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

Kent Logo

Industrial action tomorrow – student update

As you know, industrial action called by the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) is set to begin tomorrow, Thursday 22 February. As this is a national dispute concerning a large pension scheme involving hundreds of higher education employers, we are not free to resolve this dispute on our own, or with our own staff. We remain deeply frustrated by the apparent deadlock in discussions at national level, but we are continuing to lobby those involved to restart negotiations, call-off the action and consider alternative options.

Though we can’t be sure how many members of staff will be participating, we expect many classes to go ahead as usual. The UCU has asked those members taking part to inform you of their decision already so we hope that you will not encounter classes that have been cancelled without advance notice.

We are doing everything we can to make sure that this action has as little impact on your studies as possible. Throughout the action, the University’s campuses and centres will all be open as usual with libraries, study spaces and PC rooms, student services, catering, accommodation and sports facilities operating as normal. You should also have full access to all the buildings and facilities you would expect.

We have published revised information on the action, how it might affect you, what we are doing to reduce its impact and what you can do to work through it and seek appropriate advice and support.

We recognise that this is a difficult, uncertain and worrying time for you. It is, however, vital that you continue to study as usual. Unless you are informed otherwise, you should continue to attend all timetabled classes, continue working on projects and assessments and continue to submit assessments on time.

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated wherever possible.

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.


PG Festival GradPost photo

Call for participation – Postgraduate Festival

The Graduate School is delighted to announce that this year’s Postgraduate Festival will kick start with a launch event on Monday 18 June from 12 noon in the Sibson building, Canterbury campus. This will be followed by a week of activities and workshops open to all PG students (schedule of events TBC).

Call for Participation

We encourage PG student support to help us deliver innovative sessions at this year’s Festival. There will be three parallel session topics during the launch event that we would welcome student participation and/or ideas to help organise.

Session topics:

  • Teaching
  • Frustrations of being a PG student
  • A supervisor and student relationship

These three topic ideas are open to your interpretation – if you would like to get involved, contact Felicity Clifford, Postgraduate Experience Officer at

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:

Discount tickets for Festival of Steam and Transport, 1-2 April

Kent students and staff, along with five accompanying guests, can get discounted tickets for the Festival of Steam and Transport at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. The Festival will take place on 1 and 2 April 2018. And if you book before 18 March 2018 you will get a further 25% off.

Price if you book before 18 March:

Adult Ticket                                                                        £9.00

Concession Ticket                                                           £8.00

Child Ticket                                                                        £7.00

Family Ticket (2+2 or 1+3)                                            £26.50

Xtra Child                                                                             £6.00

Two Day Adult 1st & 2nd April                                    £18.00

Two Day Concession 1st & 2nd April                        £15.00

Two Day Child 1st & 2nd April                                    £11.00

Two Day Family 1st & 2nd April (2+2 or 1+3)         £45.00

Two Day Xtra Child 1st & 2nd April                           £9.00


Price if you book after 18 March:


Adult Ticket                                                                        £12.00

Concession Ticket                                                           £11.00

Child Ticket                                                                        £9.50

Family Ticket (2+2 or 1+3)                                            £35.50

Xtra Child                                                                             £8.00

Two Day Adult 1st & 2nd April                                    £25.00

Two Day Concession 1st & 2nd April                        £21.00

Two Day Child 1st & 2nd April                                    £16.00

Two Day Family 1st & 2nd April (2+2 or 1+3)         £63.00

Two Day Xtra Child 1st & 2nd April                           £13.00


You will need your Kent ID to receive these rates. Plus students come under the concession rate.

These tickets will be available to purchase on the day of visit, however you may like to obtain tickets in advance, from The Historic Dockyard Admissions Desk during normal opening hours.

Please note there is also student discount at the bars at the Food & Drink Festival section onsite at The Dockyard.

Professor April McMahon

April McMahon appointed to TEF panel

Kent is pleased to announce that Professor April McMahon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor-Education, will play a key role in a national pilot scheme for the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF).

Professor McMahon has been appointed by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) as a member of the main expert panel and Chair of the Humanities subject panel for a trial of TEF assessments at subject level.

Another former Kent colleague – Rory Murray, Kent Union President from 2016-2017 – is a member of the Medical and Health Sciences subject panel.

Fifty higher education providers are taking part in this trial, designed to test different methods for assessing university provision at subject level as part of the TEF in future years. These new assessments have the potential to offer applicants more detailed subject information before choosing where to study.

Professor McMahon, who joined the University in September 2016, was previously an Assessor for year two of the TEF in 2016/17.

She has had a distinguished academic career and is a Fellow of the British Academy. She has worked at the Universities of Cambridge and Sheffield as well as Edinburgh where she held the posts of Head of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science and Vice-Principal, Planning and Resources.

Prior to joining Kent, Professor McMahon was Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth for five years.

For further information on year three of the TEF and subject level pilots, and full lists of panel members, see the HEFCE website

Employability Festival for Humanities students! 5-16 March

The Schools in the Faculty of Humanities are curating a Employability Festival for Humanities Students for the third year running.

Events will take place in Weeks 20 & 21 (5-16 March) and include workshops, interactive sessions, industry panels and chances to meet and network with industry practitioners.

They reflect the wide range and overlapping career options available to students and graduates of subjects in the Humanities.

There are thirteen events in total, and booking is highly recommended. Click on the individual events below for more details and to book:

Your experience matters – tell us what it’s like to be a Kent student!

What do you want from your experience at Kent? Are you getting what you expected? What could be improved? If you are a first year undergraduate student, please come to a focus group discussion to tell us!

Focus groups:

  • 20 February 2018 at 15.00 in Keynes College – KS13
  • 22 February 2018 at 16.30 in Rutherford College – RLT2
  • 23 February 2018 at 16.30 in Darwin College – DLT3
  • 26 February 2018 at 17.30 in Eliot College – ES1
  • 1 March 2018 at 16.30 in Turing College – KS14

If you wish to join us please let the project research assistant Alina know by emailing Refreshments will be served!

If you have any questions, please contact Alina at or the project consultant, Dr Kathleen M. Quinlan at