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Reviews about "lectures"Return to all Reviews
- Former Employee★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Collegiate atmosphere amongst academic staff.
Very little autonomy given around content of the modules I was contracted to teach, even those for which I was the sole lecturer. This compares negatively to other HE institutions I have worked for in similar roles. I was groomed for a lecturing position (read months of ongoing mentions and invitations to apply for said position). I was interviewed for this new position. This institution failed to contact me post-interview to let me know that I had been unsuccessful. I had to rely upon word of mouth amongst my colleagues to discover the outcome. I then lost my Associate Lecturing role as they awarded it to someone else for the next academic year, this is not irregular with AL contracts, but they did also fail to notify me on this count. I found out about my loss of the role via social media. I faced loss of earnings due to their negligence. This is made up of both loss of the original AL post, and loss of other work I could have accepted in lieu. Further to this, this faculty (ACE) has self-reported and self-identified its own poor data on conversion of BME interviewees to post-holder for academic roles. There is a bottleneck at that point. I mention this as it does have bearing on my case. A complaint was submitted, and a very partial apology offered. The university acknowledges that they failed to notify me of the outcome of an interview in good time (first contact, a voicemail containing no relevant information left around 10-14 days post-interview). At interview the timescale given for post-interview contact was 48 hours. They actually never formally notified me of the outcome of the interview, even post-complaint, which is highly irregular for a university that presumably maintains an HR dept. I am aware that this reads as a disgruntled former employee review, so I have kept things factual. This page lacks accounts of the experiences of Associate Lecturers in HE who increasingly take on large proportions of UG teaching in institutions such as this one, and who have very few rights. The above is a case in point.
- Current Employee, less than 1 year★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
The work is on campus meaning it's easy to go to lectures after, staff is really nice and the pay is good
It starts at 6.30 and end at 9am so it's early mornings but then you are awake and ready for lecturesContinue reading
Thanks for fulfilling an important function here at UWE. Impressed that you are up so early in the morning to carry out your duties! Don't forget other opportunities such as a Student Ambassador or even in Catering as it all looks good on your cv.....but leave time for your studies.
- Current Employee★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Wonderful lecturers, friendly and patient people who explain things in ways that is easily understood.
Students often skip lectures, some lecturers are better as any job other than lecturing.Continue reading
Really excellent point on recruitment, we are looking at how we can improve on the practices that we use currently when selecting staff and 'mock' lectures is high on the list.
- Former Contractor, less than 1 year★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Coaching and public speaking skills developed Enhanced university experience Was an opening to other opportunities Helped build greater confidence and encouraged greater socialising skills
Weekly reflections were often repetitive Not enough support from the subject department If students did not attend lectures, without basic knowledge sessions could be ineffective.
- Current Employee, more than 3 years★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Good tolerance of things like flexitime, working from home, balancing life and work and children-related flexitime and time out from work. Welcoming to older people (2nd career students and so on), women, muslims, all sexualities and so on. Senior management seems to desire inclusivity (like Athena Swan and so on), but there are some issues (see cons). There is also a level of ruthlessness in the senior management approach to courses and areas to invest in, which, although not everyone likes this, suggests that the university is unlikely to run out of money. Although, like all universities, money is spent on things like pretty buildings. There is a genuine engagement with local businesses and applied research, although the focus on small to medium enterprises can exclude efforts to engage with large and international enterprises. There is engagement with the local high school students through things like careers fairs. There is a engagement with the public through things like festivals, talks and tours. Lots of opportunity to move around and learn new research skills (largely because they don't care about research or police it beyond the health and safety level). Lots of personal development, continuing professional development, teaching courses available. Little policing of hours spent at UWE, so you can work from home, or take flexitime easily. Almost open and fair approach to researcher promotion. It is possible to fill in a form explaining why you deserve a promotion, get it considered by the department/faculty and get feedback as to why you didn't get it, which is helpful (and was a change that took place whilst I was there, which does show a commitment to improvement). However, you need a business case for promotion, which does mean that the promotions go to those who are best at getting funding, not necessarily those who are best as their job (this is the same at every uni, I think). H.R. and finance departments are a little too keen on forms, a little anal about the filling in of them (if you have bad handwriting, don't even bother trying to do them by hand) and the processes change too often, but the form overhead is well managed compared to most universities. The finance team will sort out grant application finances for you and the bidding support people are good at their jobs. Keen on the filing of patents, the patent agreement is generous to researchers and they are interested in applying research and licensing patents to companies. But, the university currently has only a part time technology transfer officer and they really need 2 full time ones, and they are too keen to licenses to small, local SMEs rather than engaging with large, multinational corporations and patent opportunities fall through the gaps and, in one case, it took a year to file a patent and some of the work was accidentally published before filing. The uni-run bus service has vastly improved and is usable for getting to and from work. The university senior management does seem genuinely engaged in improving things.
If you don't fit in, you will be told to not come back! There is a huge difference in this across the faculties, so it depends where you end up. Some faculties are not very tolerant of differences, despite a huge effort to be inclusive from the top levels of management and some level of success in inclusivity. There is some institutional bullying at the lower levels in some departments. Anyone with any mental health issues is likely to have difficulties, some departments are not very supportive. Some first-line bosses block their post-doc's attempts to 'get-out-from-under' and have an independent research career. Generally, the university is uninterested in research success, again, the top levels of management encourage it, but lower levels do not recognise or reward it. There are wasted opportunities to pursue lucrative research ventures with external bodies, due to lack of interest at the departmental level. There are some oddities where great researchers with very high profiles externally do not get internal recognition -- this goes to internal researchers skilled at politics and cronyism, even if they have a low external profile. Similarly, external impact is often overlooked as well. There is also an over-focus on the professor as compared to the post-doc. The institutional view seems to be that the professor does all the intellectual work of a project and the post-doc is just a pair of hands (i.e. they act like a research assistant or research technician), there is no understanding that research associates (which I define as someone who has their PhD), research fellows and senior research fellows do a vast amount of intellectual work and contribute independent ideas. Thus, any research success that is recognised goes to the professors. It is also difficult to get support for external bidding at the RA, RF and SRF level, as a professor must be put on the grant and work put in to develop grants by the lower levels is ignored. This results in the university losing promising early and middle career researchers because they are not interested in retaining those people and their skills. Therefore, there is a chance that the university will end up top-heavy, with many highly paid university lecturers (who may then retire) and no qualified early or middle career researchers to take their place or expand the research and bidding potential of university. This is highly wasteful as the university has put in the time to train these people (often from their PhD's) and then loses them to other institutions once the researchers are efficient at producing research. No clear level of direction of research in some faculties. Some institutions, such as the BRL, have a very clear direction and leadership, some departments and faculties lack leadership and change their research focus every year! This is compounded by the highly irritating habit of departmental and faculty level management renaming the departments and research groups on an almost yearly basis. I think they rename it to indicate a change of direction instead of implementing proper leadership. The names picked tend to be rather long and unwieldy (and not particularly descriptive of what the department does), and take up a large amount of space on research papers (quite irritating if you submit research papers to somewhere that strictly limits page length). It does not look good externally to have names so vague as to mean nothing, and makes it hard to cultivate an external reputation. The solution seems to be publishing papers and maintaining websites in the names of groups/departments/research centres that do not actually exist in the university structure any more. Personally, despite not liking renaming things, I would love it if the university could rename itself to the Technical University of Bristol, or something, as outside the UK there is no stigma attached to the word 'Polytechnic', Bristol has a good reputation globally as a technical city and it would make it easier to build up a good reputation with colleagues at Technical Universities of the US, the Technichsche Universitat of Germany and the Polytechnica's of Italy. There is too much pointless competition between departments, faculties and research institutions. For example, there are two different research organisations focussed on biosensors/biosensing, one in one faculty focussed on biosensors, one in another focussed on biosensing, there is limited collaboration (although there is some) and unnecessary competition between these two. There are initiatives to increase cross-disciplinary work but only within a faculty and not across it, despite obvious routes for cross-faculty collaboration, due to the slightly odd layout of departments within faculties (the biology departments are with the humanities in a different faculty to computer science, and mathematics is put in with engineering and design, separate from computer science). This leads to wasted resources, with similar lab facilities empty within one faculty and crowded in another and wasted opportunities to bring in money from external companies where cross-faculty collaboration would lead to a better service. Cronyism. Jobs do not go to the best qualified candidate. There is an effort to appear fair, but it is not very convincing. I saw one job get awarded to an internal candidate in what was supposed to be a fair and open competition where we were invited to attend job presentations of the candidates. However, in this case there were only 2 candidates short-listed, the external dropped out, the job was de facto awarded to the internal candidate and this was presented as a fair process. The best way to get ahead is to suck up to middle management and attempt to procure yourself a defender (or several) at the departmental and faculty level. With such a defender, you can easily win internal funding competitions and promotions, without one, you might as well give up on any internal funding competitions and apply for external money. Putting time and effort into internal PR and propaganda is worthwhile as well. But be careful, overdoing the propaganda and seeming to over-succeed will alienate your co-workers and defenders. These issues take place at other universities, but because UWE is so internally focussed (almost solipsistic in its approach to research reward!) it is extra bad here. In some departments there is a huge morale problem at the post-doc level. This is due to lack of leadership, bad management and cronyism, but also to do with the over-focus on the teaching staff as compared to research staff (this is something the university has worked to address, although more work is needed). However, the teaching staff are demoralised as well, as the teaching load is very heavy and they are required to produce 4 high impact publications every four years as well. The obvious solution of cultivating and promoting research-focussed post-docs to 'carry-the-load' of REF success and to collaborate with the primarily teaching staff to give them high impact research has not been attempted. In fact, due to the poor management of the researchers, there is a distrust between the primarily teaching and primarily research faculty which makes such collaboration unlikely to emerge. Financial reward is random. If you start fresh from a PhD you may be appointed at either a RA(ssociate) or RF level, it seems to be random, and is unfair and divisive. If you start at RA, you will need to swing a promotion to RF to get the same reward as one of your colleagues, this will take at least a year and a half as you can only try once every 6 months, you can't do it during your probation and are unlikely to get it first time. So, in an interview, try and get RF level and be polite and don't tell your colleagues! There is a pay increase every year (as mandated by the Research Councils), this depends to time spent at UWE and is not related to the outcome of your personal development review, so no amount of success will allow you to progress faster. There are cases of RA's with the same qualifications outperforming higher paid RF's. The management seem to believe this is a fair system. There is no language school, so faculty can't get cheap evening classes in foreign languages. The library lacks subscriptions to some necessary journals. You can get them via the British library and every researcher has access to this service, but it adds to the time taken to get the appropriate literature.Continue reading
- Current Employee★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Good size campus; decent facilities
Some lecturing is hard to follow.