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Biosciences at Streatham Campus: New postgraduate students

A very warm welcome to Biosciences at the University of Exeter. Congratulations on securing your place here – we look forward to meeting you, and hope you will enjoy a rewarding and challenging academic experience as part of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Please take time to look through the induction information on this page to prepare you for the start of term.

On this page: Welcome | Academic InductionKey contacts | Teaching and learning | Assessments | Wellbeing and accessibility | Code of conduct | Get involved

We will be updating this page regularly as new details of induction and welcome activities are released. We're also working within Government guidelines meaning information and activities may change as that guidance changes as well.

Please ensure you check back here frequently for updates, as well as your personal email account, new University of Exeter email account, and your My Timetable for the most up-to-date information from us. (Please note you need to register with the University and activate your IT account to access My Timetable.) If you have any questions about your induction or starting your studies, please contact your Info Point using the details on this page.

Your student experience during Covid-19

Find out about our plans to provide a safe studying and campus experience on our dedicated Coronavirus webpages.

New students guide

The new students guide includes everything you need to know about starting University, with a handy checklist of tasks to help you through your first term.

Welcome from Professor Richard Winsley

Richard is Associate Dean for Education in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Welcome to Biosciences

A very warm welcome to Biosciences at the University of Exeter. On behalf of all the academic staff, post-docs, administrators and existing students, I hope that you will enjoy a rewarding and challenging academic experience as part of Biosciences, within the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. You will be well supported and mentored by friendly and enthusiastic staff members, joining a thriving community of scholars with access to state-of-the-art facilities.

The University offers many opportunities to realise your potential in terms of academic attainment and personal growth. The activities of Freshers’ Week and beyond are designed to ease you into university life and to provide an introduction to the Department and your chosen degree programme. These first few weeks at university may be a little overwhelming; especially given the challenging times we currently face, but we will be here to help you to find your feet quickly.

I wish you every success in your studies and hope that this is the start of a rewarding and enjoyable time at the University of Exeter.

Professor James Wakefield - Head of Biosciences

 

Your academic induction

During Welcome Week (14-20 September) you will have some scheduled induction meetings to get to know the department, including:

Welcome Meeting for MRes Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology students

Monday 14 September, 2-3pm via Zoom

In this meeting you will meet the Directors of the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology and learn more about the course structure and our approach to blended learning.

Please check your timetable in the iExeter app for the latest details of events, times and locations, and to access online events. 

Key contacts

You can find a list of all academic staff in Biosciences here, including office locations and contact details.

Upon joining us at Exeter, you’ll be allocated your own Personal Tutor who’ll be your first point of contact if you have any queries or concerns about your overall progress and wellbeing. You’ll be invited to attend regular meetings with them throughout the academic year – sometimes individually, and sometimes as part of a group – and it’s important that you go along, even if only for a quick chat to confirm that all is well. You can also contact your Personal Tutor at any time by email.

The relationship you build with your tutor is an important one, not least because they will usually be the person who writes references for you when you start applying for jobs.

This short video outlines some of the benefits of our tutoring system:

Your degree is made up of a number of different short courses called ‘modules’. Each module is led by a named academic member of staff - the module convenor - although most are actually taught by a team of academics. If you have specific questions about an individual module, you should seek advice from the module convenor. Alternatively, if your question relates to a specific lecture, you should seek advice from the member of academic staff leading that particular session. You can do so by email, via the module’s ELE page, or simply talking to them after the lecture.

The Programme Director for the MRes Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology programme is Professor Al Brown, whose job it is to oversee the running of the programme. In addition, the Director of Education for Biosciences (coincidentally, Dr Alan Brown) has overall responsibility for all the programmes and modules within Biosciences.

In reality, most of your contact with these individuals will be in their regular role as an academic member of staff teaching you on modules. However, if you encounter any significant difficulties with your studies, they will be able to work with you to resolve these. 

The Peter Chalk Info Point, located within the Peter Chalk/Newman Buildings (number 17-18 on the Streatham Campus map, adjacent to the Geoffrey Pope building), is the place to go for any questions you may have about your life as an Exeter student. From queries about your course or timetable, to advice on wellbeing or mitigating circumstances, the team at the info point will give you the support you need quickly and efficiently.

The Peter Chalk Info team can provide information and advice on a number of services including:

  • exams and assessments
  • mitigation
  • student welfare
  • graduation
  • IT queries
  • module changes and programme queries
  • registration and study support
  • submitting coursework through eBART & ELE/Turnitin
  • timetables

Contacting the Info Point

You can drop into the Info Point in person, or alternatively: 

Email: info.peterchalk@exeter.ac.uk

Phone: +44 (0)1392 723788

Visit the Info Point ELE page

View the 'New Student Presentation' (Peter Chalk)

Teaching and learning

Over the course of your studies with us, you will experience a wide range of learning environments and teaching activities. It’s important to realise that the specific teaching activities delivered within modules (either online or on campus) will be just a fraction of the total time that you’ll spend learning. Our expectation is that you are an independent learner, and you should expect to take responsibility for much of your own learning while at Exeter.

Our academic staff are here to inspire and guide your exploration of the module content rather than closely dictate what you need to do to pass your assessments. Most of your work towards achieving the learning objectives of each module will be done during private study time, either alone or in groups, so you’ll need to develop good time management skills. This way of studying might be quite different to how you’ve learnt in the past, and you may find that it takes you a short time to adapt.

In a normal academic year, there would be a range of face-to-face on-campus teaching sessions including whole cohort lectures and laboratory-based practicals. Things will look rather different in 2020/21 due to Covid-19 and the need for social distancing on campus. While we will offer face-to-face on-campus teaching where it is safe to do so, all of our degree programmes will also be making significant use of online teaching resources that can be accessed anytime, from anywhere.

For example, rather than attending whole cohort lectures on campus (some courses are attended by 400+ students), lecture content will be delivered in bite-sized blocks. Some of these (for example, during our Medical Mycology module) will be presented in live online sessions, to facilitate live question and answer sessions at the end of these sessions. These sessions will be recorded and made available for you to access online at any time. This online content will typically provide you with an overview of a subject and form the basis for further reading and independent study. During our Medical Mycology module we will be scheduling additional whole-cohort tutorials online to support your learning.

Individual modules will also include timetabled sessions that will either be livestreamed online or delivered face-to-face on campus (provided it is safe to do so). The nature of these sessions will vary between modules, and also over the course of individual modules. They will often be based around a particular activity or set of online learning resources that you will have accessed prior to the session. We will use these timetabled sessions to further discuss certain topics with you, to gauge your knowledge and understanding, and to promote your critical thinking.

Find out more about the overall teaching and learning approach on your course here, and please be aware that this information may supersede the specified teaching and learning activities within individual modules.

A range of online resources (including virtual laboratory simulations and bespoke videos) will be used to introduce you to safe laboratory working practices and a range of relevant techniques across the biosciences. However, biosciences is obviously a practical subject, and these online resources cannot entirely replace the need for hands-on practical training in the laboratory.

We therefore aim to deliver essential laboratory skills within hands-on laboratory sessions so that you become safe, confident and competent laboratory workers. Subject to Covid-19-related constraints at the time, we hope to deliver this core laboratory training in medical mycology and fungal immunology at the beginning of your Research Project Module, which is scheduled to start in mid-November.

Each individual module will have an indicative reading list, which you will find detailed within the relevant module descriptor (see Stage 4 modules under Streatham Campus). In addition, academic staff on the module may suggest additional reading material during lectures, or via the module’s ELE page. You will be able to access the recommended reading through the university library.

Assessments

Most taught modules that make up the MRes in Medical Mycology have course assessments (CAs) plus an essay. Your Research Project modules are assessed on the basis of your research performance during the project, an oral presentation and your project report.

The type of CA varies across modules, but will always be made clear to you at the start of any module. The relative contributions of CAs, essays and reports to your final module mark are made clear within the module descriptor. All module descriptors can be found here (see Stage 4 modules under Streatham Campus). The marking criteria and the rubric (the instructions) for each examination paper will be displayed on the relevant module’s ELE page in advance of the examination period.

Firstly, don't worry! You should register your medical circumstances with the Peter Chalk Info Point as soon as possible. Refer to the Info Point website here for further guidance. If your documentation is in order, it is likely that you will be asked to take a deferred assessment or examination at a later date.

Student wellbeing and accessibility support

In addition to the services below, you can find a directory of all student services on the Current Students website.

If you have a disability or long-term health condition that will impact on your ability to study at University, the University’s AccessAbility Pathway can offer support that is flexible and tailored for your individual needs.

The AccessAbility team commonly work with students with:

  • Specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia
  • Asperger Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Conditions
  • Physical disabilities
  • Visual impairment
  • Hearing impairment
  • Long term medical conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes or arthritis
  • Temporary injuries, e.g. a broken leg
  • Mental health difficulties and one or more of the above health problems

You can find out more about the services offered and book an initial appointment via the AccessAbility Pathway webpages. 

Wellbeing Services are here to help you get the most out of your time at University. If you experience difficulties with your mental health or wellbeing, we can offer support including counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and advice on reasonable adjustments that may be available for your teaching and learning needs.

To find out more about our services, access resources or book an appointment, visit the Wellbeing Services website or email wellbeing@exeter.ac.uk.

Your welfare advisor

Your Welfare Advisor for the Peter Chalk Hub is Tim Harris.

(Please note that, depending on the circumstances, you may speak to or meet with a different member of the Welfare Team).

If you have any queries or would like to speak to one of the team, we would be happy to hear from you at
welfare.peterchalk@exeter.ac.uk

Or to contact AccessAbility, email AccessAbility@exeter.ac.uk

For more information about the Welfare Advisors and how we can help, have a look at our welfare page.

Code of conduct

The Biosciences Code of Conduct promotes mutual respect between individuals, and sets out what you can expect from Biosciences staff, as well as what Biosciences expects of you. It encourages both personal and academic professionalism, and is formed around the three important principles of Integrity, Civility and Trust.

Integrity

Education requires commitment on the part of all those involved, and we expect you to prepare for, attend, and actively participate in all learning activities – whether online or on campus. In addition, a fundamental requirement of academic integrity is acknowledging the work of others (see ‘Plagiarism’ below).

Civility

Our community is founded on mutual respect, and acceptance of differences. We expect all members of our Biosciences community to respect the needs of others, and to consider those who may be vulnerable. If you encounter or witness harassment or discrimination, please contact the Director of Education.

Trust

Relationships between individuals within Biosciences are based on mutual respect, trust and an acceptance of appropriate levels of confidentiality. Bioscience staff are committed to supporting students and to addressing problems swiftly and sensitively. All students and staff will adhere to all safety instructions and codes of behaviour as required by the University regulations.

Plagiarism is defined as representing as your own the words or ideas of other people, whether published or not. In the university context it may take the form of copying text from a web page, textbook, lecture handout or research article into an essay without acknowledging where the text came from. Alternatively, it may take the form of copying another student’s work and passing it off as your own.

You should always acknowledge direct quotes by naming the source (indeed, you will often receive credit for showing evidence of background reading) and you must never use other people’s results or copy their work without full attribution. Do not permit your work to be copied by others. The use of essay bank material for assessment purposes is not permitted under any circumstances.

Any case of cheating or plagiarism is liable to be given zero marks, and may be treated as a disciplinary offence by the University. You will learn more about plagiarism within the core Professional Skills module (BIOM509).

Get involved

Would you like to learn about how an educational institution works and help Biosciences change for the better – whilst improving your CV in the process?

If so, you could consider becoming a course representative on the Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC). You will be given full training by the Students’ Guild, and your job will be to make yourself known to fellow students, to listen to student opinions and concerns, to communicate these at Biosciences SSLC meetings (attended by academics and student representatives), and to relay progress back to students. SSLC members also attend meetings of other College committees (e.g. Education Committee) where decisions about teaching and the treatment of students are made.

You can find out more about the SSLC role and volunteer to serve through the Students’ Guild website.

BioSoc is a fun, friendly and active society, run by students for students, with the aim of increasing both social and academic opportunities for biosciences students. BioSoc hosts a range of events and activities such as academic talks, biology-based trips and experiences, sporting events and themed socials. Find out more here, or email biosoc@groups.exeterguild.com.

Can you commit to one hour a week chatting to prospective students on your smartphone? Do you enjoy talking/writing? If yes, apply to become a Unibuddy Ambassador for the University of Exeter.

  • Share your experiences of University life
  • Build professional skills
  • Improve your CV and increase employability prospects
  • Support students just like you
  • Earn while you learn

Unibuddy is a social platform that connects current students with prospective applicants from around the world. Through informal chats, blogs and videos, Unibuddy ambassadors offer support, guidance and information to help applicants make the right decisions about higher education.

As a Unibuddy ambassador you will:

  • Answer questions from students about study, life and your experience at university (one hour per week at the standard ESA (Exeter Student Ambassador) hourly rate).
  • Help students find the right information and contact details for particular departments/people at the University of Exeter.
  • Check your account on a daily basis and answer questions in a timely manner.
  • Keep conversations going and build up a friendly relationship with students by asking questions and being engaging.
  • Provide a real insight into the University of Exeter experiences through chats, blogs and videos (a minimum of two pieces of content per month).

To be a successful Unibuddy you will:

  • Be a confident communicator who enjoys producing engaging content.
  • Have a positive outlook on university life and study.
  • Be flexible and willing to respond to questions quickly and efficiently.
  • Adopt a mature and professional approach to conversations.

How to apply:

To apply for this role, please express your interest to PGunibuddy@exeter.ac.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!

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