24 February 2014

Vice-Chancellor's Blog

February has been a significant month for sport at Queen's with the opening of the GAA Festival – the first time any institution has hosted the finals of all four HE Gaelic Games tournaments.

In his final blog post as Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor James McElnay looks at how Queen's is leading the way in sport.

To read the blog, visit:

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NSS Update

‌As of today, 44.2% of eligible students at Queen's have completed the National Student Survey (NSS) 2014.

Key statistics at this stage of the 2014 survey:

  • The average response rate for institutions with the same start week as Queen’s currently stands at 32.9%.
  • The highest response rate for an HEI with the same start week as Queen’s is 64.2%.
  • At the same time last year (taking into account variations in start week) the response rate at Queen’s was 44.2%.

Students who have not yet responded to the survey have been sent email reminders and may also receive telephone calls from Ipsos Mori.

Please encourage your eligible students to complete the survey as soon as possible via the unique link in their email invitations or online at

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Acting Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences

Professor Stuart Elborn has been appointed as Acting Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences. His contact details are:

Tel: 028 9097 2764/2765

Mailing Address:   

School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences,
School Office, Health Sciences Building,
97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7BL

Secretary: Roisin Smith ( / 028 9097 2764)
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Join the ‘Conversation’

Queen’s academics are encouraged to join The Conversation, a news and opinion site where articles are produced on a collaborative basis between an academic and a journalist.

The academic ensures the article is evidence-based, authoritative and written from an expert perspective, while the journalist ensures it is newsworthy, engaging and above all an interesting read for the public. Everything is published under Creative Commons and over 70% of articles are republished.

The site is updated twice daily and publishes 60 to 70 items per week. UK academics are invited to become authors and Queen’s academics have already made valuable contributions. The idea is to provide a service that will not only be accessed by readers directly, but will also become a reliable source of material for the national press. You can also sign up for a daily update.

Queen’s is a Founding Partner of the website. If you would like to contribute, click to pitch your idea.

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SU Shop celebrates Fairtrade Fortnight

Today sees the launch of Fairtrade Fortnight and the Make Bananas Fair campaign.

Join with the Students’ Union and SU Shop in celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight which runs until Sunday 9 March 2014.

Browse and buy from the range of Fairtrade products in the SU Shop, including a wide range of hoodies and sportswear, chocolate treats, tea, coffee, biscuits and the new range of chilled Starbucks coffees. Not to forget Fairtrade bananas!

Why not introduce Fairtrade products in your office or swap your current non-Fairtrade purchases (sugar, tea, coffee, chocolate etc.) for Fairtrade products.

The Fairtrade mark is the only independent consumer guarantee of a better deal for producers in the developing world.

The Students’ Union Shop is owned and operated by Queen’s with all profits reinvested to improve the Students’ Union facilities and enhance the student experience.

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Latest edition of Queen's Now

The latest edition of Queen's Now is available here.

The focus of this month's edition is sport. Find out about Queen's GAA Festival, hear from a researcher who has worked with sports teams, including AC Milan, and meet colleagues who are helping staff, students and the wider community to get involved with sport.

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International Women's Day

Since 1908 International Women's Day (IWD) has been celebrated annually on 8 March. This has been a day to recognise the achievements of women around the world without regard to their national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political differences. Every March, thousands of events take place to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. The theme for 2014 is ‘Inspiring Change’.

Members of the Queen’s Gender Initiative Committee have compiled a Calendar of Events taking place around Queen’s and further afield that celebrate IWD.

Please check the list of events and contact the organiser listed to register or for further information. Events include social coffee mornings, cultural events, debates, a rally, and conferences.

For further information on IWD around the world, please visit:

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Inaugural lecture: Professor Rhiannon Turner

As part of the events marking 55 years of psychology at Queen's, Professor Rhiannon Turner will deliver her inaugural lecture on Thursday 27 February.  Entitled Imagination and Observation: Changing Behaviour in a Diverse Society, the lecture will take place at 5.30pm in Riddel Hall, followed by a drinks reception at 6.30pm.

Anyone interested in attending should register at:

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This week at QFT:

  • The Invisible Woman: Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this fine drama focusing on Charles Dickens’ secret love affair with young actress Nelly Turnan.
  • Her: Set in a not-so-distant future LA, Her follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a complex, soulful man who becomes enamoured with an artificially intelligent operating system, voiced by the husky-toned Scarlett Johansson.
  • Stranger by the Lake: A psychological thriller drama set at a French lakeside cruising spot for gay men. Winner of Best Director for Alain Guiraudie at Cannes Film Festival 2013.
  • Nymphomaniac - Volumes I & II (From Friday): Directed by Lars von Trier, this is a wild and poetic chronicle of a woman's life story as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac.

Staff ticket price £5, standard ticket price £6.50. Please visit for more details.

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Queen’s Sport

Easter Rugby Talent Camp 2014
Queen’s Sport is once again running the Easter Rugby Talent Camp for 13 -16 year olds from Monday 14 - Friday 18 April at the Upper Malone Facilities. Click here for booking details.

Campus Run and Queen's Park Run
Everyone is welcome to take part in the weekly Campus Sports Run and Park Run.  To find out more and to get involved in Campus Sports, click here.

Queen’s 5K Race Around The River
This year's 5K Race Around The River takes place on Wednesday 2 April at 7.00pm. Cash prizes are on offer.  For more details and to register, please visit the 5K website.

Swimathon 2014
From Friday 21 - Monday 24 March, Queen’s Sport will host the Sainsbury’s Sports Relief Swimathon. For more details click here.

Activity Class Booking Policy
If you currently take part in Activity Classes within Queen’s Sport, please click here for some important information.

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QUB Teaching Awards 2014
The closing date for receipt of applications for a Queen’s Teaching Award is 4.00pm on Friday 14 March 2014. The Notes for Guidance, application templates and examples of previous applications are available to download online. Queries should be directed to Liz McDowell,, 028 9097 5301.

New Online Materials on Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
CED has acquired a range of online materials to support teaching, learning and assessment in higher education. These are produced by Epigeum, a spin-out company from Imperial College London, and incorporate up-to-date thinking and advice, including input from international experts. The topics covered are:

  • Understanding the principles of course design
  • Developing your teaching
  • Making the most of discussion
  • Lecturing 1
  • Lecturing 2
  • Marking and giving feedback
  • Teaching with patients
  • Resources to enhance student learning
  • Supervising projects and dissertations

All members of academic staff can access this material on QOL, from the menu on the left-hand side, under 'Other', select 'Online training'. The headings for the above nine modules should be visible. Click on the one that you want to view. The modules contain reading material, video clips and online quizzes and activities. They can be studied at one’s own pace and no formal assessment is involved.

If you have any questions in relation to accessing the materials, please contact

Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Below is a list of scheduled courses for the next few weeks. Early booking is advised as places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Wednesday 5 March: Engaging Students in Assessment and Feedback, 2.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Wednesday19 March: Creating Interactive Learning Resources Using Excel 2010, 2.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Wednesday 19 March: Teaching Larger Classes, 2.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Wednesday 26 March: Using the Personal Response System in your Classes (only a few places still available), 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Guest Speaker Series 2013-14

  • Dr Simon Lancaster (Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of East Anglia and an HEA National Teaching Fellow) together with John Busch (School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) will lead a workshop on Technology Enhanced Learning on Thursday 27 March from 10.00am – 12.30pm in the Council Chamber/Canada Room. For further details click here, email or phone 028 9097 1447.

A full list of all CED events and courses, together with further information, can be accessed online.

Registration for all courses and events is via Queen’s Online. Full instructions for booking are on the website. For information or for assistance with registration, please email the Centre at or telephone 028 9097 1447.

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IT training courses

Places are available on the following courses:

  • Monday 3 March: PowerPoint 3: Creating Poster Presentations, 9.30am – 12.30pm
  • Monday 3 March: Twitter for Beginners, 2.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 4 March: Adobe Photoshop 2: Further Topics, 9.30am – 12.30pm
  • Wednesday 5 March: Web Authoring: Introduction to CMS, 10.00am – 1.00pm
  • Friday 7 March: Working with SharePoint, 9.30am – 12.30pm
  • Tuesday 11 March: Adobe Photoshop 3: Digital Skills and Efficiencies, 9.30am – 12.30pm
  • Thursday 3 April: Making best use of Outlook, 9.30am – 1.00pm
  • Monday 14 April: Introduction to NVivo, 9.30am – 4.30pm
  • Monday 14 April: Creating Charts using Excel, 2.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Wednesday 15 May: Introduction to Visio, 2.00pm – 4.30pm

Course dates can be viewed at: To book a course, go to Queen’s Online and under ‘Other’ click Training Courses. For more information, contact or 028 9097 6189.

Today’s Tip: Make short readable web addresses for use in email, blogs, forums, social networks, instant messages, online publications or ad campaigns at:

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Places are available on the following STDU courses:

  • Tuesday 25 February: Time Management for Support Staff, 9.30am – 1.00pm
  • Wednesday 26 February: Introduction to Disability Awareness, 9.30am – 1.00pm
  • Thursday 6 March: Using Your Purchasing Card, 10.00am – 1.00pm
  • Friday 7 March: Personnel Procedures, 9.30am – 12.30pm

Book now for the following course in June:

  • Monday 2 - Tuesday 3 June: Preparing for Retirement (2 day course), 9.30am – 4.00pm

To book a place on a training course, log onto Queen's Online, then select 'Employment Details' from the list on the left of the page and follow the link for 'iTrent Self Service'.


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