Welcome to new students
Table of Contents
We would like to share some really useful extra bits and pieces to help ease you into the PGR community in Geographical Sciences at the start of the new academic year:
Working from ‘the office’?
- Browns: Browns is a large workspace above the restaurant Browns where most geography PhD students work. We also have our own common room, where you’ll regularly find us eating our lunch and distracting each other from work. The entrance is at University Road, opposite the church. The current Browns desk-plan can be found here. There are some desks available for hot-desking for students who don’t have their own desk. PGTAs work in the PGTA office in Geography North, but are free to use the hot-desking system in Browns as well. But don’t get too attached, we may be moving office space in the next year!
- Access & UCards: Once you have registered, you will be able to get your UCard, which gives you access to the buildings you need access to.
- Stationary: There is a stationary cupboard (room) opposite the men’s toilet in the main Geography building. The key to this room is in a drawer in the School office. Any time you need pens, papers, staplers, envelopes, folders, highlighters etc you simply need to go into the School Office, (introduce yourself if you haven’t already done so), and ask for the stationary room key. Welcome to Wonderland.
- Common room: As a PGR student you are allowed to use the School’s common room in the main building along with the other postgraduates and staff members. There you will usually find an army of stray mugs, coffee, tea, milk, and lost tupperware. We’re not supposed to have meetings there, but it is a nice place for lunch and chats.
- Summer and Christmas parties – loads of fun and merriment.
- Monthly PGR socials – casual get-togethers at Browns or beyond. Last year’s reps organised fabulous socials where we painted, played board games and celebrated the Chinese New Year. We have a social budget from the School which we can collectively do what we like with, you’re more than welcome to suggest or plan an activity.
- Browns whiteboard: keep an eye on this whiteboard to know when ‘tea and biscuit’ chats happen at the School, when homemade cake is being brought into Browns, or pub nights out and about.
- Weekend Away: On October 7/8/9 or 14/15/16, the postgraduate community will be going to BEER, a village on the south coast. A great opportunity to meet the cohort and participate in your choice of activities, both outdoorsy such as hiking and swimming, and indoorsy such as watching movies, playing boardgames, and cooking – it’s totally flexible and we hope to cater to all tastes. We subsidise this trip with our social budget, and pass the savings onto attendees, so this will probably end up costing around £40/50 (not including personal food and drinks).
Throughout your degree you will have many questions about deadlines/regulations and so on. Mark Jackson (head of our grad school) maintains a handbook full of useful information about such deadlines and other whys and wherefores. You can find the most up-to-date version on the Geography PGR Hub , and this often incorporates issues that we feedback to Mark throughout the year, for example with regards to plagiarism training or supervision expectations.
Each year we elect five reps: two in human geography, two in physical geography, and one MScR rep. We generally act as a go-between between the PGRs and the department, and try to feed back as much information to the PGRs as we can. The reps for the coming academic year are:
- Tom Cantellow, Human Geography, email@example.com
- Ben Blackledge, Physical Geography, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Beca Lleucu Phillips, Human Geography, email@example.com
- Zoonii Kayler, Physical Geography, firstname.lastname@example.org
You can always access information about the support team in the ‘People’ section on this website
You can also contact the rep team at email@example.com. Only your reps have access to this email, and all information is kept private and confidential.
As you can see, there is an opportunity for an incoming MScR student to join the Rep team. Let any of us know if you’re interested!
Who to ask…?
There are so many people in the School and it can be confusing/difficult to know who’s responsible for what. We’ve made a quick overview of who to go to with what questions.
- Your supervisor: Your first go-to. They generally have a lot of experience in the School and know how things are organised. If they don’t know the answer, they’ll signpost you to the person who does.
- The School PGR Team: Mark Jackson (Head of PGR and Postgraduate Tutor Human Geography), Rory Bingham (Deputy head of PGR and Postgraduate Tutor Physical Geography), and Anita Ganesan (Postgraduate Tutor MScR) – They are your second point of contact after your supervisors. They help with problems you might have with supervision, pastoral support, and they organise the whole programme. If you have any personal issues, go to them.
- PGR Reps: We are the go-between between the PGRs and the department. If you have any issues that are relevant for more PGRs, plans/ideas on how to improve the programme, or things you want us to advocate in the School, you can come to us!
- School Education team: Izzy Montgomery (PGR Student Administrator), Danielle Rubiano (School Administration Manager), and Amy Durbin & Sabina Latynska (Deputy Student Administration Managers), and more. First point of contact for all logistical aspects of your programme, including but not limited to: funding and studentships, progress monitoring, extensions and suspensions, submitting your thesis and arrangements for your viva. Have a look at this introduction to the team to see who you can contact for what.
- Anyone in Browns: We are a lovely bunch of people! If you have a question about how things work at the office, social activities, quick PGR questions or how to find the right person to ask a question, just ask one of your peers! And of course, you could always ask your buddy. If they don’t know the answer, they’ll try and signpost you to the right person.
- Laptops and monitors: All PGR’s are given university laptops OR PC’s to use during their time at the uni. These remain university property, so you have to give them back and shouldn’t do anything naughty on them. We recommend opting for a laptop and asking for an extra monitor, keyboard and mouse. We believe these can be ordered through IT services.
- IT help: Generally, the good wizards of the IT services are super helpful when it comes to resolving IT issues. Just give them a ring, they’ll take control of your device, and solve all your problems.
- Printing: As a PGR student, you get to print for free in the department. Congratulations. There is a printer in the common room in Browns, and the closest printers to the PGTA office are in the Grace Reeves library or the third floor upstairs.
Health, Wellbeing & Sports
The University and the Students' Union both offer various free support services that you will be hearing about in your induction.
- Gym: As members of the UoB community, you have access to the gym. Prices vary depending on what plan you go for.
- Free yoga for PGRs in the PGR Hub on Fridays 9am – 10 am.
- There are also countless societies and clubs you can join as a PGR student.
- Holiday: We are entitled to 25 days of holiday and we’re encouraged to take it. It’s good to schedule some down time.
- We also have a geography PGR whatsapp group: https://chat.whatsapp.com/EjwlZQbHoQi0l62GIKggR6. Eternally useful for when you’ve locked yourself out of Browns.
- Here’s a very useful website with lots of documents, information and other bits relating to Browns and PGR stuff https://geogbrowns.info/
- A lot of information and documents can also be found on the Sharepoint: Geography PGR Hub.