Welcome Message from Professor Nigel Mason, Head of School

Professor Nigel Mason

A special message from our Head of School, welcoming new and returning students to SPS.

Welcome to the University of Kent and particularly the School of Physical Sciences (SPS). We are delighted to have you join the ‘SPS family’. I don’t use that term, family, lightly – we really do want you to feel that for the next years SPS is your home and that you come to see the Staff as your friends as well as well as your ‘teachers’.

Clearly you are joining us in exceptional times and none of us can predict the exact course events will take but we will do all we can to make your studies successful and your experience one you will member, we hope fondly, for the rest of your lives.

University and study for a degree are a major chapter in your lives as you gain the skills and confidence to prepare for your future careers. Science requires a lot of effort and to succeed you must work hard. However, you are here because we believe in you and your ability to succeed. We will give you the tools and support you need to succeed but only you can use them and do the hard work necessary to achieve the best results. We have outlined what is needed and what is provided in our ‘School Promises’, both for Staff and Students.

This term we will teach in a new way. New to you and new to us! See attached document. Lectures will be on line but timetabled and will be live with a structure that allows you to engage — not just sit passively. This new method of delivery and learning has been developed in only a few months so please be latent if not everything works first time and ensue you give us regular feedback to allow us to adapt where necessary. Most importantly, keep following your email at least once a day for updated information.

To get the most from each lecture we require you to do some preparation work before the lecture (with time set aside each day to do this) and post lecture there is work to do that will allow you to determine for yourself whether you have understood the ideas and content of that lecture. Lectures will be supported by workshops to give you experience and practice of the concepts taught (and to prepare you for examinations). We hope that some of these can be run in small groups face to face as well as on line.

All of our degrees have a practical element and therefore to pass and be accredited by the ’Professional body’ you must learn and demonstrate competency in practical work. Thus we require you to attend laboratory sessions on campus. We have taken all necessary precautions to ensure your practical sessions are ‘covid safe’ as much as they are for general health and safety. Please follow the rules and listen to instructions and you, your colleagues and staff will remain safe.

Each of you is assigned to a member of academic staff you will act as your ‘Academic Advisor, AA’ who will monitor and support your progress but they are also there as your mentor and guide. They will follow your development through the degree and advise you when you encounter problems referring you to our superb student advice team if necessary. There is no reason for you to suffer in silence – we are here to help you academically and pastorally. Please ensure you meet your AA this week and keep in regular contact. We are in strange times and it is natural that you will have apprehensions and you may occasionally ‘feel low’ this is when you seek help from the SPS family.

Finally a plea. We want you to stay and feel safe. To ensure this all of us ‘must do our bit’. Follow government advice and keep in small groups, wash and sterilize surfaces both on Campus and outside. Together we can ensure covid is reduced so we can return to more normal operations and teaching. You will be safe on campus in our taught sessions so make sure you keep safe outside of classes by limiting social contacts to a few in your ‘bubble’. Sacrifices you make now will in your social life will directly prevent covid from spreading and people dying. Needless to say that should you break the rules then we will act harshly – because we have to safeguard others.

Nonetheless desire covid and restrictions in social lives we believe you can, and will, have a great and safe experience here at Kent in the ‘SPS family’. Enjoy it all and good luck in your studies.

Nigel Mason

Head of School of Physical Sciences

Leave a Reply