New Widening Participation Student Advisory Panel, deadline approaching

Make your mark and gain valuable experience as a member of the new Widening Participation Student Advisory Panel (WPSAP).

What is the Widening Participation Student Advisory Panel?

The University of Kent is establishing a Widening Participation Student Advisory Panel (WPSAP). We are looking to recruit current students who are passionate about equality of opportunity in Higher Education throughout the student lifecycle, and have an interest in contributing to the decisions which underpin the University’s outreach work and strategic direction.

The WPSAP will inform the University’s Access & Participation Plan, which outlines our commitment to reducing gaps in equality of access and success for students who are currently underrepresented in Higher Education. We are particularly keen to have members of the WPSAP who identify with the following characteristics:

  • Mature students (aged 21 or over on starting a current undergraduate degree)
  • Students from Black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds
  • Students who are the first in their family to go to university (not including siblings)
  • Students who are young carers
  • Students studying without the support of their family
  • Care leavers or care experienced students
  • Students who are unaccompanied asylum seekers or refugees
  • Students from the Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showman or Boater communities
  • Students who are part of a military family
  • Students in receipt of the Kent Financial Support Package · Students from POLAR or TUNDRA Quintiles 1 or 2 (check your postcode).

How to apply

We are looking for students on undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, from a range of courses and years to create a diverse and inclusive panel. Any student who is currently enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at the University of Kent can apply to be part of the panel.

Through our outreach work, we work with students in secondary schools across Kent and Medway, as well as adult learners. Panel members are expected to have an understanding of, and be familiar with, the English (and Kent) education system.

The deadline for applications is 31 January 2023.

Interviews will take place the week beginning 6 February 2023.

Find out more and how to apply for the Widening Participation Student Advisory Panel.

#StayOn #StandOut

Undergraduates progressing to postgraduate study – #Stayon #Standout campaign

We’ve launched our undergrad to postgrad campaign; #Stayon #Standout this week. This is to help inform our students who are considering to stay on at Kent for a Master’s. If you could kindly spread the word about our offering, this includes:

  • Exclusive funding for Kent graduates – students can apply for scholarships of up to £5,000
  • Introducing them to a fantastic range of postgraduate courses, some of which offer work placement options.
  • Discovering conversion Master’s, for students who want to study a completely different subject to their undergrad degree.
  • Drop-in sessions at the Templeman library and Oasis lounge, we also have postgraduate Open Events on February and April. Please do encourage students to join these events and meet our staff and current postgrad students.

For presentation slides and creatives, please request these from your Marketing departments.

Find out more about the campaign at: kent.ac.uk/stayon-standout

#StayOn #StandOut

Study a Master’s, scholarships available

If you’re thinking about staying on for postgraduate study, whether to pursue your passion, specialise in your field or to take a different career path. Whatever the reason, as a Kent graduate there’s lots more on offer, such as:  

  • Exclusive funding for Kent students – Get up to £5,000 off your tuition fees. 
  • A fantastic range of postgraduate course options, our Master’s degrees give you an employability edge. 
  • Conversion Master’s, if you’re looking to study a completely different subject to your undergrad degree  
  • Drop-in sessions at the Templeman library and Oasis lounge, we also have postgraduate Open Events on February and April. Come along and chat to our staff and current postgrad students.  

Why study a Master’s?  

Here are some of the reasons students decide to study a Master’s degree: 

  • For professional development and enhance skills further  
  • Gain specialised knowledge to become an expert in your field 
  • Opens up more career opportunities or to progress a current career path 
  • Desire to progress to a PhD  
  • Pursuing a passion for the subject  

Why stay at Kent for postgraduate study? 

  • Scholarships and loyalty discounts available to progressing students 
  • You are treated more like a peer than a student  
  • A supportive and inclusive community  
  • Thriving postgraduate network between staff and students alike 
  • Continue your amazing journey with people you know and can trust

Find out more about Kent’s courses, exclusive scholarships and events

Or feel free to sign up to receive all the latest updates about postgraduate life.

Students Tobias and Nicolette leading a workshop

Kent Stars: Motivational Mentors

Nicolette and Tobias are this month’s Kent Stars. Tobias and Nicolette, both peer mentors, created a series of successful workshops for fellow Psychology students to ensure knowledge and connection was not lost between year groups after the pandemic. Hear more from our motivational mentors Tobias and Nicolette:

Nicolette – “Hi, my name is Nicolette Wilson and I’m a second-year psychology student. Psychology has always been an interest of mine. Since coming to university, I have become a student representative and a peer mentor. These responsibilities have allowed me to connect with and explore my passion to help others, using the insights I gain from studying psychology and human behaviour to learn how I can inspire others to succeed at becoming the best versions of themselves.”

Tobias – “My name is Tobias, I am a Stage 3 Psychology student at Kent. I am a student mentor and part of the student experience team that organises seminars to highlight critical study skills needed to pass the first year of Psychology. I have experience as an assistant researcher, through the Research Experience Scheme in a cognitive neuropsychology project investigating mood, emotion, and executive cognitive control in my Stage 2. This year I am writing my final year project on individuals’ approval of out-group aggression in forensic and social psychology.”

Students Tobias and Nicolette smiling

Tell us about your APA Finesse workshops and how you came up with the idea to help reconnect students.

Tobias – “When I started my degree at Kent in 2020, the UK went into lockdown shortly after start of term. During my first year all lectures were online, effectively isolating each year group from one another. By the time we came out of lockdown we were still facing restrictions such as social distancing and Stage 3 students had graduated. In Stage 2, I realised that by the end of the year, another generation of psychology students would graduate and that their experiences would not be passed on to the next generation. It was time to rebuild and to start collaborating again.”

“As a Stage 2 peer mentor, I saw meaning in helping other students through their transition to university life. I came up with the idea when I was speaking with a fellow peer mentor about working together to help our mentees understand American Psychological Association (APA) writing style and report structure. Due to the lockdown, there was a decline in student-to-student coursework collaboration, making it more challenging for students to figure out what information was most relevant for each academic term.”

We organised a workshop where we presented foundations of psychology essay writing in APA style to our peer mentees. This was the start of APA Finesse, and in subsequent workshops we invited other Stage 1 students, regardless of whether they were part of the peer mentoring program. APA Finesse has since then expanded to include students of both Stage 2 and 3 as well as postgraduate students of various psychology disciplines.”

Nicolette “I became a student representative in my first year and took an interest in how students were finding the course. It immediately became apparent to me that there was a common need among students to better understand how to approach their assignments and with adjusting to the new expectations at university.”

“I went along to Tobias’ APA Finesse session and found it incredibly useful. I knew the potential it had to help the rest of the students in my year too. I was inspired get involved and help Tobias reach more students. By this point, I had already been thinking deeply about the causes of problems faced by students. We began discussing how to approach these problems, and pitched a series of workshops to a few lecturers, who welcomed and supported us with feedback and publicity. As a student, I can bring my own student perspective on how to overcome these issues, in a way that can’t be covered by lectures.”

“We launched the sessions at the beginning of this academic year for the new Stage 1 students, covering the key skills that are important for a student to develop, to grow and succeed in the course, including the basics of APA format and how a good essay is structured. The workshops encourage engagement from the students, getting them to answer and ask questions which develop their understanding of these key skills. Three workshops so far have been recorded and uploaded to Moodle, creating useful resources for students to refer to, whenever they need.”

Nicolette and Tobias leading workshop

What advice would you give to other students? 

Nicolette – “Use your time as an undergraduate as a chance to discover your interests. University is a unique place and time in your life, full of opportunities. There are many ways to learn and develop your interests during your time here, so normalise trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Even though it is often scary to do so, it is the best thing you can do, and it will always be worth it. Dedicate some time to getting involved with the things you discover you are passionate about. It is both exciting and rewarding and will lead you to some amazing places. Many opportunities await, so get involved!”

Tobias – “Although diversifying your friendships to include persons outside of your discipline or even non-students is healthy, I sincerely advise all students to identify at least one student on your course, preferably someone that you have multiple modules in common with and building an academic relationship with them. I can say with certainty as a senior undergraduate student and as a peer mentor, that having a study partner in your specific discipline will boost your engagement with the learning material. A solid academic relationship will also cultivate your independence by increasing your personal accountability as well as your accountability to others.”

What are your plans for the next year? 

Tobias – “I will stay at University of Kent next year to take a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology to pursue the independent BPS qualification route in forensic psychology as a trainee. I intend to further support undergraduate students in the hopes of strengthening the student culture at the School of Psychology. I hope to join the Psychology Society Committee next year and continue my work with fellow students of psychology and our professors, whose communication efforts and support have been invaluable.”

Nicolette – “I am involved in a research experience scheme project with some lecturers and students, aimed at understanding the current challenges for students in university education and how this impacts mental health. I hope to conduct research into this area for my final year project. I also joined the Association of Speakers Clubs earlier this year to practise public speaking. Writing speeches has been an excellent outlet for me to begin speaking about the topics I am passionate about and develop my character.”

Learn more about our Kent Stars campaign.

Inclusive Pride Flag

Events roundup 30 January – 5 February

This week marks the start of LGBT+ History Month. From 1 February, look out for Pride flags on buildings as well as the Tensegritree outside Marlowe. These flags represent many different LGBTQ+ identities. Find out what’s on for LGBT+ History Month.

Thursday is also Time to Talk Day. Make space in your day for a conversation about mental health. Join us on campus for events encouraging conversation, or find out about support services if you need to talk to a mental health professional.

See a roundup of what’s on this week:

Monday: Wellbeing Café and Skills to Succeed in Data and Tech Career Panel

The Wellbeing Café is a space to connect with other students in a relaxed environment with a focus on promoting your wellbeing and mental health through activity. It’s a weekly event held in the K-Bar Red Room in Keynes College.

Join this Skills to Succeed in Data and Tech Career Panel to meet representatives from a business tech consultancy and learn about how your skills (from any degree) can be applied to roles in data and tech.

Tuesday: Free community breakfast (Medway) and considering PG study drop in

Together with the University of Greenwich, we’re piloting a free community breakfast for students at Medway on Tuesdays and Thursdays in term-time to help with the cost of living.

If you’re an undergrad student considering staying on for a Master’s degree, then come along to our library drop-in session in Nexus in Templeman Library. Ask questions and find out more about our range of courses and scholarships.

Wednesday: UCU strike day, Period Café and Puppy Yoga (Medway)

Wednesday is a UCU strike day, so your teaching may be affected today. Find out how to prepare for a strike day.

The Period Café, part of LGBT+ History Month, is a safe space to discuss period anxiety, period poverty, menstruation dysphoria or other issues around periods and menstruation with fellow students. Hot drinks and cake will be provided.

Boost your mood with puppy yoga at Medway campus! During the class, you’ll move through yoga poses while a selection of puppies free roam around the room. Tickets cost £4.

Thursday: Time to Talk Day events and Pronoun Badge Making

Thursday is Time to Talk Day. Join us at Kent Community Oasis Garden (KentCOG) in Park Wood for a chat, some seed planting and perhaps rehome one of our houseplants. We’re hoping to help get people chatting about their wellbeing, but there’s no pressure to do so.

You can also head to Nexus in Templeman Library for free tea and coffee, rock painting, affirmation postcards and more as part of #TimeToTalk day.

In Woody’s, as part of LGBT+ History Month, you can get creative and make your own pronoun badge.

See more student events.

Opportunities

See more student opportunities.

Origins Bar: Free interactive darts and shuffleboards from January 2023

Head down to Origins bar, for some fun and competition this term. With free-to-use interactive darts and shuffleboards, you won’t be stuck for entertainment! Origins also boast a selection of tasty bites, from loaded nachos, mac ‘n’ cheese, wings and delicious desserts!

Origins is open daily from 16.00 – 23.00, so it’s the perfect place to hang out with your friends after a long day for an old-school games night.

For more information on interactive darts or shuffleboard, check out our useful blog, which details the rules and how to play.

Games are free – we look forward to seeing you there!

Kent Sports Clinic offers physiotherapy services

We all know daily life can feel relentless and stressful at times, so it’s important to practice self-care regularly. Whether this is running a hot bath, snuggling up to watch a good movie, practising meditation or indulging in a massage, we all need a bit of love.

This is where the Kent Sports Clinic comes in. Not just here for sports-related injuries, the Kent Sports Clinic combines physiotherapy and exercise science to create one of the most extensive performance, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation services in Kent.

Qualified and student-led services include:

  • Performance – taking an athlete-centred approach to create a bespoke programme for individuals and teams
  • Physiotherapy – helping to manage injury or disability and get you back to full fitness and prevent recurrence
  • Sports rehabilitation – cutting recovery time and preventing further injury
  • Respiratory clinic – providing state-of-the-art testing and customised solutions for athletes with respiratory issues
  • Massage – promoting rehabilitation and relaxation

Focusing on massage specifically, this is a therapy for everyone. No matter how active you are, massage will be of benefit to you, whether you need a massage to reduce your stress, tension or anxiety levels or work out those tight muscles and knots. Our qualified staff will work with you on any areas of concern, whether that’s relieving muscle soreness, or aiding injury recovery.

What are you waiting for? Book and attend a massage with one of our qualified staff between 30 January and 13 February 2023 and pay just £23.

You can choose between qualified and student-led appointments for many of our services. To find out more about our individual services, visit the Kent Sports Clinic webpage.

If you’re an existing customer, you can book and pay for services through your online booking account. New customers will first need to create a free account with Kent Sport. This is quick and easy to do. See our guidance for more information.

Industrial action

Industrial Action: Strikes in February and March

From Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education & Student Experience 

Earlier this week, the UCU trade union announced a series of planned strike days in February and March as part of their long-running national dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions. If the strikes go ahead, it will be an unprecedented period of disruption for which I am very sorry – it is our sincere hope that a national agreement can be reached beforehand. In the meantime, we are working on contingency plans in a number of areas to limit the impact on your studies if the strikes do indeed go ahead.

We know from the action before Christmas that the impact of strike days is likely to be very different in different areas of the University. We will therefore send further information next week to reflect this, including where you will be able to find out more about what this means for you. There is more information on the background to the strikes on our industrial action student info pages.

Planned strike days

Strike days are due to take place at all universities across the country on the following days:

  • Wednesday 1 February
  • Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
  • Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 February inclusive
  • Tuesday 21 to Thursday 23 February inclusive
  • Monday 27 Feb to Thursday 2 March inclusive
  • Thursday 16 to Friday 17 March
  • Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 March inclusive

What we will do throughout

Strike negotiations take place nationally which means we cannot solve the dispute here at Kent. However, we continue to urge all parties to keep talking so they can find a way forward that balances staff being fairly rewarded for their hard work while recognising the financial pressures the country faces.

When I wrote last year, I set out our principles around industrial action which will remain throughout:

  • We will do all we can to mitigate any impact on your studies
  • We will never devalue your degree or coursework
  • We will refund you for any direct expenses you incur as a result of strikes
  • Any staff salaries saved as a result of strike days will be reinvested in your student experience 
  • We will be open and transparent throughout

I will write again next week with more information on this, including the practical steps we are taking to ensure your studies continue throughout this.

Finding out more

I know how frustrating this will be and how many questions many of you will have. I want you all to have the opportunity to ask any questions around this directly so will be setting up a series of both online and in-person events in February where we can talk this through together. In the meantime, there is more information on the Industrial Action webpages including how and where you can chat to someone if you have any concerns about this.

Thank you for your patience with this very challenging situation, and I will be in touch again shortly.

Save 20% on Kent Sport memberships

January is often a tough month, with expectations high for the year. The days are dark, the weather is cold and it can be hard to get motivated. We’re here to help you crack those January blues and feel more energised and positive. That’s why we’ve reduced all our membership fees by 20% when you join between 16 January – 28 February 2023.

Already a Kent Sport member? Consider upgrading your membership to a package with even more benefits and save 20% when you do!

As a Premium Plus member, you have access to our whole fitness suite, a range of fitness classes, sports clubs, discounted fitness services and tennis tuition and UNIversal gym membership, which gives you access to over 60 other university gyms across the country! It can’t get much better right? Well, you might be surprised to hear it can! New for 2023 and part of the Premium Plus package, you can access a suite of FREE Les Mills virtual instructor classes every week!

What are you waiting for? Upgrade your membership at one of our sports receptions, or become a member today!

University of the Year, LTA awards nomination

Kent Sport is excited to announce that the Kent Indoor Tennis and Events Arena (KITEA) has been nominated for the University of the Year Lawn and Tennis Association (LTA) Awards. Each year the LTA award a selection of clubs, schools, universities, and individuals for their impressive achievements throughout the year.

2022 saw the University of East London take home the accolade for University of the year, something which the University of Kent is keen to rival. In addition, Tennis President, Sophie Kitson has also been nominated for the Rising Star award, after having served as a line umpire at Wimbledon in 2022 and successfully completing her chair umpire course in autumn last year.

With the awards dinner and regional voting taking place on 11 February 2023, the University of Kent is in a brilliant position to progress through Regionals in April and onto Nationals, which will be announced in May 2023.

This last year has seen the appointment of Tennis Development Manager, Nick Skelton, who has supported President, Sophie Kitson in the development of a comprehensive tennis programme aimed at all levels of player, from beginner to experienced. Including coaching teams’ tennis, development squad tennis, beginners’ tennis, social play and competitions. Additionally, Nick has worked hard to promote the Tennis Centre, through Open Days, individual and team coaching and training.

Some of the achievements highlighted in the nomination include:

  • An increase in student society memberships
  • 154+ student members playing university tennis each week
  • The British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) tennis team has increased from two teams to four
  • Female LTA level 1 delivered to eight participants
  • 100+ took part in TCF competition
  • University ladder league launched

We are wishing the Kent Tennis Centre all the best for February’s voting and look forward to seeing their continued development through the year!