Farewell, SLS News

This is the final post on this SLS News blog. SLS,  as a directorate, is currently being restructured and will no longer exist after the summer. We are archiving this blog, so that posts can still be found, as there are some really good stories on here about our services, student and staff successes and we know some of you will want to find these again or link to them.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the blog, it’s been a huge success and the fore-runner of many of our individual service blogs which are now up and running.

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The Gruffalo, goats and gardening – springtime at SHU Nursery

By Karen Naylor, Childcare Administrator

The children at SHU Nursery have been making the most of the warmer weather and have Farm 1been able to get outside to play in the garden as well as venturing further afield on some exciting trips.

Over Easter, as we had fewer children attending nursery, we took a group of the children to the Gruffalo Experience at Meadowhall.  They all love the Gruffalo story books and had a fun time re-enacting the story, journeying through the deep dark wood in the footsteps of the mouse.  They learnt about the woodland creatures and met the Gruffalo and other characters from Farm 3the book.

Some of the children and babies spent a day in Graves Park.  They caught two buses there and two back, which for some children was the highlight of the day! They were able to see some new born lambs and goats and they enjoyed feeding some of the animals.  As it was a lovely sunny day, the children had a picnic lunch and Farm 2then after a rest played in the park before the journey back to nursery.

The older children in Tigers have been learning all about the human body this term.  We are very fortunate that one of our parents, Claire Walsh, is a lecturer in the Health and Wellbeing faculty and she kindly invited the children to visit the HB2teaching rooms. In the ward and operating theatre the children had a wonderful time with role play trying out the beds and wheelchairs, and were shown how to bath and look after the babies.  They used the stethoscopes and learnt how to bandage a patient.  They were very interested to learn where all the internal organs were located using the special dummy and were able to HB1make another ‘patient’ dummy talk and cough. We were very lucky to be able to borrow the skeleton and are continuing with our ‘human body’ projects back at nursery.

We will be starting planting in our raised beds and in the greenhouse on the Collegiate campus grounds very soon and hope HB3to be able to grow some fruit and vegetables which we can then eat. If anyone has any seeds or cuttings to donate we will be very pleased to put them to good use.

If you are interested in a nursery place for your child, we will be pleased to show you around our recently refurbished nursery.  Please ring for an appointment time, 0114 225 2263.

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SHU FEST 2-8 March

shu fest

Our International Student Support team have been ever so busy getting ready for this year’s SHU Fest. They’re like theatre impressarios, finding all these fabulous acts from our staff and students to share their skills,  perform and entertain everyone. For a whole week! Andrew Lloyd Webber and Simon Cowell will be green with envy when they find out what we’ve got lined up for you.

We’ve everything from singing to salsa, cookery to craft, and more – quiz, culture, picnic fun and tours… Here’s just a taster, from their new promo video.SHU Fest trailer

Or you can download the SHU Fest booklet at http://www.shu.ac.uk/_assets/…/3907.12-shufest-programme.pdf

 

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Nursery children feeling at home

by Karen Naylor, Childcare Services Administrator

Jacob learning from an early age how to multi task!

Jacob learning from an early age how to multi task!

Back in our (new) old home! 

After spending the autumn term in temporary accommodation, the staff, children and parents were all eager to move back into our newly refurbished Nursery, at 23 Broomgrove Road.  We’ve only been in a few weeks since early January but the children have settled in to their new surroundings remarkably quickly.

They’ve enjoyed exploring new areas and playing with the many brand new toys and experiencing new activities. The home corners, complete with all modern kitchen gadgets, (even a coffee maker!), are very popular, as are all the lovely wooden toys, such as prams, cots, a fire station and garages.

Nursery Feb05

Dave’s ice structure is a huge success!

Frozen Fun

The return to our lovely big garden, which the children told us they had missed, was very welcome. We’ve been out having fun in the snow building snowmen. Dave helped the children to build an ice structure by collecting the snow and packing it around some old milk crates.  The children, and Dave, spent many hours travelling under the ‘bridge’ on foot and on bikes.

Baby Crocs making fat balls for their bird feeders.

Baby Crocs making fat balls for their bird feeders.

Feed the Birds

The baby groups have been making some bird feeders with lard, seeds, cheese andsultanas to hang on the trees and have been enjoying the sunny but cold winter weather going for walks in the nearby Botanical Gardens.

Grow Your Own!

We are soon going to be starting a gardening club with the children.  This is a new initiative which has been introduced to us by Claire Hamilton, Estates department, as part of the University’s sustainability framework.

The Greenhouse: photo credit Brian Trevelyan

The Greenhouse: photo credit Brian Trevelyan

We will have a raised bed and be allocated a section of the greenhouse at Collegiate Crescent campus so we can grow our own food. The Tiger children have been up to visit the area to watch the raised beds being built and are all very eager and excited about their new project

Can you help us?

  • If anyone has any surplus gardening tools or suitable seeds, cuttings or plants that would be suitable for us to grow we would appreciate any donations.
  • Also, the gardening club would gladly welcome anyone who can volunteer to assist at all, such as the building of more raised beds and preparing the greenhouse ready for growing produce.
  • The Nursery is now registered to take Sainsbury Active Kids vouchers.  If anyone has any spare vouchers we will make sure they are put to good use.

Ofsted Inspection

The second day back into our impressive new home in January, we were visited by Ofsted for our inspection.  Although we were all still in the process of settling into our new environment, the outcome of the inspection was rated ‘good’ and was a very positive report.  If you would like to read the report you can find it here. http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/300763

We are now taking appointments to show prospective parents around the Nursery, so please ring (0114 225 2263) if you would like to visit us.

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Success for Advice and Information Points 2014

 by Amanda Bennett, Advice and Information Officer

Student Ambassadors ready for business

Student Ambassadors ready for business

What covered two campuses, employed 18 Student Ambassadors, had seven information and banner stands, attended two welcome events, handled over 12,000 enquiries and live-tweeted? Why the Advice and Information Points project of course!

The project, which has been running in various forms since 2003, is there to support new and returning students with any questions, help or information they need. In 2014, the Advice and Information Points project ran from 8 September to 3 October, covering the main enrolment and induction period.

A and I point student ambassdoars live-tweeting

A and I point student ambassadors live-tweeting

We had some great Student Ambassadors working with us, supporting our team at City and Collegiate Campuses, Student Advice and Information reception and Student Financial Support. This was the first year they’ve run the Twitter live Q&A sessions and were able to respond to queries from freshers offering advice and information to help them find their way round. As well as handling over 12,000 enquiries (face to face and on-line), our Ambassadors also gained some great skills and experience as the quotes below show…

“I liked being able to work with new students and helping them.”

“You get to speak to a range of different people and feel satisfied knowing that you have helped make their settling in period easier.”

 “It improved my awareness of the university buildings, locations, different support services available to students.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with your team. The best part for me was meeting new students and helping them with any questions they had. I also made a lot of good friends through the process.”

“I feel a lot more confident approaching people since being part of the project, and feel more confident working as part of a team.”

All in all, it was a really successful project, which benefitted both the new students and the students working as Ambassadors. So roll on A&I Points 2015…

 

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SLS at the Christmas Market

by Kirsty Woodward and Hazel Scott

reindeer food

We’re starting to get into the festive spirit, and lunchtime today offered us the opportunity to go to a new event at SHU.  There’s a Christmas market for staff and students. It’s up in Hallam Hall, level 6, next to Chef Hallam Central, 11-4pm today and tomorrow.

Here at SLS News our intrepid reporters have been for a visit and didn’t come away empty handed. We’ve bought scented candles, goodies to eat and a treat for the reindeers.  There was so much to choose from – jewellery, scarves, accessories for your dog, natural beauty products, hand-made soaps, charity Christmas cards and lots more.

 

xmas band

Glynn (far left) next to Jim (the Elf), Jim’s son Jonathan, and Richard

It was great fun to go to and we spotted Glynn, Jim and Richard from IS&T providing musical entertainment.

The band entertained the shoppers with some bluegrass style Christmas songs and were a great addition to the event.

Catch them tomorrow from 1 – 1.30

 

 

xmas nursery stall

Karen (L) with Leanna (R)

We also stopped by to say hello to Leanna and Karen from the Nursery, who’d been busy producing Christmas cards with artwork from the children, along with tree decorations and packets of reindeer food. Proceeds from the cards are used to buy  play equipment for the newly refurbished nursery which will be ready in a few weeks. Last year sales from the children’s cards and reindeer food topped over £400.

 

xmas fair

It would be remiss of us if we didn’t mention the tantalising smells wafting into the hall from the pop up food stall outside. The university caterers were busy serving flavoured coffees, cakes and hot roast pork sandwiches, and there were lots of other local suppliers selling gorgeous home-made wares that would be great for Christmas presents.

 

To round off our SLS Winter Wellbeing week, our Business Services team will be at the marmket tomorrow between 12.00-2.00pm to receive your donations for Mission Christmas, the S6 Foodbank and Baby Basics.   You can also have a festive spin on the Smoothie Bike and enjoy an egg nog smoothie as a reward!

If you haven’t been, do go for a look and to support these stall holders and the charities. We’ve already decided to head back for more!

 

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A magical time at the nursery

By Karen Naylor, Childcare Administrator at SHU Nursery

football

The children enjoying a run around on the football astro pitches that are close by.

This term the nursery has been located in Broomgrove Teaching Hall at the top of the Collegiate site, whilst we await the completion of the refurbishment of our Nursery. The children, and staff, all settled very quickly into our temporary home and have made the most of the location to explore the nearby grounds.

Autumn is always a busy term, beginning with the settling in of all our new children and ending with the busy and exciting Christmas activities.  We have just returned from a busy two weeks at the City Hall Graduation Ceremonies where we run a Children’s Room for any young children who are attending the ceremonies with their families.  This is always a very popular service and a nice opportunity for us to meet the graduates and their families.

Tigers staff member, Helen, enjoys dressing up too!

Tigers staff member, Helen, enjoys dressing up too!

The older children visited the Fire Museum in West Bar earlier in November and had a great time exploring all the old vehicles, trying on police and fire costumes and visiting the old police cells.  We all learnt a lot about the emergency services, both past and present.  Our guide for the day commented on how well behaved the children had been and as a special treat they watched a demonstration using the fireman’s pole!

As Christmas approaches we are again making and selling cards made by the children, as well as magic reindeer food.  These will be on sale at the Christmas Fair in Hallam Hall on Thursday 4 December, as well as at the Collegiate Campus Learning Centre reception, throughout December.

One of the many fire vehicles the children were able to explore at the Fire Museum.

One of the many fire vehicles the children were able to explore at the Fire Museum.

Some of the staff are also busy creating a ‘Frozen’ themed grotto ready for the children to visit Santa at the Christmas party.  This will be our final day before moving back into the Nursery’s usual home at 23 Broomgrove Road.  As soon as we are settled we will be offering visits to prospective parents.  Anyone who is interested in coming to see us, please feel free to contact us on 0114 225 2263

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Getting IT right from the Heart

Linda Headford tells us about the IT work which was done to get the Heart of the Campus building ready for staff and students

 resized Collegiate-065-Heart-of-the-Campus

In IS&T, we dream that one day we’ll be asked to install the IT infrastructure into a new building and actually have the allotted time to finish it. However, as is the way with building projects, there are usually last minute snagging issues to sort out and there is inevitably a rush to get everything completed. Like everyone else involved in such projects we often find our work schedule truncated.  As IT is always the last thing to be installed, we’re always working down to the wire.

The migration, disposal and installation of IT equipment for Development & Society, Security and Student Services from their old buildings to the new and splendid Heart of the Campus building at Collegiate was no exception. With one and a half weeks knocked off our original 4 week installation schedule we had to get a wriggle on, working weekends and the Bank Holiday, to make the deadlines.  And all this at what is probably the busiest time of the year for IS&T staff.

The installation wasn’t, of course, the start. Prior to that we’d had months of collaborative planning with the Faculty of Development  & Society, Facilities Directorate, architects, and building contractors.

The IS&T teams – Managed Desktop, Networks, Telecoms, and the Collegiate IT Support team – were kept busy testing, anticipating possible issues and working on contingency plans. During installation we all worked amidst a beehive of electricians, furniture fitters, and painters. For the first week we were literally following the contractors around the offices installing as the paint was drying, the furniture was put in place and the network was made live.

Throughout the 3-storey building we patched, imaged, and installed an IT, AV and telecoms infrastructure to support over 200 staff and research students.

Next on the agenda were the meeting and seminar rooms, teaching rooms, lecture theatres, specialist research areas and labs and student social spaces.

The project provided a number of new opportunities and challenges for IS&T:

1) Due to the new open-plan working environment in HOTC, academic staff were given the choice of a PC or a laptop system to deliver the Managed Desktop. Nearly 100 staff chose the laptop option. While this type of system (laptop/docking station and monitor) has been installed sporadically over the last few years, it has never been installed as a means to provide a cohesive and integrated environment, or in such numbers.

2) The new Unified Comms system (where the phone provides the access point to the network) provided a major challenge. While a considerable amount of planning and testing was conducted prior to installation, reality kicks up challenges that can’t be foreseen or tested, and the remote working that has been the norm over the past few years reverted to a lot of  “hands on” support . Although it’s early days, the extra effort IS&T put in seems to have paid off. It’s been a big learning curve for us all and one we are closely monitoring so that future issues can be pre-empted.

3) Although not totally new, the “Follow Me” printing service has been rolled out across the building to both staff and students. As this system allows staff and students to print to the nearest printer it is a key advantage when using mobile devices, such as laptops.

4) A new “Smart Locker” system is being introduced for student laptop loans. Forty of these laptops will be available as an on-demand service. The lockers provide self-issue through the student’s SHU-card, and details are added to their Learning Centre account.

Additionally, the new building provided the opportunity to enhance and update some of the existing specialist research equipment:

  • The introduction of a Faraday cage to house the EEG equipment
  • An updated Eye Tracking system
  • Two new 10-seat Psychology testing suites
  • An observation suite providing state-of-the-art media recording facilities for students
  • Two of the large staff meeting rooms have up-to-date conference facilities
  • The impressive 220-seat lecture theatre fitted with surround sound, and a projection room
  • The purpose-built Moot Court with media recording and observation facilities

We’re delighted with the end result and have had some lovely feedback from staff about the work we did.  It all helps to make going the extra mile feel worthwhile.  Let’s hope the students love the building and all the new facilities as much as we think they will.

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Clearing Up – how IS&T Supports the Admissions Process

by Matt Pyatt, Corporate Systems Team in IS&T

Confirmation clearing and enrolment (2)

It’s been a good year for student recruitment at Sheffield Hallam. Everyone recognises the hard work of admissions staff in processing applications, handling clearing and dealing with enrolment. What fewer people may appreciate is the amount of preparation and support provided by IS&T for these critical processes.

Matt Pyatt takes us though the admissions process from a Corporate Systems perspective.

Preparing the way

The build-up starts long before the August A-level Sunday (when the results of all those anxious prospective students are fed through to the University so that places can be confirmed).The IS&T preparation for the results download begins in May. That’s when we start to liaise with Admissions about how they want everything to work. We discuss the dates for decisions, provide the software to build a skeleton record of all the results and create a way of counting the tariff points/A-level grades which faculties have decided they are happy to accept.

A-level weekend

The A-level download is huge – and can be temperamental. With something so important it’s essential the information comes though quickly and accurately. We need to make some adjustments to our systems for the weekend of the download to optimise them for the information transfer and we liaise very closely with our colleagues in Network and Infrastructure (N&I) to do this.  This year, N&I also did a lot of work to increase resilience for all the key services and had staff on standby to work quickly should any issues arise – along with making their usual checks to ensure there are no potential problems with space or performance which might cause complications. We spend a lot of time talking to UCAS and the software supplier, Tribal, to make sure everything will happen smoothly. Despite all the testing they do to eliminate bugs and improve the processes, the scale of the download and the fact that it only happens once a year means there is quite a high risk of something going wrong. Most years we find there are glitches in the software or the data we receive. This year it went remarkably well – and much more quickly than we expected.

What made it better this year?

We’ve learnt a lot from previous years but the improvements aren’t just down to us. UCAS has made changes to the way the download happens and also brought the whole process forward so we have more time to complete it. We’re on standby all through the night but this year we didn’t need to be on site all the time. We had to make sure the download had started properly and kept checking at every step that it was fine but it was a comparatively relaxed process. This year it was completed in 5 hours, last year it took 13.

What happens next?

Once the download is done, we need to do some processing of the records to make sure they have imported correctly. We discovered a few errors this time but, again, a comparatively small number in relation to previous years.

We also run a programme to calculate the number of ABB grades our placed students have received to allow us to recruit as many students as possible outside the numbers cap.

This year we were able to come in at 8am on Saturday morning to do this work. Previously we have had to wait until 6am on the Sunday morning. This means Admissions now have the whole of Sunday to make their decisions.

While Admissions do that, we shut down the link to UCAS. We don’t want anything to adversely affect the work that’s going on and any download can slow everything down.

Confirmation and Clearing

This is when the pressure is really on. By the Thursday, prospective students will have had their results and UCAS track opens for them to see the universities’ decisions. Clearing opens from 8am on that day and Corporate Systems staff are around from 7am. They assist with logging in, resolving any issues with the way records have been stored and help to configure the screens used for clearing. N&I staff also need to make sure the phones are set up to receive the massive volume of calls – this year we had 3,000 in the first hour. Like everyone else involved in clearing, we’re there all day. Yes, it’s exhausting and stressful – but when the results of that work pay off, as they have this year, it’s great to be a part of it.

And it doesn’t stop there..

Enrolment is the next essential process we have a big involvement in

As students arrive, we want to make sure the whole experience of signing up and becoming part of the University community is a positive one. We need to continue with our support to make sure it all happens smoothly. That’s where our efforts were directed over the first few weeks of term.

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Student wellbeing blog – help is just a click away

swb cropped-Banner-22

Our Student Wellbeing service offers confidential support and advice about any personal issues affecting your studies.   We recently launched a new Student Wellbeing blog for our students (and prospective students) and their parents, which gives you a detailed insight into the work of our student wellbeing team and the support that’s available.

It gives us a chance to provide more than just the basics – it offers news and updates on events, initiatives and the work we’re doing. You can click on the tabs to find out about our workshops, drop-ins or how to book an appointment. And there’s a growing library of on-line self-help resources which we’re adding to as we go along. We had feedback from students that they found it difficult to find and access these materials when they were on Blackboard and  the new blog makes them really easy to use.

So have a look, subscribe if you like. Recent highlights are…

and you can check out our Staff Profiles too.

 

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