Tag Archives: Events

NUMed10: A Milestone of Excellence  

“We truly have a community that is both diverse and inclusive at NUMed, and we are incredibly humbled that so many have come to be with us to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We anticipate what the future holds as we continue to develop our role in medical education in Malaysia and across the world,”

– Prof. Chris Baldwin, the Provost & Chief Executive Officer of NUMed

On 21st September 2019, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) turned 10. Since welcoming its first cohort of students in September 2009, this first international branch campus of Newcastle University has been delivering exceptional medical education in Malaysia, extending the legacy to the Southeast Asian region. NUMed’s global community of students, faculty, staff and alumni convened to celebrate this momentous milestone, which was marked by a medley of local cultural performances and moving speeches by international and local leaders in education. Prof. Baldwin imparted his thoughts on what he observed were the makings of NUMed’s success: the excellence of all its staff, both academic and professional; the cooperation between NUMed, Newcastle University, UK, and NUMed’s partners in Malaysia; and the openness and collegiality of the NUMed community, whether international or local.

The Founding Provost and Chief Executive Officer of NUMed, Professor Reginald Jordan, spoke fondly of his experience: “Having seen the NUMed project through the early development stages, our move to the region marked the culmination of much hard work. It was a most exciting, if somewhat daunting, prospect, with the challenge being to translate the planning blueprint into reality and to fully realise the NUMed vision.”

Fast forward ten years, and the FMS EDI Team and the School of Medical Education Academic EDI Lead have been proud to support colleagues at NUMed to form their own EDI committee comprising 11 members of staff, a mixture of PS and academic staff plus two students. The team at Malaysia took the initiative to hold discussions with their counterparts in Reading and Southampton prior to setting up the EDI committee. These two campuses, along with Nottingham and Herriot-Watt, do not have local EDI committees, as a result NUMed has been a trailblazer, as the first campus in the region to look at EDI from a local perspective.

The over-riding principles for EDI work at NUMed are not around replicating what is currently in place in Newcastle but ensuring that the work is relevant for Malaysia. In deciding on the priorities for EDI at NUMed, members of the EDI committee attended an event in February 2019 held at the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce where the keynote speech around EDI was delivered by the Deputy Minister for Women, Family and Community. In this speech the four key EDI areas for the Malaysian government were highlighted i.e. gender, race, disability and language and it is these areas that the EDI committee have taken as the cornerstone of their current work.

We are proud of the role that NUMed plays in the success of the Faculty and the University. As Prof. Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Global, of Newcastle University noted, “The real strength of NUMed lies in the talented and passionate people of the university with shared affinity, ambition, and dedication. With that, there is no doubt that the best is yet to come.”

 

 

AUA conference 2019: Higher Education – Fit for the future?

Every year, the AUA (Association of University Administrators) hosts their Annual Conference and Exhibition, which gives those working in higher education the opportunity to attend sessions delivered by specialists and leading practitioners, share ideas and best practise, and learn about the latest sector developments. Their AGM is also hosted at the Conference.

This year’s AUA Conference and Exhibition was held on the 15th and 16th April at the University of Manchester and the theme was Higher Education – Fit for the Future? It focused on some of the challenges and inequalities in higher education and what changes must be made to prepare for the future.

Malasree Home, FMS’ Athena SWAN Support Officer, has written about her experiences at this year’s Conference:

I have to secretly confess that, on that Monday morning, I was really excited for the ASA Annual Conference, and that it was the fantastic conference freebie – the AUA water bottle – that did it for me. The remainder of the two days could only get better!

As with most AUA conferences, there was something for everyone. The plenaries and keynote sessions were really interesting, focussing on the challenges ahead for the HE sector and the implications that this may have for management and governance in HE institutions. Here’s a quick run through some of the bits that I really enjoyed, and the things that made me think.

I thoroughly enjoyed the keynoted delivered by Jess Moody from Advance HE. Jess talked about the balance between ‘Excellence’ and ‘Equity’, and the challenges across the sector, especially regarding student attainment, and the fact that, while HE institutions work towards gender equity, there are often discrepancies with regards to other protected characteristics. Jess focused on the need to integrate EDI and Widening Participation more, but also raised a point that I found fascinating – can ‘data’ allow us to intervene, and what are the ethics surrounding that?

While I was disappointed that one of the sessions that I had signed up for was cancelled at short notice (‘Looking Behind the Label – Mental Health in the Workplace’), it was great to think outside the box in two sessions focusing on a positive workplace culture. One discussed the GROW model of coaching, while the other (fantastically titled ‘Yoga and the Hokey-Pokey’), focused on how teams can think creatively to enable solutions.

Though a bit bleary eyed after the AUA Gala dinner (though I have to confess that I called in a relatively early night) I also found the session on ‘Leading Change from the Bottom Up’ fascinating – the session presenters took us a through a successful restructure of a department to streamline processes. Change, in itself is a very pertinent topic in Higher Education, with almost every organisation going through some form of change at any moment in time, on a variety of scales. Yet, while relevant, it is also an uncomfortable topic, and the presenters showed consummate skill in not just describing the intricacies of their scenario, but also fielding the questions from the audience.

Indeed, it is the sheer variety of topics that makes this conference so interesting. As a participant, you can dip your toes into areas of HE that might not be your role, yet still come back with insights that can then be pertinent to how you do your day job! It also gives you an idea of the breadth of change and challenges in the sector. Even as I write this blog, I realise that a lot has changed since the event itself, especially with the Augar Review of post-18 education having been launched on the 30th May.

However, it will be remiss of me not to mention the icing on the cake – the AUA Conga. I was too chicken to join in, but it was great to watch. If you don’t believe me, check out the video on the AUA twitter! Enough said.

If you like the sound of these sessions and feel like getting involved, next year’s conference will be hosted at the University of Nottingham on the 6th and 7th April 2020. See you there!

BME Early Career Researchers’ Conference

On Friday 26th April, we funded two of our PGR students to attend the 3rd annual BME Early Career Researchers’ conference at the University of East London. This year’s theme was ‘How to Stay in Academia’.

The conference aims to encourage and empower BME (Black Minority & Ethnic) early career researchers to stay within academia, and promotes the ethos ‘be positive, practical, and pragmatic’ in driving career progression. Speakers included inspirational people such as award-winning writer, academic, and human rights campaigner Professor Gus John, and KCL Dental Institute lecturer and Diversity and Inclusion Champion, Dr Bernadine Idowu-Onibokun.

We chatted to our two PGR students who attended, Aisha Islam and Nana-Jane Chipampe, to find out what they thought of the conference.

What were your impressions of the conference?

Aisha Islam:

The conference was hosted at the University of East London, where I arrived to meet many senior BAME academic staff and PG researchers from multiple disciplines and cities across the UK. The programme began with the delivery of short, inspirational talks from, most notably, Professor Gus John and Dr Bernadine Idowu-Onibokun, both of whom have contributed substantiality and significantly to managing Education and Equity, and Regenerative Medicine in Dentistry, respectively. This was followed by a panel discussion addressing the following topics:

  • The journey of each BAME academic within academia
  • The importance of the visibility of a BAME academic
  • What the barriers and challenges of gaining senior positions for BAME academics are
  • What needs to change

The discussions were supportive, insightful, and inspiring, providing an excellent forum to consider my opportunities for continuous professional development and career growth. The structure of the event was relaxed and informal. I had the opportunity to meet and build connections with brilliant, like-minded BAME researchers who share the same enthusiasm for academia.

Nana-Jane Chipampe:

I was really impressed with the format of the conference. There were short, inspirational talks by various academics, describing their journeys and it was motivational to hear their insightful and inspirational guidance. All speakers gave honest accounts of their personal journeys, which was particularly humbling to hear. There was also workshops that addressed applying to and writing for fellowships, mentoring and sponsorship, fantastic tips and advice on networking, and the importance of wellbeing and maintaining work-life balance. These workshops provided supportive, engaging, and productive advice, all directly relevant to the everyday research environment.

What is the most important take-home message for you as a BAME researcher from this event?

Aisha Islam:

Academia presents several challenges when obtaining external funding, maintaining a publication record, and progressing through your career. The key take-home message I retained from the event was to remain positive, practical, and pragmatic, in order to feel empowered to remain in academia. Undertaking doctoral research and beyond involves a transition of learning styles from the traditional, rote learning style practiced within primary and secondary education, and to some extent during undergraduate education, to a critical and analytical approach, which requires a higher degree of independence. As a PGR or early career researcher (ECR), this can be an intimidating process, given the feedback of progression is often limited and can fuel self-confidence issues and psychological phenomena such as ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

In an environment where self-doubt of abilities and strengths is rife, it is important to consistently celebrate small successes. I met a huge number of BAME researchers determined to stay and excel in academia throughout the course of the conference, which was admirable and motivational.

Nana-Jane Chipampe:

The most important take-home message from this event for me was be POSITIVE, PRACTICAL, and PRAGMATIC. This can be achieved in many ways. By being persistent and pragmatic in my research and overcoming the difficulties I face with a positive mind, I can feel empowered in academia and maximise my ability to achieve my potential.

How has this conference affected your perceptions regarding your own career as a BAME researcher?

Aisha Islam:

My uncertainties regarding remaining in academia were overcome by the opportunity to spend time with senior academics of minority backgrounds who filled an entire lecture auditorium – which was liberating to say the least!

The afternoon workshops, focusing on applications to fellowships, mentoring and sponsorship, and networking and wellbeing, were incredibly informative and affirmed my understanding of these areas, alongside helping to ensure I am maximising my potential as a BAME researcher. The short talks provided evidence for the extraordinary and compelling contributions made by BAME academics across a vast array of disciplines in research and have helped me to transcend my own expectations of academic achievement and success.

Nana-Jane Chipampe:

The conference has made me aware that it is important to have key individuals to facilitate your research journey. Find, develop, and sustain relationships with other researchers, as ‘people need people’. As a researcher, I learnt that it is important to collaborate and network with others, and remember who you are, what your purpose is, and how you want to achieve your goals. I am now more aware of the importance of surrounding yourself around individuals who can encourage and support you through your journey in academia.

Do you think such conferences aimed at BAME ECRs are useful? How do you think you could encourage other BAME ECRs to attend such events?

Aisha Islam:

The multiplicity of academic backgrounds present at the conference ignited meaningful and thought-provoking discussions on tackling issues faced by BAME academics. The event was a unique opportunity to vocalise concerns and negotiate strategies to overcome hurdles and encourage progression, and most importantly, to receive affirmation of my experiences of difficulties associated with being part of a minority in higher education and academia (e.g. disengagement from the curriculum due to a lack of inclusivity, isolation, and micro-aggressions). The attainment gap between white and BAME students remains significant, alongside the disparity in employability between white and BAME graduates.

We were introduced to a relatively new journal, the ‘Journal of Impact Cultures’, which endeavours to transform educational policy and practice through the decolonisation of the curriculum and culture that currently exists in higher education. As the journal challenges debates in teaching and learning through an interdisciplinary approach, it may be of interest to many BAME researchers seeking to create change within education for them to submit their narratives, reflections, and empirical reports.

I would encourage other BAME ECR’s to attend by speaking to their fellow network members for guidance or general discussions about the benefits of such a network. Ultimately, the conference addresses many layers of complexity regarding identities existing amongst BAME academics and allows us to identify areas in which to intervene, in addition to finding solutions, in order to resolve racialised inequalities within higher education.

Nana-Jane Chipampe:

I strongly feel that conferences aimed at BAME ECRs are extremely useful, due to the psychological impact of spending a day among intelligent, encouraging, and dedicated BAME academics. I felt particularly empowered to stay in academia when speakers spoke on the topic being your authentic self and being proud of who you are. A university’s ethos should reflect the diversity of the institution, and conferences such as these remind you of this. I believe research is a key component of knowledge production and knowledge sharing, and events like this encourage you to be confident in doing so.

I would encourage other BAME ECRs to attend such events, as it is refreshing to step away from your niche area of research and explore a different type of learning experience – learning through others. I would encourage BAME ECRs to put themselves in environments where interesting, thought-provoking discussions take place, and the BAME ECR conference provides a platform to receive encouraging and practical tips to put yourself in the best position to succeed.

Thank you so much to Aisha and Nana-Jane for chatting to us about their experiences, and we’re glad you got so much out of attending!

To find out more, read about the conference, or watch the promotional video. Or, if you’re interested in other opportunities available to BME staff and students, check out NU’s BAME Network.

LGBT History Month Events


This month (February) is LGBT History Month!

To celebrate, the rainbow flag will fly on Newcastle University’s flagpoles throughout the month.

There is also a variety of exciting events for you to get involved in.

What is LGBT History Month?

“LGBT History month is an opportunity for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and their allies to engage and support the importance of our collective and individual histories. It is also a way to inform, educate and share the often invisible and forgotten histories of LGBTQ+ struggle, oppression and discrimination as well as creating a month long space where we can all celebrate and affirm our similarities and differences.”
– Gareth Longstaff, Chair of The Rainbow Network

You can read more about LGBT History Month and what it means here.

That sounds great! How can I get involved?

There’s a whole selection of events going on throughout February to celebrate and raise awareness.

More information and sign up details below:

  • 5th. 12pm. Location TBC: “Women and LBT intersections: creating an inclusive culture”
    Joint event between NU Women’s Network and The Rainbow Network to consider challenges and opportunities for LBT women and how best to create an inclusive culture.
    More information & registration here.
  • 8th.12.30-1.30pm. Medicinema, New Victoria Wing, RVI: “A Day in the Life of a Hospital Chaplain”
    Talk by Katie Watson (Trust Chaplain) focussing on understanding other’s experiences from a broad range of backgrounds and with various protected characteristics and who may be religious/spiritual or not, and how the Chaplaincy support those staff and patients regardless.
    Contact the NHS LGBT Staff Network or Victoria Usher to book your place.
  • 14th. 1-2pm. Classroom 2, Freeman Education Centre.
    OR 22nd. 12.30-1.30pm. Boardroom, Peacock Hall, RVI: “Count Your Losses”
    Smaller session run by Mark Ellerby-Hedley centred around a person’s experience of coming out, and how this may affect them. The session aims to aid understanding and provide knowledge.
    Contact the NHS LGBT Staff Network or Victoria Usher to book your place.
  • 15th. 9am-2pm. Venue, Newcastle University Students’ Union: Trans clothes swap
     For Trans, Non-binary & gender non-conforming students to swap clothes to offset some of the costs of transitioning. Allies can also donate clothes for the swap.
    More information on where/what to donate here.
  • 18th. 5.30pm. Tyneside Cinema: “Prick Up Your Ears”
    Screening about the life of queer playwright, Joe Orton, followed by panel discussion with Gareth Longstaff (Chair of Newcastle University’s Rainbow Network), Leonie Orton (Orton’s sister) and Emma Parker (Orton scholar).
    More information & tickets here.
  • 19th. 5.30pm. Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building: “Seeing homosexuality in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw
    Insight Lecture by Dr Emma Parker on the underlying homosexual themes of Joe Orton’s play “What the Butler Saw” (1969). Orton’s sister Leonie will also read from her memoir.
    More information here, seats are first-come first-served.
  • 27th. 4-6pm. G.13, Percy Building: “Celebrating LGBT+ Research at NU”
    Panel with researchers from across the University to learn about and ask questions regarding their LGBT-themed research.
    More information & sign up here.
  • 28th. 3-4pm. Leech Building, Room 2.8, Medical School: “LGBT+ at work and the Rainbow Network: A bitesize session”
    Session with members of staff from the Rainbow Network to hear about their work and how you can support their activities.
    Sign up here.

You can also get involved with the Rainbow staff network – hear more about it from Network Chair, Gareth Longstaff, here.

Or, if you’re a student, you can join the LGBT+ Society.

We hope you enjoy the events!

New Strategic Planning Workshop!

We are excited to announce two new strategic planning workshops delivered by Rachel Tobbell, to help staff think about their career plans:

“Am I adrift, or do I have a plan? A workshop to help busy people to think strategically about their career.”

This interactive workshop provides ‘time out’ for busy people to focus on their own situation and develop some goals for the future, taking a strategic approach. In a mutually supportive environment, we start by discussing ourselves – mapping our own strengths and preferences and how these fit against our current work situation. We then envision our ideal job, distilling from this vision aspects and features of work make us happy and provide a sense of fulfilment. The workshop finishes by asking delegates to think where they would like to be in 2 years’ time and to set some achievable goals. The session combines individual reflection, pair work and group discussion.

Lunch will be provided.

There are two separate workshops for professional staff and academic staff. Signup links below:

  • Professional Staff: 13th February, 2019. 12-2pm. RIDB1.2.04A, Ridley Building 1, 2nd Floor, Faculty of Medical Sciences.
    Sign up here.
  • Academic Staff: 28th February, 2019. 12-2pm. Seminar Room L2.8, Leech Building, Faculty of Medical Sciences.
    Sign up here.

Places are limited, so be sure to sign up quickly!