Featured post
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/

Karen
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Players offer staff a dramatic break

The University of Kent Players are holding a read through and open auditions for their next production, a radio play of Scarlet Pimpernel, which will be performed to a live audience by the University of Kent Players at Mungo’s, Eliot College, on the 30 November and December 2018.

The players will be holding a friendly script read through and get together at 17.30 on Tuesday 25 September 2018 in Cornwallis South Room S33. This will be an opportunity for people to have fun, mingle and sit together reading through the script aloud. Please note that no casting decisions will be made from the read through.

Auditions will be held at 12:00 on 2 October (Rutherford Cloisters room 15) and 17.30 on Tuesday 4 October (in Templeman Library, Room D G 01) and 12.00 on Thursday 14 December (in Grimond Seminar Room 2).

The friendly group welcomes anyone regardless of experience and also welcome anyone who would like to assist backstage or with foley (sound effects). Please feel free to just turn up to auditions or contact the group (players@kent.ac.uk)

University of Kent Players:

The University of Kent Players are an amateur theatre group, consisting of staff from the University of Kent, Canterbury, raising money for charity on each production. They perform two productions per year at the Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury the most recent, a successful adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

Vice-Chancellor’s Open Forum

The Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Karen Cox, will be hosting two staff open forums focusing on the Strategy Refresh.

The Canterbury event will take place on Wednesday 10 October, Woolf Lecture Theatre, from 12.00-13.00.

The Medway event will take place on Thursday 18 October, from 13.30-14.30 – location to be confirmed shortly.

The latest strategy documents can be found on the Office of the Vice-Chancellor pages. 

Use your KentOne card to register at lectures

Use your KentOne card to register at lectures

From the start of the 2018/19 academic year, we are trialling the use of KentOne card scanners to register your attendance at some of our larger lecture theatres on the Canterbury Campus. Watch the video to find out more.

Is my school part of the trial?

If you belong to one of the following schools you will be able to scan your card to register your attendance at certain lectures:

– School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science

– Kent Business School

– Kent Law School

– School of Computing

– School of Economics

– School of Physical Sciences

– School of Psychology

Which lecture theatres are part of the trial?

– Woolf Lecture Theatre (W-LT)

– Rutherford Lecture Theatre 1 (RLT1)

– Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1 (MarLT1)

–  Keynes Lecture Theatre 1 (KLT1)

– Cornwallis Lecture Theatre 2 (COLT2)

– Woolf seminar rooms 1-6 (W1 – SR 1 to SR 6)

We are only trialling the card scanners in larger lecture theatres initially to check the system works effectively.

What are the benefits?

This new system will do away with paper registers and improve attendance monitoring. This will not only save time and costs but improve reliability and the overall student experience.

Feedback and questions

If you have any feedback or questions during this trial, which you would like to be included in the future development of this system, you can let us know by contacting the project team.

Meet Kent Businesses

The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Kent B2B Medway on Thursday 20th September 2018 at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. It is an opportunity to speak to Kent businesses from a variety industries and make new connections.

It is a free event on all day (08:30 – 16.00) so pop in before, after or in between classes.

There will be signs up around the Dockyard but the event itself will be taking place at No 3 Slip.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Time is running out to submit your Pride Award nominations

The PRIDE (Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence) Award recognises members of Kent Hospitality staff who go out of their way to deliver excellent customer service.

Any Kent Hospitality staff member (permanent or casual) may be nominated from Canterbury and Medway campuses. The award is given out four times a year with each winner receiving £100 of shopping vouchers, a certificate and badge.

Nominations can be made by any member of University staff, students or visitors. Make your nomination online or alternatively you can pick up a paper form next to the red nomination boxes located in all Kent Hospitality’s catering outlets in Canterbury and Medway, as well College reception areas.

The closing date for submitting your nominations is before 12.00 pm on Wednesday 26 September.

Please make your nominations detailed, providing as much information as possible why the nominee is being put forward for a Pride Award. The panel are looking for staff who achieve more than just what is expected in their role (i.e. hardworking, professional, positive and friendly attitude).

Congratulations to March’s Pride Award winner – Dave Jordan, Health & Safety and Food Safety Advisor.

For further information or for guidance on submitting nominations please contact: pride@kent.ac.uk

Kent Sport Couch to 5K challenge

Think you can’t run? Surprise yourself!

Kent Sport is bringing you the Couch to 5K ‘I can go the distance’ challenge. It has been especially designed for people who have done little or no running.

In this 12-week plan, you will work on your running and by the final week you will be running for half an hour, or approximately 5K. You won’t be on your own as our enthusiastic staff will be with you every step of the way to help you achieve your target. This challenge builds in time and effort, so you’ll constantly be impressed with what you can do if you push yourself a little.

For this term, we will continue to have two sessions a week to support you in your goal to achieving the challenge. You are welcome to attend one or both of the sessions each week.

SESSION 1:

Starting on Monday 24 September, 17.10-18.00 – meet at Sports Centre reception – weekly for 12 weeks.

SESSION 2:

Starting on Wednesday 26 September, 12.10-13.00 – meet at Sports Centre reception – weekly for 12 weeks.

Please note the 50-minute sessions include warm up, cool down, stretches and you therefore won’t be active for the full 50 minutes. There’s no need to register, just turn up and meet at the Sports Centre Reception and we will welcome you. Comfy clothing and footwear are advisable.

The sessions are free for Gold and Silver members, or you join Kent Sport for £5 with Bronze membership and pay £2 per session.

‘I wanted to say a big thank you for your support and motivation to achieve the 5k on Monday evening. I am not just saying it but I sincerely believe I wouldn’t have done it otherwise!’ – Past participant.

Questions about the challenge can be directed to sportsdevelopment@kent.ac.uk and membership enquiries to memberships@kent.ac.uk.

SUPC elephants

Ensuring what we buy is accessible to all

An accessible product or service is one that can be used by all its intended users. Products that are designed inclusively will be readily adaptable to the different needs of a wide range of users and the technologies they will be using.

Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) and the Procurement team from Kent have been leading a project with the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) to improve the accessibility of digital products and services. In collaboration with the SUPC, Jisc and the Government Digital Service (GDS) we have developed two documents: a SUPC accessibility statement and a toolkit which define the strategy going forward for all SUPC members and suppliers to apply to new purchases­­­­­­­. Both documents can be found on the SUPC website

The SUPC is a national buying organisation for the Higher Education sector with a framework expenditure of £412m.​ This work builds on the accessible procurement work already undertaken at Kent by the Information Services requirements team.

An example of one of the questions for suppliers in the SUPC toolkit is: Have the resources been tested with users that have a range of accessibility needs using a range of assistive technologies (AT)? Considering all users’ needs at the procurement stage is vital for instilling a culture that accessibility matters and is a key criterion that should be embedded as standard. This is in line with the Government Digital Services’ approach that: ‘Accessible design is good design’ and that products that are designed for everyone are simply better products.

To find out more about how this can help you in your role at Kent please contact Ashley Shelbrooke (a.g.shelbroooke@kent.ac.uk) and Ben Watson (b.watson@kent.ac.uk).

Returning to Kent?

Welcome back! If you’re returning to Kent after the summer break, here’s a helpful summary for settling back in.

  • Timetables will be on the Student Guide before term starts on 24 September. Continue to go back and check your timetable regularly for updates including other events. Read our Timetabling FAQs.
  • You will need to register on SDS from Tuesday 18 September so we know you’re definitely coming back. To ensure swift payment of your student loan, you are advised to re-register by Wednesday 19 September. It takes 3-5 working days from the point of registration for funds to be released to your account. Read more.
  • Term starts on Monday 24 September. Welcome Week is the week before (17-21 September). View term dates.
  • If you’ve got a new phone, tablet or laptop, get it Kent WiFi-ready before you come back to campus by running our WiFi setup tool.
  • Living off campus is very different from living in University accommodation. Read our community webpages for information on bills, bins, neighbours and much more!
  • Canterbury campus developments are taking place in Park Wood developing a new SU shop, expanding Woody’s with 60 extra seats, a balcony, garden, and creating a Study Hub with rooftop and studio spaces. CEWL has also moved to the Chipperfield building with more dedicated teaching and social space for staff and students and the School of Economics expansion is still taking place.
  • Find out what’s changed in the Templeman Library and in campus study space from Information Services.

Have a great 2018-2019 at Kent!

E-learning forum – Ombea audience response (in-class voting) system pilot

The e-learning team are excited to offer colleagues the opportunity to participate in a pilot of the Ombea audience response (in-class voting) system to facilitate the enhancement of learning and teaching and other School practices. 

 If you are interested in finding out more please come along to the e-learning forum on Tuesday 25 September, 12.00 -13.30 in the UELT seminar room where there will be a brief demonstration and opportunity to discuss potential engagement with the pilot and the ways in which Ombea could enhance existing learning and teaching and other School practices.

 Further details are available here.

 Please email cpdbookings@kent.ac.uk to book a place.