man sat at laptop drawing

Things you can and can’t do in lockdown

We are currently in the third national lockdown and restrictions have been put in place by the Government on the things you can and cannot do. We have provided examples for some of these rules to help explain what they mean for a University of Kent student.  

You can leave your home for a ‘reasonable’ excuse, some of which include 

  • Essential activities. For example, going to the Parkwood Co-op to shop, going to the Pilkington building for food and drink, getting a meal using your Flex credits or catering packages from Rutherford Dining Hall, and attending a doctor’s appointment. Lockdown has meant the opening hours for facilities at Kent have been changed. In particular, please note the main Kent Union Plaza Co-op will stay closed until further notice. 
  • Meeting others to attend a support group. This means you cannot meet and socialise in person with students from other houses or flats unless you are part of a formal support group. For example, the social campus walks organised by Student Support and Wellbeing. 
  • Exercise with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. For example, going on a walk as part of the Walking Buddy scheme or with your flatmates. Here are some ideas for scenic walks around Canterbury 

It is important to note that you are allowed to use the University facilities if you follow the guidance set out in the University FAQs. This means:  

If you are in on-campus or term time accommodation  

The Templeman LibraryDrill Hall library and Canterbury campus study spaces are open. You will find some changes have been made to help keep everyone safe. Please only make use of the facilities when it is essential to do so to reduce the number of people on campus at any one time. 

If you are at your permanent home  

You should stay at your current home and not travel between your permanent and term-time addresses. You should avoid returning to University to collect your belongings. Only return to campus accommodation in truly exceptional circumstancesfor instance: 

  • Where you do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities, or study space (including research students who require access to specialist facilities for their work) 
  • or you need to return for health/mental health or safety reasons (including collecting any medical equipment or items required for online learning if it essential) 
  • or you are arriving from overseas and have made travel arrangements that you cannot change or cannot change without prohibitive expense. 

Please note that access to library books is not a sufficient requirement for returning to campus. Please contact your School for guidance around alternative online material. 

You can read more about Spring return and travel arrangements on the University webpage.  

 

Person using a laptop

Pathways Career Development Programme

The Talent and Organisational Development Team are happy to share details of our upcoming Pathways Career Development Programme.

Next cohort is starting in March 2021

Pathways provides colleagues within professional services departments the opportunity to increase their self-awareness, learn and develop new skills and create knowledge so that they can define their career pathways. The next session of the Pathways programme will be delivered through a blended approach using staff training Moodle for the eLearning modules and MS Teams sessions for face to face sessions.

Programme aims & benefits

The programme aims to prepare individuals who wish to define their career aspirations by helping them to:

Identify strengths and development opportunities Understand what they want from their career Identify opportunities to assist in achieving the identified career pathway Provide practical skills in CV writing, applying for roles and attending interviews The programme will also bring benefit to the wider university by providing attendees greater connections from other areas.

The programme will run from Mid March to early June

More information can be found on our blog

Next Steps

If you feel this programme would support your current career situation, please send an email to ldev@kent.ac.uk outlining the reasons why this would benefit you, please ensure that your line manager supports your request to join the next cohort.

Closing date for applications is Friday 19 February 2021

Statement on email sent 12.15pm – 14 January 2021

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by recipients replying to an email sent to some of our students on 14 January 2021. In order to minimise this inconvenience, the University’s IT department removed the ability of recipients to reply en masse to the email within a short time of the issue occurring. This means that if you had replied to the email after 14:00 your email would not have been distributed to the list. However, it is possible that many people continued to receive emails after this time. This is because of the volume of emails being sent before the list was frozen, resulting in the release of those emails over the course of the afternoon.

The University’s Data Protection Officer has had the opportunity to review the contents of the email, the manner in which the email was sent and the number of individuals affected by the breach.

They have determined that the data protection risk to individuals is minimal. This is because, apart from the email addresses of the individuals who replied to the mailing list before the list was frozen, no other personal data had been compromised, as the email distribution list was private. Furthermore, the email sent by the University was generic in nature which meant that its contents could not be used to deduce if the recipients shared any sensitive data in common with each other.

We have provided advice to those staff members involved in sending out the communication and have highlighted the availability of University tools the use of which can reduce the likelihood of the breach reoccurring. The University now considers the data protection element of the incident closed. If you would like to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (the body responsible for regulating the use personal data in the UK), please see the link below:

https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

Man running on road near grass fields

Kent Sport – Tips on how to stay active during lockdown

Oli Prior, Head of Physical Activities at Kent Sport gives us his top 10 tips on how to stay active during lockdown…

1. Start Lightly

Whilst it is always tempting to start the new year with high intensity activity this is a sure fire way of making it unsustainable as you will likely give up in a few weeks or worse – injure yourself.  Whatever you start doing, start lightly, if you’re doing Joe Wicks’ morning PE for the first time, just do half of it or take the low intensity options, don’t go straight out for a run, start with a fast walk or walk up-hill.

2. Find an Exercise Buddy

Training on your own is hard, stay motivated by finding a like-minded friend or colleague who can train at the same level as you. Current government guidelines permit you to exercise with either other members of your household or support bubble or one other person (so long as you keep your distance and stay local) so rope in your partner or children or your like-mined neighbour or colleague in your new exercise routine

3. Lounge ‘Hi Lo’

Since the first lockdown there’s been plenty of online content available bringing the gym studio to the nations’ living rooms, with so much choice where do you start? Why not ease yourself in with a familiar face on screen and check out Kent Sports ‘Stay Well at Home’

4. Walk This Way!

Walking is one of the most accessible forms of physical activity and has great wellbeing benefits as well as the obvious physical ones. Just getting up from your desk and doing a lap of the office/house once every hour will aid circulation and engage muscles. We are permitted to go out once a day so make sure you are walking, getting some fresh air and enjoying local surroundings.

5. I want to Ride my Bicycle

This is the last music pun I promise! If you prefer to get out on two wheels instead of two feet then cycling offers many training benefits. If you’re already a regular cyclist then virtual platforms like Peloton or Zwift bring the pro-cycling world to your living room but if you’re not quite ready for the Lycra, you can follow online workouts at home with any stationary bike or invest in a turbo trainer (device that attaches to your real bikes back wheel).

6. Get a ‘Virtual Pet’

This is not an invitation to go online and buy a Tamagotchi, but rather imagine you have a dog to walk every day. It’s easy to look at the drizzle on the window and stay inside, but by donning your rain-mac and going out regardless of rain or shine to walk that ‘Virtual Pet’ you will establish that habit mentioned previously and reap the benefits of daily activity.

7. Create a Power Playlist

We all have our own taste in music, but my next tip is to use this, as it is proven that music makes a difference when you exercise. Nowadays, you can build by voice command on your smart speaker or explore one of the many digital radio stations available on your smart phone.

8. Chill

For low intensity or holistic workouts a podcast can help provide structure to a training session or great company on a brisk walk – again it is so easy to download these to your device – many sports stars have turned their hand to these in lockdown with fresh episodes every week.

9. Park & Ramble

While many of you remain working from home, if you are still commuting to campus I challenge you to ‘Park & Ramble’ as you did before the pandemic. Why not allow an extra 15-20 minutes on your morning commute and park as far away as possible on campus and walk to your desk. Our campuses are great for walking all year round so explore a new route each day if you can.

 10. Stay Well at Home

The final tip is a reminder to access Kent Sports Stay Well @ Home platform, there is a breadth of content to help you stay active and engaged whilst facilities are closed or you are working from home. We look forward to seeing you all again soon, but for now from all at Kent Sport, stay well and stay active.

Professor Iain Fraser

Professor appointed editor in chief of a new journal

Congratulations to Iain Fraser, a Professor in the School of Economics, who has been appointed as the inaugural editor in chief of a new journal called Q Open.

Published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), this economic journal covers agriculture, environment, food, development and climate, and in many aspects covers one of the newly identified university research themes.

This joint venture between OUP and the European Association of Agricultural Economics is an open access journal, with Iain recruiting a high-profile team of journal editors and associate editors to run it.

To take a look at it’s first issue, published on Thursday 14 January and to discover more about the journal, please take a look at the Q Open webpage.

More information about the editorial content included in the first issue can also be found on this Issues webpage.

Change sign

Draft Climate Change Action Plan consultation

Canterbury City Council is currently consulting on its draft Climate Change Action Plan.  We are aware many colleges and universities are not seeing students in person at the moment, but we’d be grateful if you could please share this opportunity to comment with your students and staff who may be interested in responding.

The draft Climate Change Action Plan explains the importance of climate action as part of the council’s work, as well as why we need to act and our planned approach over the next five years.

It shows the scale of activity needed to achieve carbon reduction goals and explains the council will seek money from outside organisations to help pay for any work it needs to, as well as take the opportunity to learn from others.

The draft plan sets out our climate change vision, aims, goals, actions, targets and timescales.

You can read the full draft action plan and respond to the consultation on the Canterbury Council website, consultation is open until 5pm on Thursday 4 March 2021.

Hand holding "hello" sticker with smiley face

Ways to connect with other Kent students

As England is now in another national lockdown, it can become easy to feel isolated. Here are some ways you can connect with other Kent students: 

On campus ways to connect 

According to the current Government guidance, you can meet with one other person from another household in a public place for exercise. Formally organised support groups can also meet in person up to 15 participants. Make sure you maintain social distancing by staying 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household. 

Walking buddy

Stuck in your room and need to get out, but no one around to go for a walk with? We can put you in touch with a walking buddy! A great opportunity to meet another student and energise your mind. Send us an email and we’ll randomly match you with a student to meet the following week. 

Social campus Friday walk (Wellbeing support group) 

A chance to familiarise yourself with the routes between Colleges on campus, whilst meeting other students. Join one of our Student Support Advisers for a wellbeing walk around the Canterbury campus.  

Social campus Wednesday Walk (Autism support group) 

This Disability Adviser led walk around the Canterbury campus will allow you to explore the surrounding areas, whilst meeting and chatting with other autistic students at Kent.   

Virtual ways to connect 

Just Coffee

Want to have a virtual coffee break and fancy meeting someone new? We can put you in touch with someone who wants to meet up virtually, just send us an email and we’ll randomly match you with another student. Don’t forget to share a photo of your virtual meet up for a chance to win free drinks! 

Join online events 

There are still a wide range of events happening online which you can view on the student events calendar. There are events relating to improving your employability, mindfulness and Study Plus events on a range of topics such as Sustainability and Personal Presence. Keep the boredom at bay and meet new people in the process. 

Wellbeing café 

The Wellbeing Café is held weekly and is a place where you can meet with other students online for mental health support, games and creative pursuits. We will explore general mental health themes such as dealing with anxiety and managing your mood, whilst providing the opportunity to connect with other students, in a friendly informal setting. 

Kent Union virtual buddy scheme 

The Virtual Buddy Scheme is co-ordinated by Kent Union to help students through university life. It’s an opportunity for students to connect and look out for each other, wherever you are. Current Kent students (Buddy Volunteers) are matched with a Buddy according to their preferences, such as interests, course, language or what they need right now. 

Societies and groups 

It’s not too late to join a society at Canterbury or Medway. Societies are a group way to meet others who have similar interests to you. Why not take a look to see what’s on offer? From politics and campaigning to cultural, there’s something for everyone! You can chat to societies at Kent Union’s Welcome Back Fair (Canterbury) and  GKSU’s Welcome Back Fair at Medway.

Don’t forget to check in with friends and make sure they are feeling okay. A little message may help boost someone’s spirit and help them feel less alone. 

 

overhead view of laptop with person typing and plant on desk

Student advice: how to stay productive in lockdown

During the last national lockdown, we asked Kent students for their tips on how to stay to stay productive in lockdown. Here are their suggestions and tips!

Tanya Iyer (Stage 2 Law Student) – “Make to-do lists the night before and keep them small with specific tasks, rather than vague big ones…You feel more productive and motivated as you can tick things off quickly!”

Daniella Barnes (Stage 3 Law Student) – “Staying productive in lockdown only works if you have a positive mentality. I start each week with planning my prospective workload. I give myself aims and tasks to complete so at the end of the week I have a visual checklist of how productive I’ve been. Be kind to yourself, practice self-care and don’t overload yourself.”

Ismail Abdi (Stage 2 Marketing Student) – “I stay productive by using a schedule, essentially placing times on my calendar to do my university work and other things outside of my course. I also use a checklist so I can tick off and see what needs to be completed for the week.”

Sofia Howard (Stage 2 Law Student) – “I take short breaks, walk around, eat, and spend time away from my screen. If I feel like I’ve been in front of a screen for too long, I will have the day off and continue the next day. I feel like it refreshes my mind! I also work out in the mornings, which seems to give me more motivation throughout the day.”

Shanell Cornwall (Stage 3 Psychology Student) – “I personally stay motivated by setting 3 goals everyday – one big goal and two little ones. I think doing it this way really helps track progress which makes me feel more productive. It’s crucial to take time out and give yourself time to recharge between workloads.”

Faye Farhan (Stage 2 Law Student) – “If you have to tackle a lot of reading tasks, it’s best to allocate a particular time in the day for reading, and to overestimate how much time you need! Plan 5-10 minute breaks for every hour you read for.”

Lauren Whitfield (Stage 2 Marketing Student) – “I have been getting ahead on my work, watching lectures in advance and doing any further reading that could aid me in my studies. I also took this as an opportunity to start my reports in advance, giving me more time to conduct my research and form a thorough plan.”

Ellie House (Stage 2 Law Student) – “Making sure you take a break from work and set time aside for yourself is definitely important. I like to keep evenings away from work to spend time socialising or even just watching TV. I always find doing this helps me feel more productive the next day as I’ve had some time to refresh!”

Gemma Overy (Stage 2 Psychology Student) – “Set deadlines for yourself – not just the deadline for a project but when you want to achieve each smaller section by. Start revision early if you feel like you have nothing to do, even if it’s only a couple of hours a week.’

James Hulme (Stage 2 Biomedical Engineering Student) – “List your tasks and deadlines and try to prioritise them. Try to timetable your work so you have a structure, but still take regular breaks.”

Ayesha Shirgill (Stage 3 Law and Spanish Language Student) – “Set yourself deadlines of what time to work up until each day to ensure you can look forward to enjoying some free time.”

Dylan Thakker (Stage 2 Law Student) – “Take frequent breaks to reward work. Taking a break can be anything from having a call with your parents to having a quick walk – then I get back to work promptly. I break work down into smaller sections and reward myself with breaks when I get certain bits done.”

For more information on managing your studies during lockdown, and particularly how to stay motivated, take a look at Rowena and Megan’s Instagram Live.

Cyber coding graphic

‘Kentish Cyber’ in the final of UK Cyber Challenge

A team of Kent students has recently been selected for the finals of the 4th Annual UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. This is the first time the University and Kent’s new Institute for Advanced Studies in Cyber Security and Conflict (SoCyETAL) will be represented at the competition.

The team of 4, coached by Dr Gareth Mott, is comprised of a 50:50 split of male and female Undergraduate and Postgraduate students from the School of Computing, Kent Law School and the School of Politics and International Relations.

The Kentish Cyber Team:

  • Keenan Jones, School of Computing
  • Nandita Pattnaik, School of Computing
  • Ben Treacy, School of Politics & International Relations
  • Hala Zein, Kent Law School
  • Dr Gareth Mott, School of Politics & International Relations (Coach)

In this strategy challenge, competitors will take on the role of senior advisors to government and industry, in facing a complex escalating cyber-attack. They will use their varied technical and non-technical expertise from different disciplines to assess the unfolding threat, before briefing a panel of senior UK and international cyber leaders on potential mitigation strategies.

Dr Gareth Mott said: “We are elated and proud that Kentish Cyber have made it through to the final of the UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. We hope that our students make the most of this fantastic interactive learning experience and ‘real-life’ scenario-based challenge. This is a great opportunity for our team to gain first-hand experience with the critical challenge of ensuring cyber-security in an increasingly interconnected world. Our staff and students are delighted to be a part of this endeavour for the first time of hopefully many. Kentish Cyber will embrace the chance to showcase the strength and breadth of ‘big tent’ interdisciplinary teaching and research in cyber security at the University of Kent”.

The virtual event, hosted by the Atlantic Council UK, will take place 16-17 February.

Best of luck to Kentish Cyber!