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Heads of Department Update 29 October


There have been rather more messages this week than I had anticipated. I’m hoping this is the last one for the current week. I don’t think anything here requires immediate action; its mostly for information. Thanks to all for feedback on the issues relating to Term 2 teaching – we’re working on this. Similarly we are also look at communications for students in relation to Reading Week (where relevant) and other issues relating to student movements. I will update on this as soon as I can.

Announcement on use of USB sticks for data transfer

Some of you may have seen the announcement on Insite this week, but some of you may have missed it – briefly this was

The use of USB ports for data transfer is no longer an acceptable risk for the University. Find out about the risks and what actions we are taking to stop them.

There is detail on the link above but in brief the message is that the use of USB ports for data transfer is no longer an acceptable risk for the University. This decision means that a computer used for University business will have USB ports capable of reading or writing data, blocked. Initially, this will be applied to Managed Windows 10 Desktop computers at the end of this year. Following that change, the University aims to block USB ports on all other Warwick devices that are used to work on sensitive University data.

This is of considerable significance in our work to comply with the requirements of the ICO audit and there are generally alternative arrangements available for data transfer. Its also a fairly common policy in the sector and beyond. Its worth being aware though that this applies to computers that are connected to the University network. If a machine is not connected to the network and is not dealing with personal data, this should not be an issue – and this is perhaps of most significance to those depts. using stand-alone PCs to drive lab equipment. If there are other more specific queries, I’m afraid I probably can’t answer them and you’ll need to contact IT directly. But this may be helpful – especially if your concerns are in relation to data storage and transfer.

If you make use of a USB device to save data, you should start to move your data to alternative storage locations – for example, an H: or M: drive, or Microsoft OneDrive (included as part of the University Office365 suite). For staff who need additional storage capacity, requests can be made to the Helpdesk or via self-service requests. Find out about storage here.

Tackling Racial Inequality at Warwick

As part of the overarching work around social inclusion, “Tackling Racial Inequality at Warwick” is a multi-module programme, with two ‘core’ modules and a series of optional modules that can be taken over the course of a year. Each module is approximately 3 hours in length and will take place online. Development of the programme has been led by the co-chairs of the WIHEA Anti-Racist Pedagogy and Process in Higher Education Learning Circle, Dr Meleisa Ono-George and Dr Anil Awesti. Some of you will shortly be contacted by the Programme Team to invite you to nominate individuals to be part of a pilot for the core workshops. Full details are available at and the initial core workshops will cover:

  • Introduction to ‘race’ and racism in British context
  • Race, racism and HE

Subsequently, optional workshops will address:

  • Anti-Racist Classroom Practice
  • Building Inclusive Curricula
  • Wellbeing, Racism and Student Support
  • Leading Anti-Racist Change

I hope we can gather together a range of key staff to pilot and support this key strategic initiative.

Staff Working from Overseas

We’ve talked earlier this year about the challenges (tax, social security, employment law) associated with the staff who are currently working from outside of the UK. Many of you will have now started to encounter some of the short term problems that the current environment creates (primarily the practicalities around travel) but there will be longer term implications. The position is complex and varies by individuals and county. I will provide some more information – this is in preparation and I’ll update you shortly.

Moving between DfE Tiers on teaching

The University remains in Tier 1 from a DfE perspective - we are trying to continue to deliver the blended model as originally planned. I’m aware that there is a wish to understand whether and how we might move between the DfE Tiers – particularly in the context of the broader Tiers that Government is using to manage activity at a regional level. We don’t have a precise formula for determining when to move from one DfE Tier to another but the issue is being reviewed very regularly and at least once per week. Exec Board is leading on this and trying to give due consideration conditions off campus (noting that these are very directly relevant to many staff and students) and the situation on campus (where we are seeing significant drops in both active cases and self isolaters). We are also in regular contact with PHE locally and with the NHS and local government. And I’ll do what I can to keep you updated on anything material that comes out of these regular discussions.

Meanwhile, the weekend is almost with us and I hope that means a bit of down time and much needed relaxation for you all.



Professor Christine Ennew OBE