2012-13 Alumni Fund Projects 2012-13 Alumni Fund Projects

During the academic year 2012-13 the Alumni Fund supported 19 projects designed to enhance the student experience.

These projects include the 50th anniversary firework volcano, a technical upgrade of the drama studio and Black History Month 2013.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2013  £                      2,139.20
50TH ANNIVERSARY FILM FESTIVAL AND FILM PROJECT  £                    17,459.50
 £                      2,250.00
STUDENTS AS PARTNERS IN ASSESSMENT PRACTICE  £                      2,150.00
 £                      5,000.00
DOING WOMEN'S FILM AND TELEVISION HISTORY CONFERENCE 2014  £                      1,600.00
DRAMA STUDIO TECHNICAL UPGRADE PROJECT  £                    16,000.00
CENTRE FOR ACTIVITIES AND ENTERPRISE  £                      5,300.00
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT INTERN  £                      3,045.00

Black History Month 2013 Black History Month 2013

The Annual Fund provided the means to bring two leading American academics in race, labour and civil rights protest, to UEA during Norwich’s 2013 Black History Month celebrations. Professor Charles Lumpkins (pictured) and Professor Ryan Irwin delivered public lectures and ran several sessions designed to enhance the learning experience for UEA students. The sessions helped to give students a better understanding of cutting edge research projects in the US, as well as the workings of the American Higher Education System. 

Tissue culture microscopy to support research on osteoarthritis, cataracts and prostate cancer Tissue culture microscopy to support research on osteoarthritis, cataracts and prostate cancer

Funds were granted for the purchase of a microscope for use in a tissue culture facility shared by three research teams, staff and students. The microscope is used to underpin research on osteoarthritis, cataracts and prostate cancer. 

50th anniversary film festival and film project 50th anniversary film festival and film project

This project was a student-led collaboration with the School of International Development, the East Anglian Film Archives, Postcode Films, and the wider East Anglia community, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations.

The Film Festival showcased 11 films that had been made by International Development and History students over the last four years, including four new documentaries, one of which focussed on UEA itself, through the story of its first Student Union President. The documentaries were intended to be an archive of the Norfolk area and thus encompassed topics such as Cromer Crabbers, Aylsham Bell-ringers, and the family of a 007 stuntman. The event was highly successful, with 175 people in attendance.

As part of the project, a website, www.viewNR4.co.uk, was also produced and has been live since September 2013. Films from the site have been screened at local film festivals and have also been featured on local news.

Go global development fund Go global development fund

The Go Global Development Fund provides the opportunity for students to undertake activities to promote their culture within the University. Previously, the Union Cultural Fund was able to grant funds for clubs or societies wishing to stage events, however, smaller groups of individuals were missing out, as they did not meet the criteria of being a club or society.

Several activities took place as a result of funding from the Go Global Development fund. These included a Sushi Night, a Love Chinese Club, a Spring Festival Nauryz, a drama performance entitled Rhinoceros and an Azerbaijani Dance and Food Evening. All of these events and activities were open to UEA and INTO students and staff, and were successful in bringing together UK and international students, thereby enhancing awareness of the University’s global community.

In addition to this, a group of Japanese students were granted assistance in funding a set of activities designed to showcase their culture to Year 5 pupils at a local primary school during their International Day.

Go Global is continuing to thrive at UEA – in February 2014, a Go Global Party saw cuisines, dance and performances from many cultures around the world in one room. This event was highly successful and, due to it being ticketed, the Go Global Fund can continue to raise awareness in and around the University. 

Students as partners in assessment practice Students as partners in assessment practice

A project to develop software to facilitate peer-reviewed assessment across modules. The approach includes ‘feed-forward’, allowing students to share drafts of their work and discuss ways for improvement prior to submission.

The project was tested when finance students from Swansea University provided essays on the financial crisis and the perceived fairness of banker bonuses. Students from Economics then assessed the quality of these essays and provided comments on how economic ideas could be used to improve the arguments made.

The activity proved beneficial for all involved, with one student commenting: “I believe strongly that after doing this review system, my essays, from now on, will be much stronger. I now know what to look out for and what I should and should not include in my essay that I might not have otherwise.” 

issues in religion and education seminar series issues in religion and education seminar series

The first talk in this Seminar Series was given in October 2013 by Charles Clarke MP (pictured), who was Secretary of State for Education in the Labour government.  Charles Clarke has written on faith and religion in public life and convened the Westminster Faith Debates.  His talk was followed by lively discussion, and Charles welcomed the public forum the Seminar Series provided for discussion of faith issues in contemporary society.

Three more seminars followed in spring 2014. This seminar series aimed to bring together scholars from different academic disciplines, from within and outside of UEA, to discuss issues relating to religion and/or spirituality and education.  Through a combination of lectures and informal seminars, the series encouraged participants to think more deeply and broadly about the issues involved in their work. 

Norfolk's Firework Volcano Norfolk's Firework Volcano

The Firework Volcano was the highlight of the 50th anniversary weekend of celebrations. Expert volcanologist, Dr Jenni Barclay from the School of Environmental Sciences led a collaboration between UEA academics, volunteer students, the outreach team and local school children to develop and build a scale model volcano. Expert pyro-technicians helped to recreate a real-life eruption which was the climax of a day of community science education on campus over the 50th Anniversary Festival Weekend.

Funding from the Annual Fund went towards employing two student interns, who subsequently gained experience of project management. It also provided funding for the materials used by schoolchildren in the building and decorating of the volcano, and for MAKE@UEA, the University’s commissionable filmmaking team, to record the entire process using time-lapse footage. The resulting video of the creation and explosion of the volcano is being used in two educational videos. 

Castaway CTDs: Portable temperature and salinity recorders Castaway CTDs: Portable temperature and salinity recorders

Castaways CTDs are robust, portable instruments that measure temperature, salinity and pressure in the ocean, lakes or rivers. The devices were invaluable for the first year Environmental Sciences Field Course, the Marine Science Field Course and independent student research projects.

The Castaway CTD was first used during the Environmental Sciences Field Course to Slapton in spring 2014. All first year undergraduate students in the School of Environmental Sciences attended, and the CTD was deployed from a cruise boat to measure the temperature, salinity and depth of the River Dart. In previous years, a variety of old, heavy, and unreliable instruments were used for this activity.  The Castaway CTD was found to be very easy to carry and operate, and the data it collected was also used to calibrate the older instruments, making it a valuable contribution to the students learning experience. The CTD will continue to be used during this field course each year. 

Challenges in, and strategies for, teaching international students in hum Challenges in, and strategies for, teaching international students in hum

This six month project commenced in September 2013 with the aim of collating data on the internationalisation activities and teaching strategies in the Faculty of Humanities. Certain areas were outlined as challenges in teaching international students, such as the use of language in seminars, and the marking of written pieces. The audit demonstrated that even though challenges that were identified by students and staff slightly vary, the strategies both students and staff thought would improve the learning and teaching experience were very similar, if not the same.

The project has helped the Faculty gain further funding through the UEA Edward Acton Teaching Fellowship, for the setting up of the 2014/15 Teaching Seminar Series on Internationalisation. 

Doing women's film and television history conference 2014 Doing women's film and television history conference 2014

The conference was the second major international conference organised by the Women’s Film and Television History Network, hosted by UEA. It brought together theorists, historians and practitioners to explore, discuss and raise awareness of women’s rich and varied work in cinema and television from the 1890s to the present day. Both the opening session and the keynote session have been filmed and are available to view online.

Drama studio technical upgrade project Drama studio technical upgrade project

As a multipurpose venue, the Studio currently delivers a wide range of events and creative benefits to students and staff across all four faculties. Funding will support a technical upgrade to bring the facilities in line with industry standards.

Three individual pieces of technology were purchased for the drama studio – a lighting desk, a sound desk and an upgraded electrical control system used to move lighting. All three are top of the range, giving students the opportunity to use equipment that puts them at the very forefront of innovation in both hardware and software in this field. The sound desk was showcased in the students’ annual ‘Cabaret’ event, which raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities, and the effects of the lighting control system have been praised by external examiners watching productions. 

UEa Live: Events and Anthology of UEA Undergraduate Creative Writing UEa Live: Events and Anthology of UEA Undergraduate Creative Writing

Funds were granted to produce Underworld, an anthology of undergraduate creative writing, and an online presence for the work, edited and produced by the students themselves as the culmination of a year-round series of extracurricular reading events.

Over the course of the year, nine writers and 64 student readers performed their work in front of audiences ranging from 80 to 120 members, which included undergraduates, postgraduates and members of the general public. This provided young writers with the valuable experience of performing their work in a public place. The nine invited writers were all graduates of the various UEA Creative Writing programmes and their presence was a wonderful way of demonstrating to the current student body how their writing studies here can – and do – lead to commercial publishing success.

The anthology Underworld was compiled by a student editorial board made up of 12 undergraduate students, assisted by four postgraduate students. The board read submissions of prose and poetry from approximately 100 undergraduate students, before selecting 45 pieces of work to be put forward for publication. This kind of experience is immensely valuable to the students, providing both an experience of collaborative work, and a direct understanding of the way in which the publishing industry works.

The culmination of the year’s work was the launch of the anthology, which took place on June 5 2014 in the presence of the University’s former Chancellor, Rose Tremain. 

Accurate Quantification of DNA, RNA and protein yields from biological samples Accurate Quantification of DNA, RNA and protein yields from biological samples

Funds were granted for the purchase of a Qubit 2.0 Fluorometer, which will enable accurate and sensitive quantification of DNA, RNA and protein in samples from several research projects in the Schools of Biological Sciences and Medicine. The machine is used to extract DNA and RNA from prostate cancer patient samples, which are then distributed them to analysis labs. The machine is much more accurate than the technology being used before it, therefore aiding in the University’s leading research into prostate cancer. 

Engaging first year medical students using multimedia problem based learning Engaging first year medical students using multimedia problem based learning

A project enabling medical students to work with students from the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) and the School of Film, Television and Media Studies (FTM) to script-write, direct, act, produce and edit five short videos and four podcasts, to be hosted on an interactive website.

Fourth- and fifth-year medical students acted as consultants, sharing their expertise and experience of Module One, in the planning and scriptwriting stages. This project helped first-year medical students by enhancing their learning experience. It was also beneficial for those students in LDC and FTM, as the work went towards supplementing their portfolios.

Eight scripts were produced, comprising of four video and four audio scripts, which went into production in May 2014 with the help of the UEA Film and Television Society.

The project was also put forward to the Association for Medical Educators Europe’s Annual Conference in Milan 2014. The project leaders were asked to share their progress to date as a poster presentation and attended the conference in September 2014. 

How can we improve the problems for problem based learning? How can we improve the problems for problem based learning?

A project to identify characteristics of Problem Based Learning problems that engage students in effective learning activities. Results will be used to inform the writing of new Problem Based Learning scenarios and training for tutors at Norwich Medical School. 

ASPIRE: Inspiring the research ambition in Health Sciences Undergraduate Students ASPIRE: Inspiring the research ambition in Health Sciences Undergraduate Students

This project required funding to provide extracurricular workshops, seminars, better contact with researchers, and other activities aimed to enhance Nursing Sciences (NSC) students’ interest in research. It aimed to provide opportunities to undertake elective placements with clinical research nurses or other health researchers.

A group of third-year students in NSC undertook an elective module in research, and went on to complete data analysis on a small scale project, for which they wrote a proposal and submitted for ethics approval. They conducted a literature review and collected qualitative data, thus enhancing their skills and making them more apt for medical research.

The ASPIRE team aimed to follow these students through to the end of their programme in August 2014, and into their first year as clinical nurses, to support the development of their research ambition in applying for research Master’s or PhD programmes. 

Enter the Dragon's Den - a residential course for 2nd year psychology students Enter the Dragon's Den - a residential course for 2nd year psychology students

A Dragon’s Den style residential course took place on March 7-8 2014 at the Wensum Valley Hotel in Norfolk. The residential was for second year BSc Psychology students, who were asked to pitch business plans involving research skills. The event aimed to provide a simulated business situation, focussing on transferable skills, employability and engaging with the business world. The event fully met its goals and was so successful, it will be run again in March 2015. It has been filmed by Spindle Productions Ltd, and is available to watch on the School of Psychology website

Centre for activities and enterprise Centre for activities and enterprise

A project to convert part of Union House into a Centre for Activities, Volunteering and Enterprise. A brand new open plan nerve centre for the whole of the union has been created on the first floor, where students can meet their student officers, run campaigns, get advice and help, run clubs or societies, and offer thoughts on how to make the Union even better. The new centre is a place within the Union for societies and clubs to go for help in a succinct manner, rather than having to visit four individual places within the union, as was the previous requirement. Previous office space has been converted into bookable rooms for committees of societies to meet and discuss ideas.

There has also been major development of The Hive within Union House, the main body of which has been cleared to provide an open space for students to run stalls and exhibitions, giving them a chance to promote events, societies and activities and run student enterprise activity, in an area with high footfall. 

Website Development Intern Website Development Intern

Funding was granted to employ a UEA graduate intern to assist with the setting up of a new website. The internship was a valuable experience, as it provided the opportunity to learn new skills, and gain an understanding of web based provision for a multi-faceted organisation. The project was highly successful and a second intern was employed during summer 2014 to populate the pages created.