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March 2014

Students’ Random Acts of Kindness go global Page 3

Uni gets £12,000 FIFA grant Page 4

Leading teacher education expert joins Uni as professor Page 11

Professor’s ground-breaking start to decoding ancient manuscript PAGE 7


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We want your StEPs ideas l The HEAL-Unilever project to launch a prestigious research training work placement internship scheme, open exclusively to all undergraduate and postgraduate students, has also received StEPs funding.

Performing arts students will benefit from StEPs funding

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OME 20 projects have been awarded funding from the Vice Chancellor’s Student Experience Fund (StEPs), all designed to enhance aspects of the Student Experience at Bedfordshire. The StEPs fund, which was initiated last October, is being relaunched this month and aimed specifically at student-led projects. “We are looking for students to come forward with ideas to enhance the student experience, it is a great opportunity for students to get involved in the shaping of their university experience,”, said Amanda Krebs, Assistant Director for Student Experience. Amanda added: “Students can share their ideas by completing a form on our website (www.beds.ac.uk/steps). During the application

Communications Team contacts Nick Sheppard Head of Communications Nick.Sheppard@beds.ac.uk

process applicants will also be offered support and mentoring to help develop their ideas in to a project. Students can see what has been proposed by other students and have the opportunity to vote on it on the StEPs website.” The best ideas will be put forward to the StEPs Panel chaired by the Vice Chancellor, Bill Rammell, in April by the students themselves in a Dragon’s Den style pitch. There is a wide range of projects that have received funding so far, and the response has been very positive from both staff and students. Below are two examples of StEPs projects given the green light: l StEP UP is a student and staff joint Steps project which creates opportunities for Performing Arts Students to develop as creative entrepreneurs and to showcase their work. “One of our aims is to provide undergraduates with a taster of the professional dance sector and this funding will definitely help us follow this through,” said Tenita Williams, a student representative, who is studying for a BA (Hons) in Dance and Professional Practice.

l To find out more about the full range of StEPS projects visit our website, or to suggest your own idea please visit www. beds.ac.uk/steps. Alternatively email studentexperience@beds.ac.uk for more information.

Now based at The Atrium, Park Street West, Luton.

Kevin Cunningham Communications Officer kevin.cunningham@beds.ac.uk

Simon Wesson Communications Assistant simon.wesson@beds.ac.uk

Do you have a news story? Please contact the Comms team. 02 Life – March 2014

Ten training awards are available which include paid research work at Unilever on exercise epigenetics. Dr William Brown, a senior lecturer in Biomechanics and Exercise Psychology in the Department of Sport Science and Physical Activity, Faculty of Education and Sport, is leading the project. He said: “The HEAL team are humbled by this award to help train our next generation of research scientists interested in human health and epigenetics. How the environment modifies our DNA will have important ramifications for health and disease.”

Nick Hamilton-Brain Communications Administrator Nickolas.Hamilton-Brain@beds.ac.uk

Paddy Day Communications Assistant Patrick.Day@beds.ac.uk


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TUDENTS, alumni and staff have been spreading goodwill and love as they’ve taken part in the positive alternative to NEKnominate that’s sweeping the world. The RAK nominations require filming yourself doing a random act-of kindness and nominating others to do likewise. The craze – which was started by Brit, Edward Lennie who stripped off in public and gave his clothes to a homeless man – kicked off across the University as the Raise and Give (RaG) team at Beds SU launched its ‘Don’t Break The Chain campaign’ for Student Volunteering Week, which ran from 24 Feb to 2 March. And once it started there was no holding back, with the Beds SU campaign stretching right across the world encouraging staff, alumni and friends to take part. Deeds have included donating food and materials to staff and patients at Luton & Dunstables’s paediatric ward, giving clothes to charity stores, buying random members of the public’s shopping at supermarkets, adopting animals, donating to various charities, putting money behind

News

Hundreds benefit from Beds’ Random Acts of Kindness

the coffee bar for other customers in Beds SU’s The Lounge and much more. “We’re delighted with the response from everyone,” said

Beds SU President Daniel Login. “It was a great idea and I’m glad our students have taken the initiative to turn a game (NEK nominations) that has

negative connotations into something positive. “The Random Acts of Kindness have varied greatly, with some having a smaller, more immediate impact on the public and others having a wider reaching impact within communities. “Each and every one has shown great generosity though and I’m proud to be part of a student body that is so eager to give to good causes. “Quite often we’re not good at celebrating our big achievements but I think this is definitely one worth celebrating.”

UCMK students gain funding boost from Milton Keynes Council

Practice Weeks make big impact in the community

PPLIED Education Studies undergraduates at University Campus Milton Keynes (UCMK) have received funding from Milton Keynes Council to help with their studies. A new partnership between UCMK and the council – aiming to help improve the quality of professionals working in primary school education – is providing a bursary of £200 to part-time employmentbased UCMK students. The grant will currently benefit 12 teaching assistants on the four-year parttime course, which was launched last September, and enables study around work in schools and settings. “This is fantastic news for UCMK and the students involved, who now have extra financial support for things such as books and travel,” said Juliet Fern, Head of the Department of Education Studies at the University of Bedfordshire. “By supporting the professional development of the Applied Education

IRST-YEAR Business School students were under the spotlight as the Mayor of Luton visited the University to listen to their ideas on how to further improve the Luton Foodbank. As part of the Business School’s Practice Weeks programme, teams of students were tasked to develop posters to support the society which ensures no one goes hungry in Luton. Founded 12 months ago, it provides emergency food supplies to families. The Mayor, Councillor Sheila Roden, who sits on the Foodbank board, was impressed with the “fantastic ideas” and “great work” and said she was keen to support the students as they contribute to the community. Mike Kennedy, Principal Tutor in Management and Business Systems at the University, added the Weeks are a “major theme” of the course and generate “enormous commitment and interest”. “They are designed to provide students with more ‘hands on’ experience of real organisations, and to put the theory they have been taught into practice. This can only stand them in good stead when applying for jobs in the business industry after graduating.”

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Studies students’ via the bursary, Milton Keynes Council recognises this course is providing a local qualification route for those who wish to progress into teaching, most of whom are teaching assistants working at schools in the MK area. “When we launched the Applied Education course at UCMK, MK Council quickly showed interest in our work. We look forward to a successful partnership.” The next intake of UCMK Applied Education Studies’ students will start in September 2014. Marion Hogan, Workforce Officer for Settings and Schools at MK Council, added: “In addition to teaching assistants, the Applied Education Studies course is designed for anyone working in the education sector, including Nursery Practitioners. The bursary will help students to further their learning and become Milton Keynes’ outstanding teachers of the future.”

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IFA has awarded the University of Bedfordshire’s Dr Lee Taylor £12,000 to investigate how much heat and altitude can affect footballers’ performance during a match. The grant will utilise the University’s Sport and Exercise Science Laboratories to take forward its work in assessing sports performance in extreme environments, using the latest in research technology. Dr Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, said he was delighted to receive the prestigious João Havelange Research Scholarship. “It’s absolutely fantastic news for my research group and the University in general. This grant will enable us to quantify the exact effects heat and altitude can have on footballer’s maximum performance for the first time. “The research will raise awareness of the potential detrimental effects of extreme environmental conditions can have on performance in matches and the challenges faced to keep players safe when playing soccer in such extreme conditions. “Given that forthcoming FIFA World Cups (Brazil and Qatar) will be played in extreme temperatures (30c+), I am sure our data will be of utmost interest to FIFA and may hopefully inform future policy making.” The Intermittent Soccer Performance Test (iSPT) (codeveloped by the University of Bedfordshire), which can precisely measure each

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PHD research student Jeffrey Aldous and Dr Lee Taylor, with a student on the iSPT

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“This grant will enable us to quantify the exact effects heat and altitude can have on footballer’s maximum performance for the first time.” – Dr Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

Uni receives £12k FIFA grant individual’s maximum performance in high altitudes and soaring temperatures, is being used in the research to be sent to the world’s footballing governing body. iSPT, which was validated at the laboratories in Bedford, and was overseen by Dr Taylors PhD research student, Jeffrey Aldous, 23, replicates strict match-play conditions – ordering users when

to sprint, jog, or walk for the durations and intensities they’d be expected to during a game. The iSPT will be performed within a custom-made environmental chamber in which the temperature, wind and oxygen (hypoxic) levels can be controlled. It is performed on a nonmotorised treadmill (requiring manual movement from your legs, in order for the treadmill

belt to move). This enables the user to vary their speed and go as fast, or as slow, as they can – allowing maximum performance over 90 minutes, something rarely seen in matches. iSPT will identify how these environmental extremes effect maximal soccer performance. The iSPT computer programme (within the chamber) saves a record of each user’s data. Digitally screened charts demonstrate the levels the user needs to reach in order to achieve maximum performance. In relation to the research and the upcoming Brazil World Cup, Dr Taylor added: “Without doubt footballers, who regularly play in a warmer environment, will be at an advantage compared to those players who do not (eg. UK-based players), come this summer’s World Cup. “Hopefully in the future iSPT can reveal just how much of an advantage. There are some steps the England team can take to ensure that this disadvantage is minimised, which I am hopeful (as a fan) are already in place, such as appropriate warm weather training and heat acclimation.” Pilot data is due for completion in May 2014.


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New book reveals an appetite for online dating in the Sikh community O

NLINE dating has seen an emergence among young Sikhs in the western world. That is the revelation of a book co-authored by Bedfordshire Marketing lecturer Dr Amandeep Takhar. Computer Culture and The Evolution of Sikh Courtship Rituals looks at how ‘computer culture’ has seen young Sikhs search for a compatible partner via online dating website, shaadi.com, moving away from the traditional arranged marriage route commonly used in Sikh religion. “By interviewing people who use shaadi.com we have discovered that the website combines the western principles of individualism whilst retaining the collective family values seen in Sikhism,” said Dr Takhar, who is based in the Business School. “This has been done by allowing young Sikhs the freedom to choose their partners, with the majority of matches marrying, as an ‘occupation list’ on each member’s profile is designed to form the best available match. “In addition, Sikhs are still deciding to marry people of the same religion.” The book, which has been developed in

collaboration with Dr Pepukayi Chitakunge of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, finds that attitudes towards online dating among the older generation of the Sikh community were quite relaxed. Dr Takhar added: “The Sikh parents we interviewed appeared to be quite accepting of online dating as their children were happy for them to monitor their

activity, and the parents could see their children were a lot happier making their own minds up. “Online dating in western Sikh communities is here to stay as millions of young people from countries including Canada, England and America are using shaadi.com and finding their future wives or husbands.” l To purchase a copy of the book,

published by Scholars’ Press, visit www.amazon.co.uk.

Win £2,500 design prize A

The old bandstand in the park

£2,500 prize will be awarded to the student who comes up with the best concept design for a new modern bandstand in Luton’s Wardown Park. The Rotary Clubs in Luton have announced that planning approval has been sought from Luton Borough Council to design and build a state-ofthe-art bandstand aimed to provide a stimulus to the regeneration and refurbishment of the park. And the Rotary Clubs want a student to come up with a concept design. “We really want some blue sky thinking to provide a multi-purpose venue for the 21st Century. Think sound, lighting, projection, etc. and we shall have something that Luton can be proud of. Just Google modern bandstands and see what can be done,” said Anthony Musgrove, Chair of Community and Youth at the Luton Someries Rotary Club. “We wish to encourage University students to enter this competition and benefit financially from it. At present this is the concept and there

is much work in progress to be done, however any pre-publicity is very much appreciated.” Rotarian Alan Corkhill, chair of the Rotary Steering Committee, added: “We are looking to excite the young people of Luton to take full advantage of this park and its surroundings. The Trust has allocated major financial prizes for both winners and their educational establishments in Junior, Senior and Higher Education categories. The competition is open to all young people up to age 22 years.” The winning concepts will either be recognised or incorporated in the final design which will be prepared by professional architects and engineers. The final build will be used for a multitude of purposes including music, exhibitions and theatre providing a focal point for community events in the park. l To enter visit: www.rotarybandstand.org

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Sexual health school programmes positively affect Nigeria T

ARGETED and focussed schoolbased sexual education programmes in Nigeria can positively impact the nation’s pupils’ sexual health knowledge, attitudes and even their sexual health behaviour a study has found. Bedfordshire alumnus Lucky Gospel Amaugo, who graduated with a Masters degree in Public Health in November 2011, conducted the systematic review into the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS school-based sexual health education programmes in the African country. “Nigeria has the third highest rate of HIV patients in the world and the Government has introduced a number of programmes to try and combat this,” said Lucky, who founded and runs Relationship Builders International Foundation, offering young Nigerian people relationship and sexual health education. “The main example is the sex education programmes they have introduced into schools across Nigeria. I undertook a review of the studies conducted from 2002 to 2012, which focused on the effectiveness of school-based sexual programmes in Nigeria to see if these programmes could lead to a reduction in HIV cases. “The studies reviewed suggested that improving sexual health knowledge through targeted, focused school-based educational programs can positively impact on Nigerian school-going adolescents’ sexual health knowledge, attitudes and even their sexual health behaviour.” His work is published by a leading international public health journal – Oxford Journals Health Education Research, at the end of February. Having spotted an advert on Oxford Journals’ website appealing for the submission of sexual health-related papers, Lucky set about editing his dissertation upon the advice and support of his former supervisor, Dr Chris Papadopoulos, as well as University lecturers, Dr Nasreen Ali and Dr Bertha Ochieng. Dr Papadopoulos concluded: “Lucky’s publication in Health Education Research - a leading public health journal – is testament to the very important piece of work he has produced. I hope this can serve as an inspiration to all of our students that producing and publishing high quality, transformative research can be a reality.” Lucky, who lives in Luton, launched his charity in his homeland and said, as well as targeting young people in Nigerian schools to raise awareness of sexual health, he is also doing the same at various locations in Luton. l For more information about Lucky’s

charity visit: www.relationshipbf.com

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Lucky Gospel Amaugo

Romanian Ambassador speaks of ‘proud links’ during visit

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HE Romanian Ambassador to the UK gave a presentation to students and staff, during a special visit to the Luton campus last month. Hosted by Vice Chancellor, Bill Rammell, Dr Ion Jinga spoke about the responsibilities and challenges Romania face as an EU member state, having joined in 2007. In addition, Dr Jinga broached a host of other topics during his lecture, including the growing number of Romanian students studying in England. “With 80 per cent of the Romanian population speaking English as their second language, more Romanian students are now studying abroad than ever before, with 6,000 based here in the United Kingdom,” said Dr Jinga, who was appointed the Romanian Ambassador to the UK in 2008. “Bedfordshire is proving particularly appealing for them due to the high employability rate graduates from the University enjoy, whilst the prospect of English students studying in Romania is something we would love to happen.” Mr Rammell added: “After my speech at last year’s conference for Romanian students in London, I was delighted to welcome Dr Jinga to Bedfordshire.

“The number of Romanian students studying here at the University currently stands at more than 130, and I only see that number increasing. “I am extremely proud of the University’s links with Romania. After holding talks with Dr Jinga, we are keen to extend this relationship by extending the University’s student exchange trips to Romania.”


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The Voynich solved? A

N award-winning professor from the University has followed in the footsteps of Indiana Jones by cracking the code of a 600 year old manuscript, deemed as ‘the most mysterious’ document in the world. Stephen Bax, Professor of Applied Linguistics, has just become the first professional linguist to crack the code of the Voynich manuscript using an analytical approach. The world-renowned manuscript is full of illustrations of exotic plants, stars, and human figures, and many pages written in unknown text. Up until now not a single letter or word has been decoded and it has attained an infamous reputation, even featuring in the computer game Assassin’s Creed, and in the Indiana Jones novels. In reality no one has come close to revealing the true messages. Grand theories have been proposed. Some suggest it was done by Leonardo da Vinci, secret Cathars, the lost tribe of Israel, Aztecs, or even by aliens! Professor Bax however has begun to unlock it using his wide knowledge of mediaeval manuscripts and his familiarity with Semitic languages such as Arabic. Using careful linguistic analysis he is working on the Voynich letter by letter. “I hit on the idea of identifying proper names in the text, following historic approaches which

Professor Bax – the 2014 TESOL International Distinguished Researcher for work on eye-tracking and reading. “I was able to identify some of the stars and plants, by looking at mediaeval herbal manuscripts in Arabic and other languages, and I then made a start on a decoding, with some exciting results.” Among the words identified: the term for Taurus, alongside a picture of seven stars which seem to be the Pleiades. Also the word KANTAIRON, alongside a picture of the plant Centaury, a known mediaeval herb. Although only partial, the decoding has generated excitement because it could prove a crucial breakthrough for an eventual full decipherment. His aim is to encourage other linguists to help with decoding and “finally understand what the mysterious authors were trying to tell us”. He added: “My research shows conclusively that the manuscript is not a hoax, as some have claimed, and is probably a treatise on nature, perhaps in a Near Eastern or Asian language.” successfully deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs and other mystery scripts, and I then used those names to work out part of the script,” explained

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NTERNATIONAL media have not left off the phone (and are still coming through!) since Professor Stephen Bax released his decoding work. His research featured on websites, stations and papers, of the largest news organisations across the world including The Independent, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, BBC Five Live, Boston Globe, New Scientist, Clarín in Argentina, and ABC Nyheter in Norway to name but a few. The story on the University’s website www.beds.ac.uk has to-date received more than 375,000 individual views, boosted by it being highlighted as the number-one story in the world on www.reddit.com during the morning of 20 March. The story also caught the attention of BBC Look East who interviewed Professor Bax as part of a feature announcing him as ‘the Uni’s very-own Indiana Jones’. The Amazonas Real Brazillian TARP HAT COMPANY was clearly watching and sent a few of their eco-friendly Indiana style hats (pictured) through the post with the note: “Well done with your work so far. We

thought it would only be fair for you to follow your children’s advice and don the hat at the weekends!” Whilst Professor Bax isn’t busy decoding manuscripts, his day-to-day role at Bedfordshire is at CRELLA (Centre for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment) at Putteridge Bury, which provides world-leading research and development in English language learning and assessment. On Tuesday 25 February Stephen highlighted

l Want to know more? Attend Professor Bax’s dedicated Voynich lecture on 10 April, 6pm. For tickets visit stephenbax.eventbrite.co.uk

his work there, at his inaugural lecture as a professor. The focus was on his career research and the mechanics behind how we read and how we understand text. Professor Bax highlighted the fact that it often involves needed intertextual knowledge (being able to understand a piece of text through your prior knowledge of another text or a symbol). He also demonstrated advances in eyetracking technology (of which CRELLA is leading world research in language testing), displaying examples of how it can give insights into the cognitive processes used when we read texts during exams. “By using modern, non-intrusive eye-tracking technology, we can see exactly what people are looking at millisecond by millisecond. With the exam example you can clearly see how one candidate successfully scanned the text quickly and found the answer, while the unsuccessful candidate read laboriously through, inefficiently, and so failed to find the answer. “So this wonderful technology gives us potentially useful insights into the reading process which can help students to read better

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Putting social work on the Frontline L

ORD Andrew Adonis told the University that being employed as social worker needs to be seen as a prestigious occupation in order to help transform the profession and improve the life chances of children in need. The former Transport Secretary and Schools Minister was speaking at the University on a night focussed on the Frontline Programme, an initiative – being lead academically by Bedfordshire – which is often described as a ‘teach first’ for social work, recruiting, training and developing outstanding graduates to be social workers Lord Adonis, who is the Chair of the Frontline board, told a public audience of academics, students and staff how Frontline has the support of all three UK political parties in recruiting the next generation of social work leaders. The former head of Tony Blair’s policy unit said: “A successful society needs a very strong and successful private sector, but it also needs a very strong, successful public sector. “If we can pull reform off (convincing graduates that social work is prestigious and rewarding) then the health of

our society will be dramatically improved and big social challenges will be much easier to deal with.” In partnership with the University, the Frontline initiative offers a work-based route into children’s social work that aims to attract people who might not have otherwise considered a career in the profession. Lord Adonis added: “Social work has very high vacancy rates, big challenges of recruitment and alarming rates of turnover. These severely damage our capacity to tackle this big social problem of dysfunctional families and vulnerable children. “But with the right solution, potentially Frontline, you can get really big progress in five or six years.” And Josh McAllister, Frontline Chief Executive, told the audience this reform is desperately needed. “Only six per cent of children in care get into university. Onein-four of the current prison population were children in care. One-in-ten children, seeking support from a social worker, have been excluded from school.” He added: “We want to make social work in the top 10 most attractive occupations for

graduates (currently 14th).We want to create graduates with the right mix of academic skills and personal qualities, and resilience, to build a relationship with families in very difficult circumstances. “It’s an incredibly demanding job and needs the best people in this country to do it.”

Professor Donald Forrester, Professor of Social Work Research, added: “Frontline will be a fundamentally different way of supplying social work education. “It offers a programme which will deliver the types of graduates that are fantastic practitioners and rethink how we deliver social work practices.”

Queen presents Uni with award

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ER Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has presented the University with the leading award in higher education at an honours ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education was bestowed upon the University in recognition of its applied research into child sexual exploitation (CSE), influencing new safeguarding policy and practice. The award was presented to Vice Chancellor, Bill Rammell, and Professor Jenny Pearce, who led the pioneering research as Director of the International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking at the University. More on this story, and the uni’s pioneering CSE research, will be covered in next month’s Life magazine. l To read this story in further detail, and watch the footage of the presentation, visit www.beds.ac.uk/news/2014/february

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Yusupha Janko and Krystle Lewis

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Students’ work praised at international film festival

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Beds defeat Cambridge

EDIA Production students and graduates had their films screened at the prestigious Berlin British Shorts Film Festival. At this seventh annual festival – a venture funded by organisations including the University and the British Council – three Bedfordshire films were shown. These included Walking in the Clouds – made by MA Documentary 2013 graduates Bosi Zhao, Ling Yin Pan, Shan Jiang and Yawen Hu; It’s a Good Life – made by Tasos Giapoutzis, a third year Media Production BA student; and Take Your Seats, by MA in Documentary 2013 graduates Davinia Dillon and Helen Easter. Tasos, 27, who originates from Greece, has already experienced the “great” buzz of festivals during his studies, having attended the star-studded Cannes International Film Festival last year. He said having his own work shown at Berlin was “an honour” however. Following screening, Tasos was in a question and answer session, along with Davinia, whose film is about the preserved Rex cinema in Berkhamsted, Herts. David Green, a senior lecturer and course leader for the MA Documentary and BA (hons)

Media Production courses at Bedfordshire, was a festival organiser. He said: “Bedfordshire’s students were in very strong film-making company this year”, and all the University’s films received “much praise”. David chaired the jury for the Best Short Film Prize – won by a Scottish Documentary Institute film, Pouters, – and also helped run a workshop, along with senior lecturer in Video Production at Bedfordshire, John Digance, where student film-makers produced a short film which was shown at the end of the festival. Describing the four-day festival as “a great success, with sell-out screenings throughout”, David added: “Our media production students benefited from the experience in so many ways – showing their work and receiving feedback from their peers and industry experts, making many useful contacts along the way.”

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TEAM of students at the University has defeated a side from Cambridge University in a national law tournament – the most prestigious of its kind. Second year Law students, Krystle Lewis and Yusupha Janko, made it through to the third round of the English Speaking Union (ESU) National Mooting competition, where undergraduates argue both sides of an appeal from a fictitious lawsuit in a mock court. The duo – both on the LLB course – beat Cambridge in a case where they had to present a contract law case where the claimant had his car damaged in a car park. “In the research we conducted, all the cases we found were judged in favour of the appellant,” said Krystle. “Therefore we had to find snippets which we could use in the argument instead.” The team will now face Birmingham City University in the last 16 in March. Dr Sonal Minocha, Executive Dean of the Business School, said the competition is “excellent” for students as it tests their argument skills and their understanding of context and practice in the courtroom. Tom Mortimer, Head of School of Law, added the students are “fantastic ambassadors” and “highlight the good work done in the Law School”. “The judge complimented them on their research, preparation and the professional attitude in the court environment.” The victors of the competition stand to earn £1,000 each, whilst their respective university will receive a donation of £1,000.

New café at Butterfield

The University launched Neo Café at Butterfield Park campus on Monday, 24 February. Open weekdays 08.30-16.00, in building 210, the Café serves Costa Coffee and a selection of hot and cold snacks for students, staff and visitors.

Life – March 2014 09


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Student Experience Awards 2014 – time running out to nominate

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O you know an inspirational teacher or fellow student? If so, we want to hear from you! Following our hugely successful inaugural awards event last June, the second Vice Chancellor’s Student Experience Awards evening takes place at Putteridge Bury on Friday, 13 June. Time to nominate is running out, with the deadline on Friday, 21 March. Awards categories

cover both students and staff achievements. Feedback from last year’s gala event was overwhelmingly positive and represented a real celebration of the Student Experience and recognition of all the great work undertaken in various forms at the University. Rumnique Gill, Director for Student Experience, said: “We have received a high number of nominations already. If there

is somebody who has made a difference for you, we want to hear from you”. l For more information (including categories), and to nominate, please fill in the form by visiting www.beds.ac.uk/StEx-Awards. All award winners and runnersup will be invited to bring a guest to the Awards Evening, with dinner and entertainment included.

Pub in the Hub recognised at awards ceremony

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he Pub in the Hub at the University’s Bedford campus has been presented with an award for its high standard of nightlife. The Students’ Union-run venue, which has been open a year, won the Highly Commended award as part of the Best Bar None 2014 competition. Held at the Bedford Corn Exchange last month, Best Bar None is an awards scheme for licensed premises in Bedford, which was developed to prevent and address alcohol-related crime and to improve the nighttime economy. Sponsored by local organisations including newspaper Bedfordshire on Sunday and Bedford Borough Council, Best Bar None accreditation means The Pub in the

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Hub is officially recognised as a safe place to socialise in the town. The outlet in the heart of the Bedford campus opened in direct response to student feedback received in the previous year’s National Student Survey (NSS). The NSS gives final year students the opportunity to give their opinions on what they like about their institution and course as well as things they would like to see improved. James Darkings, manager of The Pub in the Hub, who was joined on stage by Beds SU Chief Executive, Michele Flynn, to collect the award, said: “To be recognised by industry professionals for our hard work is great, and should make students feel proud that they have such a good venue right on their campus.”

Take part in the NSS… you could win a trip to Paris!

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This year for the first time, a special accolade called The Graham Dean Award was included, named after Beds SU’s late Commercial Services Manager, with the announcement met by a standing ovation. Bedford Street Angels emerged as winners of the award. James added: “I am so glad that Graham was honoured for all of his hard work. He did so much for Beds SU and our venues. The award just shows how highly he was regarded in Bedford and beyond.” In addition to The Pub in the Hub’s success, Bedford’s Elements Nightclub, hosts of Beds SU’s weekly Wednesday club nights, received the top award of the night – the Gold award.

AVE you been stopped by a student ambassador asking if you’re a final year student? Please bear with them, they’re simply giving you the chance to have your say on what you like about your university and what you would like to see improve! The annual National Student Survey (NSS) asks final year undergraduate students across the UK to give feedback about their university experience. This year’s survey closes on 30 April. If you’re a final year student, time is running out to take part we want to hear from you! Rumnique Gill, Director for Student Experience, said: “There are 23 core questions in the survey relating to aspects of the student learning experience. We are eager to hear from as many students as possible. We’ve used past results to build on what students say we do well and to identify areas where the University could improve.” There are some great incentives for completing the NSS including either a Domino’s pizza voucher or an “I Love UoB” T-shirt and the opportunity to win a trip to Paris on Eurostar! l If you’re a final year student, have your say by logging on to www.thestudentsurvey.com


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Library development hails new era of investment at Luton campus

Artist’s impression of new library’s interior at the Luton campus. Image courtesy of Moses Cameron Williams architects.

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ONSTRuCTION of the new £46m library is on schedule for completion in summer 2015 for the start of the 2015-16 academic year. As reported in last month’s Life, Willmott Dixon, one of the UK’s largest construction companies, has been awarded a design and build contract to construct the new library building. Spread over seven floors, the new library, at the junction of Park Street and Vicarage Street, will become a landmark in the town centre incorporating 7,400 sq metres of space, connecting to the rest of the University’s Luton campus via a bridge link. Vice Chancellor, Bill Rammell said: “The move to appoint Willmott Dixon is great news

and further underlines our ambitions for current and future generations of students at Bedfordshire. The fantastic new facility will further enhance the students’ learning experience, offering the latest digital learning technologies, an expanded space for print resources and flexible study space for individual and group study, which will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “This investment also underlines our commitment to developing first-class teaching and learning facilities in Luton.” Chris Tredget, Managing Director at Willmott Dixon, is “delighted to be involved” and is looking forward to the “superb” new library, of which he said he was “very proud” to be a part of as a local business.

Service desk launched THE ICT Service Desk will now be available on the phone 24 hours, 365 days of the year thanks to an initiative in conjunction with Northumbria University. Northumbria will pick up Bedfordshire calls between 5pm to 8am. If these calls cannot be resolved overnight, they will be escalated to ICT for further investigation and resolution the following day. Bedfordshire’s ICT Service Desk, will be on-site from 8am until 5pm Monday to Friday. Contact ICT on 01582 743366 or visit their webpage, linked from the staff website homepage.

Leading teacher education expert joins Uni as visiting Professor

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NE of the country’s foremost education experts, Professor Geoff Whitty CBE, has joined the University as a visiting Professor. Following the announcement Prof Whitty visited staff in the Education and Sport Faculty to give an insight into the progress of the Government’s education reforms, and their impact on the provision of teacher education. He briefed the staff in Bedford on how the Coalition Government’s plans for education reform could affect the delivery of teacher

education programmes in Higher Education Institutions. The former Director of the Institute of Education at the University of London and a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee for Education, said: “Current policies for education reform could be seen as either a threat or an opportunity for teacher training programmes within Higher Education Institutions.” Dr Sally Bentley, Executive Dean of Education and Sport, said: “It is great news that Professor Whitty

has joined us. Colleagues have already identified common areas of interest when joint projects can take place on topics such as international comparisons in teacher education and school leadership and management. “Professor Whitty will also offer some mentoring to staff and share the findings of his future research as part of our research seminar series.” l For more on Professor Whitty’s recent visit to the University visit: www.beds.ac.uk/news

Life – March 2014 11


Online

News Lucy Cook and Nadia March with Ben Reeves

www.beds.ac.uk

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HE University’s Events and Sponsorship team presented the Man of the Match award at a recent MK Dons game. Nadia March, Manager, and Lucy Cook, Administrator, were invited to the League One side’s clash against Preston North End as part of the University’s sponsorship with the Dons. Prior to the match the ladies were given a tour of stadiummk, where they met the club’s other key partners. Following watching the goalless draw, they presented Northern Ireland and Dons midfielder Ben Reeves with the MoM award. Nadia said: “We were delighted to be recently invited to MK Dons, as part of our continuing work with the club in which our sponsorship primarily helps the club with their academy programme, aimed at 9-15 year olds. The academy is a training facility that is in place to train recruited young talent, specifically within local areas. “It was an honour to actually hand over the award and we look forward to future work and such occasions with the Dons.”

The boy Don good Staff make their pitch F

OOTBALL-MAD staff based at The Atrium took part in a community fivea-side tournament as part of the University’s partnership with Luton Town Football Club. The team, which consisted of members of the ICT department and Communications and an alumnus who regularly meet up on a Wednesday night as part of Get Into Sport, managed to get one victory out of their four games, but nevertheless put up a good fight in all their matches at Venue 360 in Luton. Simon Wesson, Communications Assistant was goalkeeper for the team, and said: “Although we may not have won that many games we certainly played well especially considering that we don’t play together as a team. “Highlight of the day for me was a wonder strike from Rameez Hassan in ICT!” Owain Fitzsimmons, Marketing Co-ordinator at LTFC, helped organise the event participated by eight teams and felt it went “really well”.

“We all enjoyed it and was great to see the commitment from each team. “It was a very exciting final between LTFC staff and SKF, Renewable Energy Manufacturing firm, and after both sides continued to swap the lead until the game ended 4-4. This meant it came down to a Penalty shootout. LTFC Staff won the shootout 4-3.”

Take part in Sport Relief

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HE Sainsbury’s Sports Relief Games are back in Bedford this month and the University wants you to take part! Held on Sunday 23 March this will be the third time that the University of Bedfordshire has helped host the Bedford Mile, which enables sprinters, joggers and walkers to all take part with three separate courses catered for your choice. Starting at the bandstand in Bedford Park, there is a six mile course at 10am, a three mile at 11.30am and there will be two chances to take part in the famous Sport Relief Mile event shortly after. Julia Lines, Assistant Director of Sport, said: “Come on Bedfordshire what are you waiting for! Let’s don the

headband, get training and show the rest of the country what we can do. There will be plenty of activities on the day so don’t forget to rope in your mates, family, boyfriend, girlfriend and colleagues too! “Last time around the Bedford Mile had more than 500 participants, and this year we want even more of you to get involved to get that total even higher!” l For more information and to enter visit: events at www.beds.ac.uk/sportbeds/ On the site you can also get sponsored to help transform the lives of people living here in the UK and in some of the world’s poorest countries, while being part of an incredible nationwide event.

Life – March 2014 12

Life March 2014  

Life March 2014. The University of Bedfordshire monthly magazine for staff and students.

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