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Update on Welcome 2020

04 Aug 2020

A message from Professor April McMahon

Gilbert Square from above

Dear colleagues

As we head ever closer to the start of the next academic year, I wanted to update you on our plans to Welcome students to our University in September and October. 

Structure of Welcome 2020

We want to help all our students make the most of studying in our city and at our University. To increase these opportunities, we have extended our Welcome period to two weeks for new undergraduate students and three weeks for new postgraduate taught students. All students will benefit from at least one week of University-led events, and one week of School and Programme-led events. In addition, for the first time, this year we’ll be putting a programme of events together to Welcome Back returning students. 

Dates for Welcome, and the rest of the 2020/21 academic year, are available on our University’s website

Online and face-to-face activity

Some students may not be able to make it to campus for Welcome for reasons beyond their control, so it has been agreed that University Welcome will include both online and face-to-face events, where these can be delivered safely. Online sessions will be repeated at different times or made available asynchronously to accommodate students in different time zones or with conflicting commitments.

Whilst face-to-face events have been agreed in principle, details for their delivery are currently being discussed in liaison with the Return to Campus Group and Estates to ensure social distancing and health and safety requirements are achievable. 

Details of specific events will be shared over the coming weeks, once confirmed, and outline schedules have now been shared within Faculties by representatives on the Welcome Induction and Transition Group (WIT).

University Welcome 

To help co-ordinate the various Welcome activities across different areas of our University and the Students’ Union, and to ensure that Welcome is as comprehensive as possible without being overwhelming, we have agreed a thematic approach to the University- led Welcome weeks for both undergraduate and postgraduate taught students. The agreed themes are:

  • Monday – Welcome / Welcome Back to Manchester
  • Tuesday – Uni Essentials
  • Wednesday – Wellbeing Wednesday
  • Thursday – Make the Most of Your Time 
  • Friday – Social Justice Challenge

As our postgraduate taught students are with us for a shorter period than our undergraduates, we’re providing extra PGT specific events during the Welcome period. These include targeted Library induction and skills events, an online programme delivered by Methods at Manchester, events from our Manchester Enterprise Centre, and a strong focus on future employability across the board, to help our postgraduate taught students make the most of their Masters.

School and Programme Welcome

Schools have been allocated the Monday of each University-led Welcome week for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, to deliver their own Welcome activities and begin the vital process of building academic communities. It has been suggested that, in keeping with the ‘Welcome to Manchester’ theme of the day, the focus is on a general welcome and induction agenda. This will be followed by more specific and academic-related content in the School and Programme-led Welcome week. 

Online Social Justice Challenge replacing Sustainability Challenge this year

This year the online Social Justice Challenge will replace the face-to-face Sustainability Challenge for first year undergraduate students. For the first time, it will also be made available to postgraduate taught students. The Social Justice Challenge introduces students to current social justice issues, such as race, migration, homelessness, mental health and education and more information is available on StaffNet News. Don’t worry about the future of the Sustainability Challenge – we are planning for it to be back next year.

Quarantine

Students whose permanent domicile is within countries required by the UK Government to quarantine on arrival and who have booked University Halls of Residence, will be able to arrive two weeks in advance of their accommodation contract start date in September with no additional charge for accommodation during that quarantine period.

University Halls of Residence

Guidelines will be in place when students arrive to support living in halls whilst maintaining the required social distancing. Where students are sharing accommodation, they are considered a household – this means any Government guidance for households will apply. Student arrivals will also be staggered, with students being given a date to arrive at halls in order to create the household they will be living in.

After arrival, residents will have access to a blended programme of activities to support their transition away from home. All new residents will complete an online induction and will then have access to a series of online Welcome events. Face-to-face activities will also take place if all requirements for social distancing and health and safety are achievable, including meetings with ResLife teams and outdoor events such as cinemas and BBQs.

Sport

By the start of Welcome, all Sports Centres and Wellbeing Rooms will be reopened and offering activities in line with Government and governing body guidance. Outdoor spaces will be utilised around campus and halls to offer an extended programme of activity, in addition to online sessions through UoM Sport social media channels.

Start of Year administration 

Colleagues from across the Division of Student Admissions, Administration and Business Improvement have produced a helpful set of information and guidance for colleagues involved in Start of Year administration. You can find all of this information on the Student Data, Analysis and Records StaffNet website.

Next steps

The Welcome, Induction and Transition Group is working towards Confirmation and Clearing (13th August) as the date for confirmed programmes of activity, and I’ll be writing to colleagues with a further update after this. In the meantime, I hope you have a brilliant summer that includes a break - and I look forward to joining you in welcoming our new and returning students later this year.

Best wishes

Professor April McMahon

Vice President for Teaching, Learning and Students.