 on Monday 23 February and will close at 15:00 on Friday 27 February.

Click here to visit the RUSU Elections website.

RUSU Elections banner - click to visit the RUSU Elections website

Local and General Elections

Whilst we’re talking about elections… you may have noticed lots of talk of the upcoming General Election. The general election will take place on Thursday 7 May 2015. There are also Local Elections scheduled for this year. To vote in an election you must be eligible to vote in the UK and on the electoral register.

If you are living in Reading you may be eligible to join the local electoral roll.

Use the link below to:

  • register to vote
  • update your name, address or other details on the electoral register

You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums.

Registering takes around 5 minutes.

You’ll need your National Insurance number (if you have one).

Click here to register to vote.

"Your vote matters -make sure you're in" banner

China Scholarships 2015

Would you like to spend some time in China? This year we will be offering you the chance to study in China on a short or long term basis. In late January we will be holding two information sessions where you can find out about these exciting opportunities.

Vice-Chancellor’s China Scholarship

This is a fully funded opportunity for students to go to China for four weeks in the summer of 2015 to experience Chinese culture. All costs will be covered by the scholarship.

The full details are being finalised (including the closing date). However, you can find out more here (including reading about the experiences of last year’s award winners).

China Scholarship Council Postgraduate Scholarship opportunities

The Chinese Government offer fully funded scholarships to UK graduates wishing to progress their postgraduate studies at a Chinese University. Full tuition, accommodation, living costs, are all covered but the competition is high and the application process is quite strenuous.

Want to know more?

Come to room 108, Palmer Building between 15:00-17:00 on 28 or 29 January to find out more about these opportunities. 

Getting mobile with Blackboard

Now you can really take your studies anywhere with the new Blackboard app.

You can now access Blackboard on your mobile device by installing a free app called ‘Blackboard Mobile Learn’.

The app makes accessing your online learning more convenient and flexible.

The app is available for Apple iOS and Android devices. You can use it to:

  • Access the courses you are enrolled on.
  • Keep up-to-date with announcements and course information.
  • Receive push notifications to your device when anything has been added to a course, for example an announcement.
  • Favourite your most used courses and personalise your course list (in the app only).
  • View your online learning materials and save files to your device.
  • Read and write to Blackboard blogs and discussion boards.

Download the app now!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén