Events
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    UCL Events blog

    By Nick Dawe, on 6 May 2011

    Reviews of UCL public lectures, debates, exhibitions, shows, and more…

    UCL Professional Services Conference 2017

    By Guest Blogger, on 22 February 2017

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    Written by Chris Lane, Media Relations Officer, UCL Communications & Marketing 

    The annual UCL Professional Services Conference drew together close to 700 staff from across the university on February 15 at Logan Hall, to meet counterparts from other departments, learn from peers, and celebrate the achievements of the professional services community at UCL.

    Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations), introduced the conference, calling it a celebration of the work UCL Professional Services staff do for the university. This year’s event focused on how to improve the student experience at UCL. The theme was presented in a short film called “Back to Basics – what is the student journey?” which featured interview clips with UCL students discussing their experience from first contact to graduation and beyond.

    images by Kirsten Holst, www.kirstenholst.com

    Nica Burns, OBE. Images: Kirsten Holst

    The next presentation was from Nica Burns OBE, an alumna who is now one of London’s most prominent theatre producers. She discussed her experience studying law at UCL, as well as being a very active member of the Drama Society. She said a law degree complemented her creative spirit very well as it taught her a different way of thinking, helping her to be more analytical and able to run a business. After her talk she took part in a brief Q&A, hosted by Lori Houlihan, Vice-Provost (Development), where Burns shared her insights into taking risks, being ambitious, and meeting the Queen.

    Following Burns’ presentation was a series of snapshot presentations. First up, Ian Creagh discussed the TOPS (Transforming our Professional Services) programme. The audience was then shown a film about Transforming UCL, showcasing the success of building and refurbishment projects such as the New Student Centre and 22 Gordon Street. The final snapshot presentation was delivered by Sue Tonks, the emcee for the evening, who shared her tips on networking by finding common ground.

    The assembled crowd then had the chance to put Tonks’ tips into practice at the student journey marketplace and networking session, where staff members from across UCL hosted stalls showcasing their work. It was an opportunity to learn about the wide range of activity going on at UCL and to find areas for collaboration with other teams.images by Kirsten Holst, www.kirstenholst.com

    The afternoon continued back in Logan Hall with a Q&A with key members of UCL leadership: President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur; Wendy Appleby, Registrar, Student & Registry Services; Dame Nicola Brewer, Vice-Provost (International); Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost (Innovation & Enterprise); and Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research). They answered questions from the audience including addressing how UCL is working to improve the student experience, UCL’s strategy in the wake of the EU referendum, and how professional services could collectively improve.

    The culmination of the event was the presentation of the annual Professional Services Awards, recognising key achievements of staff members across the university. There were close to 100 nominations sent in from across the university.

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    Education Select Committee Brexit hearing session at UCL

    By Melissa Bradshaw, on 9 February 2017

    On 25 January, the Education Select Committee held the second Oral Evidence Session of its inquiry on the effect of Brexit on higher education (HE) at UCL.

    The committee heard evidence from UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur, NUS Vice-President (Higher Education) Sorana Vieru and representatives of University and College Union, Erasmus Student Network UK, Universities UK, the British Council and London Economics.

    There was a strong consensus on the potentially damaging effects of Brexit on HE, and an urgent call for the government to do more to address them.

    Professor Michael Arthur

    Professor Michael Arthur

    The hearing took place just over a week after Theresa May’s historic speech on the UK’s strategy for exiting the European Union, and evidence was heard in two panels.

    The Chair of the Education Committee, Neil Carmichael MP, began each session by asking the panellists for their reaction to the Prime Minister’s speech.

    Every one of the panellists welcomed the tone of the speech and its emphasis on a “global Britain”, but called for immediate action and more specific detail – particularly in regard to the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK.

    Referring to the Prime Minister’s expressed wish to guarantee the rights of EU citizens, Professor Arthur said: “I’d like to challenge the Prime Minister to go one step further and take the initiative to make the guarantee and challenge the rest of the EU to follow”, arguing that this would give Britain the moral high-ground and provide the negotiations a foundation of good will.

    The committee heard evidence of the significant contribution of the higher education sector to the British economy, including the contributions EU staff and students make to the wider economy when they are residing here.

    Dr Gavan Conlon (London Economics) also argued that, with education the UK’s fifth largest services export, the HE sector can generate revenue that could contribute to the government’s proposed industrial strategy.

    The panellists spoke of the positive contributions that EU staff and students make in terms of diversity and ‘soft power’, contributing to Britain’s prestigious academic profile and giving their British peers invaluable experience in international engagement, leadership and collective problem solving. “For a global Britain we need global graduates”, said Rosie Birchard (Erasmus Student Network UK).

    The committee also heard evidence that currently UK HE “punches well above its weight” globally – thanks, in part, to our membership of the EU. Jo Beall (British Council) pointed to statistics showing that the UK leads the world in research quality (by field-weighted citation impact) and 1 in 10 world leaders were educated here.

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    Wellbeing@UCL launch event

    By Guest Blogger, on 26 January 2017

    pencil-iconWritten by Faaiza Bokhari (UCL Occupational Health & Wellbeing)

    UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur and Karen Smith, UCL Wellbeing Consultant

    UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur
    and Karen Smith, UCL Wellbeing Consultant

    Wellbeing isn’t just about ourselves, but also about what we can do for others – this was something that UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur was keen to emphasise at the launch of Wellbeing@UCL – UCL’s five-year wellbeing strategy for the whole of the UCL community.

    On 18 January, I attended the launch in the South Cloisters as a member of the UCL Occupational Health and Wellbeing team, which has been working on the wellbeing strategy as part of a new holistic approach to occupational health. More than 500 staff and students attended on the day, demonstrating the importance of wellbeing to our staff and students.

    The buzz around the event was fantastic, and it was great to see so many people coming together for something that could prove really valuable to the community. Attendees were interested to find out more about UCL’s future plans, particularly the six ‘pillars’ of the Wellbeing@UCL strategy, and spending time on the Occupational Health and Wellbeing stand gave me the opportunity to connect with people one-on-one.

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    UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Symposium 2017

    By Guest Blogger, on 20 January 2017

    pencil-iconWritten by Emmeline Brown, MRes Translational Neurology, UCL Institute of Neurology

    We must “recognise the myriad of influences on what makes us sick and what makes us healthy” began Professor Dame Anne Johnson, welcoming attendees to this symposium at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.

    Professor Dame Johnson pointed to UCL’s history of pioneering and expanding a transdisciplinary approach, emphasising the role of preventative measures and the need to provide research that can be used by policy-makers.

    (Re)building healthier cities
    Professor Michael Davies and Professor David Osrin, presenting the keynote session, discussed the need to understand the interactions between ‘soft’ (economic and social) and ‘hard’ (engineered) urban systems, in order to tackle the multiple challenges arising from globalisation.

    Professor Osrin highlighted community participation in Mumbai, where he has been based since 2004: community women’s groups there who discussed issues, came up with solutions and implemented them achieved a 30% reduction in rural newborn deaths.

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    We heard extensively from early and mid-career researchers. Dr Evangelia Chrysikou described her work in exploring the exteriors of mental health facilities in Camden and the effects of these on stigmatisation. Dr Jens Kandt spoke about his research classifying neighbourhoods by multiple characteristics to develop an integrated perspective on urban health; and Marios Poullas described his study into the effects of El Nino Southern Oscillation on public health in India.

    Digital Health

    Andrew Eland, Engineering Director of Artificial Intelligence company DeepMind, began with the potential of digital tools in health innovations.

    He had many insights into the use of deep learning to improve the efficiency of hospitals, which would not be possible with cumbersome paper medical files. He also spoke of the concurrent need to gain public trust in use of data through greater security and transparency.

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