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UCL 2034 Progress Report

Benjamin G MMeunier4 December 2019

UCL has published the Progress Report 2019, highlighting some of UCL’s key achievements and steps towards realising the vision set out in UCL 2034. Highlights in this year’s report start with a Library Services initiative, the UCL Open megajournal as an example of academic leadership. You can see the review on the 2034 website at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/2034/progress-report-2019

Here’s a summary:

Principal Themes 

  1. Academic Leadership
    UCL Open’s Megajournal – The Constitution Unit’s role in a think-tank for Northern Ireland – Forming closer ties with the European Space Agency
  2. Integration of Research and Education
    Posters in Parliament – UCL’s 1000th Arena Fellow – the Bloomsbury Theatre and Performance Lab
  3. Addressing Global Challenges
    Antiretroviral treatment preventing the transmission of HIV – Developing a legal tool to protect refugees’ rights – Helping an indigenous community restore parts of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest
  4. Accessible and Publicly Engaged
    Public art at UCL – Growing community-university partnerships in East London – Building robots inspired by nature
  5. London’s Global University
    Working with Camden to drive innovation and social change – planning approval granted for new UK Dementia Institute – “Cosmic Coffee”
  6. Delivering Global Impact
    The RELIEF centre working to better integrate the forcibly displaced – Tackling chronic pain in children – Biogas project awarded Horizon 2020 funding

    Key Enablers

    1. Best Student Support – the Accommodation team’s Welcome programme
    2. Valuing our Staff – Welcome to UCL programme for onboarding new staff
    3. Financing our ambitions – an update from the It’s All Academic campaign
    4. Excellent systems – new UCL Staff Intranet
    5. Sustainable estate – Transforming the IOE
    6. Communicating and engaging – the #MadeatUCL campaign

Claim your cash back : iExpense process

Sandra IEnwesi2 July 2019

Ever had to travel to another location for training but have paid from your own pocket? How many times have you needed to claim back for some money but didn’t know how? Have you logged into Myfinance and proceeded to submit a claim but halfway through the process confusion strikes and you abandon it altogether, what in the world is a project code I hear you say? Why won’t it let me?

We at library Finance get emails daily from library staff asking for guidance when it comes to claiming back expenses on iExpense and in a recent survey run by the library finance team, out of 75 responses, we found that 14% used iExpense 5 or more times in the past year, 7% have had claims but don’t know how and 10% of you found the process extremely difficult.

This is why we the library finance team have decided to run a help session  to help staff with iExpense, this would cover the major aspects of how to raise an iExpense claim this could be seasons ticket loans, expenses , travel fares etc.

This session would be run by Jean Munroe, she will be on hand to answer any questions relating to iExpense, so you are encouraged to come along , bring your question or issues and we would do our best to iron these issues out.

If after the session you still find it unclear or daunting, there would be a drop in half a day session where you will be assisted by a member of the finance team with your claims.

The date and time would be communicated within the next couple of weeks, so watch this space!

 

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris30 May 2019

Increased student support for UCL Library Services

UCL takes student feedback very seriously. We have a range of student surveys, and participate in national surveys, to measure the level of happiness students feel with their UCL experience.

The Student Experience Survey was conducted between 1 March and 10 April 2019 and included all penultimate year undergraduate students. 5,185 students were invited to complete the survey, and 20% responded (n=1037).

Questions are arranged under 9 main headings, one of which is Learning Resources. This general category was the best scoring category out of all 9, with 83% of respondents saying they were satisfied, an increase of 3% over 2018 and an impressive increase of 7% over 2017.

The most important question concerning library resources and services is this one – the library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well:

Question 2019 2018 Difference
The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well. 85% 80% +5

This is a great result, showing an increase of 5%. Indeed the result is so good that the score to this question made it the highest scoring question in the whole of the survey. One of the reasons for the increase is, of course, the addition of the Student Centre to the library footprint, with its 1,000 new learning spaces. The Centre had just opened when the survey was held and, already, its impact is being felt in rising levels of student satisfaction.

Many congratulations to all members of UCL Library Services – all of whom have contributed to the reputation of our services and the impact they make on the student body. It’s a great performance and bodes well for the future.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Develop your entrepreneurial skills – free training available to UCL staff

Benjamin G MMeunier15 April 2019

UCL Innovation & Enterprise is here to support the UCL community to develop their ideas and entrepreneurial thinking. That includes all Professional Services staff, as well as academics, students and alumni.

If you are interested in learning how to think in an entrepreneurial way, or have an idea you want to build into something real that impacts the outside world, please take advantage of this free programme of activities. 

Examples of Professional Services staff who have already had support from UCL Innovation & Enterprise include Alice Chilver, who has developed a national network for women in HE and Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate whose natural haircare business recently won $500K in a competition.

Here are some upcoming events that may be of interest.

 

Enterprise Bootcamp 12-14 June

Learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur. A free 3 day bootcamp to introduce you to how businesses operate. You will learn practical business orientated skills in a supportive environment details and apply here

 

Explore £5,000 – Explore your business idea – starts 14 May 6-8pm

Test the potential of your business idea in eight free interactive Tuesday evening sessions and get the chance to pitch for £5,000. Details and apply here

 

Launch £10,000 – Launch your business venture – starts 12 June

Get your business ready to go live in eight evenings of hands on workshops, gaming activities and one to one support, then pitch for £10,000. Details and apply here

 

First Monday – Networking next 3rd June

Everyone is welcome at our monthly networking evenings. Be inspired by successful entrepreneurs and form lasting connections with peers that could help you start or grow your business.  Details and register here

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/enterprise/staff

 

Library design and European collaboration

Benjamin G MMeunier10 April 2019

Earlier this year, I was honoured to be invited to join the LIBER Architecture Group (LAG), as the UK representative. I am replacing Karen Latimer, former Librarian of Queen’s University Belfast and an expert in library design and heritage architecture. The group furthers the exchange of experience between librarians and architects throughout Europe and attempts to raise the level of awareness of new projects and trends. This is done through biennial seminars, and via a database of Library Buildings in Europe documenting new buildings, renovations, refurbishments and extensions. The LIBER Architecture Group brings librarians together with building design professionals, and helps to focus concepts and planning processes and to share best practice in the sector. It operates as part of LIBER’s Strategic Direction on Research Infrastructure.

As the UK’s future relationship with the European Union continues to be under question, UCL is committed to maintaining close partnerships with European Higher Education and research organisations. The work we do in Library Services, in many areas across the service, involves work with European partners and I am pleased to be able to play a part in developing links with colleagues in the area of European library architecture.

On Monday, as part of the LIBER Architecture Group’s bi-annual meeting, I visited the National Library of Luxembourg, which is due to open in September 2019. The building is very nearly complete, and the move of collections is due in the coming weeks. It is a monumental building, and much of the construction sites I visited or saw in Luxembourg were on a large scale, reflecting the country’s ambitious plans to develop its knowledge economy.

The view inside the brand new National Library, opening in September

Façade of the National Library of Luxembourg

When it opens, the library will provide 470 study spaces, open to anyone over the age of 14. The library building was designed to meet best practice in sustainable construction, using geothermal energy and thermal mass to maintain stable environmental conditions. Storage space at the back of the building provides shelving for 300,000 items. Where collections are on open access, each shelf is fitted with an LED light strip, creating an almost theatrical feel but also practical way of ensuring that users can see clearly even when browsing the lowest shelves in a building where there is little ceiling lights (for environmental reasons and also to minimise the risk of fire).

Facilities within the library include a music room and family study room, where parents may undertake their research accompanied by young children. The library also has parking spaces for 2 “Bicherbus”, the national library bus, which travels across the country to support users in Luxembourg.

View of Luxembourg Learning Centre, at the centre of Luxembourg University’s new campus on the former steelworks

The Luxembourg Learning Centre is based within an old coal warehouse, at the foot of two huge steelwork chimneys. It is at the heart of the new Science City in Belval, about half an hour from the centre of Luxembourg City. During my visit, I learned that Luxembourg’s economy was severely affected by the loss of the steel industry in the 1970s and had to transform its economy into the financial hub it is today. However, the country is keen to diversify its economy and avoid relying entirely on the finance sector, so it is fast developing its science and innovation sector.

The Belval site is being redeveloped with EUR 1 billion already invested and a further EUR 900 million due to be injected by the government to transform this former industrial plant into a university campus associated with a wider cultural and entrepreneurial district. The industrial past is everywhere to be seen, with the plant and warehouse buildings now listed as monuments.

The Learning Centre is a high-tech library which supports around 7,000 students at the university. With 1,000 study spaces and built at a cost of around EUR 70 million, it is on a scale fit to support further growth of the university. Collections are in English, French and German, reflecting the multilingual nature of the country. Signposts on the campus are in French but all the signage in the library is in English, a decision the Library took to ensure that the majority of users could easily navigate the building. There is a welcome point and self-service RFID equipment, provided by Bibliotheca, at the entrance. The library operates with a relatively small team (24 staff in total), and their Customer Service team work closely with students on various UX projects. The library closes at night and is also closed at weekends, and they are looking at extending these hours in response to demand. For more information, including a video of the impressive building, you can visit the website of the Luxembourg Learning Centre.

The next LIBER Architecture Group seminar will be held in April 2020 and hosted at the Luxembourg Learning Centre. Further details will be circulated later this year.

Futuristic furniture and hi-tech equipment feature throughout the Learning Centre, such as these built-in tablets to provide access to national newspapers

The Learning Centre’s glass walls are wrapped around the original structure of the coal warehouse which fed the steelworks

Estates strategy consultation forum opens to UCL community

Benjamin G MMeunier5 April 2019

An online consultation forum has been launched by UCL Estates for staff and students to share their ideas and thoughts on UCL’s current estate and their views on opportunities and investment priorities for its future development.

 The consultation will feed into a refreshed strategy for the university’s estate, which UCL Estates is preparing to align the next phase of UCL’s physical development with UCL 2034. The strategy will consider UCL’s buildings and physical estate, the impact of UCL East and other satellite locations and the opportunities for growth.

 Among the comments and discussions posted so far include the need to for the strategy to ensure UCL sites outside of its Bloomsbury campus feel part of the UCL family and a suggestion for innovative bike storage on campus.

Visit the forum and share your views.

NB: After entering your UCL email address you will be sent your individual access link, which you can bookmark. You will be automatically logged in for a period of 30 days after which you will need to revisit the original email link.

Making a difference: Library Services Review 2015-18

Benjamin G MMeunier26 February 2019

As we begin to look forward for the next 4 years in the new Library Strategy, we can also take stock of the achievements from the last strategy period and reflect on how Library Services is making a difference to UCL. As a retrospective piece looking at some of the achievements from 2015-18, we have published the Library Services Strategy Review 2015-18.

As Pro-Vice-Provost Paul Ayris states in the Foreword, we have collectively achieved the vast majority of ambitious objectives which were set five years ago to support the vision laid out in UCL 2034. This is down to the work of each member of staff across the service, combining expertise, collaboration, innovation and a large dose of perseverance to ensure that our service is as good as it can be for the benefit of our staff and students within UCL, in the NHS and other users. The Review features a number of colleagues and teams in case studies which provide a glimpse into the varied projects and initiatives which Library Services undertakes. These illustrate how our department is improving the User Experience, delivers best value for money and engages with the world beyond UCL. Inevitably, the achievements listed are not exhaustive and we will be re-introducing Annual Reports effective from 2019, on a similar model to this Review, to present the work of Library Services each year.

Some of the highlights from 2015-18 are listed on the ‘What we do’ webpage, which provides a link to the full text Strategy Review.

New Library Services Strategy launched online

Benjamin G MMeunier21 February 2019

The UCL Library Services Strategy 2019-22 is now available online and in print booklets:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/about-us/ucl-library-services-strategy-2019-22

Our 4-year strategy sets out the specific work the Library can undertake as an outstanding library service to support the long-term goals set out in UCL 2034. Within the Library Strategy, we define our values, based on the contributions of many colleagues from across the service. Thanks again to colleagues who contributed to shaping the strategy through the workshops and meetings at site libraries in the past 18 months. The Library Strategy is organised around six strands of activity, or Key Performance Areas (KPAs):

KPA leaders from the Library SMT oversee each of the KPAs, which contain the specific actions we have committed to delivering during the lifespan of this strategy. For more information, please visit the webpage. If you would like a print Strategy booklet for your team, these can be collected from Daniel Kordik (Main Library room 107, d.kordik[at]ucl.ac.uk). The Library SMT acts as the Library Strategy Steering Group.

We invite all members of Library Services to the Strategy launch event on 20th March and look forward to seeing many of you there!

 

UCL Library Services “Highly Commended” in Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards

Benjamin G MMeunier22 June 2018

UCL Library Services gained recognition as an “Outstanding Library Team” in this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards, where UCL was highly commended. For 2018, the 10th anniversary of these national awards, there was stiff competition from other institutions, with 8 libraries shortlisted in 2018, including the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The winners were the White Rose Libraries Consortium (Universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield) for their collaborative work on a repository service (White Rose Research Online) and an online press. The consortium’s joint management of print holdings was also considered to be of national importance.

 

Senior managers, including the Provost and a number of Vice-Provosts, have shared their congratulations. Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research) said:

“Great recognition of the outstanding UCL library … Wonderful to know we have such a strong and respected division in UCL.”

 

There is cause for feelings of deja-vu – we were highly commended in 2016. This is UCL Library Services’ second accolade in 3 years from the THELMAs’ jury, recognising the quality and consistency of our service. Specific areas which were recognised in 2018 spanned work on the User Experience, Staffing, Equality and Diversity and Communication, Open Access and Public Engagement. Highlights included:

–  Increased the number of study places on campus by over 500 in the summer of 2017

–  Reached 65% of all taught courses on our ReadingLists@UCL service– the highest coverage rate amongst our research-intensive peers. We have grown our digital library to suit demand with Patron-Driven Acquisitions. Use of e-books increased by 45% in 2017!

–  Extended opening hours. We opened the Main Library throughout the Christmas period for the first time in 2017, and over 500 students were working in the library between Christmas and New Year

 – Our 11th annual Staff Conference explored the theme of Customer Service Excellence.

–  Exceeded 50 publications and 1 million downloads from UCL Press since its launch in summer 2015. That is an amazing achievement for a young Press, which is helping to re-define the meaning of academic publishing.

 

As noted in our submission to the awards, “UCL Library Services represents an outstanding community of professionals, dedicated to enhancing the user experience and developing new publishing models which open up the knowledge and wisdom of UCL research and teaching to a global audience”. This commendation is one which was earned through the collective strengths and hard work of colleagues throughout Library Services. So congratulations and we look forward to celebrating this achievement at the next Staff Conference in a few weeks’ time!

The Times Higher Education have provided the email signature below, which colleagues are welcome to append to signatures after their contact details:

 

What can grant money be used for

Sandra IEnwesi14 May 2018