Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Heads of Department Update 20 August


Nothing specific here for direct action, although some information that it may be helpful for you to share. And there is a lot here on return to campus. I’ve shared quite a bit with you this week in relation to the ever changing position on UG admissions. And just to continue with that, but briefly; we now have the results from UCAS and SROAS are processing the revised A-levels and the revised IB results. Current estimates suggest that we might have about 250 additional confirmed offer holders (but we may lose some existing offer holders who were CI with us and CF elsewhere.). Other issues to highlight for you include:

Return To Campus Working

I know that many of you have attended the “Return to Campus Working” sessions that HR have been running and I hope that these have helped you to clarify some of the issues you will need to address in discussions with colleagues. The FAQs and the presentation will be made available but I thought it might be helpful if I could reiterate the key points to ensure that we’ve all got a shared understanding of the issues.

Teaching and Learning and the broader student experience are business critical for the University – they’re core to what we do and we’ve made a commitment to deliver our teaching in a blended mode, mixing face-to-face and online. We’ve been explicit that we are a campus University; we’re expecting students to be on campus and we’re doing all that’s practical to ensure that our campus will be a safe and secure environment. [And for those of you who’ve been on campus recently you’ll have seen the massive amount of work that has been done around messaging, defining circulation routes, defining access to spaces etc].

The planning for a return to campus working is being informed by all relevant Government and Public Health England advice. We are also taking advice from our own epidemiologists to ensure that we are reflecting, systematically, the latest research recommendations. And of course we can draw on the experience of those organisations who have already reopened and restarted – and indeed those that have continued to operate throughout lockdown.

A key message is that we are only moving back to campus working because we are able to deliver a safe working environment. We need to bring back to campus those staff whose duties require them to be on campus – and that does mean many research staff, it does mean staff delivering teaching, and it does mean professional services staff who support teaching and learning and support students (whether in Depts or in central services). There are many staff who deliver campus services who are already back and working and more who will return along with the students.

Where individuals are being asked to continue to work from home, that is because we need to manage capacity on campus. Those whose role requires them to be on campus to deliver business critical activity must be prioritised for return to campus followed by those who struggle to work from home.. Those who can work from home and do not need to be on campus should continue to work from home in the interest of managing capacity.

I realise that this puts you in a difficult position because you will have to ask people to work on campus even though they would prefer to remain working from home. Everyone’s experiences of the pandemic have been different and I am sure that there will be many colleagues who are nervous about coming back to campus. The flow chart that HR are making available provides a structure for you to use for conversations with colleagues and HR will help with this. And of course, in most cases you will be asking people to be on campus for a limited number of days each week and not necessarily every day. In addition, if there are health concerns then clearly Occupational Health can also advise.

I’d be happy to chat further about any particular concerns that you may have, but it will be important that we are consistent across departments in terms of our expectations of staff. And that means we will all need to ask all of those who are needed on campus for business critical delivery/support to return to campus unless there are very compelling reasons why that’s not possible.

Blackwells Pop-Up Bookshop

Warwick Retail have confirmed that a pop-up bookshop operated by Blackwell's, the UK’s largest academic bookseller, will again have a presence on campus for the start of the new academic year. More detail next week on Insite. Blackwell’s will open in a new location this year in the SU South Building (between Barclays and Rootes Building), supplying students with all the books they need for term 1. Related to this:

  • Final call for reading lists 2020– 2021

We know many colleagues have been in touch with Blackwell’s directly, but if you have not yet supplied your term 1 reading list there is still time, so please get in touch with Katie Chapman, Blackwell’s account manager, as soon as possible.

  • Supplying students on campus, at home, online

We are in very unique times this year and recognise that students will be learning in different ways. Blackwell’s can supply books to students on campus, those staying at home and for online courses. If you have any unique requirements for your course or wish to discuss the best options to supply books to your students please get in touch with Katie Chapman

  •  Further information

Available from the Warwick Retail website for more information about the partnership with Blackwell’s and the benefits this offers. If you have any questions please contact Katie Chapman

Guidance for Colleagues who Commute to Warwick during Term time.

I’ve had a some queries about the issue of those colleagues who are weekly commuters, returning home at the weekends, and issues relating to possible quarantine changes for those travelling from overseas. HR will pick this issue up generally via the FAQs around return to campus and working arrangements, but the advice will indicate that we expect staff to ensure that their personal residence arrangements enable them to fulfil their duties. For example, staff who normally live elsewhere but rent accommodation locally during the week are expected to ensure that their arrangements comply with government advice and do not preclude them from working on campus. [It will be acknowledged that local lockdowns may affect daily commuters differently].

It’s been something of a difficult week with all of the issues relating to grades and admissions, but hopefully we are moving towards some greater degree of certainty! So I suspect everyone deserves a, hopefully, relaxing weekend.



Professor Christine Ennew OBE