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Durham University

Internal Communications

Dialogue Signposts

9 April 2021

Become a citizen-scientist and help us track songbirds this spring

Want to connect with nature, boost your well-being and take part in new research? Join in our new Nature’s Audio project and help us track garden songbirds this spring. All you need to do is tune into the birdsong in your garden/local area, record what you hear and upload it to our dedicated website. Find out more about Become a citizen-scientist and help us track songbirds this spring - Durham University

(9 Apr 2021)

Coming up: What is it like to teach with Blackboard Learn Ultra webinar

As part of our efforts to introduce our new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to staff across the University, we will be running Wednesday Weekly Webinars all about Blackboard Learn Ultra. On Wednesday 14 April from 11am-11.30am, we’ll be hosting an online panel discussion to hear about Blackboard Learn Ultra from staff who’ve already taught on the platform during our pilot programme. Simply visit our Wednesday Weekly Webinars pages and add the event to your calendar and learn more about Blackboard Learn Ultra.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Coming up: What is it like to teach with Blackboard Learn Ultra webinar

Community Newsletter

Get up to date on our partnership working, find out how we’re supporting the route to recovery from Covid-19 one year on, or find something for you to experience this month – whether it’s an experimental virtual artwork, feature film or citizen science project. Check out this month’s Community Newsletter for more. Anyone can sign up to receive the Community Newsletter here. If you have something you'd like included, please email:

(9 Apr 2021)

Covid reporting

Currently when managers record symptoms or a positive Covid test for their staff members, information needs to be logged in Oracle and also via a second web form. The Oracle system has been updated so all relevant information can now be entered and updated in the absence screen of the Oracle portal. The second web form is therefore no longer required. 

(9 Apr 2021)

Digital Learning Special Interest Group

The Digital Learning Special Interest Group will continue to host informal talks during next term. We are inviting colleagues to submit proposals to share their approach to digital learning with the Special Interest Group by completing this short form: Sharing Practice (Easter 2021).

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Digital Learning Special Interest Group

Durham supports launch of North East England Climate Coalition

We’re proud to support the North East England Climate Coalition, which officially launched last week, to work for climate justice and support the move to a green economy. Find out more about how we’re working to improve the environment. 

(9 Apr 2021)

Extended call for Papers: 3 Rivers Regional Learning and Teaching Conference

The call for papers to the 15th Regional Learning and Teaching Conference, taking place on 25 June, has been extended to 16 April. We invite our teaching community to contribute to critical discussions on Knowledge Exchange as part of learning in higher education, with this 'Call for Papers' . Please visit our abstract submission process page and supporting information for advice on submitting an abstract.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Extended call for Papers: 3 Rivers Regional Learning and Teaching Conference

Hedgehog first aid

Would you know what to do if you found a hedgehog in distress? Join us for a free one hour hedgehog first aid webinar on 15 April at 4pm. This webinar is open to anyone. Get your free ticket through Eventbrite. Please note: there will be images of injured hedgehogs shared during the webinar.

(9 Apr 2021)

IAS Co-directorships

The IAS is seeking two Co-Directors to commence in the academic year 2021/22 (October 2021, and January 2022): one to represent the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and the other for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health. The roles are 20% FTE, for three years in the first instance. Colleagues interested in applying for these posts are encouraged to contact the IAS Executive Director, Professor Veronica Strang. Both roles are advertised on Oracle with full role and application details. Closing date is 5 May 2021 for both.

(9 Apr 2021)

Italian course at St John's

Italian is a beautiful language, the language of the cradle of the Western civilisation, and the most romantic of all the roman languages. It is a definite 'must learn' if you are passionate about delicious food, history of art, music and even business. The course runs online on Teams every Friday, 7pm-7.55pm, for 6 weeks starting 16 April 2021. The teacher is a native Italian speaker, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with a PG-cert in Academic Practice and with years’ experience in teaching and the sessions will be highly interactive. All fees will be donated to support St John’s College and its activities during the pandemic.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Italian course at St John's

Lateral Flow Tests

If you live and work in Durham, please continue to take a Lateral Flow Test twice a week. Tests are free, easy and quick at Palace Green, Maiden Castle and The Palatine Centre, and you’ll get your results by email within two hours. Testing twice a week will help stop the spread of Covid-19 in our University and community. If you have previously completed training and registration, please use the booking link you received via email after registration where you can book multiple tests. If you haven't completed training, go to

(9 Apr 2021)

New Director International

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Charlie Pybus as our new Director International. Charlie will join us from the University of Bristol, where he is currently Deputy Director International and Head of International Student Recruitment. He has extensive experience of leadership in international higher education and we look forward to welcoming him to Durham in July 2021. Vicky Anderson, currently Assistant Director (Recruitment & Marketing) in the International Office, will step up as Head of the International Office (Interim Director) from 1 May to 31 July 2021. Vicky will lead the International Office for a period and provide a handover to Charlie when he takes up his post.

(9 Apr 2021)

New Information Security and Data Protection Training for staff

This is the next eLearning package to be launched for all staff on Oracle Learning and will go live on 16 April. Completing this “required learning” will help the University to demonstrate its compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and give you a better understanding of how to manage personal data appropriately. It also covers how information security and data protection affects your day to day work. You can access this training by logging on to your Oracle Portal and clicking on the Learning button.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about New Information Security and Data Protection Training for staff

Noticed something different on our website?

If you’ve been looking closely, you may have noticed some changes to our website recently. As part of our New Website Project, some new pages have started to pop up across our website in the new website design. So far, 23 Departments, 32 Institutes/Centres and 1 College have moved across to the new platform and have their freshly developed and updated priority content sitting in the new and improved website design. Like many large-scale projects, this one has not been without its challenges, but the team has worked together to find solutions and support Departments and Colleges making the transition to the new site. Read on to learn more about the new website and those who have now transitioned.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Noticed something different on our website?

Prayer group for Christian staff

A group of Christian staff from across the University meet fortnightly to pray for one another, the University and other situations and issues.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Prayer group for Christian staff

Recruitment - Using Taleo

The website for Taleo Recruiter Resources is now available on our web page.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Recruitment - Using Taleo

Registration now open for summer language courses

Registration for our Centre for Foreign Language Study’s summer language course programme is now open.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Registration now open for summer language courses

Removal of Java from managed windows devices

Due to changes in the way Java is licensed we are no longer able to keep this software up to date on managed windows (otherwise known as MDS) devices, which now creates a significant cyber security vulnerability for the University. Between 12 and 15 April CIS will therefore be removing local installations of Java from managed windows devices (MDS). From then on, any software that relies on Java such as Banner, Oracle Financials and WAND will only be available to run via the ‘Launch Remote’ option on AppsAnywhere, as any local installation of the software on your managed machine may not run effectively.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Removal of Java from managed windows devices

Research IN Business - a programme for social science researchers

As part of the ESRC Accelerating Business Collaboration (ABC) fund we are launching Research IN Business: Live Challenges, a 10-week programme for social science PGRs, running from 17 May – 23 July 2021. For further information about the programme and how you can get involved please visit our web page

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Research IN Business - a programme for social science researchers

Staff network coffee break

Our next informal staff network coffee break chat will take place (via Microsoft Teams) on Thursday 15 April at 3pm. This is the opportunity to chat to colleagues, those who have been here a while, those who have just joined and those who may still be due to arrive over the next few months; to support each other, discuss any challenges and issues faced at this time and to meet new people. Pop the event in your diary and just click on the link at the time.

(9 Apr 2021)

The N8 Research Policing Partnership (N8 PRP)

The N8 Research Partnership is a collaboration of the eight most research intensive Universities in the North of England of which Durham University is part of. The N8 PRP was established in 2013 to enable and foster collaborations that will help address the problems of policing in the 21st century and achieve international excellence in policing research. Recently the N8 PRP, which combines policing expertise and academic rigour to deliver research on many areas of policing – has secured funding until September 2024. You can read the full article here.

(9 Apr 2021)

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition Finalists

After a very close run series of heats, finalists have been chosen for the 2021 Durham Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition which will be held on the 5 May 1-3 (on Zoom).

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition Finalists

Training Needs Analysis for social science researchers

We are inviting all social science researchers to complete a Training Needs Analysis survey to help us shape the future of the ESRC IAA training and development programme.

(9 Apr 2021) » More about Training Needs Analysis for social science researchers