Help make our graduations memorable

This November we will be hosting our graduates from 2022. We have two days of ceremonies with Rochester on the 23 November and Canterbury on the 25 November. Be part of this amazing experience and sign up to get involved.

Celebrating July 2022 Graduates

Watch some of the highlights from the July 2022 Graduation Ceremonies at Canterbury Cathedral.

What roles can you help with?

  • Ticket Collection: You will be responsible for helping graduands and guests exchange their ‘E-Receipts’ for graduation tickets.
  • Graduand Registration: This role assists with checking in each graduand as they arrive and giving them a number to line them up in processional order around the precinct. You will have an alphabetised list of names to check.
  • Ushering: As an usher, you will be responsible for making sure the guests are seated promptly and safely in the Cathedral prior to, during and post ceremony
  • Certificate Table: Based in the Cathedral, this role is responsible for ensuring that all graduates receive their certificate.

Why should you get involved?

  • Spend time working in the wonderful locations of Canterbury or Rochester Cathedral.
  • Experience the joy of graduation ceremonies
  • Get Free refreshments including one or more meals if you work for two or more consecutive ceremonies.
  • You can claim TOIL (time off in lieu) or overtime pay for hours worked outside of your normal working pattern if you’re on Grades 1-6.

Here is what a previous staff member has said about being involved in graduation ceremonies:

‘it was such a pleasure to volunteer, and it was so lovely to see all the proud students and supporters! I’m looking forward to more graduation joy at the next graduation ceremonies’.

Be present in a student’s most memorable day sign up to get involved

The Youth Summit is all set to go!

By Jessica Messenger | Research Excellence Assistant

Earlier this year the University received funding through Kent County Council’s schools programme to run a Youth Summit on campus, the idea being to reconnect young people in Kent to their learning after two years of missed activity. Although the plans for the event were exciting and ambitious, we still needed to put a lot of work into realising our ideas and to make them happen.

I’m pleased to say that, with a lot of hard work by a lot of people across the University, including a reschedule of the date from the summer to October, those early ideas have developed and those plans have been firmed up. Not only that, the programme has proved to be popular beyond what we could have hoped for with more than 800 young people coming to our campus over three days next week.

Take a look at the programme and you’ll see a wide range of exciting and innovative sessions, including workshops exploring maths through natural and everyday objects, exercises that combine drumming with movement, a ‘multilingual Tempest for our times’, opportunities to take part in a court trial in a fun and interactive way, stand-up comedy workshops, sessions to create environmental land art, workshops on cyber security, the showing of a contemporary Ukrainian play called The Grain Store, and much more.

Each day there will be a plenary session including a UN-style debate on Monday led by our Humanities and Social Sciences Division on key challenges facing our young people, an interactive film called ‘Anthropocene’ on our changing environment and KMTV will deliver a Generation Genome event that aims to inspire young people to delve deeper into the world of genomics. It all amounts to what we hope will be an incredible festival of learning for our young people who have missed out on so much over the last two and a half years.

Every Division has been involved in helping to come up with the programme, and our Signature Research Themes have been in the thick of developments, contributing some of the highlights of the week. Students too will be on hand to help deliver the learning activities and make sure things run smoothly.

One of the key objectives of the Youth Summit was to give our young people a voice and a platform to tell us about their hopes and ideas for the future. So we’ll be eliciting their ‘ideas for a better world’ to compile and to make them available in different formats to send to MPs, council leaders, headteachers and other senior figures in the region as a clear statement about what our young people want for their future.

I hope as many of you as possible will drop by between 3 and 5 October to take in the atmosphere of the Youth Summit, follow it on KMTV or through our comms channels. It promises to be something special.

Cup of lemon tea

Grab a hot drink and a chat for World Mental Health Day 2022

To mark World Mental Health Day on Monday 10 October 2022, all members of the University of Kent community in Canterbury are invited to come and get a free hot drink on campus.

To recognise the importance of community and belonging in maintaining good mental health, we are giving away hot drinks to anyone in the University of Kent community who wants to come and grab one! Come on your own or bring your friends, flatmates, course mates, or colleagues and sit under the tent with a drink to have a chat.

Free hot drinks!

Bring your own reusable cup if you can, and come and find us outside Templeman Library in Canterbury from 11.00-14.00 on Monday 10 October. The first 180 people to come along can also take a free new Kent mug! (If you’re in Medway, check out the Drill Hall Library events webpage for events going on to mark the day on your campus.)

Take a free hot drink and a flyer to see lots of ways you can boost your mental health and wellbeing at Kent, with a variety of activities to connect with yourself and others. We will have spaces to chat (under a stretch tent if the weather is being British!), some creative activities to do, and the beloved George the therapy dog.

Could you use professional help for your mental health? There will be a Student Support and Wellbeing table at this event where you can get advice on how to find support. You can also check out our Mental Health webpages for details of free support available to Kent students.

Opportunities to connect, stay active and enhance your wellbeing

As well as giving away hot drinks, there will be student volunteers and staff from different departments ready to chat about all the different things you can get involved with alongside your studies to boost your mental health and general wellbeing.

Look out for #UniKentWellbeing on the socials for more information year-round on what’s happening across the University for you.

Student Support and Wellbeing – professional support at Kent

Did you know that Kent has a professional support service of over 100 specialist staff? We’re here to support you with mental health, disabilities, and neurodiversity such as specific learning difficulties or autism, through 1:1 support as well as peer support groups and events. Here’s a video of top mental health tips from our mental health team.

24/7 support

Feel like you really need to talk to someone but the Student Support offices are closed? Check out the Emergency Support page with details on online, text, and telephone support available round the clock.

Written by Joshua Stevens and Natalia Crisanti, Student Services 26.09.22

Students with Welcome to our World selfie photo frame

Events roundup: Welcome to the start of term

This week is the start of term and so the start of teaching. From Monday 26 September, you need to self-register your attendance on Moodle for all timetabled learning.

Welcome Week may be over, but there’s still plenty of opportunities to meet new friends and find your community at Kent. Here are some of our top events this week:

All Week: College Welcome BBQs

Throughout the week the College and Community Life Team are running Welcome BBQs. These are a great way to meet other students in your College, as well as the Residential Life Assistants (RLAs).

Monday: Monday Funday and Bee Walk

Teaching starts today. Make sure to regularly check your timetable in case there are any changes.

Don’t miss Monday Funday on Library Lawn. Drop in and give a new activity a go such as rock climbing or trying to avoid a wrecking ball!

Darwin College and Medway College have their Welcome BBQs today. Get some tasty food and meet students from your College.

If you want to spend some time in nature, consider joining this Bee Walk and Talk at the Kent Community Oasis Garden.

Tuesday: Diamond Anniversary planting (Medway) and music societies

The University of Kent celebrates its 60th birthday in 2025 and if you’re about to start a three-year course you’ll be graduating in what will be a very special year – our Diamond Anniversary. Come along to the Diamond Garden planting event on the Rochester Lawn at Medway campus.

Plus drop in to the Tuesday Funday event at Medway. Try out the surfing simulator and classic arcade games.

If you’re part of Rutherford College, come along to the Rutherford Welcome BBQ.

Interested in music? We have a range of music societies at Kent, and you can meet them all in one place on Tuesday evening in Colyer-Fergusson, Canterbury.

Wednesday: Inter College Football League Trials and Kent Community Oasis Garden

Part of Keynes or Eliot College? Both Keynes College and Eliot College have their Welcome BBQs on Wednesday.

Get involved with out Inter College Football League. The league is open to all, with trials happening on Wednesday. Each College will have its own team, so make sure to go along to your trial for your College.

The Kent Community Oasis Garden is based on campus at the end of Park Wood. Drop in on Wednesday 10.00-14.00 to find out more about how you can get involved in the garden, all are welcome whether you’re an expert gardener or a complete beginner. The Garden is open on Wednesdays and Fridays 10.00-14.00.

Thursday: Inspirational speaker and managing stress and anxiety with mindfulness

Turing College  and Woolf College  are holding their Welcome BBQs on Thursday. Go along to meet other students and grab a burger.

**This event has been postponed – more information coming next week**  Hear from inspirational speaker Kami Asamani in Woolf College 15.00-17.00. Kami studied BA Politics and International Relations and LLM International Law with International Relations. She works for the British Council, as Head of Business Management for Arts Sub Saharan Africa. Hear her inspiring story and ask any questions. The event will also be livestreamed.

If you finding things a little overwhelming, consider joining this online Study Plus session about managing stress and anxiety with mindfulness. Study Plus offers a wide range of free short-term courses and workshops to help you get the most out of your time at Kent and to enhance your graduate employability skills.

Friday: Park Wood Welcome BBQ and online bitesize session

The final College BBQ of the week is the Park Wood Welcome BBQ on Friday.

Want a boost to your studies, try joining a Student Learning Advisory Service online bite size session. On Friday you can join the Independent learning, reflective and critical thinking live online presentation and ask any questions you may have.

Coming soon: Nexus – help in one place at Canterbury campus

In early October we are launching Nexus, a help point in Templeman Library where you can go to ask any questions. It will also be a dedicated student space to study, socialise and network.

Check out the Welcome calendar to see all the events.

student sat at laptop

Hybrid Working Scheme Review 2022

The University’s Hybrid Working Scheme has now been in operation for just under a year and we are pleased to announce some enhancements to the scheme, resulting from feedback received from a variety of stakeholders following a review of the scheme earlier this year.

Thank you to all managers and staff who contributed to the review – either through the survey of Directors/Heads of Service, through sharing feedback with your managers or through taking part in individual consultation with the project team.  The review sought to ensure the scheme achieves a balance between providing as much flexibility as possible for staff whilst maintaining essential on-campus services and having consideration to the fact that we are a campus-based university.  In addition, a key aim was to make the process as light touch as possible.

Please view a summary of the findings of the review here.

The main headlines for staff to be aware of are:

  • The HWS has been widely accommodated by managers, in line with the over-arching principle that managers should seek to facilitate hybrid working where operationally possible. In the period under review 86.3% of applications were approved and 13.7% declined.
  • Going forward, there will be Director discretion regarding the maximum permitted number of remote working days. The standard maximum will remain as two days per week – meaning a 60:40 office to home ratio – but Directors will have discretion to specify parameters within their area that exceed the standard maximum, subject to guidelines.  This allows working practices to be more agile in view of business needs, particularly to take into account market forces in different areas.
  • We will keep the standard policy under review, taking into consideration the impact on the student experience and changes to service needs over time.
  • In order to make the process more ‘light touch’, we have simplified the application approval process so that Directors are no longer required to sign off on individual applications. Managers and staff fed back that the additional level of authorisation in Staff Connect proved cumbersome and time consuming. It also led to a number of errors, which may have slowed things down.
  • There will be no annual application window. Both new starters and existing staff who are not already in the scheme can apply at any time.
  • Additional support has been arranged to support managers with the challenges in leading hybrid teams – see here: Leading Hybrid Teams
  • The University remains absolutely committed to facilitating greater flexibility for staff where possible, to improve work-life balance. Hybrid working is unfortunately not operationally viable for some staff, due to the nature of their roles, but it’s important that no grades of staff feel that they are automatically barred from applying to the scheme due to their grade (as opposed to the nature of the work they do).  The University will also be establishing a separate project to explore other ways of introducing more flexibility into working practices for campus-based staff for whom hybrid working isn’t operationally viable.

Updated scheme guidance documents are available on the Hybrid Working webpages.

 

 

 

Be part of the University Community Choir

Are you starting a new academic year?  Are you a new or existing staff member?

Try something new and feel connection, create community and lift your spirits… We are delighted to invite you to join the University Community Choir, meeting weekly on Canterbury campus.

Create new connections within the University community and get away from your work and study in a relaxed and uplifting environment.

Singing in a Choir has many benefits, it’s informal, social, and helps you focus on something different as part of a group. Most importantly it’s fun!

It’s free to join, and there are no auditions, and you don’t need to be able to read music. Come along to meet others, or bring a friend. Starting from 28 September, every Wednesday 13:00 -14:00. Sign up now  Upcoming dates

  • Wednesday 28 September 2022, 13.00-14.00 ( Colyer-Fergusson Hall)
  • Wednesday 5 October 2022 14.00-15.00 ( Colyer-Fergusson Hall)
  • Wednesday 12 October 2022 14.00-15.00 ( Colyer-Fergusson Hall)

Spread the word to anyone else (staff or student) who might enjoy this opportunity. If you have any questions, please email Mita Mondal, Email: mm595@kent.ac.uk

Future Human Signature Research Theme 2022-23 PhD Studentships Round

Details and selection process for the Sandpits

The Future Human Signature Research Theme have been allocated two Vice-Chancellor PhD Studentships to start in the 2023-24 academic year. We will be allocating these two studentships to named supervisory teams running a pre-determined project. To select these supervisory teams, the Future Human leadership team are running a research Sandpit event, specifically designed to creatively generate cross-disciplinary projects that align with the Theme. The Sandpit event will include 20-30 academics, from a range of disciplines and career stages, through which it is hoped 8-15 project ideas will be formed. From these project ideas, two supervisory teams will be awarded the PhD studentships. Seedcorn funding awards are available to support the development of other projects ideas arising from the Sandpits.

More details about the Sandpits are provided in this document and a full briefing pack will later be provided to those academics involved in the Sandpits. It is anticipated that more than 30 academics will be interested in attending the Sandpits, so we need a run a process to select the academics to attend this event. A short application form can be found on the last two pages of this document, which will need to be submitted to the Future Human Leads by 9:30am on Wednesday 28th September 2022 to be considered for the Sandpits (email your application form to futurehuman@kent.ac.uk). The applications should come from individual academics (rather than pre-formed teams), as the purpose of the Sandpit is to develop new collaborations and projects. If you are not able to attend the set dates for the Sandpits, or are not selected for them this time, there are still other ways to get involved with the resulting projects and we hope to run a similar process for the 2024-25 studentships.

Dates

22nd July 2022                                     Sandpit applications open

28th September 2022                          Sandpit applications close

28th September 2022                          Staff notified of outcome of applications

12th October 2022                               Pre-Sandpit workshop (12-1pm delivered live and online)

19th and 20th October 2022                     Sandpits (in person, 9:30am-4pm, must attend both days)

3rd November 2022                                    Pitching/presentations of projects

8th November 2022                                    Staff notified of outcome of studentship projects

  • In the Sandpits, teams of two or more academics will form to co-develop a PhD project idea. The project proposals will be presented to a Panel two weeks after the Sandpit.
  • Additional supervisors and/or advisors can be added to this team, and these people do not have to be at the Sandpit. They may be from academia (Kent or another institution) or from business/industry. They do not need to be involved in the pitching of the projects.
  • Projects will need to be within the scope of the Future Human Signature Research Theme. For more information on this, please see the description on the Future Human website and blog and read the short paragraph on the following page. More information on Future Human will be provided in the in the pre-Sandpit workshop.
  • Projects will need to be demonstrably interdisciplinary, and ideally involve academics from two or more Divisions.
  • In addition to being suitable for a PhD studentship, the project will need to propose a plan to develop and submit an application for external funding.

What to expect from the Sandpits

The Sandpits on the 19th and 20th October will bring together 20-30 academics from a range of disciplines and Divisions. The Future Human team will facilitate the Sandpit to guide the participants through a number of interactive conversations and activities that allow everyone to share ideas and engage their curiosity. Through this process, participants will develop ideas and interests for projects that can be shared with and commented on by peers, allowing a dynamic reframing and revising of ideas. Co-design lies at the heart of the Sandpit, and we will help support participants to self-organise into collaborative teams centred around a research idea or ideas – suitable for PhD Studentships – that they are interested in exploring further. The formed teams will co-develop their research ideas and gradually work this up into a project pitch that is scheduled for the week after the Sandpits.

The Sandpits are scheduled to run all day and in-person on the 19th and 20th of October. Sandpits can be intense, but also intellectually exhausting. The activities across the days will be interspersed with break-out time, coffee stops, and varied tasks to help keep the mind active. Participants will need to attend the whole of both the Sandpit days. If you cannot make a section of a day because another commitment cannot be rescheduled, please let us know. We will try and schedule the day so that start/finish time and more flexible activities (e.g. break-out sessions) are run when childcare commitments are more likely (e.g. the school run).

An overview of Future Human

Future Human explores the use of tools, techniques, and technology for human enhancement and/or restoration (sometimes referred to as human augmentation). Only a true transdisciplinary approach can fully understand the opportunities, limits, challenges, and risks of using scientific and technological advancement to restore or improve performance/function and overcome current limits of body and mind.

Human augmentation is the application of science and technology to improve human performance temporarily or permanently. This can be achieved at two levels: 1) optimisation, and 2) enhancement. Human performance optimisation is the improvement of human performance up to the limit of biological potential without adding new capabilities (e.g. wearing glasses). Human performance enhancement is when performance goes beyond the limit of biological potential (e.g. using binoculars) and can include additional capabilities that are not innate to humans (e.g. night vision googles). Optimisation and enhancement can be applied to a range of populations, from those with an injury or chronic disease, to an elite athlete. Thus, the outcome of augmentation may be to restore performance/function to that of a ‘normal’ person or extend it beyond biological potential.

What and how the body can be augmented defines the possible, but other fields such as law, politics and ethics will help determine its place in society. The opportunities that human augmentation provides for changing how we work, how we stay healthy, and how we live and experience our everyday lives crosses multiple government strategies, Research Councils and Challenge Funds, and provides scope for broad collaboration outside of academia.

The Future Human Signature Research Theme considers both optimisation and enhancement, and the consequences of their development and application across any human population and society.

If you have any questions about the Sandpits or Future Human more generally, please get in contact with Sarah Hotham (s.hotham@kent.ac.uk) or Lex Mauger (l.mauger@kent.ac.uk).

Future Human Sandpit Application Form

Fruiting trees

Diamond Garden planting event with live music and British picnic

**Due to the weather the even has moved to the stretch tent in front of Templeman Library**

Escape the bustle of central campus and join us this Friday at 16.00 at the Diamond Anniversary Garden site. In this beautiful and peaceful space you can hear all about the plans to create a natural orchard of lover 300 fruit trees and share your idea for how you would like the space to develop.

Relax on our blankets with an authentic Kentish picnic while you enjoy some live acoustic music, take guided tours of the space and find out about our campus wild spaces and how we manage them and be part of the ceremonial planting of 6 fruit trees, one for each Division, to launch the garden.  

Find out more and book your place here  Book your place! Please note, this event is now taking place under the stretch tent outside Templeman Library. Come join us after the Welcome Fair!You can also find out more about the project at our stall outside the Gulbenkian on Thursday and Friday this week between 10.00-14.00.

 

Pussy Riot: Riot Days £5 ticket offer

Never more relevant than now, the world’s best-known activists bring their worldwide smash hit Riot Days to Canterbury.

Since forming in 2011, this iconic Russian feminist punk rock performance art collective are a powerful force for protest, on themes including feminism, LGBT rights and opposition to Vladimir Putin. In the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, they find themselves more relevant and vital than ever. Riot Days is an innovative stage show combining live music, theatre and video, telling their story.

You can see them live in the Gulbenkian Arts Centre on campus this week, Wednesday 21 – Saturday 24 September, at 19.30.

We are offering students £5 tickets on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 September (or £10 on Fri 23 and Sat 24 Sep).

Book online – use the code GULB50 – https://bit.ly/GACpussyriot

Or buy tickets on the door from an hour before the performance.

Study Plus logo

Study Plus events: language taster sessions, leadership, growth mindset and more

Firstly, welcome to Study Plus Term 1 2022! We look forward to welcoming you to our Study Plus events.

Wednesday 21 September – Discover World Languages

Taster sessions for beginners who would like to have a go at a language, to gain some understanding of key traditions, learn and pronounce a range of simple key words, engage in basic everyday communication, introduce yourself in the target language, learn simple greetings and farewell phrases.

Following Week

Tuesday 27 September

 Study Plus – Understanding leadership styles by Ali Whelan 10.00 -11.30

The overall objective is to understand what we mean by leadership style, the importance of knowing your preferred style but when and how to use alternative styles. Also covered would be how to work effectively with your managers leadership style and the importance understanding leadership preferences and styles can help aid resilience.

Study Plus – Journaling Tools to help Manage Time, Efficiency and Wellbeing By Esther Van Hout 14.00-15.30

Research shows that journal writing has extensive health and wellbeing benefits, as well as being an effective way to help you plan the life you want. This workshop can help with situations as varied as gaining confidence in writing, exploring personal challenges, or keeping organised.

  • Learn what journal writing is and how it can benefit mental wellbeing.
  • Practise different journaling techniques, to focus your attention and express yourself through writing.
  • Learn how journaling can help you with self-care, creativity, and life-management.

Wednesday 28 September

Study Plus – Growth Mindset By Ali Whelan 11.00 – 12.30

To promote the concept of continuous personal development, positive curiosity, and resilience to succeed.

  • What is a growth mindset
  • Fixed mindset v Growth Mindset – 5 key areas
  • The power of ‘yet’
  • The role of feedback
  • ‘Creation of a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Dweck, 2015)

Study Plus – World Class Management Programme Introduction 13.00-13.30

This session will introduce you to the online World Class Manager programme. This programme can be completed at your own speed, introducing you to the actionable and highly practical ways to help managers get their best for themselves and their teams. It is designed around 12 habits of great leaders.

You don’t need to be a manager to attend the introduction and complete the course. This is designed to provide you with the knowledge you can take forward to your future employment.

Thursday September 29 September

Study Plus How to Manage Stress and Anxiety with Mindfulness By Esther Van Hout On Zoom 14.00-15.30.

This practical workshop will give you an introduction to research-based strategies for coping with stress and anxiety. We will focus on how mindfulness practice can give us tools to build our resilience in the face of study, work and life challenges. Research shows that this helps to reduce the levels of stress we experience and makes us more able to focus, improve creativity and make better decisions. We will practice mindfulness exercises and techniques together, which you can continue to use after the workshop.

How to sign up for a Study Plus event

Each of the event titles are hyperlinked to take you straight to Target connect booking page, where you can sign up to our events.

Please make sure you check the event description to make sure you know how it is being presented. If it is a virtual event, it will be delivered by Teams or Zoom and the joining link will be emailed to you prior to the event. If it’s being delivered in person, then you will receive a reminder email with the location.

Remember, when you attend a Study Plus event, we will make a record of your attendance and you will be able to claim 15 Employability points.

If you book and can no longer attend, please let us know by emailing studyplus@kent.ac.uk as we do have limited places.

We look forward to seeing you!