LUCU News: January 2019

LUCU News: January 2019

In this month’s newsletter we give you advance notice of our next General Meeting and Annual General Meeting, update you on our latest negotiations with the University, invite you to consider becoming our LUCU pensions lead, let you know about the Education Support Partnership and remind you about UCU-supported Stand up to Racism events.

General Meeting and AGM Dates

Our first General Meeting of the academic year was held recently, and we want to give even more of you an opportunity to attend our second General Meeting and, later in the year, our AGM, by getting the dates out to you early:

Spring General Meeting:

Wednesday 27th March from 4pm-5pm in Room SCH001 in the Schofield Building.
Guest Speaker: Vicky Knight, UCU President.
Followed by branch social at the Swan In The Rushes.

Annual General Meeting:

Wednesday 5th June from 4pm-5pm in Room J002 in the Edward Herbert Building.
Followed by a branch social barbeque outside the branch office on campus.

Our Negotiations with the University

People Strategy

We have recently been working closely with HR Director Adèle MacKinlay on the development of the University’s new People Strategy, to put forward our priorities such as workload sustainability, work-home balance, support for international staff and ensuring that senior managers set a positive and collegiate tone. We’re grateful to Adèle for her constructive engagement.

Student Complaints

Some members have reported an anomalous spike in complaints from students. For example, questioning the content of an exam or piece of coursework – even before the results are known. Members are concerned that many of these are groundless and reflect a worrying trend which threatens to degrade academic rigour. If you have observed the same, please contact ucu@lboro.ac.uk with anonymised examples.

TurnItIn

We are concerned about whether sufficient training and guidance is given to staff on how to properly interpret similarity scores generated by TurnItIn, and to translate these into student feedback. For instance, where poor citation crosses into academic misconduct. Getting these calls wrong can lead to complaints from students and parents. Let us know your thoughts on whether more help is needed at ucu@lboro.ac.uk

Pensions Lead Training

UCU are encouraging all branches to have a named Pensions Lead. With the ongoing dispute over USS there has never been a more important time to have someone focussed on this topic.  The pension lead could become a committee member or could be involved only when pensions are being discussed. UCU are running training for this role. The courses are 5-6 March 2019 at the head office in London and 3-4 July 2019 at the regional office in Birmingham.

Please get in touch at ucu@lboro.ac.uk if you are able to fill this vital role.

Educational Support Partnership

The Educational Support Partnership is a charity providing mental health and wellbeing support services to all education staff and organisations.

Stress and anxiety levels across the sector are reaching alarming levels and calls to their helpline are increasing year on year.  For education staff they provide two main services; a free and confidential helpline and grants to cover short-term financial issues or training costs.

There are many stresses on those who work in education – a challenging student, stress & depression, personal financial worries and so many more. That’s why they offer free, confidential help and support, no matter what the problem. Their trained counsellors listen without judgement. No issue is too big or too small. The free and confidential helpline is available 24/7 to everyone working in education and is available UK wide on 08000 562 561.

Their grants service helps working in or retired education staff experiencing short-term financial issues. Use their online form to apply for a grant. They can also support with training costs if you’re wishing to change career or re-join the education sector.

UCU-Supported Stand up to Racism Events

UCU is affiliated to Stand up to Racism nationally and we as a branch committee support their work. If members are interested in getting involved please consider attending one or more of these events:

“Decolonisation: Confronting racism on campus” This conference will bring together students, staff and education workers to discuss how we can decolonise our campuses and make them free from racism. Saturday 16 February 2019: 10:30am – 5pm, NEU, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD.

“Stand Up To Racism Trade Union Conference” A day for trade unionists to discuss, debate and organise challenging the far right in our communities and to oppose institutional racism in the workplace. Saturday 23 February 2019: 10am – 4:30pm, NEU, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD.

UN Anti-Racism Day, this event is to demonstrate confidence in our values of respect and equality for all.  It will demonstrate our solidarity in action against the politics of hate, against bigotry, racism and discrimination of all kinds, and against the politics of fascism. Saturday 16 March 2019, Central London, Glasgow, Cardiff.

For more information on any of the above events please get in touch with the branch office at ucu@lboro.ac.uk

Our Reps Working for You

We are here for you, if you have any issues you wish to discuss with a case worker, please email ucu@lboro.ac.uk or call the branch office on 228299.

Please continue to contact us with your suggestions for future newsletter items. The Committee’s contact details can be found here; we hope you will also follow us on both Facebook and Twitter.

LUCU Committee, 5th February 2019.

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