16 September 2013
Welcome to the start of a new term and academic year at Royal Holloway. I hope that the summer has proved both restful and productive.
In the lead up to the start of term, everyone has been working hard to prepare for the arrival of around 3,000 new students and the return of 6,000 students. Thanks to the hard work of our colleagues in Registry, more students than ever before have successfully enrolled as a student before their arrival, and the new Student Services Centre in the Windsor Building will be open in time for their arrival.
Find out more about the events and activities we have planned for Welcome Week.
New Royal Holloway Identity
Our new identity will officially launch this week; it is the culmination of several months’ work which included extensive research and testing with key stakeholders, including 1,200 incoming students.
You may have noticed that the website has already undergone a make-over (you may need to press 'CTRL' and 'F5' at the same time to refresh your screen); other online platforms will follow suit this week. Implementation of the new identity will be a gradual process based on when materials or items would naturally be replaced. If you are in need of new stationery, you can place your order here, and the logo, powerpoint presentations and other guidelines are available online now royalholloway.ac.uk/brand. We’ll also be changing all staff monitor desktop backgrounds from the blue Founder’s image to our new logo within the next few weeks.
Our new identity is just one of our latest developments that you can hear about at the Discover our Future event this Thursday. Over 500 staff have signed up so far, and I am looking forward to seeing all of you there.
23 September 2013
This weekend, I had the opportunity to meet some of our 3,000 new students, and their families, and was delighted to hear how much they had been looking forward to starting, even if they were a little apprehensive about embarking on such a big change in their lives.
Whilst for many of us, university life has a pattern and familiarity; we forget what a large and complex place a campus can be. Last week, we officially opened our new Student Services Centre in the Windsor Building and I hope that, by combining many separate functions into one office, we will help our students, old and new, have confidence that it is easy to find the help and support they need. Please call in and say hello to the staff and see the new facility.
The Student Service Centre is one of the changes we are making to provide a better experience for our students, which are reflected, in part, in the year-on-year improvement in our National Student Survey satisfaction scores. Academic departments have also made great improvements, and together we have moved our scores to record levels, placing us 4% above the national average.
These changes and other plans are featured in our new College Strategy that we launched at last Thursday’s Discover Our Future event. Over 600 staff attended, taking part in seminars and visiting exhibits that highlighted different aspects of the plan. Initial feedback shows that you all enjoyed the day, especially the opportunity to bring all staff together, and would like to see similar events in future; if you haven’t yet given us your feedback, please do so here. If you were unable to attend, materials from the day will be available online this week.
30 September 2013
This week, teaching begins on many of our courses, bringing opportunities for new and returning students to acquire and develop new skills and knowledge. With the conclusion of a busy Welcome Week, I would like to look back at some of the exciting activities that we have introduced as part of our Welcome Week offering, all designed to improve our students’ first experience of the College.
As well as an increased number of alcohol-free social events, the Welcome Festival on Sunday included events across campus for both students and staff.
Students welcome support from many sources, including from their peers. This year we have seen a greater take-up of the Peer Guides mentoring scheme, in which returning students support new students. Support and Advisory Services trained 140 peer guides across 13 departments and we hope that more departments will participate.
The Library Service saw more than 2,500 students through tours, inductions, and a popular pirate themed treasure hunt and the new online subject guides have proved popular with students, with 1,568 hits in one week alone.
IT plays a significant role in the teaching and learning process and last week more than 8,000 devices were successfully connected to the College Wi-Fi network. Lecture capture technology, which can aid study during revision periods, is also available in several lecture theatres.
Our Campus Services team have also been working hard, introducing new initiatives such as welcome receptions with residential support staff, as well as breathing new life into Crosslands and Kingswood Hall catering outlets.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in Welcome Week and for making it such a great success.
As a timely reminder of the cyclical nature of our business, this coming Saturday sees one of our biggest student recruitment Open Days at which students who may join us in 2014 will be visiting.