Category Archives: Campus online

Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor

VC’s blog: renewed national discussions needed on USS pensions

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.

Read VC’s blog: renewed national discussions needed on USS pensions

You can find all the latest information for staff about the proposed pension changes and the industrial action on the HR website including the latest update from UUK.

Easter Zone sports academy

EasterZone sports camps for kids

Kent Sport has the perfect way to keep your children entertained this Easter, with five days of professional sports coaching, led by qualified and DBS checked coaches and supported by sports supervisors.

If your children are aged five to 14 and would enjoy taking part in a variety of sporting activities on a daily basis, including football, kwik cricket, tag rugby, hockey and tennis, then book them onto EasterZone 2018! An introduction to new sports and activities will be on offer along with the opportunity for children to develop their skills in specific sports and make new friends in a fun environment.

Prices for EasterZone are £35 per day or £130 per week. University of Kent staff and student discounts are available. Late pick-ups until 5pm are also available for an extra £10 per day per child.

Closing date for applications will be Sunday 18 March 2018 and we will be unable to accept bookings after this date.

You can book your places online or download a booking form at Please complete and return the form with a cheque (made payable to ‘Uni Kent’) to the University of Kent Sports Centre, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NL.

Please contact if you have any queries or call 01227 816391.

Student Success EDI

Student Success Seminar on Critical Race Theory

The next Student Success seminar  “Reframing the gap: Bridging ‘deficit’ readings and critical race theory to understand everyday racial inequities in UK universities” will give an overview of Critical Race Theory and the important questions it raises.

This seminar, delivered by Dr Alex Hensby, will be challenging and thought-provoking and the team highly recommends that staff with student-facing roles attend and engage in the debate around race and university.

This seminar will take place on:

Wednesday 14 March 2018, Canterbury Campus, Keynes College, Seminar Room 12, 1pm – 2pm

Friday 16 March 2018, Medway Campus, Pilkington Building, Room 104, 1pm – 2pm

The past two decades have seen UK universities increase access for students from non-traditional backgrounds, as well as enhance their provision of academic and welfare support, yet across the sector the white-BME attainment gap shows no sign of significantly narrowing. This raises important questions about how racial inequities continue to be reproduced in higher education. Proponents of critical race theory (CRT) offer a direct challenge to longstanding analyses and intervention strategies on the grounds that they take a ‘deficit’ reading of the white-BME attainment gap. Instead, they advocate shifting the onus onto how universities unwittingly reproduce racism and racial inequities structurally and in everyday life.

To book a place on any staff seminar simply email

More information on this and all the staff seminars can be found on the Student Success website.

A recording of the BTEC seminar and Prof Karen Cox’s Inspirational Speaker Talk can be found on the staff only section of the SSP website.

Executive Group

Changes to senior leadership structures

The Vice Chancellor has made two changes to the senior leadership structures at the University.

First, the Executive Group plus Deans (EG+) will, from 1 March, become the Extended Executive Group (EEG). The membership will now comprise: EG; Director of Human Resources; Dean of the Faculty of Humanities; Dean of the Faculty of Social Science; Dean of the Faculty of Science; Dean of the Graduate School; Dean for Internationalisation; Dean for Medway; Academic Registrar; Director of Estates; Director of Information Services; Director of Commercial Services; and Director of Student Services.

Second, Managers’ Forum has been renamed the Senior Leadership Forum. Its membership includes: Executive Group, Deans, Heads of School, Directors of Professional Service Departments, Heads of Centres and Medway representatives.

The Executive Group (EG) itself remains unchanged with membership: Vice Chancellor; Senior Deputy-Vice Chancellor and Provost; Senior Deputy-Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer; Deputy Vice Chancellor  (Education); Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation); and the Director of Finance. The Secretary to the Council is in attendance.

Kent Colleagues Connect Professional Speed Networking

Resounding success for the first-ever professional speed-networking event at Kent

The first-ever strictly professional speed-networking event at Kent was a great success, attracting more than 130 colleagues.

The networking events took place on 14 February across both the Medway and Canterbury campuses. The Kent Colleagues Connect organising team was delighted with the take-up and the diversity of participating colleagues, representing schools and central departments, academic and professional services staff.

Here are examples of the extremely positive feedback received immediately following the event:

‘What a really enjoyable as well as extremely useful event”,

“A very welcome event”,

“A great event!”

This new initiative is part to the 2018 Kent Colleagues Connect programme which offers a number of opportunities for colleagues at the University to get to know each other’s roles better through informal meetings.

The next event will be “Coffee with Colleagues”, which will open for registration next month and will allow participants to invite a colleague they do not know very well, or at all, to discuss each other’s roles over a complimentary cup of coffee (or tea!). Watch this space for information about when and how to take advantage of this offer!

Full details of future Kent Colleagues Connect events in 2018 check the programme calendar. If you would like to find out more about the scheme, please contact the programme team at


Professor Karen Cox

USS pensions – VC calls for renewed national discussions

Following her recent letter to staff concerning the national situation on USS pensions and the industrial action which some UCU members will be taking from tomorrow, the Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Karen Cox has today written to the Chief Executive of Universities UK to express the University’s deep frustration at the way national negotiations appear to have stalled.

In her letter, she says:  “We are working hard to mitigate the impact on our students while maintaining high academic standards but, given that we are not free to resolve this issue at a local level, we remain deeply frustrated by the apparent deadlock in discussions at national level.

“We agree that the proposals put forward by UCU are unaffordable and, here at Kent, they would add £4.5m to our staff costs, which is not sustainable. However, we also believe there may be opportunities that may provide some basis for renewed discussions with the UCU and we are not clear whether these have yet been explored.

“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. However, you will recall that we have consistently raised questions over the decision to de-risk the USS investment strategy with UUK and directly with USS.

“The areas that I feel might be explored further include:

  • whether there is scope for deferring the implementation of the de-risking of the investment strategy, given that it largely drives the increase in the projected deficit.  It would make sense to revisit the discussions on risk in an informed and measured manner, and to fully consider a range of options including the re-introduction of some element of Defined Benefits into the scheme if investment returns exceed the 2017 assumptions.
  • whether there might also be further consultation with employers as to whether some limited additional contribution might be made should the currently proposed changes go ahead.”

You can find all the latest information for staff about the proposed pension changes and the industrial action on the HR website including the latest update from UUK.

Professor Karen Cox

USS pension situation – staff message from Karen Cox

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:

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Women in Leadership

Women’s Leadership Programme

The Learning & Organisational Development team has been developing a Women’s Leadership programme. This pilot programme has been targeted at women across the University both professional and academic staff and who have previously completed the University’s LASR (Leadership for Areas of Significant Responsibility) programme.

The purpose of this programme,  is to deliver four high level workshops, each individually designed to complement and enhance the learning from the central LASR programme, whilst exploring new innovative leadership capabilities exclusively for women leaders at Kent, so they feel equipped, and empowered to challenge the current leadership gender imbalance.

The first workshop took place in January which included an external facilitator discussing Women’s Leadership: Perception vs Reality. The feedback received from the cohort was very encouraging and positive:

“Excellent opportunity to share views and experiences”

“Chance to understand and work on the issues faced by women outside the university, because it put our experience at Kent into perspective”

“I was heartened to see the amount of support and dedication for women’s leadership in the learning and organisational development team. I thought the session with the external facilitator was very good in terms of addressing personal and emotional barriers to feeling confident at work”

There will be a further three, half-day workshops running over a five-month period, focusing on the themes of:

  • Strategic Career Planning and Management
  • Work life balance: The challenges and adjustments
  • Leading through Change Creatively and Dynamically

The overall structure and content of the programme has been overseen by the Learning & Organisational Development team.

Any questions regarding the programme, please contact Lucy Fuller, Senior L&OD Coordinator

Women in Leadership drawing

Table Music

SMFA’s Dr Ruth Herbert performing with Table Music – London, 2 March

Dr Ruth Herbert, Lecturer in Music Performance in the School of Music and Fine Art, will perform with her trio Table Music at Schott Music, London on Friday 2 March, from 19.30-21.30.

They will be joined by renowned jazz pianist Tim Richards and Ruth’s daughter Asha Parkinson (BBC Young Jazz Musician Award semi-finalist 2016) on soprano sax for an evening of music featuring contemporary, jazz and world influences.

The evening will include commissioned works from Tim and Asha, plus works by Piazzolla and Zimmerli.

For reservations, ring Schott Music: 0207 534 0710. Tickets: £10 (full-time students £5)

Formed early in 2017, and at core a piano trio, Table Music break new ground with a focus on new, recent and 20th century music displaying a rich mix of influences: contemporary classical, jazz and world, sometimes incorporating improvisation and other instruments. An album is planned for 2019.

As a professional pianist, Ruth has performed with various ensembles, notably recording soundtracks for silent films commissioned by the British Film Institute (BFI) with the piano trio Triptych, subsequently touring these works at major venues in the UK and USA (eg Barbican and Lincoln Centres).

Academic positions held include Head of Performance Studies at Dartington College of Arts and Lecturer in Music for the Open University. Prior to her appointment at Kent, Ruth held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Faculty of Music, University of Oxford and a Junior Research Fellowship at Jesus College, Oxford.


Dr Claire Parkin, Editor of AJPP

Call for articles – The Advances Journal of Professional Practice (AJPP)

The Advanced Journal of Professional Practice (AJPP), a peer-reviewed online journal, seeks the articles which demonstrate new knowledge and innovations of a work-related professional practice or practical advancements. The journal allows for the sharing of experiences and gold standard practices for anyone working in a professional role and is inclusive of student dissertation papers, from all faculties across the University.

The AJPP looks for submissions that do any of the following:

  • Offers a critical discussion of any area of contemporary professional practice
  • Describes applications of research findings, innovation or other innovative to an area of professional practice; and particularly which might be considered and applied by analogy to other disciplines
  • Brings together trans-disciplinary activities in relation to professional practice
  • Explores the inter-relationship of professional practice
  • Contributes to recent developing conversations within professional practice.

Submit your article at:

The AJPP is published by the Centre for Professional Practice (CPP). The Centre’s programmes and short courses give you the opportunity to gain academic recognition for the skills, knowledge and experience you have developed in your workplace. Find out more about our part-time, flexible BA/BSc Top-up in Professional Practice or MA/MSc Professional Practice programmes, or an online short course Introduction to Master’s-level Study: