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The University has brought together your key support information for International Students during the Covid-19 pandemic into one, easy to access space.

Supporting International Students 

Here you can find out how we can help you with:

  • Any money worries
  • Your wellbeing and welfare
  • Your teaching and learning and your course
  • Questions about your visa and immigration
  • And any other questions you may have.

Visit Support for our International Students site and find out more about how we can support you.

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On Sunday 17 May we celebrate IDAHOT 2020.   IDAHOT stands for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It was created in 2004 to bring attention to discrimination, abuse and the experience of LGBT+ people across the globe. BA Media Production student Alex Hoey shares his experience of being a being trans man at Sunderland with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager Justine Gillespie.

View the video on You Tube HERE 

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IDAHOT 2020 - Breaking the Silence

In families, in our social circles, at work, in our sports clubs, for many of us our Sexualities, Gender Identities or Sex Characteristics must be hidden. We wander through most of our lives with the stigma of feeling ashamed of who we are.

On May 17, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia will be breaking some of that silence. This year again, tens of thousands will speak up.


Professor Catherine Hayes takes on a new key role assessing the best scientists from across the globe to ensure they’re at the top of their profession in podiatric medicine.

The National Science Council says Chartered Scientists “represent the best professional scientists working in the UK and abroad. They demonstrate effective leadership, using their specialist knowledge and broader scientific understanding to develop and improve the application of science and technology”.

Chartership as a scientist recognises high levels of skill and experience and must maintain their status through continuing professional development (CPD) each year.  

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Catherine Hayes, Professor of Health Professions Pedagogy and Scholarship in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, has recently been appointed by the National Science Council as an assessor of applicants  who are registered by the College of Podiatry in London. 

Undertaking training later this month for the new role, Catherine says: “Being able to fulfil this role is not only a means of serving the profession of Podiatric Medicine, it is also an opportunity to advocate for women in science and to shape and encourage all allied health professions to move towards accreditation with the National Science Council. 

“At the University of Sunderland, we represent the very best of professionalism across medical and healthcare disciplines and especially during this national Pandemic, it is humbling to be able to play such a small role in the formal assessment of applications.”

She added: “One of the most exciting parts of Chartered Scientist status is the capacity and capability it builds within and between professional disciplines, which due to the parameters of professional practice often appear quite different. It sounds a cliché but in terms of our commitment optimally serving society we share a common goal. I am really looking forward to meeting and working with new colleagues from across the UK and from across so many other representative disciplines. 

“Most importantly it is great to represent both the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing and the wider institution in undertaking such an important role with the National Science Council.” 

Applicants for the award of Chartered Scientist status need to demonstrate their competence across five areas by providing examples from their working life, usually within the last five years. They are registrants of the health and science regulatory bodies from across the UK and they also need to provide professional references that can vouch for their specialist knowledge and experience. They are then formally assessed, against stringent criteria.

The appointment is just one of a number of accolades Catherine has achieved in recent years. Last year she was appointed Secretary of the Executive Board of the International Federation of National Teaching Fellows (IFNTF). 

In 2017 she was awarded Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in recognition of her continued impact in learning and teaching nationally and internationally. The accolade came just weeks after the HEA also announced her as one of 55 new National Teaching Fellows for her outstanding impact on student learning and the teaching profession in higher education.

Professor Tony Alabaster, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, said: “Catherine’s role with the National Science Council, alongside all her other achievements, is fantastic news and once again much deserved.

“She is a dedicated academic who has made a significant contribution to our Faculty and wider University, she continues to inspire all those around her through her innovative research and invaluable pedagogic practice.

“This recognition also continues to show the excellent learning and teaching by our staff across our University.”

Caring Claire Hoy’s quest to help NHS staff as they tackle the coronavirus has led to her creating dozens of colourful scrubs.

The Principal Lecturer in Teaching and Learning in the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism, alongside a group of community spirited individuals in the village where she lives, have so far made dozens of scrubs.

Those scrubs have now made their way to the region’s health settings including GP surgeries, hospices and clinics, which will be worn by health-staff from all parts of the service.

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Claire says the response from the small committee she’s part of in East Boldon Village – the Friends of Boldon Parks - has been “overwhelming”. 

She explained: “Our group works all year around to encourage our community, old and young and everyone in between, to get out and enjoy our beautiful village, to combat loneliness and ensure everyone feels part of the community.  

“We put on lots of activities from picnics in the park, planting and weeding, to festivals, seasonal tea parties, as well as lots of learning activities too, for all ages.

“As our activities have been shelved due to Covid-19, we decided to support our wonderful NHS and healthcare workers by making some scrubs. I also volunteer for the NHS Royal Voluntary Service too - shop and drop, making 'phone calls to the lonely and vulnerable, anything to just help a little.” 

Claire Hoy

In making the scrubs, the group organised material donations and a small production line, which meant dropping material on volunteers’ driveways, with some members cutting out the patterns, others sewing and dropping off to the hospital.

As well as scrubs, the Friends of Boldon Parks, which joined forces with the regional North East Sewing for the Frontline group, has also created scrub hats and special bags health staff  take to work and put their scrubs in at the end of the day to be washed, and avoiding any potential for contamination.

Claire supports support the University Faculty through learning and teaching priorities, supporting initiatives that enhance the student learning experience and leads on the design, development, implementation and evaluation of effective approaches to teaching, assessment and feedback.  

As well as Claire’s efforts, our University community continues to contribute to the national effort against the Covid-19 outbreak.

So far our University has:

  • Seen 40 qualified nurses sent to frontline NHS hospitals across the North East
  • Designed and manufactured thousands of coronavirus-proof door openers for businesses across the world
  • Donated a fully equipped training ambulance to the North East ambulance Service (NEAS) to assist in saving hundreds of lives
  • Loaned an advanced specialist piece of diagnostic equipment for help with testing to a North East hospital trust
  • Seen hundreds of student volunteers mobilising to help, support and care for vulnerable members of the community 
  • Witnessed staff working on the frontline to look after some of our most vulnerable students
  • Seen final year Healthcare Science and Biomedical Science students join the professional register early to start supporting the crisis while it is happening

Professor Lawrence Bellamy, Academic Dean in the Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism, said: “Claire’s work on the scrubs initiative embodies the community minded efforts of so many members of staff from the University. 

“Her focus and energy is being put to great use at a time of national need and supporting our frontline workers. In dealing with so many health employees on our executive programmes there is a real bond between the Faculty work and these great people and Claire in leading in this area with the University is taking that through with her fantastic work here. It’s a real testament to her total commitment.”

The University’s Student Financial Guidance team has created a page of Covid-19 related information for you, based on the questions they have received recently.

Student Financial Guidance FAQs is the ideal starting point if you are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on your finances.

The team can counsel and support you in the most effective use of your money, helping you to work out your essential costs and how to budget for them.

Keeping engaged with your studies is really important – even more so now that we are all online. The  Student Financial Guidance team has a range of practical advice and guidance and team members are able to help you prioritise your budget and give you insights into what you can do if your income has reduced and you can no longer work to support the costs of online learning.

Get in touch at and a team member will get back to you to arrange for a review of your finances and talk through where you might be able to get some further support – either through our hardship funds or from other external sources.

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