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Message to all students from Professor Tim Quine, DVC Education - 27 February 2020

Dear Students,

As we end the second week of the planned University and College Union (UCU) strike action, we want to offer our apologies to you for any disruption you may have experienced in relation to missed teaching sessions. We also want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to carefully manage the impact of the strike action - your education and welfare are extremely important to us and continue to be our number one priority.

Over the past two weeks, we know there has been variation in the levels of disruption faced by students in different disciplines. Overall, about 80% of teaching activity has gone ahead as planned. We would like to stress how important it is for you to continue to attend all of your timetabled teaching sessions throughout the on-going period of strike action. Other services across the University, including wellbeing, the library, and our employability services are open as normal and we would encourage you to make use of these services should they be helpful.

It is also important that you continue to submit your assignments/coursework on time unless you have been granted an extension by your College. If you are unsure about whether you have been granted an extension please refer to the online FAQs or contact your Hub who can answer any queries you may have.

We want to reassure you that we are continuing to keep a detailed record of the timetabled sessions that have been impacted and have asked any colleagues who are participating in the strike to provide teaching content in an alternative format (digitally via ELE, recap, podcasts, directed reading material etc.) by the end of term 2 so you are supported in your studies - please do continue to check ELE for any messages/content that has been posted.

In relation to the May exams, these will go ahead as planned and you should receive your timetable by Friday 6 March. We will ensure you are not disadvantaged by the questions set and it will not be mandatory for you to answer any questions covering academic content where the delivery was disrupted by strike action.

We remain committed to doing all we can at a national and local level to resolve these sector-wide disputes, which we cannot resolve alone. As you know, the strike action is being taken as a result of the ongoing national USS pension, pay, casualisation, workload and equality disputes. The University is committed to working with our colleagues and students across our community on finding ways forward on these important issues for us all, as outlined in the Vice-Chancellor’s email on 17 February.

At present, further dates for strike action are:

  • Monday 2 March – Thursday 5 March (four consecutive days)
  • Monday 9 March – Friday 13 March (five consecutive days)

During this time, a number of additional support sessions have been organised and we would encourage you to attend so you can access face to face advice and guidance. These sessions include drop-ins hosted by members of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group, details of which are as following:

  • Tuesday 3rd March, 11-12am, Senior Common Room, Queen's Building, hosted by myself
  • Tuesday 3rd march, 11-12am, Peter Lanyon Meeting Room, Penryn Campus, hosted by Professor Dave Hosken, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Cornwall

If you are not able to attend these face to face sessions, Ian Blenkharn, our Director of Education and Student Support, provides a useful update about the strikes in this short video. You can also access study skills support through the Study Zone – these pages also include links to online resources.

We would like to highlight the resources that are available to support you, if needed. This includes our self-help tool, SilverCloud, which you can access by creating an account using your University email address, and our wellbeing services at both the Exeter and Cornwall campuses.

We are continuing to keep the industrial action webpage updated, which contains a detailed FAQ section, however, should you have any specific queries please do email:

I appreciate this is a difficult and uncertain time but it remains our absolute priority to ensure your learning is supported, that you are enabled to continue to study, and that your academic outcomes are protected.

I want to thank you all for your continued patience and to assure you we are doing all we can at a national and local level to resolve these disputes.

With best wishes,


Professor Tim Quine Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)
Professor of Earth Surface Science
College of Life and Environmental Sciences