Return to campus update - 13 August 2020

Professor Wyn Morgan shares the latest updates from the return to campus group. The update covers new University guidance for qualitative research involving face-to-face contact with research participants and emphasises the importance of the face-to-face teaching element in the blended learning approach for the new academic year.

Dear colleague,

Clearing is a busy time for all of us, and I would like to start by thanking all colleagues who are involved in clearing for their contribution. This is a vital part of our student recruitment cycle and, thanks to your efforts, many students will choose Sheffield this year. I appreciate that this is a challenging time for many colleagues and, with this in mind, will keep today’s update short.

Resource lists

To support the student experience in the new academic year, it is vital that you use the University’s Resource List system, Leganto, to share reading lists with your students. Due to current limitations with the circulation of print materials, resource lists should include electronic items (print items should be added as an exception), key reading and a limited selection of supplementary materials.

Requests for digitised material, including copies of print books or chapters, should be submitted through the Library Resource Recommendation Form. A quick guide to using the system is here: Creating your student reading list through the online Resource List platform.

For advice on selecting digital content during this time, visit the Library’s FAQs for staff who teach.

Resumption of qualitative research

Since the end of March, the University’s guidance has been to pause qualitative research involving face-to-face contact with research participants to minimise the risk of transmitting Covid-19 and to protect both researchers and participants. We recognise that the pause in research has been difficult and stressful for many researchers and PGRs and have now agreed a set of principles to allow the resumption of qualitative research under certain circumstances. We are keeping this guidance under review, and will update you about any future changes.

Face-to-face teaching

Since the start of lockdown, our intention has been to return to some form of on-campus provision, with an element of face-to-face teaching, as soon as safely possible. This position is fundamental to our University's mission and purpose. The University Executive Board fully endorses this approach and is supporting our efforts to put in place a blended teaching offer. We are also aware that many of our students have reported isolation as their main concern during the lockdown and we feel that the approach proposed will help in part to address that.

Our aim is to make our offer as attractive as possible to students, while ensuring we are doing everything we can to maintain their safety and the safety of our staff. We consider the blended learning approach, with access to campus and the facilities that can safely be opened, to be the best offer. You will shortly receive a more detailed update from your Faculty Vice-President outlining our considerations and the measures that will be in place to ensure your safety and the safety of our students. I hope that this more detailed update will offer further reassurance regarding the work that colleagues in academic and professional services departments are undertaking to manage the safe return to campus for teaching activity.

Many thanks for your continued support. Please keep reading these updates as we will share future details on plans for the start of term and the safety measures that will be in place on campus in the coming weeks.

With best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan
Vice-President for Education