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the MAG

October 2011

Get fit

for free Honouring staff Graduation and other awards

Update on tuition fees

contents Lifestyles Fitness Centres membership


Celebrating staff success


Campus developments


Interview with Academic Enhancement Unit Director


NSS Survey results


2012 academic developments


Update on tuition fees


Research matters


Tales of the unexpected


Love it or hate it – we want to know what you think of The Mag. Send your comments plus your ideas for articles, news stories and interviews to:

welcome to fit club

It’s official. You now have no more excuses why you can’t go to the gym, go swimming or even play a round of golf, because they are all free. Thanks to LJMU’s new partnership with Liverpool City Council, staff (and students) now have free off-peak membership to 12 Lifestyles Fitness Centres across Liverpool. the MAG


What the experts say… Dr Paul Lattimore, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, explains how exercise not only helps the body but also the mind. Exercise keeps our hearts and bodies healthy but also boosts self-esteem and mental well being. Research shows that regular exercise releases ‘feelgood’ brain chemicals making us feel more positive and relaxed. Exercise reduces harmful changes in the brain caused by stress. Developing a regular and moderate exercise habit means that you will:



be less likely to be depressed, anxious or tense


feel better about yourself


concentrate and focus better


have a better quality sleep


keep mobile and independent as you get older


cope better with the demands of your work-life balance

The free off-peak membership covers a host of activities and facilities: keep fit classes, top of the range gym equipment and fitness suites and, if lycra’s not your thing, you can also play tennis, squash, badminton, have a steam bath or sauna or just float around in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. There are even two golf courses – in Allerton and Liverpool North – where you can try to improve your handicap. The free membership is limited to specific off-peak hours (full details are available at and some classes and facilities aren’t included in the deal. That’s why LJMU staff (and students) also qualify for discounted peak rate membership, ranging from just £7-£15 per month, payable by Direct Debit. If you choose to pay in advance for the full year, you will qualify for a further discount, receiving 12 months discounted peak-rate membership for the price of 10. See the website for details on membership upgrade options. Existing Lifestyles members can also switch their membership to take advantage of the free

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Your free off-peak membership means you can use any of the Lifestyles Fitness Centres from the time they open until 4pm, Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. For full timetables and opening hours see

off-peak access – just remember to cancel your direct debit by the 25th of the month or you’ll have to pay another month’s subscription. So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already signed up, go to and click on the Lifestyles button. Once you’ve completed the LJMU application form, simply take it along to your nearest Lifestyles Fitness Centre and they’ll complete your membership. Don’t forget to bring your LJMU Staff ID card as proof of your identity.

Go on, get active! n Gym equipment and fitness suites n Swimming pools - including the Olympic-sized Liverpool Aquatics Centre in Wavertree n Tennis centre n Two golf courses n Squash and badminton courts n A range of coached fitness classes n Steam and sauna rooms n Real and synthetic grass pitches plus all weather facilities n Weights rooms n Athletics track

Choose from Lifestyles Fitness Centres across the city... n n n n n n n n n n n

Garston Peter Lloyd Alsop Austin Rawlinson Cardinal Heenan Croxteth Ellergreen Everton Park Millennium Park Road Wavertree Athletics Centre and Sports

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Celebrating staff successes

Personal development continues to be a key theme among staff, with many of you gaining postgraduate and work-related qualifications and accolades. 4

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Dr Deborah Pownall and Dr Julie Abayomi


Dr Deborah Pownall was awarded Doctor of Education. Deborah manages LJMU’s Brokerage Team in the Graduate Development Centre (GDC). “I began my research as a member of the Faculty of Education, Community and Leisure,” she says, “but there’s no doubt that it has influenced my approach to employer engagement. Understanding employers is a major element of the World of Work programme. I intend to continue researching employer engagement as part of a voluntary research group within the GDC.”

Dr Henry Forsyth, from the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, gained a PhD in Autonomic Computing which involved research into artificial intelligence.

Jane Whalen and Rose Green graduated with Masters in Social Enterprise Management Jane is Chief Executive of the Liverpool Students’ Union (LiverpoolSU) and Rose works as an Analyst in the Planning and Information Directorate.

“It’s really added value to what I do,” says Jane. “It was a fabulous opportunity to carry out research which I’ve applied to the LiverpoolSU.” Rose’s research for her dissertation saw her apply marketing and business principles to a not-for-profit organisation close to her heart, her church.

“This wasn't just a research project,” she explains. “By adopting 'service-scape' principles we have changed how we delivered our Sunday services.”

Graduation Highlights

“The PhD research programme has provided opportunities for the development of conference papers and research grant proposals. This will help greatly with my future professional career.”

Julie Abayomi, Senior Lecturer, Nutrition and Community Health, was awarded a PhD. The PhD was based on research conducted at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital over the past seven years. Julie works part-time for LJMU and part time for the hospital as a dietitian.

LJMU technician Andrew Freeney, who also teaches software and interactive technology, graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (PGCert LTHE). Andrew said: " It feels like I have taken a step forward and I hope in the future to go on to do my Masters and further research.”



Lily Rumsey, the outgoing Liverpool Students’ Union President for 2011, graduated with a Master of Arts in School Sport Management. Lily studied her Masters for two years part-time alongside her role as Liverpool SU President.

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National Teaching

Fellowship The Higher Education Academy (HEA) awarded Sarah Nixon, Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Community and Leisure, a National Teaching Fellowship, the most prestigious award for excellence in Higher Education teaching and support for learning. Kate Johnston, Dean of the Faculty, commented:

“Sarah's absolute commitment to student learning is matched by a passionate belief that staff too, must know themselves as learners and use that knowledge to help students achieve their goals.�

Most Cited


Professorships & Readerships

Dr. Stephen Fairclough from the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, won the most cited paper award in the journal 'Interacting With Computers' for the period 2008-2010.

The following staff members were successful at the meeting of the Professors and Readers Conferment Panel held in July.

The 2009 paper was a critical review of physiological computing systems, i.e. the use of real-time physiological data as a control input to technological devices. It covered how these systems may be used in areas as diverse as telemedicine and computer games, in addition to ethical issues and concerns regarding data privacy.

Stuart Fairclough, ECL Professor of Physical Activity Education Frank McDonough, APSS Professor of International History Mike Riley, TAE Professor of Building Surveying Julie Sheldon, APSS Professor of Art History

For more information on staff development opportunities, contact Meriel Box, Head of Staff Development, on ext 6111. 6

Mark Wainwright, SCS Professor of Chemotherapy Dr Warren Gregson, SCS Reader in Applied Exercise Physiology Dr Martin Jones, TAE Reader in Power Electronics and Drives

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Student discounts for staff There are many pros to being a student, months off in the summer, living with your best friends, nights out during the week but there is one benefit which all LJMU staff can take advantage of - the NUS Extra discount card. Liverpool Students’ Union kindly allows University staff to buy the cards – which cost £11 – as the profits from the cards go directly to the Union and therefore benefit LJMU students. Discounts are available at most major shops, restaurants and cinemas such as Odeon, Superdrug, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, New Look, Zizzi’s, Matalan, Alton Towers and many others. In the past year the average card holder has saved over £500. And, with the card being valid until the end of August 2012, the sooner you purchase your card, the more discounts you’ll receive. You can buy your card at the LiverpoolSU reception between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday and your

card will be printed there and then (please take your staff card with you as ID) or you can buy it online at NUS hasn’t set up a staff purchasing process yet, so in order to purchase your card online you will be asked to register your details as if you are a student at the University. NUS will then ask LiverpoolSU to confirm you are a member of LJMU staff. Simply follow the instructions on the website and when asked, choose any course and put your leaving date as at least 2013. You will also be asked to download a photograph. Your card will be delivered to the LiverpoolSU, The Haigh Building, Maryland Street and you will be contacted when it is ready for collection.

For more details see

If something needs fixing, who you gonna call? The Infrastructure Services Help Desk is the number to call if you notice something needs repairing or cleaning urgently or if you need help moving items. Your request will be logged and you’ll be given your own unique job number. You’ll also be able to track the progress of your request and you will be emailed when your job is completed.

The Helpdesk (ext 5533) operates between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can also log your request online. Go to and click the Helpdesk link.

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campus developments


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One giant

leap for LJMU In 1992, when LJMU became one of the UK's new generation universities, few could have imagined how great the University’s presence in the city centre would become. Now, with its largest ever land acquisition - the recent purchase of the old Royal Mail sorting office on Copperas Hill - LJMU occupies 29 buildings in the city centre and this is yet another example of how the University is helping regenerate its home town. Totalling 260,000 sq.ft., the Copperas Hill building will feature a range of modern teaching, research and student support facilities and will give the University the opportunity to become a unified city centre campus. Copperas Hill might well be the story on everyone’s lips but it is by no means the full extent of LJMU’s developments this year.

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IM Marsh The £300,000 refurbishment programme to modernise IM Marsh has been successfully completed in time for the new academic year. The main reception area and all corridors in the Barkhill and Mossley buildings have been given a clean, contemporary look. Five teaching rooms have also been upgraded to a high technical standard and a new independent study space with 16 computers and room for students using laptops is ready for use. In addition, 14 new PCs have been installed and there are 20 new laptops available for loan, bringing the total to 60.


Rodney House campus developments

Tithebarn Street As part of a continuing programme of development to update the facilities for the Faculty of Health, the Avril Robarts LRC has been updated. There is now a silent study room on the first floor, a new ground floor IT suite with 13 PCs, meeting rooms for students on the first, second and third floors to provide a wider choice of study spaces, increased silent study provision on the third floor, there are also new PCs and flooring in the Social Learning Zone and a new poster printer.

Rodney House, one of the University’s oldest buildings, opens its doors to two Centres crucial to the continued success of the University. As the home to the new Centre for Entrepreneurship, the ground floor of Rodney House has been redecorated and is now a co-working space for students and graduate business clients. An informal area enables the Centre’s clients to work in a social environment, with comfortable seating, round tables and a kitchen, whereas the formal zone is a quieter space featuring 12 new computers.The Centre officially launches in November but is now open to student and graduate business clients. Work has also been carried out on the first floor of the building where the International Study Centre (ISC) is based. Ten classrooms, new staff accommodation and a social space have been created specifically for the ISC. The Centre offers courses which prepare international students for LJMU’s undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, enabling the University to increase recruitment of overseas students. An open day is taking place soon – details to follow on the web – where LJMU staff will be able to see the new facilities, find out more about the programmes on offer and meet the team, including the new Head of the ISC, Jan O’Driscoll. Jan has joined the team from Reaseheath College, Nantwich, where she was Higher Education Manager. Liz Thompson, who previously managed the Centre, has been promoted to Regional Director but will continue to be based in Liverpool which will ensure a smooth transition.

The fourth and fifth floor of the Tithebarn Street teaching accommodation are also currently being refurbished. The development works are running to schedule and the new areas will be ready for use in November.


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also at Byrom Street...

Byrom Street The James Parsons Building has undergone a vast amount of modernisation work in recent years. Over a five-year period, which concludes in 2013, a total of £10million will have been spent on the internal areas of the building, with refurbishment and redecoration throughout, including new lecture theatres, classrooms, IT facilities and general circulation areas. Two of the new lecture theatres are now ready for use. The former LSU bar has been converted to a 261 capacity lecture theatre and the lecture theatre in the hall of James Parsons has undergone a complete refurbishment, now having a capacity of 188. Although in two distinct locations, advanced audio visual and IT equipment has meant the two lecture theatres can be linked virtually, allowing a lecturer to present in one theatre and be seen and heard in the other, along with any accompanying presentations. Colin Davies, Director of Infrastructure Services, explains why the investment is so vital: “While it is important for our buildings to have a good appearance externally, actually it is the space used by our students which makes the biggest difference to their experience at LJMU and they are the lifeblood of the University. The condition of the internal areas and the quality of the facilities available really does have an impact on student life so we are determined to get them right and that is why we have allocated £2million a year to spend on the interior of the building.” To outsiders the most obvious change to the James Parsons building has been the exterior. A newly installed rain screen cladding system has completely changed its appearance from a typical 1960s commercial building to a modern 21st century development. But this is not the only reason why the cladding was installed. A building which was nearing the end of its original economic life now has at least another 50 years of use, maintenance costs have been cut and energy consumption and carbon emissions have also been reduced with the improved insulation. New windows have also helped in this area, with high-performance draft seals keeping in warm air in the winter and solar control glass reducing the ‘greenhouse effect’ from the summer sun. Together the cladding and windows will reduce the building’s annual carbon emissions and energy consumption by 80% from present levels.

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...the General Engineering Research Institute workshops are in the process of being extended. Externally, cladding is being fitted to the existing and newly built areas, giving the building a uniform appearance. Internally, there will be an open plan research space, new offices, a boardroom, formal meeting room and a reception area. The works are due to be completed in October this year and will be available for use in November. GERI has also been granted £600,000 from ERDF to refurbish the basement and ground floor of the James Parsons Building to improve facilities for the successful institution. This work has now started and is due to be completed next year. The Max Perutz Building at Byrom Street is also being enhanced. The building will be refurbished and a planning application has been submitted for external cladding which will then complete the family of buildings at the campus. Alongside the multiple development projects that enhance the student experience at Byrom Street, work has been under way to improve the robustness of the site’s infrastructure, the largest of these schemes being the installation of a new high voltage power supply. This will provide the site with a substantial increase in power capacity that is vital if the University is to fully utilise the capacity of the facilities at the campus.


Registration fast track success This year’s student registration process has been entirely managed using the Student Information System, heralding a new era when students are responsible for keeping their personal details up-to-date. Self-service consigns the University’s lengthy enrolment form to the past with all new students using SIS to check a range of personal and programme details. Out of the 8,500 new students expected to join LJMU this September, over 75% completed their checks online. This meant they were able to join the Fast Track queue in the LRCs, completing their registration in a matter of minutes. “This year’s registration was a lot less stressful than when we used a paper-based process,” says Bill Howes, Administration Manager, Library and Student Support. Returning students too used SIS to complete their re-registration, with instructions emailed to them on 8 August. Close to 70% logged on before September, disproving the ‘myth’ that students don't check their LJMU email accounts. Self-service functionality also extends to enabling returning students to check their module registration using the online Planner. The Planner draws on data held within the Academic Advisement area of SIS, which in turn is based on MODCAT and PRODCAT data. Faculty Administration teams had the epic job of checking that all their data was correct. The majority was checked and approved by mid-September enabling students to complete their enrolment – and get access to Blackboard – in time for the start of the new semester. Given the challenges of launching a new system – not to mention incorporating the new Academic Framework – the new registration process has proved a great success, particularly for new students enrolling for the first time.


Putting teaching

centre stage

The Academic Enhancement Unit has a new boss, a new structure and a renewed mission. Here Director Jackie Gresham explains why she believes learning and teaching needs to come out of the shadows and claim its rightful place in the spotlight. “It’s vital that LJMU recognises the importance of teaching much more,” says Jackie, who took up the position of AEU Director in June. “That’s why we will be relaunching the University’s Learning and Teaching Awards later this year to reward staff for good practice.” She continues: “LJMU has a lot of committed academics and service teams, who are very concerned about delivering the best possible student experience. Many are involved in national level projects designed to do this. These initiatives are important but we also need to spread this commitment to excellence right across every Faculty, School and Department. Everyone needs to embrace their role as an Ambassador for the University and believe that delivering a high quality student experience is their responsibility.

academic developments

“There are varying levels of staff awareness about what LJMU needs to do to be ready for 2012 - not least improving our league table position

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and National Student Survey Results,” adds Jackie, who has worked in education for over 36 years – both in the secondary and Higher Education sectors. “We are achieving an upward trend with regard to student satisfaction but there is still work to do." Top of the AEU agenda for the year will be targeting several key areas, such as assessment and feedback, to encourage staff to consider changing or adapting their practice. “We are not advocating a ‘one size fits all’ approach but by sharing good practice more effectively, we can hopefully encourage staff to think creatively about how they can use different approaches,” she explains. “We need to be confident that we can meet and manage student expectations successfully. Questions are already being asked about whether we offer students value for money. These are bound to increase and students paying £9,000 may be less tolerant if we fail to meet our promises or their expectations.” “Minimum standards are already in place but not always closely monitored. This needs to change,” she stresses. “The new Quality Enhancement Officers will be crucial to facilitating the sharing of good practice with colleagues across the institution.”

What’s new in

learning and

teaching this year? the MAG

Jackie firmly believes that building stronger, closer links with Faculties, Schools and other services is essential if LJMU is to join the dots and deliver a truly cohesive student experience, from first enquiry right through to graduation and beyond. “We are going to be much more proactive, making sure staff really understand what they have to do and when and how we can support them,” she says. “So get ready for the AEU to be out and about more around the University.”

Team work All of the work of the AEU is now managed by four key teams and the restructure is designed to increase cross team working and ensure a joined up support service to staff across University.

n Quality and Standards n Academic Practice n Technology and Enhanced Learning n Staff Development

n A revised Academic Framework n A new committee structure n Full implementation of e-submission policy n Technology Enhanced Learning Action Plan n Blackboard upgrade n More staff development opportunities

Want to know more? Go to 13

academic developments

The results from this year’s National Student Survey (NSS) indicate that LJMU’s drive to improve the student learning experience is definitely on the right track.

OUR SURVEY SAYS... 8 out of 10 students give LJMU top marks LJMU’s overall satisfaction rating increased by 3%, with 80% of all final students surveyed indicating that they were satisfied with the quality of their course. Nineteen subject areas achieved 80% or above satisfaction ratings, while 24 subject areas improved their satisfaction rating from last year. Given rising tuition fees and increasing competition amongst HEIs for students, LJMU must further bridge the gap between student expectations and their actual student experience. Indications are that LJMU is doing just that as, institutionally, the University received improved results across each of the six NSS question categories (see opposite for details). LJMU ran its first ‘mirror’ survey in 2010/2011, asking first and second year undergraduate students exactly the same questions as the NSS. The mirror survey results reiterate those of the NSS, with LJMU again scoring over 80% overall satisfaction rates from both cohorts and achieving broadly similar results in each of the question categories. Collectively, the mirror survey and NSS results give LJMU a wealth of information, both at institutional and programme level. This comprehensive student feedback is being used to help develop institutional and Faculty action plans to ensure LJMU delivers a high quality student experience for everyone and continues to attract high calibre students in the future. More detailed NSS results are available on WebHub.


A summary of this year’s NSS results n n n n n n

Teaching on my course: 80% overall satisfaction rating (up 3%) Assessment and Feedback: 66% overall satisfaction rating (up 5%) Academic Support: 74% overall satisfaction rating (up 3%) Organisation and management: 74% overall satisfaction rating (up 4%) Learning Resources: 81% overall satisfaction rating (up 5%) Personal development: 80% overall satisfaction rating (up 4%)

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Brave New World academic developments

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The Government’s planned reforms to Higher Education mean LJMU, like all universities, is entering uncharted waters. Whether we successfully navigate the challenges that lie ahead will depend on everyone at the University working together to deliver an exceptional student experience on all fronts. Not just in terms of teaching and learning, student services or even graduate employability. Everything impacting on the LJMU student journey, from an applicant’s first enquiry through to graduation and beyond, must be of the highest possible quality and focused on meeting each student’s aspirations. 15

You’re Hired! From September 2012, all new undergraduates will have to complete the Bronze stage of the World of Work (WoW®) Skills Certificate process. The Graduate Development Centre is now working closely with programme teams to ensure that the expansion of the University’s flagship employability scheme is a success. Despite the economic downturn and public sector cuts, our students are beating the downward trend in graduate employment. LJMU achieved its highest ever destination of leavers results this year – 90% of students were in work or further study six months after graduating; with 50% securing graduate level jobs. LJMU also recorded the third highest increase in graduate employability (up 1.6%) out of all the North West universities. But we mustn’t get too complacent. Putting these results in context, LJMU is still only ranked seventh in the North West HEIs for employability. The good news is that skills development and employability is about to get the prominence it deserves thanks to a radical shake-up of the WoW programme to ensure closer integration with learning and teaching. From September 2012, all undergraduate students need to complete the Bronze stage of the WoW Skills Certificate as part of their Level 4 modules. Details will be available shortly but, as these case studies demonstrate, programme teams are already rising to the challenge, by developing creative approaches that give their students an extensive range of work-related skills and experience.


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Case study 1: Criminal Justice Ester Ragonese teaches across four programmes; Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice and Psychology, Criminal Justice and Forensic Science and Law. During last year’s revalidation process, she worked with colleagues to incorporate skills development across all of these programmes. She describes the approaches adopted for BA Criminal Justice. “Students’ time is very precious and they want WoW to form part of their assessment, not to be an ‘add on’ to their studies,” she explains. “Skills development is part of their induction and is fully integrated with teaching and learning across all three years of their programme.” A student-led conference, personal action plans, external speakers, ‘mock’ interviews with employers plus a final year work-based learning project are just some of the approaches now built into the curriculum.


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Contact the GDC on 8099


Need advice on WoW?

Ester adds: “ The professional skills development modules we’ve developed are just as academically rigorous as traditional approaches to teaching and learning. Student expectations are changing and that’s why all staff need to engage with WoW and workrelated learning.”

Case study 2: Engineering Student engagement and creative thinking is central to Adam Papworth’s vision for integrating WoW into the curriculum across three quite different programmes; Product Innovation and Development, Computer-Aided Design and Mechanical Engineering: “ We are ‘selling’ the WoW Certificate as a way for students to get the skills and experience they need to secure work placements and internships. Final year students act as role models, helping raise the aspirations of each new intake. Twelve final year students did this last year and their presentations on the GDC, WoW and, most importantly, their experiences of working in industry, were top notch.” Encouraging students to raise their game and develop their competitive spirit – which they'll need to succeed in industry – is the driving force behind the now annual Design Show, as Adam explains: “ Initially the show was only going to be for final year students but we opened it up to all levels of product designers. We want to stretch our students and introduce a bit of friendly competition.” The new Academic Framework and the decision to make the Bronze stage of WoW compulsory has, Adam believes, enabled programme teams to refocus the curriculum on what’s important: “ It’s about giving students the skills that industry and society require but it’s also about getting lecturers out of the lecture theatre and being more creative. WoW gives students the confidence to succeed because when they are being interviewed they’ll know they have the skills and ability to get the job they want.”


r u o y t e g

t h rig

There’s been a lot of mis-information and media hysteria about the planned increases to tuition fees in September 2012. So to make sure you really know what to expect, here are ten key facts you should know about the new student funding regime. 1.

Tuition fees are increasing because the Government has cut the funding to universities. LJMU, like most universities, will be charging an annual tuition fee of £9,000 for most of its undergraduate programmes.


No student will have to pay these tuition fees up front – as long as they haven’t been to university before and meet the residency rules, they can take out a tuition fee loan for each year of their course. These loans are not means-tested.


For the first time part-time students will also be able to take out a tuition fees loan from September 2012.


Maintenance or living cost loans will still be available for living expenses, such as rent and food, etc. Again a loan can be taken out for each year of their course. The maintenance loan is partially means-tested.


Student loan repayments only begin once a student leaves LJMU and starts earning over £21,000 – currently the income threshold is £15,000.


Monthly repayments will be based on what a student is earning, not how much was borrowed from the Student Loans Company. Repayments are calculated at 9% of any income above £21,000.


The new monthly repayments will be less than the amount graduates now have to pay back.


Students with a household income less than £42,600 will qualify for a maintenance grant. If the household income is less than £25,000, they will qualify for even more financial support.


LJMU will continue to offer bursaries of £500 and academic scholarships of £1,000 and £10,000.

10. Targeted support is available to students who are parents, care leavers or those who have disabilities.


What is the National Scholarship Programme? The new National Scholarship Programme has been established to support students from low income households. LJMU will be awarding 440 National Scholarships in the 2012/2013 academic year. Unlike other LJMU awards, the National Scholarships are for one year only and students must be starting the first year of their undergraduate degree in order to be considered for the award. Full-time students will receive a fee waiver of £2,000, which means their first year tuition fees will be reduced to £7,000. They will also receive a cash bursary of £1,000. Funding will be awarded on a pro-rata basis to part-time students. This money does not have to be paid back. Household income will be taken into account when determining if students are eligible for these awards.

Need more information? feesandfunding or call 6057 or email the MAG

KIS and tell From September 2012, LJMU, along with all other HEIs will have to publish Key Information Sets for every undergraduate degree programme. The NUS describes KIS as a ‘huge step forward in ensuring transparency between courses and institutions’ and Jackie Gresham, Director of LJMU’s Academic Enhancement Unit agrees, saying that “it’s long overdue for the sector”. So what is it? Each KIS is designed to help applicants choose what and where to study. Most of the information being published isn't new and is already available on LJMU’s website and on Unistats. Crucially what KIS will do is bring all of this data together in a standard, jargon-free format for all HEIs. The data will also be supplemented by a brief narrative explaining what the statistics mean. This will make it much easier for applicants to compare similar courses in relation to things such as student satisfaction, the type of assessments they’ll have to do, how many hours teaching they’ll get, how much it will cost and graduate employability. Obviously such headline data only tells part of the story. That’s why it is crucial that each undergraduate programme has a range of high quality supporting material online which really ‘sells’ each programme, demonstrating why an applicant should pick LJMU over any other institution. Work has already started on reviewing and improving the undergraduate factfiles and the prospective student website. More importantly work is continuing on improving LJMU’s NSS results and graduate prospects. “Anyone thinking that KIS can be just dismissed as another marketing gimmick should think again,” says Carolyn Williams, Director of Student Recruitment and Widening Access. “With a £9,000 annual price tag attached to most of our programmes we need to show applicants that coming to LJMU is a wise investment in terms of the student experience and their future employability. Otherwise they will vote with their feet and apply to study at another university.” HEFCE is managing the development and publication of the KIS statements. For the latest information, go to:

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academic developments

2012 19

Research Matters LJMU ranked second of the post-92 universities for research income Researchers at LJMU have had yet another highly successful year in attracting research grants. Sector-wide figures recently published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that LJMU attracted £12.3m in external, competitive, research grant income in 2009-10. Of the post-92 universities, only the University of Plymouth achieved a higher research income, and then only by £2,000. Of all HEIs we are ranked 54th in the country for the second year running. Our research grant income is actually more than twice that of peer-group institutions such as Manchester Metropolitan, Central Lancashire and Oxford Brookes. We also outperform a number of established research-led institutions including Keele, Hull, Bradford, Salford, Stirling and Aston.


Another feature of our success is that we are amongst the most efficient HEIs in the sector in terms of generating research grants from the funding we receive from HEFCE, so-called QR (Quality-Related Research) after the RAE2008 performance. For every £1 from HEFCE we generate more than £3 of external grant income. Our research grants range in size from hundreds of pounds to more than £1million and arise from a wide range of sources, including the UK Research Councils, leading charities, the NHS, the Technology Strategy Board and the European Framework Programme. Support, training and advice on research grants can be obtained from Andy Young, LJMU's Director of Research. Email:

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Introducing Symplectic Users of the University’s research publication database ‘Symplectic Elements,’ will already know that it allows academics to manage their research outputs simply and easily. It does this by searching well-known online databases (including Web of Science and PubMed) to automatically gather bibliographic information on publications authored by LJMU staff, including citation and journal impact factor data. It’s also possible to manually upload details of publications that have not been captured automatically using BibTex/ Reference Manager/EndNote format although, on average, users in STEM subjects need to enter the details for fewer than 10% of their publications.


However, Symplectic is much more than a time-saving publication database. Did you know:

If you need help using Symplectic, would like a demonstration (group or one-to-one), or have any other queries, please email


It can be an invaluable tool for your Personal Development and Performance Review preparation, as it allows you to document information about all your professional activities


It is being integrated with the University’s web pages so that lists of research outputs at individual and group levels are completely up-to-date; you will be able choose which information is used on your staff profile publication web page


It will link to LJMU’s new institutional repository ‘ePrints’ in 2012, to facilitate open access to digital forms of all types of research output produced by LJMU staff. You will simply need to add a full-text copy of the paper (copyright permitting) and it will be uploaded.


It can provide comparative statistics about the publication behaviour of staff groups across LJMU (H-index, publications per year, citations, destination journals etc)

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The University will only be using research publication data from Symplectic to underpin its submission to the Research Excellence Framework, to minimise the burden of preparations on academic and administrative staff.


Think you know about IT at LJMU? LJMU is a large university with a clear focus on delivering an outstanding student experience and there is no doubt that IT plays a pivotal and critical role in our ability to deliver excellent teaching and support services. IT is about bringing people and technology together, whether to support teaching and learning, create efficiencies, solve complex business problems or offer ideas to better serve the challenges of our staff and students. The purpose of the Development Programme is to ensure that we are developing our IT provision in a university-wide co-ordinated way. It provides a framework to ensure that all IT developments are carefully planned and executed in a way that best supports our strategic objectives.


data archiving and Key Information Sets. (Executive Sponsor: Steve Kenny)

THE PROJECTS There are currently four project groups which report in to the Development Programme Steering Group (DPSG), each of which is chaired by an Executive Sponsor.


Business Admin Services includes projects such as iRecruitment and online expenses. (Executive Sponsor: Mark Power)


Learning Services. This group manages projects including PC booking, a new Library Management System, a review of Blackboard content and the use of the e-portfolio across the University. (Executive Sponsor: Kate Johnston)

These groups are: n

BIG (Business Information Gateway). This includes projects such as the LJMU mobile app and a new applicant portal for prospective students. LJMU’s overall portal strategy is currently under review and this will influence the way in which these projects are progressed. (Executive Sponsor: Steve Kenny)


SIS (Student Information System). This group oversees projects relating to phase two of the implementation of SIS, including timetabling, student

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The view from the Programme Office... Think ‘what’ not ‘how’

Sara Rioux, Programme Office Manager

The approach advocated by the DPSG is: n

Scope out your requirements according to your business objectives, rather than with reference to particular systems or software.


Formulate a business case for consideration by DPSG. The Programme Office can advise on all aspects of managing a project, including how to put together a business case and any other documentation that may be required.


DPSG membership represents all key areas of the University and has a wide-ranging view of the University. They will consider the project proposal in light of strategic priorities.


With careful planning according to strategic objectives, we can achieve a joined-up IT infrastructure with new systems being introduced and existing systems modified in a way that ensures we are using resources efficiently, effectively and without duplication of effort.


Once a project has been approved by DPSG, an Executive Sponsor and Project Manager will be identified to take the project forward. The Programme Office will be able to advise on other key roles which need to be filled to ensure the smooth operation of the project.

Sara Rioux, Programme Office Manager within Planning and Information says: “Whenever you’re considering any new IT system or software, take a step back and think about the service you need to provide. The starting point of any project should be your business requirement and IT should fit around this. Starting with a piece of software and tailoring your service around it is never a good idea. “The Programme Office is here to support you from the very start of a project - whether you have lots or very little project management experience we can help you put together your business case, project brief and any other documentation that might be required by DPSG. We can also provide excellent practical support in identifying and measuring the benefits of your project and help with change management which can be crucial to the success of any project.”

For more information about how the Programme Office can support you, contact Sara Rioux on 5542 or email:

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LJMU astronomer collaborates on award-winning play A new play, developed through a collaboration between Unlimited Theatre, LJMU astronomer Andy Newsam and ESA Astronaut trainer Gail Iles, has recently scooped two prestigious national awards. The play 'Mission to Mars', is aimed at children and tells the story of the first humans to travel to Mars. Set in the year 2035 AD, it aims to inspire the audience about science, space and their own future.

Take a trip around LJMU... ...and you might be surprised by some of the weird and wonderful work that’s going on across the University. LJMU technology supports electric vehicle project The University’s Electrical Machines and Drives group led by Professor Emil Levi has won a share of a major Research Council funded project to develop electrical vehicle (EV) technology. The project will take the best science research from ten UK universities and, with industrial partners, build a number of technology demonstrators to showcase it.


Collaboration is key to success for credit unions New research developed by Dr Paul A. Jones of the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion with Anna Ellison of Policis, revealed that credit unions must work together and in partnership with a wide range of public and private sector organisations in order to fulfil their potential and reach all those who need their services. The report has been designed as a blueprint for the strategic development of the credit union and social finance sector.

New insight

into autism

Dr Anna Law worked with colleagues at the University of Strathclyde and University of Edinburgh on research which provided a real insight into the multitasking difficulties experienced by young people with autism. By using a virtual environment, the researchers were able to examine multi-tasking inefficiencies more closely than might be possible in a real-world setting.

Life on the wind Dr Dave Wilkinson worked with scientists from Switzerland, using computer models of the Earth’s atmosphere to investigate the remarkable distance that microorganisms may be able to blow between continents, raising questions about their potential to colonise new lands and to potentially spread diseases. The results were published in the Journal of Biogeography. the MAG

Historian’s visual voyage LJMU on the road with Sport Science Merseyside will be seeing the benefit of the London 2012 Olympic Games thanks to a new project from LJMU. The Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES) has been awarded £30,000 from the Wellcome Trust to hold a series of Face to Face with Sports Science events in North West museums and schools during the Olympics, capitalising on heightened interest in sport next year.

A Co-operative

approach to

business Dr Tony Webster, LJMU Head of History, is working with a team of historians from the University of Liverpool on two major books looking at co-operative values and the history of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, one of which will showcase the Co-operative Group as a business model. This will be the first major business history of the Society and Group in time for the 150th anniversary in 2013.

Dr David Clampin, Senior Lecturer in History, has recently undertaken a research visit to the Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, Virginia, USA. The Museum is one of the largest and most prestigious maritime museums in the world, with approximately 35,000 artefacts. Dr Clampin’s visit focused on their steamship ephemera collection to further explore how shipping companies marketed themselves and the idea of travelling beyond these shores. The trip was generously supported by Merseyside Maritime Museum.

'Professor Fluffy’ recently came to LJMU to work with local primary school students thanks to LJMU’s Student Recruitment and Widening Access Team. Professor Fluffy was teaching the children about the world of engineering. After working through tasks in electrical, marine, aeronautical and civil engineering, the pupils were given a tour of the University and then attended their own mini-graduation ceremony. Any staff keen to work with local secondary students in their own subject area should contact Paul Ireland on

World of Sport Science in one city LJMU hosted the 16th Annual Conference of the European College of Sport, which was back in the UK for the first time in over ten years. The Congress explored developments in exercise and energy balance in cancer, managing talent in professional sport, talent identification in sport, football as an agent of social change, cardiovascular imaging in sport science and novel quantitative approaches to combat doping. Professor Tim Cable, Director of the LJMU School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and President of the Congress said. “These sporting and health-related topics will be important issues for our local societies in the lead in to the 2012 Olympics.”

John Moores Painting Prize China The Liverpool School of Art and Design recently celebrated an exhibition of the first John Moores Painting Prize China, a new version of the Liverpool-based competition. The prizewinners worked in studios at the Art and Design Academy throughout July, preparing for the exhibition, which featured a 25m-long painting of Liverpool’s skyline created by Zhang Zhenxue, as its centrepiece.

Produced by Corporate Communications September 2011

The MAG  

Staff magazine for Liverpool John Moores University

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