The coronavirus outbreak is affecting the way many of us live our lives – the way that we study, the way we spend time, and the way that we work - and it's normal that this will affect people's mental health. The situation may well be making you feel anxious, and the level of news and information that is available might be leading to feelings of overwhelm.
We also know that some of your normal self-care and coping strategies might be a lot more difficult just now given the lockdown and social distancing requirements we’re all facing, and the self-isolation that some of you might be required to follow.
We've gathered some resources that might be helpful, and there are lots of links below – these will in turn take you to pages where you can find guides, tips and resources.
The most important advice from all of these resources and guides is to stay connected
If you need to talk to someone from the College about how you’re feeling, and how this might be affecting your studies, your first point of contact will normally be your PAT (Personal Academic Tutor) or course leader.
This email account is monitored Monday to Friday and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not use this account if you need to speak to someone urgently – we have given the numbers for national helplines below.
If you need to talk to someone urgently, please call one of the national helplines:
Breathing Space is open Monday-Thursday 6pm to 2am and weekends from Friday 6pm through to Monday 6am 0800 838587 (it’s free to call)
Samaritans are open 24 hours, day and night – the number is 116 123 (it’s free to call from mobiles or landlines)
This is a national service – although people volunteer as Samaritans from your local community, your call will go through the national helpline, and it is highly improbable anyone local will ever answer a local call.
If it’s not easy to make a call from home, you can get in touch with the Samaritans by email – contact details here
Lews Castle College has announced the formation of an Education Hub to bring together teaching, research, and scholarship.
Based at the Stornoway campus, the new unit will dovetail current teaching activities in the delivery of the online Masters degrees in Education (M.Ed.) and in Digital Pedagogy, along with teacher training awards and supervision on doctoral research.
The success of the M.Ed. programme, which is led from Stornoway, demonstrates a growing interest from education professionals in schools, colleges and universities to enhance their skills. This has encouraged demands for progression to advanced postgraduate degrees such as the taught doctorate (Ed.D.) and doctoral studies by research (Ph.D.)
Principal Iain MacMillan said, “There is a clearly a demand out there that is ideally satisfied by part-time and online study. The demands of modern lifestyles and careers mean that busy professionals need to keep up to date but are finding less space to do that through ‘conventional’ routes. We are pleased to see registrations for our degree modules being recognised across the globe as well as in the national educational sectors.”
Although research projects and Ph.D. supervision have been undertaken at Lews Castle College UHI for more than two decades, this new initiative will lead to the discipline of Education being recognised in its own right. Previously, education was studied as part of another main disciplinary area. The new unit will provide a consistent and continuous platform for learners to progress in their studies and will further enhance the role of Lews Castle College as a key provider in the University of the Highlands and Islands.
UHI Programme Leader of the Masters in Education, Dr Gareth Davies, added, “This is a natural progression in the education awards that we already offer. Increasingly we are seeing teachers and lecturers asking to be upskilled in the theory and practice of using technology to improve educational opportunities. One of the benefits of the new Education Hub is that we will be able to respond incredibly flexibly to the needs of individual learners, both in the content that they want and the manner of delivery that they require.”
The Education Hub will work with the UHI Learning and Teaching Academy and continue to expand in the activities that are delivered from the Stornoway campus, as well as the productive partnerships with other staff throughout the UHI and in other university networks.
UHI Vice-Principal of research, Professor Neil Simco, said, “This is another significant step in the university developing its regional strengths to the benefit of the university as a whole. The critical mass of our recent achievements in the delivery of education awards is now attracting educationalists from across the world and we hope to reach out even more students with this new Education Hub.”
Although all Lews Castle College UHI buildings are closed, the College remains open.
Most of our staff continue to work from home supporting our students online. An Cotan Childcare Centre remains open to provide care for the children of key workers, as requested by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
While we continue to work with current students to ensure they complete their studies successfully, we are also busy dealing with applications for new session which begins later in 2020.
Please look at the website https://www.lews.uhi.ac.uk/courses/ to see what courses we have to offer and come and join us.
We look forward to hearing from you!