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Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor

VC’s blog: renewed national discussions needed on USS pensions

In her latest blog, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Karen Cox gives an assurance that she will continue to press for a consideration of alternative options by UUK, UCU and the USS. Tomorrow (Friday 23 February) she will be meeting with Universities UK and vice-chancellors from across the sector and will ensure that Kent’s voice is among those calling for a resumption of national discussions on the future of the USS pension.

Read VC’s blog: renewed national discussions needed on USS pensions

You can find all the latest information for staff about the proposed pension changes and the industrial action on the HR website including the latest update from UUK.

Featured post
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: www.kent.ac.uk/human-resources/pensions/uss-industrial-action2018/

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Blasphemy festival

Kent to host festival on Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression

The Department of Religious Studies will host the Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression Workshop and Festival over the weekend of 2 and 3 June.

The two-day event is open to students, staff and members of the public, and the programme is as follows:

2 June 2018

Performing Blasphemy – a panel session chaired by award-winning director Shakila Mann. Other panelists include Christa Harris (director of documentary Inside Pussy Riot) and feminist activist Inna Shevchenk.

Blasphemy, Colonialism and the Politics of ‘World Religions’ a panel session chaired by Yasmin Rehman from the End Violence Against Women Coalition and the Centre for Secular Space. Other panelists include writer and journalist Gita Sahgal and Professor Richard King from the Department of Religious Studies.

Sticks and Stones: Why Words Still Hurt – A talk by Maureen Freely from the University of Warwick.

Film screening: Stewart Lee’s 90s Comedian – A screening of Stewart Lee’s comedy performance 90s Comedian.

3 June 2018

Law, Blasphemy and Censorship – A panel session chaired by Professor Maria Drakopoulou of Kent Law School. Other panelists include Shakila Mann and Clara Connolly, lawyer and activist.

Speaking Out on Sexual Violence within Sikh Communities: An Interview with Gupreet Kaur Bhatti – Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti is a British Sikh writer who writes for stage, screen and radio. Her play Behzti [Dishonour] was controversially cancelled by the Birmingham Rep after violent protests. Her most recent play is Elephant. She will be interviewed by Sukhwant Dhaliwal.

Blasphemy and Comedy – A discussion with comedians Daphna Baram, Giacinto Palmieri, Ravi Holy and Sameena Zehra, chaired by Dr Shaun May of the School of Arts.

Stand-Up Blasphemy – A comedy session in the Gulbenkian, performed by Daphna Baram, Giacinto Palmieri, Ravi Holy and Sameena Zehra.

Kent summer schools

2018 Summer Schools

The dynamic and exciting range of summer schools at the University of Kent are back this July.

The summer schools are for students or professionals looking to enhance their knowledge on a subject they are passionate about. With more than 50 institutions across 20 different countries to choose from, why not get a taste of the Go Abroad experience this year?

Martina Saiu, an International Business undergraduate, attended an Intensive German Language Summer School in Vienna and gave the following testimonial:

“I am really glad I was offered the possibility of attending the summer school. It was a wonderful experience, which helped me to improve my skills, widen my horizons and open my mind to new cultures and lifestyles.”

Attending a summer school overseas is a great way to experience another culture, gain a global perspective, enhance your studies and make friends from around the world. Don’t leave it too late to apply!

Nostalgia podcasts

New podcast launched by Dr Chris Deacy

Dr Chris Deacy, Reader in Theology and Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, has just released the first in a new podcast series on nostalgia.

The podcast accompanies Chris’ research on nostalgia. It asks:

  • We often know what our colleagues are researching and teaching, but we don’t always know what it is that inspires those interests and passions. What is it that shapes us?
  • How did we end up where we are  – not just the books we read and the ones we wanted to write ourselves, but what influenced us in terms of the music, the films, the sporting events and the relationships and family members that brought us to where we are now?

The podcasts will consist of unscripted interviews. The first interview is with Dr David Walsh from the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies, and covers everything from music taste to whether he has fulfilled his childhood dreams.

You can listen to the podcast on the audioboom website.



Retirement planning

Places available on pre-retirement seminar

Learning and Organisational Development have places available on a forth-coming pre-retirement seminar on Monday 4 June, from 9.00 to 16.30.

The seminar will provide you with an introduction to the issues affecting your retirement and help you to plan both financially and emotionally for the next phase of your life.

It will include sessions on:

  • financial planning including investments and taxation
  • your occupational pension benefits
  • your state pension entitlement
  • adjusting to and planning for retirement

To secure a place email the Learning and Organisational Development team and further joining instructions will be sent to you.

Hubert Dziedziczak

Peer recognition for placement student Hubert Dziedziczak

Hubert Dziedziczak, a Computer Science (Networks) with a Year in Industry student, has won the Employee of the Quarter award while on placement at the Wates Group. The award formally recognises individuals who perform tasks far beyond their job description in helping the company achieve its objectives. Nominations are made by colleagues, with the employee with the most votes announced at quarterly team briefings.

Hubert said: “It was great to be recognized by my colleagues for all my hard work, and to see that people understood that I’m trying my best to push my year in industry to its boundaries in order to learn as much as I can.”

Hubert is the fifth computing student from Kent to do a year in industry with The Wates Group and another student will be joining the group in the summer. The School of Computing sends more than 100 students on placements every year. The School has strong links with industry in Kent, nationally and internationally and has two dedicated placement officers who help students secure roles. The Industrial placement programme is available to all undergraduates and taught Master’s students in the School.

Hubert’s award follows the success of Jordan Norris, another Year in Industry student who won an employee award for going ‘above and beyond’ during his placement year.

CEWL at Chipperfield

CEWL move to Chipperfield

The Centre for English and World Languages will be moving to the former KBS building on Friday 8 June after a full refurbishment. The building will be renamed Chipperfield after Sir Geoffrey Chipperfield, Pro-Chancellor at Kent from 1999 to 2005.

CEWL will be occupying the north wing of the building (closest to Sibson) on all three floors, along with the atrium and reception area. This will provide the Centre with flexible meetings and events space, dedicated social and teaching space, and a welcoming environment for the 1,800 students they teach each year.

Chipperfield Interior

Kent Business School will continue to occupy the south wing on both floors.

For further information, please contact cewl@kent.ac.uk.

Medway Festival of Learning and Teaching 2018 – call for papers

The Universities at Medway fourth annual festival of learning, teaching and assessment will take place on Thursday 13 September at the Medway campus.

We welcome contributions on any practices or pedagogical research you are undertaking with particular ref to inclusive practice. Inclusive practice is a strong theme that runs through all three universities and their partner colleges. Inclusive practice incorporates multiple aspects including curriculum design and delivery, assessment and feedback, technological innovation, education for sustainable development, staff-student partnerships, internationalisation, research-led teaching and graduate attributes.

Find our Call for Papers here.

To submit, please complete the conference proposal template
and upload it to the conference submissions page by midnight on Monday 2 July.

SK project 1 staff town hall meetings

Curriculum Internationalisation Development Sessions (CIDS) – June 2018

Dr Anthony Manning is pleased to be working in collaboration with Dr Silvia Colaiacomo at UELT over the next few weeks to run a new series of Curriculum Internationalisation Development Sessions (CIDS) focusing on mechanisms to develop and enhance curriculum internationalisation within modules and co-curricular educational activities.

The CIDS are designed to respond to an objective which features in both Kent’s Institutional Plan and our Internationalisation Strategy.

There is a session for each faculty with timings outlined below. If you can’t make the time designed for your particular faculty, feel free to come to one of the other slots.

  • 5 June 12:00-2:00 – UELT Seminar room – Social Sciences
  • 11 June 12:00-2:00 – UELT Seminar room – Humanities
  • 15 June 1:00-3:00 – Rutherford Lecture Theatre 2 (RLT2)– Sciences

For further details including session outline please see: https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/networks/ltn/index.html#062018CIDS




Please book via cpdbookings@kent.ac.uk

Bank Holiday art

Kent Hospitality’s Bank Holiday Monday opening times

The following Kent Hospitality outlets are open on Monday 28 May 2018:

  • Dolche Vita – Brunch (08:00 – 14:00), Dinner (17:30 – 19:30)
  • CARGO (12:00 – 23:00)
  • K-Bar (12:00 – 23:00)

The following Kent Hospitality outlets are closed on Monday 28 May:

  • Origins
  • Sibson Café
  • Rutherford Dining Hall
  • Bag It
  • Mungo’s
  • Create
  • The Street Kitchen
  • Sports Café
  • Hut 8
  • No 1
  • The Galvanising Shop Café

Outlets will adhere to normal opening times on Saturday and Sunday. Please visit https://www.kent.ac.uk/catering/ for outlet opening time information.

Kent Vision

KentVision Change Sessions running now!

KentVision Change Sessions running from next week!

You might know a little about KentVision, you might know a lot, but Change Sessions are a chance for everyone to get to know a little more.

As go live draws nearer, attend a session to prepare for upcoming changes and look forward to the benefits that come with KentVision.

Sessions will focus on specific areas, so you can attend according to your interests. In session, we will explore the need for change, illuminate opportunities, address challenges and encourage open discussion. Each attendee will leave more prepared for the arrival of KentVision across enrolment to congregations.

They’re also an ideal precursor to training. Learn about cultural, conceptual and process changes before getting to grips with using the new system during training.


There’s two sessions to choose from in the first instance …

Introduction to KentVision

Explore the broad changes to institutional culture needed to effect change; a reactive environment must become a managed environment for significant improvements all round. Focus is on the ways everyone can embrace the change with particular attention to administration of the student lifecycle.

Business Rules, Deadlines & Reference Data

Rules and reference data underpin the processes and system functionality in KentVision. Find out what sort of rules we’re talking about, how they will work and what that means for the way we plan and administer the student journey.

… And more sessions coming soon as we delve into topics specifically related to particular areas of student lifecycle administration.

Don’t know much about the KentVision Programme yet? There’s lots of resources online to get a feel for the coming changes, understand what the Programme is doing and what that means for you. And you can always get in touch.