Reporter 410, 17 November 1997


Career moves

Stephen Clark
Institute for Transport Studies

I have received a copy of the list of staff development courses offered by the university. One course, “Career Development for Research Staff,” and offers help with “... person specifications; CVs; covering letters; interview technique; portfolio careers; the wide horizon of job opportunities.” Am I the only individual who thinks that it is crazy for an organisation to spend time and effort encouraging its staff to leave? I have worked in commerce where efforts are made to retain experienced staff and the idea of training to write a CV would be considered commercial suicide. The existence of the course may also demotivate staff with the suggestion that there is no long-term career in university research.

It is with alarm that I also note that the three dates of 25 places each are all full! Can 75 members of staff be so demotivated by their employers that they wish to leave?

The 1996 CVCP/Research Councils Concordat on Contract Research Staff Career Management requires employers of contract research staff to satisfy funders that they have effective policies for career management of such staff, including the provision of career guidance and development for careers in research and elsewhere, within and outside academia. It is widely recognised that Leeds has provided one of the best responses to the training needs identified in the Concordat. The courses to which Stephen refers are, of course, not designed to encourage staff to leave but are part of our commitment to career development – Penny Hatton, Director, SDDU.

Begging letter

Vicky Statler
Head of Corporate Services
Estate Services

In September the Mail Service delivered a staggering 782,250 items to departments. I am pleased to report that very few items go missing and result in complaints. Nevertheless, this mail volume represents a 25% increase on the same period last year, and thus puts significant pressure on the Mail Service and Portering Service staff.

I would like to ask for everyone’s help on behalf of these services, which have been subject to budget reductions during the last two years. Could all University members please ensure that they quote their correct University address – particularly the department and building name. A common problem is mail addressed to ‘Computing’ – please distinguish between ‘UCS’, ‘Computer Studies’ and ‘Admin Computing.’

Due to the sheer volume of mail, all items have to be sorted by department rather than name. It is time consuming when staff have to search various lists for names when no department is quoted. Could departments please arrange to notify senders of mail which is addressed to persons who have left the University. It is also difficult when obscure acronyms are quoted – please write addresses clearly and in full.

Care in following the above guidance will not only help the Mail and Portering Services to operate more efficiently, but will also help to ensure that everyone receives their mail with the minimum of delay.

Library shortcut

Lynne Brindley
Dean of Information Strategy and University Librarian

Since the introduction of the Library’s new computer system, some colleagues have pointed out that access to the WWW from their PC is unacceptably slow, whether through hardware or network problems.

It might be helpful to know that the Library Catalogue is also available through a non-WWW route: choose “G. Library Services” and “B. Telnet to Library Catalogue etc” from the UCS Novell menu, or telnet directly to

This version of the catalogue, while not quite as sophisticated as that offered via WWW, is a substantial improvement on the previous “Geac” system, so non-WWW users are also getting an improved service from the new system.

The use of WWW for the main catalogue interface will allow us to integrate access to services such as electronic journals and the online counter collection, thus moving towards the long term vision of seamless access to the Library’s information services. For an example, see the journal Advances in Mathematics where the catalogue shows not only the conventional holding but also the electronic availability through Academic Press’ IDEAL service. If you have any comments on the new Library catalogue please contact your subject consultant.

Rag brings riches

Colonel A C Roberts

I had the honour and pleasure of being invited by the Leeds Student Charity Rag Committee to attend the presentation of cheques at the Civic Hall in the presence of the Deputy Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress on 30 October.

Our students are to be congratulated on their dedication and hard work, which raised £23,000, all of which was presented to a wide range of 39 local and national charities in a very happy atmosphere.

The Student Charity Rag Committee must be congratulated on the image they project as caring young people. Their hard work and generosity was well received by all the charities present, all of whom spoke very highly of the students concerned.

A matter of time

Richard Bell
Civil Engineering

Why is the clock on the computer network so often wrong? Will this be misleading for people receiving email?

Wrong times on messages can cause lists of messages to be in the wrong order, but there is no other known ill effect. There is no single clock on the network. The main UCS machines running UNIX and NetWare4 use a time synchronisation system to keep their clocks in step, both with each other and with the world. Your correspondent uses the old CIVIL server, which is still running NetWare3 with its less comprehensive time handling system. The time in a PC is reset by the NetWare server both on start-up and on log in – Dr David Holdsworth, UCS

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