The new academic year at LANS is underway! We’d like to welcome back our staff – especially Professor Diana Spencer who is returning as Dean after her year away researching for her ‘Out of Place’ project, which concerns the interaction between people and place in Rome during the first centuries BCE and CE.

It seems the department gets a little bigger each year, and as we make interdisciplinary connections across the university we must welcome our new staff. With Dr Lloyd Jenkins as new Deputy Dean, Dr Jennifer Marshall as Academic Lead for Medical and Dental Sciences, Dr Julian Pänke as Academic Lead for Social Sciences and Dr Steffen Pauser as Academic Lead for the College of Arts and Law, our students have a lot of new people to meet! We’d also like to offer our congratulations to Dr James Everest who’s on paternity leave on account of the arrival of his second child!

Dr Diana Spencer
Dr Lloyd Jenkins, Deputy Dean, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences - University of Birmingham

Dean Diana Spencer  and Deputy Dean Lloyd Jenkins

Jennifer Marshall

Dr Jennifer Marshall  and  Dr Julian Pänke

LANS Society have kicked off the new year in style, hosting a Games Night for students to get to know each other and bond. “We had Monopoly, Cluedo, Scrabble, so many more board games and even Just Dance and Mario Kart set up on the Wii,” says Fi Cruikshanks, LANS Society Secretary. “It was the perfect first social for Fresher's week and it was lovely to see students from all years - and even some members of staff - getting involved! This will definitely be the first of many LANS Soc Games Nights this year!”

Games Night happened just after LANS Students got to meet their families, where second-year students ‘parent’ first-year students, with the oversight of fourth-year ‘great-grandparents’. The parenting scheme is an excellent way for students to develop friendships across year-groups, share useful advice with each other and to know more about the university and Birmingham in general.

LANS Society also hosted a Quiz Night for the first years, giving them a chance find out a little more about the world, the department and each other.

During the third term last year, we expanded our sport teams by introducing LANS football – and this is set to continue alongside our netball team throughout this new year. An opportunity for sporty students to meet each other and work as a team in a casual environment, we’re hoping the teams will be the largest they’ve been yet this year! Please contact Ellie Holden, LANS Society’s Sports Rep, if you’re interested in joining.

Each year we celebrate the student who has achieved the highest mark across the LANS Core Modules – and this year, student Sam Nead has won this accolade. We asked her to talk about the social issue her team chose and the documentary-making process. “My group’s social issue for the core module was loneliness in the youth, which I initially knew nothing about, but became fascinated by over the course of the modules. It’s actually a really expansive and pressing issue that people really don’t know enough about, and being able to research it so thoroughly and explore ways we can start to tackle this ‘epidemic’ sweeping through our generation was incredibly enlightening and genuinely fulfilling. The documentary was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but having something tangible at the end that we could watch (and re-watch, and re-watch!) was amazing, and feeling like you’ve created something that’s relevant and pertinent to today’s youth is so rewarding and something I’m immensely proud of.”

This year, we also have LANS-branded travel mugs for the environmentally conscious – so if you’d like to represent the department and reduce your carbon footprint, then get yours at this link today!

The new Liberal Arts and Natural Science travel cup

Next week, we’ll try to catch up with some of our third years from their Year Abroad, hear about LANS’ involvement with the University’s Arts and Sciences Festival and hear about this year’s first Cultural Programme events! Stay up to date by following us on Twitter and Instagram @lans_unibham.