A line of smiling carved pumpkins

Halloween Web Hangout

All students are welcome to join this fun, Halloween-themed, Web Hangout on Wednesday 28 October at 12.00!

Meet new students, take part in a fun Halloween-themed quiz, a bingo themed game, plus a chance to test your drawing skills to win points and so much more.

Join us for for a chance to win a voucher of your choice.

Fancy dress is optional!

We look forward to seeing you there.

To sign up fill out this MS Form

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Applied health and social care researcher survey

Are you a health care professional, social care professional or an applied health and social care researcher in Kent, Surrey or Sussex currently involved with, or interested in, applied research? Then NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC KSS) would like to hear from you.

ARC KSS is keen to find out how your interests align with its themes and hear about your learning and development needs and preferences. The findings from its survey, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, will help develop and shape the ARC KSS Academy’s activities that will support applied health and social care researchers across the region, over the course of the next four years.

If interested please complete the ARC KSS survey

If you have any questions about the survey please email ARCKSSacademy@kent.ac.uk

The Girl Who Smiles Beads by Clemantine Wamariya

Would you like to be part of a Global Campus Read?

Kent students are invited to join a common reading experience with West Virginia University (WVU), USA.

Each year, WVU engages its campus and community with a Global Campus Read to foster dialogue, critical thinking, and participation.  This year’s chosen read is ‘The Girl Who Smiled Beads’ by Clemantine Wamariya.

This online course running from 19th January – 30th March will encourage conversation and collaboration between students from West Virginia University and other universities around the world.  Students will have access to virtual Campus Read events, and on completion of the course, students will receive a transcript from WVU.

Please go onto the Global Education website to find out more and to register your interest.

Deadline for applications is 1 November.

If you have questions about this course, please contact studyabroad@kent.ac.uk

Professor Julia Anderson with comedian David Walliams

History Professor appears on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are

School of History Professor Julie Anderson has appeared on BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ helping comedian David Walliams find out more about his family history.

Julie provided David with some information on his great great grandfather, who was a patient at Salisbury Infirmary in 1884, suffering from cataracts. You can watch the full episode on the iplayer here, and Julie has shared more about her appearance with the School of History team…

What was it like being on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

Being on the show is really good fun. When the researchers call you months in advance, you have no idea of the identity of the person you are going to be working with – it is revealed shortly before you start filming. Before that, there is lots of discussion and the researchers on the show get tips from you about what they should be looking at and images and documents that might work on tv. The crew was so professional and patient and they made me feel relaxed.

What was David Walliams like?

David is obviously an experienced professional who was funny in real life, and curious about his family. He was tall too.

Did anything funny happen while you were filming?

When we were standing outside doing our ‘meet’, people kept recognising David and shouting hello to him. But most people were really respectful as they could see we were working.

Were you nervous?

Not really – I have done TV before and I did a WDYTYA before with Martin Freeman before I came to Kent – I did a lot of work on his show as it was centred on the sensitive topic of venereal disease – that time I ended up on the cutting room floor – which can happen with TV shows as they only have so much time to present everything. It was disappointing, but working with Martin and the crew was great and I remember laughing all day.

What is the strangest thing about doing a tv show like WDYTYA?

Probably all the walking and pointing. You have to make sure you have nice clean nails as you have to point to lines on documents. What goes on behind the scenes is a surprise – our cameraman was contorting himself in all kinds of ways to get the best shot, and you have to try and not notice. There are lots of people in the space – producers, director, camera and sound persons, so it is not as ‘intimate’ as it looks. There were about seven of us in a little staircase.

Did the segment take a long time to film?

That is one of the oddest things about performing in front of a camera. It takes a really long time to do the filming, so that the director is satisfied. Things can go wrong with the sound and you have to wear a microphone which attaches to your clothes – it is usually stuck under your jacket and then a pack with batteries attached behind you which is really heavy and is why I always wear trousers. I sat in a stairwell with David for at least an hour and a half and I was numb and stiff when I finally got up, even though we took breaks to get different camera angles. You have to do the same thing over and over with different camera angles.

Is filming WDYTYA different from other types of tv?

It is because you are moving and engaging. In a lot of tv historians are talking heads and you stand or sit in a chair. When you are walking and moving it is harder. And when the enthusiasm for history overtakes you, you often forget yourself and get really enthusiastic. With tv you have to think about where your body is in relation to the camera and not bump your microphone.

Did you ever think that being in front of a tv camera would be part of your job as a historian at a university?

Never! I thought tv was only for male historians who did war and royalty. It is good to see a more diverse range of historians on tv these days. I have done a couple of programmes a year since 2011, and I really enjoy doing them.

Who are the people you enjoy working with the most on tv programmes?

I really enjoy working with the researchers and producers. They work so hard to get the context and interpretation right, and there is a lot of communication before the programme is filmed. Interestingly, they often have History degrees, so that may be something for our students to consider as a career in the future.

What did you learn from David Walliams?

He gave me instructions on how to walk up stairs when you are being filmed from above. Not necessarily a life skill necessary to a historian, but you never know.


SEPnet Diversity Webinar: Nurturing community and belonging

The University of Kent will be hosting the SEPnet Diversity Webinar Nurturing community & belonging – particularly during Covid-19 on Wednesday 2 December 2020, 10.00 – 13.00

Building an inclusive community within universities where students and staff feel heard and supported is more important than ever in the current climate. Universities need to consider the impact of remote working and studying as well as dealing with future uncertainty for different groups including, for example, 1st generation students, those from different BAME backgrounds and those with physical and mental health issues.

Early career researchers can be forgotten and feel a lack of empowerment and anxiety about their future.  Understanding how different groups engage with their working and learning environment is key to helping them feel a sense of belonging and enabling them to achieve their potential.

This annual workshop will explore how we can engage students and support early career researchers through specific interventions aimed at addressing these challenges. This event is aimed at all STEM staff, PGRs and student representatives and those responsible for diversity and inclusion including Project Juno and diversity champions, Athena SWAN representatives, HR managers and academics.

The workshop will be chaired by Professor Nigel Mason, Head of School of Physical Sciences at University of Kent and is FREE to attend.  Places are limited.  Please register for a place  on the Eventbrite website on a first come, first served basis.  Please circulate to your relevant colleagues.

Joining instructions and a link to join the webinar will be sent nearer the time.


10.00  Chair’s Introduction – Professor, Nigel Mason, Head of School and E&D Committee

10.15  The effect of online/remote learning on widening participating students

Amy Low, Service Delivery Director, AbilityNet

10.40  Understanding attainment differentials at a London-based university: student engagement through a mixed-method lens

Dr Diego Bunge, Independent Researcher and Dr Daniel Hartley, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

11.05  Early Career Researcher Mental Health in Academia

Dr Zoë Ayres, Research Scientist and Mental Health Advocate

11.30  Panel discussion

11.50  Break

12.05  Breakout group discussions

12.35  Summary and questions

13.00  Close of proceedings

Tips for planning your journey during Covid-19

It is important to plan your journey, especially at the moment to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Here are some tips from the University’s Transport Team.

  • Plan all your journeys before leaving your house.
  • Make sure you bring a face covering (unless you are exempt) and hand sanitiser with you. The Government has also provided a useful checklist that includes questions to ask yourself and what to take with you before leaving home.
  • Be prepared for travel disruptions. For example, due to lower capacity, the bus you were expecting to catch may be full and you may need to wait for longer than anticipated.
  • Ensure your vehicle/bicycle is serviced regularly.
  • Social distance and follow the travel providers’ rules.
  • Ensure you know what payment methods travel providers require.
  • Be familiar with and follow the Government travel guidance.
  • Avoid travel during busy times, if possible.
  • Keep up to date with the latest advice from your travel service provider. See the list below for up to date guidance on public transport.
  • Remember to be kind and support each other – there are health reasons that mean not everyone is able to wear a face covering or may need to use a particular route that others are not able to use.

If you are travelling via public transport, it is important to ensure that you are familiar with what is required to travel with the service provider. For example, you are required to wear a face covering (if you can) when travelling on public transport or Campus Shuttle service. Some travel services may request card payment only and/or bookings only.

The travel providers have published some guides to explain their journey planning, social distancing and how to pay for travel:

For more information, please visit the Covid-19 travel webpage and the coronavirus information webpages.


Covid-19 update – 21 October 2020

This Covid-19 Update explains the ‘Tiers of Restriction’ set out by Government which concern HE provision. These differ to the national Covid Alert Levels, which are sometimes called ‘tiers’ or ‘local lockdowns’.

The Tiers of Restriction recommend restrictions to HE provision based on the infection rates within a particular area. The Government recommends that if restrictions are required, these should be implemented in a phased manner to ensure students and staff are supported.

The National Institute of Health Protection (NIPH) will provide guidance on how any additional restrictions will apply to students travelling between university and home.

Currently, Kent is at Tier 1 teaching provision out of a possible 4. The Tiers are outlined below:

Tier 1 (default position): This is our current position. HE providers are expected to deliver blended learning, with online and face-to-face tuition, whilst following public health guidance (for example, the use of suitable face coverings)

Tier 2 (fallback position): HE providers will move to an increased level of online learning. Face-to-face teaching should be continued according to the provider’s own risk assessment. In most cases, this will be for clinical or practical teaching and research.

Tier 3 (stricter measures): HE providers will further increase online learning and face-to-face teaching will be reserved only for priority courses (e.g. clinical and medical courses), and in as limited number of situations as possible. At this Tier, providers should support students by keeping key services such as libraries and catering facilities open. Students will need to follow local Government guidance including remaining in their current accommodation to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Tier 4 (last resort): The majority of HE provision will now be online. Buildings will be open only for essential workers and students who must still attend for face-to-face teaching. This includes the continuation of essential research.

We have produced a new FAQ for staff and students explaining the Tiers of Restriction. These can be found on our Coronavirus webpages (under Returning to Campus/Safety on Campus for staff and in the Studying section for students).

All our academic and professional service departments are currently planning how to continue their service should our Tier status change. This ensures we are prepared for any future context we find ourselves in and can support all our people to work and study effectively at Kent.

Further information concerning the Tiers can be found on the Government guidance concerning reopening buildings and campuses.

Man sitting on a sofa with his head in his hand

Managing Mental Health – online workshop for managers

This interactive workshop for managers, team leaders and supervisors will highlight essential good practice in supporting staff wellbeing and mental health. The aim of the workshop is to enable and encourage managers to develop a management style that strikes the right balance between the needs of the individual/team and the needs of the business.

Course content

  • Signs that might indicate that a staff member is struggling
  • Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic – issues to be aware of
  • 2 golden rules for managing stress and mental health at work
  • Practical problems for managers
  • Good practice framework for managing mental health at work
  • Clarifying the role of the organisation, individual staff and the manager
  • Guidelines for managing sensitive conversations about stress and mental health
  • Practical support – ‘reasonable adjustments’ during and after the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Sources of support for staff and managers

Your trainer

Anna’s background is in mental health where she has accumulated 30 years of practical and managerial experience in both statutory and voluntary sector settings, including 10 years in mental health crisis services. Anna was senior associate trainer for Mind, the mental health charity for over 10 years and is a UKCP accredited Integrative Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor in private practice.

To sign-up

Numbers are restricted so book your place via Staff Connect now.

KentVision: Project Update

KentVision is a major project underway at the University to bring together a number of different administrative processes and simplify how we support the student journey. 

With the key features of the new software system now built and testing in full swing, the focus will turn to ongoing training for staff ahead of the new system launching across the University in January 2021. This will also form part of our wider focus on improving how we work together as new structures and teams take shape. 

KentVision aims 

KentVision is designed to introduce simpler and more consistent ways to input, manage and process student data across the University. As well as replacing the expiring Student Data System (SDS), key outputs include a seamless admin journey for students and applicants; united academic administration across Divisions and Central Services; and integrated mobile-enabled services for students and staff.  

Training and support 

A full package of training and support is currently being developed to help staff who will be using the system when it launches in January. This will take place over late November and December, using a blended approach with both online ‘face to face’ training sessions and a series of bitesize videos to explain how the new system works. A full timeline for this, including the detailing plan for closing SDS and launching KentVision, will be shared by mid-November, with a dedicated trainer then working with staff throughout the initial rollout and into next year as staff adapt to the new system. 

Project sponsor update 

“Introducing a large-scale software system to bring together our student admin processes is an enormous undertaking, but I know from having used similar in other institutions that the effort and challenges involved will be worth it. I hope that as staff begin to explore KentVision more they will quickly get a sense of its benefits, both with more straightforward processes for staff and – crucially – a better user experience for applicants and students throughout their time at Kent.” 

Richard Reece, DVC Education & Student Experience 

Find out more about KentVision  

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 21 October 2020

As Black History Month reaches its third week, I am pleased to be able to welcome Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, who will give this year’s Annual Race Equality Lecture via Teams Live on Thursday this week. Please do join us if you can. Sir Hilary has a global reputation for his work on social justice and minority empowerment and his lecture, British Universities as Architects of Slavery and Violent Colonialism: Undoing the Harm, will be challenging and thought-provoking. My thanks go to members of the BAME Staff Network for organising this event.

We continue to work on improving the representation of progression and success of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and students at our University and, earlier this year, signed up as a member of the Race Equality Charter. We know we have more to do and are currently finalising a programme of work which will underpin the changes that we need to make. We will update you on this shortly. My thanks to Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura for progressing this work.

You will no doubt be aware that, over recent weeks, cases of Covid-19 in a number of areas in the country have increased significantly and that, as a result, universities in these areas are having to introduce changes to their teaching arrangements.

Here at Kent, as our weekly summary of current confirmed cases show, on Monday we had 26 students who have reported as testing positive for Covid-19 and no members of staff. These figures represent an increase on previous weeks. However, these numbers remain comparatively low and the local health protection team have advised that we are taking all appropriate steps at this point.

However, we recognise there is no room for complacency and so we continue to prepare for any changes we may have to make to our own teaching arrangements if we are required to do so. These changes will be in line with the Government’s ‘four tiers of restriction’, which outlines specific changes that universities are expected to introduce if circumstances require it. We will continue to keep you informed.

My very best wishes go to you and your families,


Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President