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Updating students on their education and feedback

Professor Kelly Coate, Pro Vice Chancellor for Education and Students

Today (3 July) Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Kelly Coate, sent her regular weekly email to all Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students.  You can read the full email here:

Dear all students

I hope you are well.

With lockdown easing across the UK and in many parts of the world, at Sussex we are continuing to work on our plans for the next academic year and today I am pleased to be sharing some updates with you.

Please read on to find out the latest details for next term, which starts on the 21 September with teaching beginning on the 28 September.  I recognise you might have other questions and as our plans continue to progress over the summer I will answer these in future updates.

Contact time with your tutors and fellow students

We have reviewed all of our courses to ensure that you will get the best possible learning experience and as I’ve mentioned before there will be a blended learning approach.  This means that your learning will be both classroom based and online to start with.  Any classroom based teaching on campus will adhere to social distancing guidelines as your health and safety is paramount.

I know that many of you have asked for more details about how much interactive learning you will have with your tutors and fellow students.  So I am pleased to let you know that, alongside many other forms of learning, you will be receiving at least 11 hours of live interactive teaching per module, across the semester, either on campus or online.  These sessions will enable you and your fellow students to engage with your tutors in real time and learn together.

You’ll find out exactly what that means for you closer to the start of term, while we work hard on timetabling all the different modules. 

Field trips, group projects and study abroad years

COVID-19 unfortunately remains with us, and so this means we have to put field trips, certain group projects and study abroad on hold.  We will be continuously monitoring the situation and when it is safe to do so these activities will be re-instated.

If you are unable to travel to campus at the start of the academic year

If the COVID-19 situation means your arrival to campus in the Autumn will be delayed and you cannot arrive at Sussex for the start of term, we will explore alternative remote study and housing arrangements for you.  You don’t need to let us know this just yet, but please don’t worry if this does apply to you.  We’ll share information on who you need to inform later this month.

Life on campus

Life on campus didn’t stop with the lockdown, in fact hundreds of students have continued to call campus home with the support of our Student Support and Estates teams – who have made sure that they’ve been kept safe and well.  These teams are now working on our plans for when we open in the Autumn and you can be assured that they will continue to make sure that you can enjoy living and studying on campus as well.

We’re really lucky at Sussex with our great location, on the edge of the South Downs National Park and just ten minutes by train from the attractions and beach in Brighton and Hove.  Additionally our library facilities, shops, bars and restaurants will all be open adhering to the health and safety standards you would expect.  Our on-campus pharmacy and doctor’s surgery will be re-opening at the end of August.

I’m sure that as many of you have had to stay at home since lockdown began, returning to Brighton and Hove again is something to look forward to and enjoying everything Sussex and our lovely City has to offer.

Our work to support the efforts to tackle COVID-19

In April, we let you know that we agreed to help the local authorities and the national effort, by giving permission to install a temporary body storage unit on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The temporary unit was always only a precautionary measure and has not been used since it was installed.  We also shared that if the facility was ever to be used the very highest standards of protocols would be applied – so there would be no risk whatsoever of increased virus transmission as a result of the University hosting the facility.

Fortunately, nearly three months later, the facility has not been used and is unlikely to be in the future.  However in order to continue to support the local authorities in relation to COVID-19, the University has agreed to allow the unit to remain on campus until the end of the year.  It will be made smaller and even more discreet.

The temporary facility is just one of many ways the University is contributing to efforts during the current and future challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.  Every day I read about Sussex academics and researchers contributing to finding solutions and leading the discussions and debates. 

You can find out more about these civic and research efforts, expertise and practical help to support our community during the COVID-19 pandemic here.

Who to contact if you have further questions

I will continue to answer your questions through my regular updates as our plans develop. However, if you have specific questions about your own personal situation you should access the appropriate support service by email, they will provide you with expert advice and practical help you may need:

For any questions relating to your course or academic issues please contact your School office directly. You can find out how to contact your School office here.


With best wishes


Kelly Coate
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students

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By: Harvey Atkinson
Last updated: Friday, 3 July 2020