Background history

This blog, which features over 100 articles has been administered and edited since 2011 by Dr Simon Black, Human Resources, at the University of Kent.

The crumpled butterfly scrollUniversity of Kent Change Academy project arose in 2011 to devise means to engage all academic and administrative staff in the Faculty of Social Sciences in supporting our students’ learning experience. Specifically, the project team aimed to develop a portfolio of initiatives and activities to:

  1. Transform attitudes and values of all staff towards a student-focus;
  2. Transform organisational culture so that the academic community embraces student learning as well as staff research;
  3. Ensure effective use of resources by encouraging a collaborative approach to the delivery of a quality student experience.

The imperative to undertake this project now results from the recent high levels of expansion at Kent (more campuses, staff and students). We wish to promote the values of student support, community and collegiality that were the norm as a smaller institution.  Our challenge will be to create a ‘virtuous triangle’ between academic and administrative staff and students, within the individualised academic culture, where motivations frequently stem from research-focus.

With thanks to the 2011/12 Kent Change Academy Team Members

The launch team in 2011 included (roles shown at the time of the project):

Simon Black, Learning & Development Adviser, HR

Stephen Burke, Master, Eliot College

Helen Carr, Director of Learning & Teaching

William Collier, Lecturer in Economics, Director of Studies Stage 1

Alison Dean, Faculty Dean of Learning and Teaching, Social Sciences

Chloé Gallien, Faculty Administration Manager, Social Sciences

Naomi Dumbrell, Learning & Development Co-ordinator

Mick Norman, Learning Technologist, Unit for Enhancement of Learning & Teaching

Tom Ritchie, President, Kent Union

Gill Sinclair, Academic Division (Timetabling)

Cindy Vallance, Head of Organisational Development

Leo Wilkinson, Student Rep. Social Sciences


The team were later joined by Courteleigh Smith (Social Sciences Student Rep) and Alex Murray (Kent Union VP Education) and Stephen Pethick (Senior Lecturer, Law).


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