Academic divisions – preparing for launch

With February already upon us and our new team of Directors coming together, activity is now ramping up to shape our new academic divisions ahead of launching in September.

We have appointed to six Divisions so far, with recruitment ongoing for the remaining post. I’m delighted to have such a strong team in place, and the space to work together is allowing us all to benefit from fresh ideas and perspectives as we introduce a new and empowered approach to the leadership of academic activity at the University. It’s been particularly exciting to see the opportunities this will offer for enhanced facilitation of cross-disciplinary working in the future.

In response to feedback from the Senate on the Organising for Success proposals, Directors of Division are now included as members of the University’s Executive Group. This is enriching and will position us well as we focus on addressing the challenges we face at Kent in particular, in the context of wider turbulence across the sector and an increasingly competitive environment.

A top priority for Directors at the moment is developing and agreeing on the academic governance model within Divisions. The approach is one to ensure consistency across all divisions in key strategic activity areas (particularly those with Senate responsibility) balanced with the flexibility to reflect the differing activities, needs, and approaches in particular areas (e.g. for accreditation; or particular priorities). Plans will be shared with Senate, and then more broadly across divisions and we expect expressions of interest to key leadership roles to open later in March.

To facilitate forward planning Directors have this month taken formal ownership of top-level budgets for areas within their Divisions, and all new Heads of School contracts are now issued no further than December 2020 so we can manage the transition to divisional leadership. With the new structure the current role of Schools will change, and whilst there will no longer be a formal governance role per se, we are cognisant of the need to make sure subject areas have a clear presence and ensure we continue to provide meaning for our staff, students, and external stakeholders.

Alongside more technical work on structures and governance, we must keep sight of what a significant moment this is in both the University’s history and our Kent 2025 plans. Each Division will develop a clear vision for further enhancing our activities and profile, showing how the opportunities and discoveries led by colleagues and students will feed into delivery of our overall University strategy and future successes.

Georgina Randsley de Moura | DVC Academic Planning, Strategy and Performance

Organising for Success is a key enabler of our Kent 2025 strategy, which focuses on opportunity, discovery and community. We aim to empower students to find and shape their place in the world, and for academics to be free to explore and deepen our understanding of it. Find out more at Kent 2025.