Monday 31 March
A major part of the university experience is the chance for
students to live away from home for the first time. We aim to give all of our
first years the opportunity to start their independent life in a hall of
residence and, as student numbers grow, so too must the number of hall places
For this reason, we are planning to build an additional
residence, with 500 to 700 bedrooms north of the A30, and we hope that the
first 200 will be ready for the 2015-16 session. This new stock will increase
our overall accommodation to just over 3,500 beds, so we should be able to improve
our guarantee of accommodation to all first year and international students,
and accept more returners.
The benefit of halls of residence for first years, over
privately rented rooms, is the support on offer from our dedicated team of
residential support assistants, as students adjust to their new found independence.
Having had responsibility for a student residence in another
university, I cannot over-emphasise the importance of the role played by this team,
supporting students on a range of issues from settling in through to striking a
healthy balance between study and social activity.
Residential support assistants can be undergraduate or postgraduate
students, so long as they have the confidence, emotional stability and
mediation skills to manage challenging and sometimes sensitive situations,
often out of hours. These Assistants, and the many others who play a similar
role in supporting students, make a real difference to new arrivals, setting
them up for success and continuing to support them through their time with us.
Finally, as the last outstanding element of the rebrand, we
will be moving to the URL royalholloway.ac.uk from tomorrow, Tuesday 1 April.
From then, rhul.ac.uk/everypage will appear as royalholloway.ac.uk/everypage. Any links or emails using rhul.ac.uk will
continue to reach their destination. Staff email addresses will also be updated
to @royalholloway.ac.uk. For more information,follow the link.
Monday 24 March
At its meeting last week, College Council gave approval to
move to the detailed design phase for the new Library and Student Services
Building. Council recognised that this
was possibly the single most important development for Royal Holloway since the
Founder’s Building itself.
For those of you who missed last week’s staff meeting, here
are some more details about our plans.
The new building will be at the heart of campus, opposite
our iconic Founder’s Building and adjacent to the Windsor Building. An improved, landscaped area will be created between
the new building and Founder’s.
The library will be accessible 24/7 for most of the year, and
will provide a mix of social, group and individual, silent study zones.
The Careers Service will be relocated to the new building
and will have a dedicated space for student enquiries, coaching, employer
presentations and alumni networking, and to showcase employability activities.
The Student Service Centre, which has dealt with 14,000
enquiries so far this year, will move to the ground floor of the new building,
from its present location in the Windsor building and will act in addition as a
reception for the building.
Catering and retail provision will include a purpose built
shop and bank, alongside a café, which will provide a range of services to
match the library service’s opening hours.
We expect the new building to be handed over between January
and May 2017 and plans are being considered as to how best to transfer
activities into the new building, without disrupting students during teaching
and assessment periods.
Once the migration is complete, we will benefit from the
vacated space in the old Bedford Library and I have asked the Deputy Principal,
Professor Rob Kemp, to consult with academic departments to identify the best
possible use of the vacated space.
The presentation from the recent open meeting is online here
(link); you can see detailed designs of what the building could look like from
inside and outside. We are particularly excited about the proposal to create a
living ‘green wall’, designed to make the building feel part of the woodland
Let us know what you think of this important and exciting
development for Royal Holloway, by emailing your comments and suggestions to email@example.com
or providing feedback via our project pages.
Monday 17 March
Last week saw an event that will become a landmark in the
history of the College: the visit by HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, to
mark the award of our Regius Professorship in Music.
The visit was a great success and enjoyed by the Royal
party, students and staff alike; helped by the excellent weather and relaxed
atmosphere. I would like to thank all
those involved in the preparation of the visit – both front of house and behind
Although there is no official conferment ceremony for the
Regius Professorship and no requirement for the Queen to attend, it is pleasing
that she chose to visit the College, during which she heard a selection of the
high standard of music we have to offer, as well as meeting past and present
music staff and students.
The visit provided also the opportunity for staff to talk
about the many other significant developments found across the wider College
ranging from drama, with our new theatre, to information security and the
search for dark matter.
For all of us, the occasion is a reminder of the very high
standard of academic achievement in the College, made possible by excellent
academic and support staff, as well as first class students and for which we
should be rightly proud.
Our academic achievements mark us out as a university of
choice for many students and the Royal visit was quickly followed by the first
of our Open Day for prospective students joining in 2015. Again, the day benefitted from lovely spring
weather and enthusiastic staff and student ambassadors, showing the College at
Finally, in the week ahead we have two important
events. On Monday, we are joined by
Professor Stephanie Marshall, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Academy
(HEA). The HEA is the main professional
body to recognise university teachers and the visit is designed to explore ways
in which we can increase membership of the HEA, particularly at its more senior
And on Tuesday, the Staff Open Meeting (1-2pm in the Main
Lecture Theatre), which is being extended to students as well, will be unveiling
current plans for the Library and Student Services Building.
Monday 10 March
Across our academic disciplines, the quality of our research
can be enhanced through partnership. For
many of us, such partnership starts with colleagues who can offer the benefit
of their experience or provide critical appraisal of a research idea or publication.
For many of the big research questions of our time,
partnership takes the form of working with a much wider range of people and
organisations that bring knowledge and skills from other disciplines.
The most obvious of these has been the ways in which the UK
Research Councils have encouraged doctoral training consortia to form in order
to provide better support for research students. Our membership of the London NERC Doctoral
Training Partnership joins us to 375 academics along with businesses,
policy-makers, public and third sector organisations for the benefit of our
research students and research work at Royal Holloway.
Other partnerships occur between academic groups and
companies, large and small. The
Information Security Group has a long tradition of working with businesses to
tackle the problems of information and cyber-security. Most recently the Group has partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers
to strengthen the company’s cyber defence team.
In the arts and humanities too, the ethos of collaboration
is becoming more established. The recently formed AHRC-funded Doctoral Training
Partnership combines academic research with placements at 13 arts and cultural
organisations in London. In the third sector, our historians have developed
close relationships with the Imperial War Museum through the Holocaust Research
Partnerships can result in direct funding of research. Colleagues in the Department of Computer
Science are working with British Gas to develop a set of algorithms and models
that could lead to a better understanding of their customers and improve
forecasting of energy and services demand. And in the School of Biological
Sciences, several organisations are interested in working with researchers to
develop a biofuels-producing tobacco tree, which could have a significant
impact on fossil-fuel based energy consumption.
Whether it’s working with a colleague on campus or an
organisation on the other side of the world, partnership working can multiply
our achievements and make us stronger than the sum of the parts.
To help develop greater partnership working, we have a range
of services run through the Research and Enterprise office to help grow and
cement partnerships, as well as an individual who is targeting the development
of new relationships.
At a more local level, we are developing ways for us all to
get to know one another’s research better and to find new opportunities for
collaboration. One of these initiatives
will be a dedicated research awareness day on Friday 27 June 2014 where you
will be able to learn more after the wide range of exciting research undertaken
on campus. Save the date: more details
will be available soon.
Monday 3 March
A characteristic feature of Royal Holloway is the
substantial calendar of events that takes place over the course of a year. These events vary from opportunities to
showcase our research to celebrating achievement. The annual What’s On brochure summarises the key events and our web site lists
all events. A new addition you will see
around the campus is a monthly poster listing events around campus.
Most recently, the College has put on a series of events
designed to promote and celebrate Science at Royal Holloway. The range of activities associated with our
Science Week included Rare Disease Day
(ideally on the 29th February, but this year on the 28th)
and on Saturday 1st March, the ever-popular Super Science Saturday. This
year the weather was kind to us and a large number of visitors came to the
campus to discover more about science. I
would like to take this opportunity to take all the staff and student
volunteers who helped make the day such a great success.
Looking forward, on Saturday 8th March, we will
be celebrating International Women’s Day, which has been observed around the
world since the early 1900s. The
occasion gives us cause to reflect on the outstanding contribution our own female
staff and students. Early former students of Royal Holloway and Bedford colleges
include the novelist George
Eliot, who assumed a male pen name so that she might be taken seriously in
the literary world; Emily
Wilding Davison the prominent Suffragette whose political campaigning
contributed to the legislation of the vote for women; and Elizabeth
Blackwell, who overcame deep-rooted
prejudice to become the first woman doctor.
Today, the legacy continues with outstanding achievements by more recent
students, such Baroness Cathy Ashton, EU Foreign Minister, Janice Hadlow,
Controller of BBC 2, and nursing pioneer Jean McFarlane. And many of our female academic staff are
themselves leaders in their field.
As well as events like our Science Festival, designed to
encourage young people into science, all our science departments are working
hard to support women in their scientific careers. They do this by promoting the principles of the
Athena SWAN Charter. Every department
elects an Athena SWAN champion and together their involvement has resulted in
the award of Silver status to Physics and Psychology, while Earth Sciences and
Computer Science hold Bronze status.
We would like to celebrate all these achievements by
inviting you to pop in to our own celebration for International Women’s Day on Tuesday
4th March from 4pm in the Windsor Building, where light
refreshments will be available.