Archive

  • Update 29 May 2020

    Coronavirus: Latest Update

    Earlier this week on Wednesday 27 May, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Tim Quine released further information about the University’s plans for the 2020/21 academic year. Registrar Mike Shore-Nye also sent an update on 28 May. We know you’ve been waiting for updates, so we’re going to provide a summary of these important communications here. We recommend that you read the emails sent to you this week in full to ensure you’re as informed as possible – you can find them here.

    Summary of DVC Tim Quine’s Update (27 May)

    • The plan is for campus to be open with adaptations for social distancing. What this looks like exactly will depend on what the coronavirus situation is locally and nationally, and what the government regulations and advice is.
    • The University are planning for blended learning – anytime, anywhere access to guided online learning, supported by face-to-face teaching (on campus when conditions allow, or real-time online).
    • The University are prioritising:
      • The health and safety of students, staff and communities
      • Excellent learning opportunities that are flexible to work no matter what the year holds
      • That students can thrive and achieve their goals
    • Your feedback is essential to ensuring the success of this plan – you can provide feedback by completing a survey the University will be sending out, or by getting in touch with the Students’ Guild Full-Time Officer Team, your Academic Rep or the Students' Guild coronavirus feedback form.
    • There are a range of paid opportunities available for current students and graduates. The University have released further information on these employment opportunities here.

    Summary of Registrar Mike Shore-Nye’s Update (28 May)

    • Summary of University’s plan for 2020/21 – please see above for further details.
    • Finalists should ensure their HEAR record is up to date.
    • A range of career opportunities and programmes are being planned for the rest of the summer term and vacation – log onto Career Zone to find out more.
    • Graduation ceremonies will now take place in 2021 – graduating students will shortly be polled on whether they would prefer Easter 2021 or Summer 2021.
    • Plans are now in place for students who need to collect belongings from their accommodation in Exeter. The guidance varies greatly depending on whether you’re in University, nominated or private accommodation.

    Further updates and information

    For more information, please visit the University’s FAQ page. We’d also like to reiterate again you should read the University’s emails in full to ensure you have the full details, as we do only provide a brief overview here.

    We are aware that some students are sceptical about digital learning and its quality due to your past experiences of online learning resources, specifically recap recordings. Project Enhance is set up exactly to address this feedback. This is especially to ensure that students who require flexibility in their studies due to caring responsibilities, disabilities, or chronic health conditions, can access education in the way that meets their needs.

    We urge any student with feedback about this update from the University or anything else related to coronavirus to complete our feedback form or to email coronavirus@exeterguild.com.

    Take care,

    Penny
    Vice President Education

  • Update on University 2020/21 Communications 28 May 2020

    The University announced yesterday their plans for the 2020/21 academic year, and we’re aware that a number of students would like further clarification on some of the points and decisions made.

    We’re going to be meeting University Senior Management tomorrow (Friday 29 May) to make sure the picture is as clear for students as possible, and we’ll be providing an update for you then which we hope will clarify any confusion.

    If you have any feedback about the announcement, or anything else related to Covid-19, please get in touch with me at vpeducation@exeterguild.com, or complete our feedback form on this page.

  • Update 13 May 2020

    Following further updates from the Prime Minister on Sunday evening, and with the additional information released this week, we’d like to provide you with an update of what this means for you as a University of Exeter student. Throughout this week, both the Students’ Guild and the University have been working to understand what this means for you, and to begin planning for beginning activities on our campuses again.

    What is your Students’ Guild doing?

    We are closely following guidance from the Government and are following the University’s lead. You can read a summary of the University’s email below or the full email in your mailbox.

    In terms of a return to campus, this will be a gradual process and one which we will work on alongside the University. This is something that we’ll continue to update you on as clearer plans are developed, however we want to reiterate that the safety of all Exeter students and staff, both Guild and University, is our absolute priority. Our Officers and staff will continue working from home until further notice, however we’re beginning to plan for what a phased return to campus could look like. Some of our staff remain furloughed.

    We’re continuing to represent your interests to University Senior Management, with a particular focus on exams at the moment – we're with you every step of the way. We’re also supporting the NUS Safety Net campaign, which includes reimbursement for students. In order for us to represent you as best as possible, it’s vitally important you continue giving your feedback using our coronavirus feedback form, or by contacting coronavirus@exeterguild.com. We’re delighted that Exeter has been sector leading on many important issues; the amazing amount of student feedback we’ve received so far has been central to this.

    What have the University said?

    The University will have sent you an email explaining these points further which we encourage you to read and understand fully. Here is an overview of their update:

    Campus remains closed

    At this stage our campuses remain closed – it’s really important that you stay away from campus until further notice, unless you’re currently living in campus-based accommodation.

    Accommodation

    Plans are being made by the accommodation team to allow you to collect your belongings from University or private accommodation. Further information will be communicated in the next few weeks.

    Exams, Assessments and Research

    Summer examinations are underway (we hope it’s going well!) – take a look at the Exam Process Guide, Technical Guide and University FAQ's. Don’t forget to record the time you download your exam paper, track your time as you’re completing your exam, and submit it to BART before the deadline.

    If you submit your assessment late, you’ll be contacted by your Hub Education Support team who’ll advise you on the penalty for late submission. If you’re having issues submitting, you can contact the Assessments Helpdesk by phone (+44) 01392 726800 (8:00-20:00 Monday-Friday BST) or by email Exams2020@exeter.ac.uk.

    Companies offering to write essays for you are unfortunately very common – it’s really important that you avoid these companies. If you are having difficulty completing assessments or need support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Advice Service.

    Planning is underway to identify how scientific research and field work can resume safely – again, further updates will be provided as soon as possible.

    Stay safe and good luck in your assessments,
    Your Students’ Guild

  • Furlough Update 24 April 2020

    Due to the ongoing circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to furlough a number of staff to protect the Guild. We are working hard to make sure that this has limited impact on you. As the situation develops and constantly changes, there may be further decisions required that impact the structure of the Guild. We will update you as and when those decisions are made and how they may impact you.

    Read More

  • Private Student Accommodation Letter 6 April 2020

    We are urging all purpose-built student accommodation and private landlords to offer the following:

    1. For students who are no longer living at the tenancy address, to be released from their current tenancy agreements, at no financial penalty to them. This follows similar action taken by the University's and providers such as Unite Students. If students have already paid third term rent, you should refund this along with their deposit.
    2. For students who cannot return home or are unable to find another place to live, an extension of tenancy subject to the Covid-19 pandemic continuing past tenancy dates to prevent students from becoming homeless.
    3. For students who have been financially impacted due to Covid-19 and are unable to move, a significant rent reduction or a rent holiday for the duration of the pandemic.
    4. For students who have moved home and are unable to collect their belongings, we ask you to show compassion and work with those students to find a solution.

    We have produced a letter, which you can read online by downloading the PDF here.

    • CRM Students
    • Homes For Students
    • Campus Living Village
    • Prestige Student Living
    • Host
    • Collegiate
    • Fresh Student Living
    • The Student Housing Company
    • Downing
    • Vita Student
    • Cardens
    • Gillams
    • Platform_
    • East of Exe
    • RSJ Investments
    • Hunters
    • Llyod Lettings
    • Winkworth
    • Wilkonson Grant and Co
    • Hometrust
    • No.18 Apartments
    • SMART
    • More have been added to the list, please click here. If your landlord or provider isn't on the list, please use our letter to send to them directly.
  • University Summer Assessment Update 3 April 2020

    The University of Exeter have released further information in relation to the summer assessment period: ‘the no detriment policy’; the format of summer examinations and assessments; applying to defer your exams; and the release of exam results. As well as information on helping you prepare for your examinations and assessments.

    You can find the email in full on the University Coronavirus subsite here.

    The Full-Time Officers, Academic Representatives and the rest of the Guild have been working tirelessly to make sure that the new policies have been created with students at the heart of them. We are very proud that we are leaps and bounds ahead of other universities round the country in providing the best possible outcomes for our students.

    If you have any further feedback on the new policies or information, please complete our feedback form or email us at coronavirus@exeterguild.com, or feedback to your Academic Representative (AcRep) - you can find yours here.  

    To summarise the communications sent out today:

    • The University have extended the no detriment policy so that it includes all assessments submitted by undergraduate and taught postgraduate students in the 19/20 academic year. Therefore, taught postgraduate dissertations will be included in the policy (please see the detail for how this will be handled) and deferred and referred assessments taken in August will also be covered.
    • They have now published the ‘no detriment’ policy in full online, here.
    • A further communication via the FAQs will be sent on Thursday 9 April with an update on how this impacts students who have undertaken industrial placements, study or work abroad placements during 2019/20.
    • In some circumstances programmes subject to professional regulation may not yet be permitted to apply the no detriment policy, you will be communicated by your College if this is the case. The University are proposing it to the regulatory bodies for approval.
    • More detail on summer examinations and assessments will be sent to you by your colleges in the coming weeks.
    • The University have developed a simplified and accelerated mitigation process through which you can apply to defer your examinations and assessments, with no requirement for evidence. Please see our website for further details of this process, and to complete the application form – note, from this webpage you can select options to defer all of your assessments, or one or more where short- lived circumstances impact on your ability to complete some assessments but not others.
    • You can also apply for mitigation or deferral should you experience technical issues or IT failure during an examination here.
    • If you wish to defer all assessments the form will open at 12:00 BST (midday) on Monday 6 April, and close at 23:59 BST on Friday 1 May. Please consider these carefully, our Guild Student Advice Service can support you if you’d like to talk through your options.
    • APACs (Assessment Progression and Awarding Committees), or more commonly known as exam boards, will be delayed by two weeks to allow the University to undertake marking and recommendations in these difficult circumstances. You will receive your grades and outcomes on 8 July.
    • The University will be making appropriate adjustments for students with Individual Learning Plans (ILPs), you will need to contact AccessAbility Service or Wellbeing Services by Thursday 9 April 17:00.
    • If you have any concerns about taking a remote examination or assessment, contact the University on coronavirusenquiries@exter.ac.uk

     

    No Detriment Policy Summary

    • The benchmark will be based on actual achievement from the current academic stage as far as possible.
    • In order for the benchmark to be reliable, it will be based on a mean mark derived from sufficient credit (equivalent to half the total credits of the relevant stage; a stage equates to an academic year for full-time students).
    • If insufficient credit has been accumulated in the current stage, achievement in the previous University of Exeter-based stage will be included within the calculation.
    • If there was no prior University of Exeter-based stage, then the benchmark will be provisional until, in the case of first-year Undergraduates or Postgraduate Taught students (PGTs), sufficient credit has been accumulated to confirm the benchmark.
    • The benchmark will be calculated and applied after all other normal assessment processes have been completed (e.g. condonement, mitigation, scaling, late and academic misconduct penalties). Please see the relevant policies for further details.
    • For students who pass the current stage during 19/20 academic year, the credit-weighted mean for all assessments contributing to the stage (academic year for full-time students) will be compared to the benchmark, and the higher of these two results will be used as their overall result for the stage.
    • The student transcript will be annotated to reflect this policy.

    Read it in full here.

    If you have any further feedback on the new policies or information, please complete our feedback form or email us at coronavirus@exeterguild.com, or feedback to your AcRep- you can find yours here.  

  • VP Welfare: Coronavirus Statement 24 March 2020

    As the coronavirus situation continues to develop, we wanted to provide you with an update on where we are, and how we’re supporting you through this difficult time.

    We are continuing to assess the situation regularly, and will continue to adapt accordingly. Additionally, we are in constant contact with the University to communicate your feedback and to represent your interests.

    We have now closed all of our trading outlets, and our staff our now working remotely. All meetings, including for representation and Advice appointments, are now being held online.

    If you haven’t already, we recommend you take a look through our coronavirus webpage, which includes our latest statements, key resources and some FAQ’s. You can also give your feedback, which can be anything from how your studies have been affected, accommodation issues or anything else related to the coronavirus. We use your feedback to ensure student concerns are heard at the highest level within the University and fight to make sure your voice is heard, including on the Uni providing more student wellbeing information and raising your concerns about accommodation charges.

    Sunday Blake, VP Postgraduate, has written her latest update, which we hope will reassure you of some of the amazing work which the Full-Time Officers are doing for each and every student at Exeter.

    If you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at coronavirus@exeterguild.com or via our feedback form. The University have published a series of coronavirus FAQ's which may have the answer to your question. We strongly encourage you to read your regular emails from the University as they are filled with really important information.

    We’re continuing to get used to what is our new normal, but we’re looking forward to beginning to share some more normal Guild activities later in the week!

  • Guild President: Coronavirus Statement 20 March 2020

    I’d like to give you a bit of an update on where we are after what has been a week like no other I’ve had as your Guild President.

    As your Students’ Guild, we’re still adjusting to the situation we find ourselves in. The vast majority of our staff are now working remotely, however I can assure you that we’re all working hard to ensure that we’re still providing services to you and are representing you effectively. We’re more than just a building, and although we’re going to miss our home in Devonshire House, we’re working on our plans to get used to our new normal.

    Stay up to date with what we’re doing during the coronavirus situation on our coronavirus webpage, which also contains some useful FAQ’s.

    We’re committed to representing you

    Over the last week, it’s been amazing to see so many of you engaging with myself and the rest of the Full-Time Officer Team. We’re going to continue raising any concerns and questions you have with University Senior Management, so please, keep getting in touch with us – you elected us to represent you!

    If you want to raise any concerns, you can do so by:

    Completing our feedback form
    Speaking to your Academic Rep
    Getting in touch with myself, Liv, Penny, Sunday or Katie

    If you are thinking about creating an open letter or any other way of appealing to Senior Management, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have regular direct contact, so we can support you and do our best to make sure your voice is heard at the highest level.

    Our trading outlets

    Throughout this week, Comida, Guild Shop and the Print Room (online orders only) have remained open. For next week:

    - Comida will now be closed until further notice.
    - Guild Shop will be open from 10:00-16:00, Mon-Fri
    - Print Room will be open for online orders only, collection from the Guild Shop

    We’ll continue to update you on when our commercial outlets are likely to open again.

    I hope you can try to enjoy your weekend as much as possible! Take a look at some amazing advice from Katie, your VP Welfare & Diversity, about social distancing, including some top playlist recommendations!

  • Guild Officers: Coronavirus Statement 17 March 2020

    Following guidance from the Government, WHO and the University, we have made a number of decisions to protect our students and staff. We are encouraging Guild staff to work from home; this means that staff will not be accessible in person. All staff and officers will still be available digitally both via email and video conferencing, and we encourage you to contact them should you need to – you can find contact information in each department’s section of our website

    Our Reception in DH1 will be open this Wednesday and Thursday 10:00-14:00 if you have any enquiries. 

    We are closing a number of our outlets; as of 17 March, the Ram, Grove Diner, Lemon Grove and Italiano have been closed until further notice. Currently the Guild Shop (09:00-17:00), Comida (08:00-15:00) and the Print Room (online orders only, collection from Guild Shop) are remaining open – this is subject to change, and we will constantly be reviewing this. We thank all our students for supporting our outlets, and the staff who make them as amazing as they are. We’ll provide updates on when our outlets are likely to be open when we can. 

  • Guild Officers: Coronavirus Statement 16 March 2020 - 20:00

    Please read the important update from the University in your emails.  

    From tomorrow, the majority of Guild staff will now be working from home as per the Government and University guidance; you will be able to reach us digitally via email and/or video software.  

    The Guild will be opening select outlets only tomorrow; our Guild Shop and Comida in DH1, and our Reception. We will review these services tomorrow and take a view on their longer term opening after we have reflected more fully on the Government and University advice.  

    Our Print Room will also be available for online orders only, which will have collection from the Guild Shop. Our other outlets will now be closed for the foreseeable future: The Ram, Lemon Grove, Pieminister, Italiano and the Grove Diner.  

    If you have any immediate concerns or worries, please email us on coronavirus@exeterguild.com or provide feedback via the student feedback form above!  

  • Guild Officers: Coronavirus Statement 16 March 2020

    We are continuously monitoring the situation and taking advice and guidance from the University and Government. You can find the University’s resources here, which they are regularly updating.

    The Full-Time Officers have a meeting this afternoon with University Senior Team and will be providing an update after this with any important outcomes. We encourage you to fill out the student feedback form we’ve created so that we can gather student opinions and feed this back to the University Senior Management regularly.

    Guild update:

    • We have implemented guidance on risks for events and trips on Friday via email to committee members. It will be down to societies or student groups to make the decision that best suits them; we will support those who would like to cancel or postpone and the challenges this may cause.

    • If you are involved with any Guild democracy, keep an eye out for further communications coming your way. We will be cancelling Guild Exec and the scrutiny panels, our Societies Council and Guild Council will be held digitally, and Equality Council to be confirmed as soon as possible.

    • Due to staff availability, Grove Diner will be closed until further notice.

  • Guild Officers: Coronavirus Statement 13 March 2020

    We, as your Full-Time Officer team and an organisation, are continuing to monitor the latest updates on coronavirus, and are following advice from the government, as well as the University. We recommend that you take a look at the University’s Coronavirus Information and Advice webpage, which will be updated regularly as the situation continues to develop.  

    The latest advice means that we have made some decisions which will affect certain activities, services and events; these decisions have been taken with the health of our students and staff as the absolute priority. We will continue to update on these decisions, and will be contacting students affected, including those due to travel abroad with a society or student group.  

    At time of publishing (13 March 2020), the Students’ Guild is remaining open as normal until further notice, including our commercial outlets.  

    If you have any queries or concerns, you can get in touch at coronavirus@exeterguild.com. We have also opened a student feedback form link, which we encourage you to fill out.  

    This is a situation which is constantly developing and evolving, and we will be ready to react in any way we need to in order to protect our students and staff. During this time, we are calling for respect and kindness; harassment, hate and violence are completely unacceptable. If you are a victim or see any inappropriate behaviour, we urge you to call it out if you feel safe to do so, or report it using the University’s Speak Out page.  

VP Postgraduate Updates 19/20

  • Doctoral College Update 3 Jul 2020

    Dear Postgraduate Research Students,

    Our update today is to highlight the availability of a new Work Zone, which is now bookable by any students or staff who are experiencing significant challenges at home that are having a negative impact on mental or physical wellbeing.

    Read More

  • VP Postgraduate Update 29 May 2020

    Coronavirus: Latest Update

    Earlier this week on Wednesday 27 May, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Tim Quine released further information about the University’s plans for the 2020/21 academic year. Registrar Mike Shore-Nye also sent an update on 28 May. We know there has been confusion and frustration around this, and you’ve been waiting for updates, so we’re going to provide a summary of these important communications here. We recommend that you read the emails sent to you this week in full to ensure you’re as informed as possible – you can find them here.

    We are aware that a number of students are requesting further clarification on various aspects of the University’s update and what it means for them. We’re committed to ensuring that the University does clarify any confusion; the Full-Time Officer team met with University Senior Management today (Friday 29 May), and will continue to work together to ensure you have everything you need to know. I have tried to provide clarification alongside the summarised points, however we hope to provide you with more details next week.

    Summary of DVC Tim Quine’s Update (27 May)

    • The plan is for campus to be open with adaptations for social distancing. What this looks like exactly will depend on what the coronavirus situation is locally and nationally, and what the government regulations and advice is.
    • The University are planning for blended learning – anytime, anywhere access to guided online learning, supported by face-to-face teaching (on campus and in person when conditions allow, or real-time online).
    • The University are legally tied to government regulations and are prioritising:
      • The health and safety of students, staff and communities
      • Excellent learning opportunities that are flexible to work no matter what the year holds
      • That students can thrive and achieve their goals
    • Your feedback is essential to ensuring the success of this plan – you can provide feedback by completing a survey the University will be sending out, or by getting in touch with the Students’ Guild Full-Time Officer Team, your Academic Rep or the Students' Guild coronavirus feedback form.
    • The University are aware of the current global employment uncertainty and have created a range of paid opportunities to help. There are a range of paid opportunities available for current students and graduates. These opportunities include supporting the University's transition to blended learning (digital teaching alongside physical teaching). We spoke to DVC Education today (29th May) who assured us that these are not teaching roles and so would not replace Postgraduate Teaching Assistants. We welcome the inclusion of digital learning for its inclusivity of students with chronic illnesses and disabilities, or parent and caring responsibilities. However, we will also be urging the University, where possible, to provide in person teaching.

    Summary of Registrar Mike Shore-Nye’s Update (28 May)

    • Summary of University’s plan for 2020/21 – please see above for further details.
    • Finalists should ensure their HEAR record is up to date.
    • A range of career opportunities and programmes are being planned for the rest of the summer term and vacation – log onto Career Zone to find out more.
    • Graduation ceremonies will now take place in 2021 – graduating students will shortly be polled on whether they would prefer Easter 2021 or Summer 2021.
    • Plans are now in place for students who need to collect belongings from their accommodation in Exeter. The guidance varies greatly depending on whether you’re in University, nominated or private accommodation.

    PGR Funding Update

    Last week the Doctoral College confirmed there will be an extension to studentship funding to support PGR students whose research has been impacted by Coronavirus. You can find the full email outlining this here.

    Further updates and information

    For more information, please visit the University’s FAQ page. We’d also like to reiterate again you should read the University’s emails in full to ensure you have the full details, as we do only provide a brief overview here.

    We urge any student with feedback about this update from the University or anything else related to coronavirus to complete our feedback form or to email coronavirus@exeterguild.com.

    Take care,

    Sunday
    Vice President Postgraduate

  • VP Postgraduate Update 28 May 2020
    Following the University’s announcement yesterday of their plans for next year, I want to reassure you that, along with the rest of the team, we’re still representing you. This includes getting further clarification on various aspects of the announcement; we are meeting with University Senior Management tomorrow (Friday 29 May) to do just this. Following our meeting, the Guild will be providing an update which will include further clarification of what this announcement means for students.

    I know you all want answers and clarification, but please bear with us – we’ll update you as soon as we can.

    If you have any feedback about the announcement, or anything else related to coronavirus, please get in touch with me at vppostgraduate@exeterguild.com, or complete our feedback form at exeterguild.com/coronavirus. I also just want to reiterate that I’m still in my post as VP Postgraduate, and therefore my absolute focus is on postgraduate students. If you’re an undergraduate student, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Patrick (president@exeterguild.com) who is still your Guild President, or any of the other Officers – particularly Penny (vpeducation@exeterguild.com) in this case!

  • VP Postgraduate: PGR Update 21 May 2020

    Dear PGRs, 

    You’ve been waiting for an update for a while and then two come along at the same time! Our original email earlier this evening was intended to touch base as part of a regular update from Ginny (PVP Postgraduate Research) to keep you informed, and this week we didn’t have much to update you on, but things moved so quickly that the Doctoral College’s update and ours accidentally coincided.  

    We would like to say how delighted we are with the policy and that there has been an extension to studentship funding, Ginny and I have been involved in regular discussions with the DC so it’s great that this news has now been confirmed and released! This is a great win for PGR students, and we want to thank the Doctoral College for providing this crucial funding support for you.  

    Please find below the most up-to-date information from the Doctoral College regarding funding, and you can find the DC email in full here

    If you have any feedback on how the policy impacts you, do get in touch using our PGR feedback form or by emailing coronavirus@exeterguild.com.  

    Doctoral College Update: 

    A new policy on extensions to studentship funding to support PGR students impacted by COVID-19 to complete their research has been announced. The policy includes provision for final and non-final year students who are in receipt of studentship funding from the University (and whose funding period ends/ended after 01 March 2020).  Applications for funding extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We will provide further details on the application process in due course. 

    Policy on funding extensions

    As indicated below, some of this information has been released previously, but is included here in the interest of completion. 

    a) UKRI-funded students (re-announcement) 
    Exeter has committed to match the UKRI provision, where studentships are match-funded by the University. 

    b) Students funded by the Wellcome Trust (new announcement) 
    Exeter has committed to match the Wellcome Trust provision, where studentships are match-funded by the University. 

    c) Students funded entirely by the University of Exeter (new announcement) 
    Students will be eligible to apply for 1-6 months of funding extension. (Note: although part of a collaborative programme, QUEX students ‘homed’ at Exeter will be considered under this heading.) 

    d) Students funded by Exeter in collaboration with non-UKRI partners (new announcement) 
    Students will be eligible to apply for 1-6 months of funding extension. Exeter will cover its portion of costs; external partners will be asked to contribute proportionate to their element of the studentship. (If you are partly or wholly funded by income from a partner organisation – including clinical fellows who are PhD candidates – we will liaise with your funder regarding their provision for extended funding).  

    e) Self-funded students (re-announcement) 
    Self-funded students will be eligible to apply for a ‘fees scholarship’, in respect of any approved extension period due to COVID-19 impacts. 

    f) Directly-sponsored students (e.g. by overseas governments or national/international scholarship schemes) (re-announcement) 
    We will liaise with sponsors to understand how they propose to support students who require an extended period of study due to COVID-19 impacts. 

    Process for application

    We are now developing a process for handling individual applications for extension to studentship funding, and we aim to have this in place as soon as possible. We will aim to assess applications fairly and transparently, identifying the appropriate level of support given the nature of the disruption. The process will also need to be appropriately rigorous, out of respect to the intense pressures on University resources. We expect the criteria will include: unmitigable impacts of COVID-19 on projects; personal impact of COVID-19; redeployment of the student as a result of COVID-19. We anticipate that applications will be considered in a phased approach, with applications from final-year students prioritised in the first instance.  

    We will share further information on our policy and process and the timescales for application as soon as we can.” 

  • PVP PGR: PGR Update 21 May 2020

    Dear PGRs 

    No news is … no news. We really hoped to have an update by now regarding COVID-19 extensions to periods of study and extensions to funding but unfortunately we don’t … yet. An update from the Doctoral College is definitely on its way (although they’ve been saying that for some time now!) but part of the delay is how complicated this is and that they’re working on getting the best possible conditions for PGRs. Given that we still don’t know what, or even if, anything will be offered, for now we have to carry on as best we might. So please keep on keeping on if you can. Until we know for sure what extensions will be offered, it’s safer to expect less support. That’s not to say we won’t get funded extensions, just that we shouldn’t bank on that for the moment. And please keep using the PGR portal on our website to give us feedback on specific issues that are affecting you – in the maelstrom of worrying about needing more time and more money we also need to make sure that the minutiae of the challenges to conducting research remotely are not neglected.  

    Which brings us on to research ethics - not that this is a mere ‘detail’, but minutiae in the sense of ‘intricacies’.  For some, ‘fieldwork’ has now morphed into ‘kitchen-table work’ meaning that research plans have changed significantly. For others ‘desk-based research’ has become, yes, ‘kitchen-table based research’. The University has advice regarding ethics in its Research Tool Kit and on its Research Ethics and Governance page, but please get in touch via email or on our PGR portal if you have feedback regarding conducting your research remotely, particularly in relation to ethics. We can then report this to the University and, we hope, get any issues resolved. 

    In the meantime, kia kaha 

    Ginny Thomas 
    Pro-Vice President Postgraduate Research  

  • PVP PGR: PGR Update 7 May 2020

    Six weeks is a long time in research and now, six weeks into lockdown, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we aren’t going to be able to go back on to campus for quite some time – probably not before the next academic year at the earliest for most of us. That’s not to say that it might not be possible for exceptions to be made before that but at the moment that is by no means certain and not in any way guaranteed. So, we continue with our research in mitigated form, from kitchen tables rather than desks, conducting interviews by telephone rather than face to face, with screaming children in their bedrooms rather than the ‘silence’ of the library, and with time and/or money running out. No change to that last one except the rate. COVID-19 has an invidious ability to accelerate time and inflate costs, or at least reduce incomes. And the University appears to have lost much of the sense of urgency that it had in the early days of this pandemic.

    We know that we can get extensions to our study period if required, but for many funded students there is still no assurance that any such extension will be funded rendering it potentially worthless.

    Self-funded researchers will be awarded a ‘fees scholarship in respect of any approved extension to the period of study due to COVID-19 impacts’ but, and this is the crucial part, this will apply only to researchers who ‘remain registered throughout the period of COVID-19 restrictions’. That is, if a self-funded researcher takes an interruption during the period of COVID-19 restrictions they will lose their eligibility for a fees scholarship.

    UKRI funded researchers are being offered a funded extension of up to six months if they are in their final year and can apply for funded extensions on a case by case basis if they are not in their final year. The difficulty here arises from the fact that many PGRs are funded through a model in which funding comes from UKRI and one or more other sources. These sources may be unwilling or unable to match UKRIs funding model so these PGRs may receive only the UKRI proportion of their funding.

    PGRs who are funded by non-UKRI systems are still in limbo with the University having currently yet to make an announcement about how, or if, these researchers will be supported until the government decision was announced with respect to the UUK request for support for universities. At the time of writing (04/05/20) it seems that this request has been declined by the Government, although some concessions have been made, meaning that the onus is now entirely on the University to support its PGRs.

    The Guild will continue to lobby the University to stand by its PGRs and support them and their futures. To strengthen our case please continue to use the PGR Covid-19 Feedback Form to let us know how you are affected and what you need. We will take this feedback to the University and lobby on your behalf for whatever you need as a result of COVID-19 or any other aspect of your research.

    If you have any issues at all you want to make us aware of, you can do so by contacting us at coronavirus@exeterguild.com, or by completing the PGR coronavirus feedback form. Remember to keep checking the PGR specific webpage for further information, as well as the University's portal. If you need any additional support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Guild’s Advice Service at advice@exeterguild.com.

    In the meantime, kia kaha.

    Take care,

    Ginny Thomas

    Pro-Vice President Postgraduate Research

  • VP Postgraduate: PGR Update 9 April 2020

    The Doctoral College have sent out an email detailing a number of policies and solutions which will hopefully alleviate some of the issues you’re facing as a result of coronavirus. In this email I’m going to outline these, however I would recommend also reading the Doctoral College’s email, which will provide more detail.

    I’d also like to remind you of the PGR specific coronavirus webpage we have put together – we’ll continue to update this as we get more information, so please keep an eye on this. Our PGR community is diverse with many unique issues, so I’m continuing to work to find solutions which give students clarity.

    Virtual Vivas

    The University have introduced a policy which will enable vivas to go ahead via video conferencing software. You can find out more about this on the COVID-19 temporary policies webpage.

    Electronic Thesis Submission

    If you have a thesis due in the next few weeks, the PG Admin team should have contacted you about a temporary electronic submission solution. If you have any urgent issues, please contact pgradmin@exeter.ac.uk. A longer term solution is being worked on, which we will bring you information on when ready.

    Upgrade assessments

    The Doctoral College have been working with the College Directors of PGR, who have been reviewing planned timelines for upgrade assessments and making adjustments to these where required. The aim is to support both those who are ready to move ahead with their upgrade, and those who need to defer their upgrade deadline. College or Discipline DPGRs will be communicating arrangements in due course.

    Extensions to period of study

    Where progress for any postgraduate research student is impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and associated restrictions, it will be possible to apply for an extension to your period of study, or a deferral of particular programme deadlines. Further information will be posted about this as soon as possible.

    Extensions to studentship funding

    Work is continuing with UKRI and Research England to quickly get to a stage where it is clear what support will be available for funded extensions to studentships – I hope that this information will be with you very soon. If you are in receipt of a UKRI-funded studentship, you can find their latest advice here.

    Emergency assistance fund

    If you’re facing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus, you are able to apply for the University’s emergency assistance fund; you can get up to £1,000 in emergency support.

    IT loan scheme

    any students, including PGRs, who have difficulties with IT hardware or internet connectivity while working remotely can seek support from this fund. Students who have difficulties should contact 01392 725000 (international: +44 300 555 0225), or coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk.

    Students’ Guild PGR Feedback form

    As well as our PGR coronavirus webpage, we also want to hear as much feedback from PGR students as possible. We’ve set up a PGR feedback form, which you can use to tell us how you’ve been affected by coronavirus, whether that’s with funding, your research or accommodation. You can also get in touch with me directly at vppostgraduate@exeterguild.com, Ginny at pvppostgraduate@exeterguild.com, or you can email coronavirus@exeterguild.com.

    Extended Easter closure

    All Guild Officers and staff will be taking an extended break for Easter – we’ll be closed from Friday 10 April until Thursday 16 April. If you’ve got any issues during that time, please let us know at coronavirus@exeterguild.com and we’ll get back to you then.

    If for any reason you are feeling unsafe at home:

    • Women can call The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge on 0808 2000 247 for free at any time, day or night. The staff will offer confidential, non-judgemental information and support

    • Men can contact Men's Life Advice on 0808 8010 327 (Monday and Wednesday, 9am to 8pm, and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9am to 5pm) for non-judgemental information and support

    • Men can also call ManKind on 0182 3334 244 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)

    • If you identify as LGBT+ you can call Galop on 0800 999 5428 for emotional and practical support

    • Anyone can call Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) for forced marriage and honour crimes. You can also call 020 7008 0151 to speak to the GOV.UK Forced Marriage Unit

    • In an emergency, call 999

    • If you need mental health support, take a look at these helplines


     

    Stay safe,

    Sunday Blake, VP Postgraduate

  • VP Postgraduate: PGR Update 7 April 2020

    Dear PGRs
    Firstly, I would like to apologise for the piecemeal nature in which you are receiving updates. There are many factors at stake and a great many decisions rely on the actions from external and third parties. The Doctoral College cannot make internal decisions before we know what the external decisions are.

    Yesterday (Monday), and today (Tuesday) I have had meetings with the University where I relayed the many questions and concerns, I received over the weekend. We spoke about the following:

    Extensions

    1. Period of Study (agreed to support)
    2. Funding (if you do get an extension to study, will you also get funding extended?)

    1. Period of Study

    As mentioned before, the University approach is in line with UKRI advice and therefore they are advising students to apply for extensions. Extensions are usually granted in exceptional circumstances. As we are all in an exceptional circumstance, no one who applies for an extension will be turned down and you will not be expected to give evidence. This is in line with the postgraduate taught mitigation policy released last week.

    You may want to seek an interruption. These are given for, “personal, medical, or financial circumstances.” Please think very carefully about applying for an interruption as you will not have access to your supervisor, resources, and in funded cases, your stipend.

    Upgrades

    Colleges and disciplines are looking at timeframes and adjusting where necessary. Your College should be communicating this but please let me know if you haven’t heard anything (by emailing me at sunday.blake@exeterguild.com).  We will have a upgrade deferral form to share with you very soon from the Doctoral College (without strict requirement for evidence). This is in line with the postgraduate taught mitigation policy. This will give you a blanket deferral for three months.

    If you do want to upgrade on the original deadline it will be done via Microsoft Teams without an independent chair. If you are uncomfortable completing your upgrade viva on a virtual platform, you can defer it.
     

    Vivas

    Vivas are being extended from within two weeks, to be six weeks of submission and conducted via Microsoft Teams.

    2. Extension Funding

    The University are conduced comprehensive overview (including all categories of funding - e.g. external, sponsor, match funded and self-funded) and costs related to extension to bring to Gold group. They are working externally with the Russel Group to present to the Government the cost of PGR extension. UKRI are likely to make further announcements on PGR financial support.

    Mitigated Thesis

    This would be when you are marked on a thesis that is shorter, or with less data than originally planned. There has been no decisions on this yet but the Doctoral College are interested in seeing what circumstances have prompted these requests or discussion. (E.g. I have had requests for this from international wishing to submit, finish, and go home etc). Please let me know if this is something you have been thinking about, as well, so I can represent your interests fully- please do so by filling out the PGR feedback form at www.exeterguild.org/coronavirus. This may be more beneficial to MRes students. PhD students need to carefully consider their academic and career progression.  This isn’t something the Doctoral College have committed to doing, but they certainly are considering it as one of the many options they wish to give you.

    e-Submission

    The Doctoral College are in discussions with IT Services about best way to progress with this. The right software is complicated, as is the right method of submission and then further distribution. There have been some successful thesis submissions without this policy or procedure and have been sent out to examiners using the software available.  There is still some question about examiners wanting hard copies and this is an ongoing discussion. In any case, do NOT come on to campus if you need to submit. Contact the Doctoral College directly, and well in advance, to discuss your options.
    Difficulty conducting research

    If you are struggling to do any research now, it’s really important that you speak to your supervisor directly. As academics, they will also be facing the same frustrations as you and as the expert in your study, they will know best how to mitigate this. Do also speak to your pastoral tutors.

    The library is continuing to add E-books to their collection every day to ensure resources are remotely accessible. If there is something missing that you need urgently email  library@fxplus.ac.uk (Cornwall) or library@exeter.ac.uk (Exeter). Guides on using the library online can be found here https://libguides.exeter.ac.uk/?b=s

    Other students concerns that I put forward:

    • Lack of communication and attention paid to PGRs compared to undergraduate provision.
    • Clarity around 1+3, MRes Dissertations and Progression.
    • Provision needed for students from High Risk groups who have been advised by the government to self-isolate for 12 weeks, if campus reopens before then.
    • A lot of advice and communications have been given to undergraduates and we feel neglected.
    • Lack of access to equipment or primary data collection being impossible.
    • Provision for student parents or those with new caring duties for relatives.

    These concerns are being discussed with immediate effect and I really hope to get answers to you all soon.  There will be an email sent out from the Doctoral College Wednesday or Thursday this week with further information.  

    Please remember if you have any concerns to contact me directly: Sunday.Blake@exeterguild.com and I strongly encourage you to fill out the PGR feedback form found at the top of this page. 

  • VP Postgraduate: Coronavirus Statement 31 March 2020

    ALL POSTGRADUATE UPDATE COVID-19

    *If you have any concerns about anything posted below please EMAIL me, not message me on Facebook. I am at work 7 - 12 hours a day and more likely to see emails! sunday.blake@exeterguild.com*

    Hi everyone, just an update with the movements I have managed today. I'm sorry this is relatively late - I had Guild trustee board meetings, alongside trying to represent the sheer amount of human experiences and different and complex circumstances, it's really taking a lot of time and emotion. I had meetings, emails, phone calls with different members of the University and have made the following progress for today.

    Firstly, Doctoral College is sending out comms which will supplement the Registrars emails. I believe a lot of the confusion as to what does and doesn’t apply to PGs last week was because some PGs were receiving both staff and student emails which some, both, or neither of the contents being relevant. This should be being addressed both in a Registrars email you would have received this afternoon, and in communications from the doctoral college.

    TAUGHT STUDENTS THIRD TERM MODULES
    Please prepare for these to be delivered online the same way modules for term 2 finished being. Of course, this will be continuously reviewed and updated if the circumstances permit.

    TAUGHT STUDENTS AND: THE "NO DETRIMENT" POLICY
    The no detriment policy I worked on last week absolutely does apply to PGT assignments (this is why I - as the PG rep - was working on it!). I reported back to the University that the emails weren't clear and seemed only to refer to undergraduates. You should have received an email from the registrar this afternoon clarifying that this policy is for all PGT assignments this term! Please check your emails and if you need any clarification let me know: sunday.blake@exeterguild.com -

    TAUGHT STUDENTS DISSERTATIONS:
    Currently I still don't have an answer as to whether these will be permitted under the 'No Detriment Policy.’ Of course, I am arguing that there needs to be some consideration. The University is still arguing that autumn is a long way off, and the global conditions may have changed. I have been following the news and I am not so sure. A lot of the concern with some MA dissertations is that they obviously act as steppingstones to PhD research, sometimes acting as a proposal and completing these differently would be detrimental to your preparation and put you at a disadvantage when applying for funding. This is not what we want. The University do have your best possible intentions at heart, and are engaging with pedagogical, mental health, and discipline specific experts to ensure that both your wellbeing and your academic career are protected. I am really keen to hear back from as many people as possible about this and the impact COVID-19 is having on your ability to do your PGT Dissertation. Please email me with any and all concerns, big or small: Sunday.blake@exeterguild.com

    You will have an absolute answer by Friday 3rd April, and I will continue to fight for the best possible outcome for you by then.

    UPGRADES
    The Doctoral College have stressed that for everyone’s mental health we approach the coming months as goal-orientated and not deadline-orientated. Upgrades will continue to be run as the schedule is set as closely as possible, but these are and will continue to be movable. Ideally upgrades can happen online during lockdown (and there have already been several examples of this occurring this week, with minor interruptions or problems). There will be issues around internet connection, appropriate space to take the upgrade, and time/headspace to prepare for it. Therefore, in some cases there may be the need to postpone it. You will need to contact your supervisor and college as soon as possible if you think this will be the case. Which leads me on to:

    EXTENSIONS VS. INTERRUPTIONS
    The University approach needs to be inline with UKRI and therefore they are advising extensions. No one will be turned down. This is because extensions tend to be granted in “exceptional circumstances,” which I saw, and argued, us as all, blanketly, find ourselves in, without any explanation. Every single PGR is in an “exceptional circumstance.” It is very likely to be confirmed that there will be no fees attached to any extension. However, you WILL still need to apply for them, they won’t be automatic. Some students won’t need them and are continuing to work through the lockdown normally, and in some cases e.g. International Students, the anxiety is actually around getting the research finished and getting home to their loved ones.

    Extensions will be granted for other programme deadlines as well as for overall candidateships (e.g. for upgrades etc.). Deadlines for admin/paperwork etc will be at college/discipline level.

    Interruptions will be for “Personal, medical, or financial circumstances.” Therefore, extensions will be the blanket default for all of us impacted by COVID-19 and interruptions will be reserved for those who have met significant hardship during the lockdown. Please think very carefully about applying for an interruption as you will not have access to your supervisor, resources, and in funded cases, your stipend. Obviously this may be the option for some, but think carefully as you may be able to manage your circumstances with an extension, especially is stipend extension is granted.

    FUNDING
    As mentioned before the University are working with UKRI. UKRI are agreeing to the cost of extensions on a CASE BY CASE basis. This is far from ideal. The University and I will continue to lobby them for leniency. The extension process will be fully developed in partnership with UKRI, throughout April.

    For student funded by the University scholarship schemes, the University is asking the government to help with the cost of extensions. This is a huge exercise which is about totalling up all the thousands of students and what the amount is, and the extent of funds needed. I know that this is an incredibly anxious time for you all and I will absolutely endeavour to get clear answers on this asap.

    Self-funded students absolutely have not been forgotten about. There are a lot of conversations around supporting you in your ability to study and again, I will update you as soon as I have the answer. It is worth knowing that the COVID-19 hardship fund (to be agreed this week!) will be open to ALL PG STUDENTS regardless of funding status.

    STUDENTS IN ISOLATION
    I am aware that there are students still in Exeter. Please contact the University’s Corona Crisis Team so that they can check on your welfare and ensure you have everything you need.
    The Doctoral College should have uploaded comprehensive FQAs by tomorrow.
    Once again, I am so sorry that not everything is as clarified as we want it to be. I am working incredibly hard and as fast as I can. I know that DVC Education, and the Doctoral College are also trying to work out the best possible circumstances for you.

    Please continue to prioritise the health of yourself and your loved ones.

  • VP Postgraduate: Coronavirus Statement 25 March 2020

    I am working as hard as I can attempting to coordinate with different parties, bodies, and organisations to ensure your research and wellbeing are both protected. You are my sole and complete priority right now. As predicted, mitigating the impact and distress of COVID-19 is proving lot more complex than with mitigating taught degrees (which was complex in itself!).

    My main concerns at the moment are:
    - Extra funding for those who now need more time to complete their research
    - Students with childcare or care responsibilities
    - Isolation and impact on mental wellbeing.

    Please email me with absolutely anything that is currently impacting you. There is no concern too small. I am collating as much feedback as I can so I can truly reflect your needs to the Doctoral College.

    A virtual vivas policy is being finalised. The PG Admin team will advise those candidates and examination panels directly on the virtual vivas policy and assess whether those vivas can proceed, or need to be postponed. However, right now DO NOT travel to our campuses for any viva examinations until further notice. Please seek advice from the PG Admin team - pgadmin@exeter.ac.uk if you have a scheduled viva.

    The University are in the process of identifying potentially safe study spaces for you to use. These are unlikely to be your offices but will be spaces on campus where you can work at a socially safe distance from others. I will update as soon as I have more details on this.

    The Doctoral College has a live Doctoral College Coronavirus webpage which I strongly encourage you continue to check for up-to-date policies and regulations. The Guild also have our own website, https://www.exeterguild.org/coronavirus/ And the library has a live page, also: https://libguides.exeter.ac.uk/coronavirus

    Important Contacts

    • Business School- uebs-pgradmin@exeter.ac.uk
    • College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences- emps-pgr@exeter.ac.uk
    • College of Humanities-humanities-gradschool@exeter.ac.uk
    • College of Life and Environmental Sciences-
      cles-pgr-support@exeter.ac.uk
    • College of Social Sciences and International Studies (Stretham)- ssis-grs-streatham@exeter.ac.uk
    • College of Social Sciences and International Studies (St Luke's)- ssis-grs-stlukes@exeter.ac.uk
    • College of Medicine and Health- UEMS-graduateresearch@exeter.ac.uk
      All Cornwall Students- cornwall-pgr@exeter.ac.uk
    • If you are uncertain which team to contact, please email Doctoral.College@exeter.ac.uk

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