Welcoming you to Winchester this September

Aerial view of the University of Winchester campus

An update from our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joy Carter about the start of the 2020/21 academic year

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our beautiful campus this September. Our top priority is that you have a thoroughly enjoyable and safe time here. 

These are extraordinary and uncertain times. The global pandemic has changed so much about our way of life. We know many of you will have questions about what the start of your university life at Winchester is going to be like.

 We have three key messages for you:

  1. Our campus will be open in September and we are planning to welcome new and returning students onto campus and into student accommodation from September
  2. We are putting in place a range of appropriate social distancing measures to ensure our students and staff are safe – what we are calling our “Covid Safe Campus” (further details will be coming soon)
  3. We will be delivering a combination of small group, on-campus sessions with large group teaching taking place online.

Our approach will be in line with Government guidance and will be flexible; ensuring we are able to respond to any changes in status such as a renewed lockdown or no virus present at any time in the academic year. In the event of another lockdown or similar restrictions between now and September, we will let you know if this changes your start date and how your teaching will be conducted.

Starting your course

The academic year will start on Monday 21 September as planned. In advance of this, you will receive your timetable setting out when you will have classes on campus. For first year students we will also let you know about the planned activities taking place prior to 21 September to help you settle into university life and meet fellow students. Some of this will take place on campus in smaller groups and some of it will be online.

If you are required to continue shielding beyond the start of the academic year, you can still start your course. We will put in place the support you need to start and get the most out of your studies and student experience.

For international students or those returning to the UK from abroad, we are looking forward to welcoming you to Winchester this September. We will put plans in place to enable you to start or continue your course; we will be in touch with you directly as we get closer to your arrival.

Your learning experience

From September, your teaching will be a combination of small group sessions on campus and online learning. Most of our courses are taught in small group settings such as seminars, workshops and tutorials, so we are in a good position to accommodate any social distancing measures set out in national guidelines. The teaching on your course will be dynamic and interactive, making the most of the time you have working with staff and fellow students in person and online.

Over recent years, the way students study at university has become a blend of classroom-based and online teaching, where traditional practices have developed with the use of online teaching and learning tools. Winchester has for many years made use of a “virtual learning environment” that comprises some of the best online educational tools available. This web-based platform integrates with other services - like Microsoft Teams - and popular social networking and educational tools to create a personalised and interactive learning space.  It allows students to receive course materials, interact with tutors, share resources, collaborate with fellow students and submit work. It is also your link to a university wide community, where you can access support and get involved in a wide variety of different activities.

We will also, where required, put in place measures to help control the number of people on campus at any given time and the safe flow of people around campus such as one-way systems, screens and signage – the sorts of things we have all become familiar with in other settings.

Your wider university experience

As with all aspects of our life in lockdown, we have become used to different ways of interacting and having fun. We are working with Winchester Student Union and others in the city to explore ways to help you enjoy the full range of university life. All of the things that make life as a Winchester student great – like the clubs and societies, extra-curricular activities, volunteering opportunities – will still be on offer wherever possible. We will let you know what these opportunities are and how you can be getting involved even before you start here in September.

Supporting our students

We have always been passionate about providing a supportive and inclusive environment to help all students flourish. This has never been more true as we plan for the next academic year. All of our student support services, including mental health and disability support together with careers advice, will be available from September both on campus or online as appropriate.

Winchester Student Union will continue to provide exceptional student-led and student-delivered services to support your student experience: representing your voice; supporting you in your learning and welfare; and helping you access necessary and suitable welfare support.

“Ask Winchester”

We are putting in place a brand new “Ask Winchester” help desk, where you can contact our dedicated team who are here to answer any questions you have about this and to make your transition to university as smooth as possible. Once we have the details of how to contact us through “Ask Winchester” we will let you know. In addition, we will also give you contact details of the Programme Leader on your course who you will be able to contact if you need to in the run-up to starting your course.

Over the coming weeks we will be developing our plans further and building a frequently asked questions section on our website. We will also continue to keep you updated via email and encourage you to download the University of Winchester app for the latest updates.

We know what a strange time this is for everyone. Please do know that we are ready for you, we will be with you all the way and we can’t wait to welcome you to Winchester in September.

With warmest wishes,

Professor Joy Carter, CBE DL

Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester 

3 June 2020

Please see our coronavirus FAQs for more information on our response.