In her latest blog, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Karen Cox gives an assurance that she will continue to press for a consideration of alternative options by UUK, UCU and the USS. Tomorrow (Friday 23 February) she will be meeting with Universities UK and vice-chancellors from across the sector and will ensure that Kent’s voice is among those calling for a resumption of national discussions on the future of the USS pension.
I am writing to acknowledge the difficult situation we all find ourselves in with regard to the national situation on USS pensions. I absolutely respect colleagues’ right to take action in the way they are, in response to a situation that we all thought had been resolved a few years ago now. I and many of us across the University have urged for, and will continue to urge for, ongoing discussions at national level to resolve this issue and have consistently raised questions over the decision to de-risk the USS investment strategy with UUK and USS. However, we recognise that there are pressures from the Pensions Regulator and from other member universities to ensure that the scheme has a lower risk profile and that the Joint Negotiating Committee has had to balance the competing views. We all wish to see a sustainable pension scheme that does not require revision every few years, with the uncertainty and disruption that would be brought by this.
In the meantime we are seeking to mitigate, as far as is possible, any impact of the proposed industrial action on our students by implementing approaches adopted in the past at Kent. We will keep our colleagues and our students up to date as the situation relating to any strike action unfolds. Please visit the following web pages for more information and our position statement on this issue: www.kent.ac.uk/human-resources/pensions/uss-industrial-action2018/
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President
Staff, alumni, students, the local community and businesses are invited to join us for the University of Kent’s very first fundraising Gala Ball on the Canterbury campus this July, hosted by our Chancellor, Gavin Esler.
Watch the sun set over Canterbury from our beautiful marquee in the heart of the campus for an evening full of entertainment, all in support of the Kent Opportunity Fund.
Tickets are £65 per head, and guests will be seated on tables of 10, so we recommend that groups book together to ensure that they are seated together.
For more information, please visit: www.kent.ac.uk/galaball
A major report by the University of Kent’s Dr Adrian Pabst challenges existing thoughts on the benefits of freedom of movement and provides a different perspective – one focused on the common good and how it is placed at the heart of society.
Dr Pabst, Reader in Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations, says Brexit has raised many questions about what is going to happen regarding free movement.
The free movement of people and capital is considered fundamental to the global economy, but it has also led to widespread feelings of economic and cultural insecurity. Attempts to address this often rely on ideas about the freedom of choice for the individual or economic utility – the benefits or costs for the majority.
Dr Pabst’s report, ‘Democracy and the Common Good: A Common Good Approach to Free Movement of People and Capital’, published by St Paul’s Institute, seeks to advance an alternative approach.
It advocates addressing existing anxieties and providing a source of fresh policy ideas, adding to the ongoing work of communities, faith groups and others that mediate between the individual and the state.
The report features a foreword by Rachel Reeves MP who chairs the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee. She says that it is right that this report focuses on skills, investment and the need for closer consideration of communities in the everyday economy.
Dr Pabst’s report will be launched as part of a public debate entitled Democracy and the Common Good: What do we Value? at St Paul’s Cathedral on Monday 19 March from 18.45 until 20.30.
Sign up to attend this event here.
The report can be viewed here.
Vince Muntag is a Hungarian student doing an MA in Drama by research at Kent. His desire to pursue postgraduate research at Kent was such that he crowdfunded the money to provide a personal helper to support him at during his degree. He is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about theatre and aims to make it accessible to everyone.
Vince will be talking about theatre, activism and cultural differences in attitudes to disability and inclusion between Hungary and the United Kingdom.
FREE to attend – all are welcome.
Monday 26 March at 13:10–14:00
Jennison Lecture Theatre, Canterbury Campus
Short video about Vince’s crowdfunding.
As exam time is approaching the Transport Team, Estates department, are working with Stagecoach to provide extra Uni2 buses on Sundays and Bank Holidays between 25 March and 27 May 2018.
During term-time we provide a 24 hour bus service 6 days a week, serviced by the Uni1, Uni2, 4 and Triangle buses. The additional Uni2 services mean that there will be a 24/7 bus service for this period to help you travel to and from the library to prepare for exams. See additional Uni2 services below or on posters at Keynes and Darwin bus stops.
Buses to town centre
Hales Place Tenterden Drive 2130 2230 2330 0035 0135 0235 0335 0435
The Beverlie 2134 2234 2334 0039 0139 0239 0339 0439
University Darwin 2138 2238 2338 0043 0143 0243 0343 0443
University Park Wood 2142 2242 2342 0047 0147 0247 0347 0447
University Keynes Stop A 2146 2246 2346 0051 0151 0251 0351 0451
St Dunstans Westgate 2153 2253 2353 0058 0158 0258 0358 0458
Canterbury bus station 2201 2301 0001 0106 0206 0306 0406 0506
Buses to Hales Place
Canterbury bus station A5/B1 2105 2205 2305 0010 0110 0210 0310 0410
St Dunstans Westgate 2111 2211 2311 0016 0116 0216 0316 0416
University Keynes Stop B 2117 2217 2317 0022 0122 0222 0322 0422
University Park Wood 2121 2221 2321 0026 0126 0226 0326 0426
University Darwin 2125 2225 2325 0030 0130 0230 0330 0430
Hales Place Tenterden Drive 2130 2230 2330 0035 0135 0235 0335 0435
The Uni1 and Uni2 buses will also continue to the usual timetable over the Easter vacation (6 April to 8 May 2018) despite being outside of term-time.
The Templeman Library Chill Out Zone is back from Monday 19 March
Relax in a calm and quiet pop-up space in the Library – open just for exam season. Take some time out from your revision, flop on a beanbag or comfy chair, enjoy the views, do some colouring, leisure reading or just chill. There will also be wellbeing workshops running in this space in the exam term on de-stressing. No studying allowed! Tell us what you want to see in here by writing ideas on the whiteboard.
You can find the Chill Out Zone in D Block, Floor 3. The space is open from 09:00-21:00 Monday to Friday from Monday 19 March and you’ll need your KentOne card to enter.
Need to relax with some reading?
Have a look at our Wellbeing and Self Help reading list. All the books on it are available as e-books.
- Study and exam skills
- University life
- Coping with stress and anxiety
If you need more support, Student Wellbeing can help you.
Study smarter with productivity tools
Try some of these free apps and tools, picked out by Student Support. They can save you time, make it easier to access study material and increase your productivity.
Stay safe on your way to the Library
The Templeman Library is open 24/7 until June. Make sure you’re safe, whatever time you arrive and leave:
- Use the SafeZone app for quick access to campus security and emergency services
2011 BA (Hons) Event and Experience Design graduate, Kerri Layton, has started her own creative event consultancy, Kerri Kreates. Clients and previous partners include Alexandra Palace, A Different World Productions LTD, the BBC, Fuse Festival Medway, Lancaster BID, Kent County Council, The Arts Council, Body and Mind Festivals, Glade Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Eventspiration and The Hospital Club.
Whilst at Kent studying in the School of Music and Fine Art, Kerri won two awards from the Kent Enterprise Hub & Round One, forming a performance group and social enterprise arts company ‘FAF Arts’ touring the UK in the summer terms with her company and theatre productions. Always very active performing and organising events, she then went on to host session’s at Employability Week for the University of Kent, on ‘Making it Happen’ whilst working for her clients around the UK.
Kerri comments: ‘It was a practical degree that taught me the logistics of event management but fundamentally placed the importance on the creation and theatre of the event, of it’s core narrative. I made explorations into audience’s journeys using experience as a means of ritual and celebration. Communicating core themes and ideas via the medium of 3D, sensory and participatory experiences, later specialising in outdoor theatre. I enjoyed every second of this degree and it continues to inspire and inform me to this day.’
After graduating, the dynamic Kerri performed with the Banner Theatre Company as a guitarist and singer, went on to launch her solo music show, Lady Layton, which toured internationally, including Glastonbury, and was a headline act at many UK events and festivals, and now performs with her live band as a solo artist Miss Kerri Layton. Her new EP releases in March.
Message from Denise Everitt, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer:
Yesterday’s failure to find support for the settlement suggested by UCU and UUK following talks at ACAS is obviously disappointing to everybody concerned. We are aware that many staff, as well as the University itself, had high hopes that these discussions would allow us all to move forward with a better pension outcome for staff and certainty for our students.
In response to this setback, we will continue to urge all those involved at national level to return to the table to continue discussions with a view to resolving the current industrial dispute as quickly as possible, as well as lobbying for an outcome that protects the interests of our staff and students. Alongside this, our priority is to support schools in seeking to mitigate the impact of the action on students as much as we can.
We continue to be engaged in talks with Kent Union and the local branch of the UCU and will use a joint voice wherever we can to press for positive change. In the meantime, we remain committed to the sentiments underpinning our joint statement of 9 March in which we called for a solution that reflected Kent’s core values of fairness, equality, collaboration and respect. It is these values that will continue to make a career in Higher Education an attractive choice for both current staff and those just beginning their working lives.
We will continue to keep you informed with any developments relating to this situation.
Stephen Connolly, an artist filmmaker, Lecturer in Film Production, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham and Fine Art PhD student and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Music and Fine Art (also a Kent 50 Scholar), has been shortlisted for a 2018 British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) Award, in the Moving Image category under Best Practice Research Portfolio for Machine Space. The results will be announced in April.
BAFTSS encourage best teaching and research practice, promoting the training of postgraduate students in research and giving researchers and practitioners the opportunity to attend and present a paper at the annual BAFTSS conference.
Connolly’s Machine Space is an essay film exploring a city as a machine; a place of movement and circulation. The city is Detroit, a place that has changed from producing the means of movement to producing space itself. The film uses formal representational devices to explore this content, and addresses issues of complicity of audiences in the state of affairs in the city. It is a visualization of the ideas of Henri Lefebvre, philosopher of space and urban life.
The film was shown at London Film Festival and Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University.
You can read the LFF Review (in which it is described as “brilliant”) on MUBI.
Connolly’s work investigates cinema and representation through place, politics and history. His award winning single screen work which explores the interface between spectatorship, material culture and subjectivity, has been widely shown internationally since 2002. A FLAMIN award recipient, he has had solo screenings at the ICA and BFI Southbank in London, and was a juror at the Ann Arbor Film Festival (Michigan, USA) in 2011.
Image credit: Stephen Connolly
Colleagues are invited to attend the Learning and Teaching Network session on Wednesday 28 March, 13.15-14.30 in Rochester R2:09, Medway. The session titled ‘External Examining and Boards of Examiners at Kent’ will be presented by Malcolm Dixon, Head of Quality Assurance.
This session will give an overview of regulations and requirements relevant to External Examiners and Board of Examiner meetings. Participants will be given up-to-date guidance about the Credit Framework and related examination conventions/procedures for the classification of awards, in accordance with Annexes J and K of the Code of Practice. The relevant policies and procedures will be reviewed, and there will be time for questions and discussion.
This session is for University staff and external examiners who are involved with organising, attending or recording Board of Examiner meetings. Staff new to Boards of Examiners are strongly encouraged to attend.
To book a place, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As you may know, together with the Vice-Chancellor, I attended a meeting with student reps and others on Tuesday 14 March. The aim of the meeting, organised by Kent Union, was to hear student concerns relating to the industrial action being taken by some members of our academic staff. Both the Vice-Chancellor and I greatly appreciated having the opportunity to attend and hear from students about their concerns.
We realise that those of you who are in schools affected by this action are inevitably worried about the impact it might have on your assessments and academic progress. While we have a website for students which includes a broad range of FAQs, it was clear from yesterday’s meeting, and from other conversations and communications we had from students, many of the questions you are raising are specific to both your subject and school.
I want to reassure you that the Executive Group of the University and faculty Deans are working with schools affected by the industrial action to put systems in place to mitigate against its impact on you and will communicate what these are over the coming weeks. At the beginning of next week, your school will email you with detailed updates which respond to the concerns raised at the student reps meeting and through other channels. It is important that you are aware that the guidance will come from your Head of School (or in his or her name) and that it is guidance from that source that you should regard as authoritative.
I also want to reassure those students who are emailing me and other colleagues with a range of issues and queries that these are being collated centrally to ensure we have a sense of the nature and scale of the concerns. These will be reflected in the information you will begin to receive from your school next week. I should add that we are endeavouring to reply to those emails as quickly as possible, and where school-specific issues are raised we are forwarding to the school so that they can respond to you directly.
There is no doubt that staff have a great commitment to you as students. The University, Kent Union and the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) at Kent have jointly called on all those involved at a national level to work together to reach a solution, and the University will continue to seek an outcome that protects the interests of our staff and students.
David Nightingale | Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost