Your part in The Big Leeds Conversation
How do we change the world? How do we reduce inequalities and establish a supportive and diverse community? It starts with our shared values – brought together through The Big Leeds Conversation.
As a place of education, research and societal impact, and as an employer, the University of Leeds plays a huge role in our region and in the lives of millions around the world, either directly or indirectly. Yet, shifts in attitudes, changes to policy and the development of new technologies have fundamentally changed the context for universities over recent years.
These changes have been radically intensified by the global pandemic and climate crisis. And, as our sector contemplates its role in the world – not just in education and research, but within industry and the arts, social justice, equality and inclusion – more of us are coming to terms with the fact that the higher education sector sometimes appears like it has slightly lost its sense of purpose, swept up in a sea of competition, rankings and external expectations and demands.
Our University published a new academic strategy, Universal Values, Global Change, which charts our course for the next 10 years. Within it are three overarching elements: community, culture and impact. We can only have a positive impact on the world and truly make a difference if our University community is strong. We can only achieve our ambitions if we foster a culture of collaboration, both internally and externally.
That’s why we must listen intently to our people to collectively explore, discuss and agree the values that will guide our University and the behaviours of our community in the future.
As we face into the next decade, my fellow senior leaders and I believe culture change cannot be undertaken by bright minds in isolation, we must join together to reimagine what kind of university we want to be.
We all share a duty to ask ourselves: are we truly clear what our values are, how we will behave and how we treat others on our journey ahead?
We’re stepping up to this challenge, and we want all of you to be involved.
Your voice in The Big Leeds Conversation
Over the next few months, through a series of online discussion forums, all staff, students and postgraduates will be invited to contribute to the co-creation of our core values and to define the behaviours we want everyone to uphold.
This series of online discussions is The Big Leeds Conversation.
The first conversation takes place in July and we will discuss the behaviours we should expect of each other, as well as those we should not tolerate; what we enjoy about working or studying here at Leeds; and how we can become a values-led University.
We’ll use this discussion to build a draft framework of values and behavioural expectations – and we’ll invite everyone to check and challenge this framework in a second online conversation. Between all of us, by saying what we feel is strong, wrong or missing, we’ll be able to refine the draft into an agreed shared framework.
This process will be delivered by an independent organisation called Clever Together. It will provide us with anonymous, protected digital spaces to share and nurture our ideas. Together, we will co-create a bold new framework to take us into the future, with renewed ambition and purpose.
Our shared values will change lives
With new and clear values, we can re-imagine:
- our employee offer – from how we hire to how we inspire – to help create a collaborative and supportive place to work;
- our student experience and how we offer education; and
- who we collaborate with and how we deliver world-class research.
By co-creating and upholding new shared values in everything we do, we can shape our next decade to realise our full potential, and to build a positive, fairer future for all in our University and beyond.
There will be challenges, but the opportunities for our community are enormous.
Together, let’s establish our values. By being values-led, we can truly change the world. I hope you will join us in this fundamental endeavour.
The Big Leeds Conversation will begin in July. Further details – including how to access the anonymous discussion forum – will be announced soon.
Transitional Ways of Working
Work has been taking place to consider how we return to working on campus. Whilst our Future Ways of Working group will be planning for the longer term, a Transitional Ways of Working group has been established to focus on our immediate next steps and how we transition some University activity back to campus, enabling people to move to a hybrid way of working over the coming months.
To guide planning for return to campus we are working to several assumptions that are University wide and some that are specific to professional service spaces and spaces in schools and faculties:
- Return to campus will take several months and it is not expected all activities will return on 19 July. This date signifies the moment that, if the roadmap continues as planned, clear guidance will exist from the Government on the management of risk in workspaces.
- Not all buildings will reopen immediately; we’re looking at which buildings we are able to open in the short term.
- Social distancing and ventilation requirements mean that fewer colleagues will be able to use office space and meeting rooms.
- Limited space will mean that desks and office space will need to be used flexibly and shared between colleagues. You may need to remove personal items from workspaces and individual offices may need to be used by different people over the course of a week.
- It is likely that large team meetings will continue to be held on MS Teams.
- We will continue to support individuals who need to work on campus because home working is not feasible.
- The opportunity to return to your previous office space will be the norm but it is not guaranteed. You may be required to share space with colleagues from other services.
- We are not expecting to reopen E C Stoner level 11 and 12 for professional services. We will be looking at alternative accommodation for colleagues in affected spaces.
- We will seek to use all the available space effectively. Any unallocated or unused space within an area will be available to other services/staff.
The Transitional Ways of Working group is working with executive deans, heads of schools, institutes and services to understand what types of activities need to be delivered on campus and what activity is best being delivered on campus. During this time, we are assessing what buildings, and spaces in those buildings, can reopen. Once we have a shared understanding of available space and demand, we’ll work with executive deans, heads of schools, institutes and services to agree the activities that can take place on campus and the space that can be provided for this activity.
Our return to campus will take several months and it is not expected that all activity or colleagues will return on Monday 19 July. We’re currently assessing buildings and workspace on campus that can reopen and we will be matching space to activity that needs to be delivered on campus or is best delivered on campus.
SRDS training for reviewers and reviewees – Further training dates are available for staff who are new to the Staff Review and Development Scheme (SRDS) or would like some refresher training. The online sessions will take place in June and July and are available for both reviewers and reviewees.
Practical leadership workshops and surgeries – There are still spaces available to book on an open programme of practical leadership workshops and surgeries throughout June and July – the sessions provide development for leaders and managers to support them to address some of the practical challenges faced daily. The sessions include: support for new managers, how to coach performance in others, supporting staff wellbeing and resilience, and how to build high performing teams.
Access digital essentials training anytime, anywhere – The digital essentials for staff collection on LinkedIn Learning can support you in building digital skills for personal and career development. It’s available to watch anytime and can be viewed on a desktop or mobile phone with the LinkedIn Learning app. If you missed the virtual roadshow sessions earlier this year, you can watch the short video explaining how to access and use the collection.