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January 7th, 2013:

Newsletter December 2012

Wolverhampton City & Walsall Branch
Newsletter
December 2012

Dear member,
UCU would like to provide you with an update of what we have been up to during the first semester of the academic year 2012-13, and to request your comments for some on-going matters at University level. Remember that your first port of call is your school rep: the new list is available below, as elections were carried out in October. You may want to contact officers from your Branch or the Negotiating Committee if you prefer.

The UCU Negotiating Committee, Branch officers and School reps hope that you will have a relaxing festive break, and would like to wish you all a rewarding and fruitful year in 2013.

Who are your School reps?
SAD
John Clementson
Callum Ives
STech
Ruth Fairclough
Sue Gill
SAS
James Vickers
SHaW
Rachel Clarke
LSSC
Mike Cunningham (sem. 2)
Cécile Hatier (sem. 1)
Jennifer Hulme
Gill Outterside
Frank Wilson
UWBS
Lee Crofts
Barry Whitehouse
SEF
Mandy French
SSPAL
Anne-Marie Beaumont

UCU Negotiating Committee
Chair: Jim Davis (SAD)
Vice Chair: Ben Andrews (SEF, ILE & Academic Related)
Secretary: Cécile Hatier (LSSC)
Pauline Anderson (LSSC)
John Bergin (SAS)
Aidan Byrne (LSSC)
John Chorley (SEF)
Pauline Corbett (STech)
Lee Crofts (WBS)
Mike Cunningham (LSSC)
Ruth Fairclough (STech)
Amanda French (SEF)
Jane Harvey (SHaW)
Mike Haynes (WBS)
Manuel Hernandez (LSSC)
Catherine Lamond (SEF)
Moira Owens (SAS)
Gill Outterside (LSSC)
Penny Welch (LSSC)

UCU City Branch Committee members
Chair: Mike Cunningham
Vice Chair: Mike Haynes
Secretary: Aidan Byrne
Treasurer: Gill Outterside
Membership: Karin Dannehl
Equal Ops: Penny Welch
Health and Safety: Gill Outterside
Auditors: Chris Fullwood and John Dale
UCU Walsall Branch Committee members
Chair: John Chorley (SEF) Secretary and Membership: Ben Andrews (SEF)
Equality Rep: Catherine Lamond (SEF) Women’s Rep: Julie Hughes (SEF)

What’s happening nationally?
We have arranged for one of the 2 national UCU pensions advisors, Chris Mason, to provide members with information and guidance about the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS). There will be sessions, on Wednesday 9th January, from 12pm till 1pm and 1pm till 2pm, WP003, SHaW Building, Walsall Campus. It is for members only. If you have specific questions you would like addressed please send them in advance to J.Harvey@wlv.ac.uk

UCAS have published their end-of-year report which shows a drop of 53,900 in student numbers. UCU have commented that the report shows the failure of the government’s higher education policies. http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=6402

What’s happening at Wolverhampton Uni?
Safeguarding: Children on Campus: This policy has been discussed with but not agreed by UCU. It is however being implemented. Please ensure you understand what the implications are for you and pass your concerns to your UCU rep.

Academic Calendar Review: members’ various concerns about the academic calendar have been relayed by UCU, and the Corporate Management Team have now made recommendations to be discussed at Academic Board in January 2013. They are: an alignment of UG and PG calendars for first two semesters, with a third semester for PG courses; removing the requirement of long thin modules; move end of sem. 1 assessments to the start of January; allow 3 weeks for marking before beginning of sem. 2 or exam boards. UCU think it’s a major improvement, but it may entail some extra work for staff if they have to redesign year-long modules or revalidate PG modules.

University-wide attendance policy: Schools currently have their own attendance policy, and various ways of monitoring students’ absences. The Vice Chancellor has tasked his offices to design a university-wide policy which should be introduced in the second semester. UCU have voiced concerns about the new academic practices that may
result from this.

New STEM School: Following UCU’s queries, the VC stated that there are no planned redundancies following the creation of the new School and that the vast majority of staff will not have to reapply for their job. The new School can include non-STEM subjects, and there is no planned change to curriculum provision. The aim is to grow this area, not to shrink it. UCU made the VC aware that the perceptions of members were not so positive.

Major work to MB building:the building should be emptied by the end of March 2013 to allow major work for the creation of science labs for the new STEM School. The work is due to be completed for the Summer 2014. This will cause disruption and noise on City Campus South. Staff currently working in MB have been informed of their planned move, with RIILP moving to MC, whilst most parts of the International Centre and Gateway Services are transferred to a new “Student Hub” at the bottom of MX building. UCU will ask for details about the new student hub at our CUC meeting with the VC in January.

Move of Psychology to SHaW: In order to accommodate psychology staff in MH building the existing clinical skills labs will be moved to MC basement.

Review of ILE (Institute for Learning Enhancement): the review is led by Jane Nelson, and is due to be completed in March 2013, when Glynis Cousin, the director of ILE, will be retiring. It is unclear yet what will become of this unit. If members are concerned, they should be able to voice their views and get back to UCU if they feel they are not given a chance to make suggestions.

Review of CIDT (Centre for International Development): the review is led by Sir Geoff Hampton. It is unclear yet what will become of this unit. If members are concerned, they should be able to voice their views and get back to UCU if they feel they are not given a chance to make suggestions.

Staff survey: UCU contributed to the construction of the survey, and we should be involved in the action plan following the results of the survey in the New Year, as part of the People Strategy. Each school will also be requested to have an action plan.

Room use policing: You would have spotted earlier in the semester that Registry sent students with iPads to monitor room use. UCU complained about the disruption caused and was given guarantees that doors should not be opened during the class. The Deputy VC also stated that, despite threats of fines to school, no money changed hands at this level last academic year, though Schools were told what they could have been asked to pay. The rooming system is due to change next academic year, with the rooms being allocated to specific Schools.
UCU Negotiating Committee, December 2012.