Newport City: You said, we are doing

Over the past few months, through many consultations, we’ve collected a wealth of feedback from staff and students. We have identified areas for improvement you would like us to address, and we will do our very best to do so. These will be short, medium and long term developments and improvements, so we’ll keep you informed of their progress through this “You said…we are doing” campaign….

You Said, We Are Doing logo

The building doesn’t feel welcoming and provide a positive environment for us to work in…

Colleagues in Marketing have already started working on plans to create a friendlier atmosphere and environment around the campus, including the use of student recruitment and strategic messages to create a sense of place and character, and to showcase the talents and achievements of our students.

This work is being planned in conjunction with the campus realignment group and you will see some of this beginning to take shape by Easter.

We are also exploring ways to create a sense of community for both staff and students in the building: solutions to this could include creating zones for each subject area. This work is also being coordinated through the campus realignment group.

Nobody knows driving past that it’s a University campus

We fully agree with both these points. Marketing colleagues are also exploring options for external signage, although an illuminated sign attached to the building has already been ruled out due to the lack of adequate structures to support it. Other options, such as hanging banners on lamp posts along Usk Way are now being considered, in consultation with Newport City Council, who would need to agree such solutions. At the same time, we are looking at how to prominently brand the foyer and ground floor of the building, which will also help identify us as USW to passers-by.

The white boards are not positioned in an optimum way for teaching. Can these be changed?

Absolutely – you need the best resources to do your job! This is why we’re replacing existing white boards in 40 rooms with specialised wallpaper that encourages more collaboration, offers greater flexibility for you to write wherever you want, as well as offering enhanced visibility to the whole class. The wallpaper has been well received by academics already using it in Pontypridd.

Whiteboards will be replaced in 10 rooms by Easter this year, with the remainder being replaced during the summer at a cost of around £25,000.

The temperature fluctuates across the building and often it’s really very cold

This is not an issue unique to Newport City Campus, but it’s something we are keen to address as best we can to improve the comfort of staff and students. It’s difficult to please everybody as the heating system operates automatically in line with the number of staff and students in the building. We can start by monitoring the temperature variations around the building, but we need your help to identify where the problem areas lie. Students can telephone and log a call on 01633 432212 or ask a staff member to log a call with the online helpdesk on your behalf.

We will work with you to provide a solution where possible, but we need your help.

We sometimes have difficulties with the computers not working or software crashing…

IT Services are looking into how to resolve this – and we’ve already identified that students saving work to the local drive is contributing to the problem. We’re providing signs and ‘How To’ guides to address this by encouraging students to save their work on more appropriate drives. We’d be grateful if staff could reiterate this to students at every opportunity.

The building’s IT infrastructure will also improve as work continues to upgrade the University-wide IT network.

As always, you can report any problems to the IT Helpdesk or call 01443 482882. Additionally, there’s an IT Helpdesk located on B floor in the library area.

The more issues you log, the more information we will have to help create permanent solutions to these ongoing issues.

The flip desk chairs in the classrooms are not really practical…

We agree and the chairs will be replaced during the Easter 2015 break. We’re listening to feedback and are sourcing chairs that are more comfortable and fit for purpose. We will also be replacing desks in some areas.

The challenge is to find the right combination of classroom layouts that give us flexibility to produce the best possible timetables for our students.

We want to feel part of a subject community

As we mentioned above, we are planning to cluster subjects into designated areas of the building to create a sense of community and belonging for both staff and students, while maintaining the collaborative benefits of an open-plan layout.

The clustering of subjects will allow us to construct the most appropriate teaching area for each discipline, benefitting both students and staff.

However, we must also be mindful of room utilisation and timetabling, so there will need to be some flexibility in these ‘zones’.

We will be consulting closely with you to gather your views on the best way to go about this. If you would like to be involved, email haveyoursay@southwales.ac.uk.

Where will the specialist counselling facilities be for new students in September 2015?

The finer details of clustering subject areas are still being worked out. For some subjects, e.g. Counselling, we will continue to use the specialist space available at Caerleon for the 2015/16 year to ensure students have access to the best facilities possible.

For 2016/17 students, equivalent or better bespoke facilities will be available at Newport City campus.

Our vision is to create subject zones to develop a sense of community, identity and collaboration for both staff and students in their subjects.

Could you increase the opening hours of the ground floor coffee shop?

Yes, we want our students to get a comparable experience whichever campus they study on. That’s why we’ve arranged for the City coffee shop to be aligned with the other campuses, so service is now available from 8.30am-7pm Monday to Thursday and Friday 8.30am-4pm.

In fact, we’re reviewing the entire catering provision at City and considering expanding both the coffee shop and the main dining area at a cost of around £150,000. Artists’ impressions of these planned developments should be available in February.

We’re also reviewing the weekend opening hours of the canteen by looking at what demand there is from Faculties and students. If you would like to have your say on this, email haveyoursay@southwales.ac.uk.

We’d like better and more accessible SU facilities…

We’re working closely with the Students’ Union to design a new space for them that is likely to include an SU shop, advice desk, SU office, and communal areas. We are aiming for SU facilities to be on the ground floor for convenience and to create a ‘buzz’ for students as they arrive.

It will be ready for September 2015 and will form part of the wider internal redevelopments taking place at the campus.

There’s not anywhere for us to socialise during downtime or after classes…

We are very keen to address this in the redevelopment work. Designs for a new bigger café outlet on the ground floor are being considered and will include a variety of soft seating areas and coffee bars.

Other break-out areas where staff and students can meet and socialise are also being considered. Your views on this are important and you can have your say by emailing haveyoursay@southwales.ac.uk.

You will see improvements this year, but the process of reconfiguring your campus will take time and we need your input to ensure we’re doing the right things, so keep in touch via haveyoursay@southwales.ac.uk.

Could more student support services be located at the Campus?

This Summer we established a new Student Advice Centre on floor D, providing a drop-in service for students to speak to a friendly advisor, face to face.

In 2015 we will be increasing the range of student support facilities at City Campus, once suitable space has been identified.

Meanwhile, support is also available for students via Unilife and appointments, Skype calls and online chats are also available for students wishing to speak directly to an adviser.

More information can be found at Newport City Advice Centre.

It is important to us that all students receive an equivalent experience no matter where they study.

Noise travels which is distracting and there isn’t any privacy in the hothouse

Plans are underway to reduce noise levels and provide more privacy for staff. We’ve started by putting telephones in the interview rooms on C and D floors, for general staff use.

In February we’re also planning to add privacy vinyl coverings to many of the interview room windows on C and D Floors.

Also in February, we’re testing an acoustic screen solution for staff desks. Colleagues will have the opportunity to try it for themselves and give us direct feedback. Your views will be important in making final decisions on layout and set up of staff areas.

There are lots of untidy areas across the City Campus, can you do anything

Everyone is responsible for the presentation of the campus, and particularly their own work areas and a messy environment has a negative impact on the overall ‘feel’ of the building.

We are working with Estates to look at current storage and archiving facilities, but we need colleagues to help us by reviewing your personal space, by filing and storing your work appropriately, and by logging calls with the Estates helpdesk when further storage is needed.

The university operates a document retention policy which stipulates how documents should be archived and disposed of.

Is it possible for us to have a secure and covered bicycle shed?

USW is committed to encouraging cycling to the campus. There are currently ‘U bar’ cycle racks near both main entrances which are covered by CCTV.

We would welcome feedback from staff and students as to whether these are inadequate and why, so that we can consider other options. You can let us know at haveyoursay@southwales.ac.uk.

We’re unsure of the building opening hours…

General access to the campus for staff and students is from 7am – 9pm weekdays and 9am – 5pm on weekends (except for bank holidays and University closure days).

Thanks to your feedback we have also made general purpose teaching rooms accessible from 8.30am, during the week.

We will make sure these opening times are detailed on both The Hub (for staff) and UniLife (for students) for future reference.