Monthly Archives: April 2018


Creative Language Development

The Creative Language Development (CLD) workshops are designed to help non-native speakers engage with English in unusual and creative ways. All workshops are offered in a friendly, enjoyable and engaging manner.

CLD students take part in a variety of creative exercises, including listening to music and analysing lyrics, team quizzes, play reading and outdoor activities. The latter in particular is something that many students have responded to enthusiastically.

Each workshop provides opportunities for students to speak, practice pronunciation skills and learn new vocabulary. Participants are encouraged to make links with students from different cultures. CLD provides a mutually supportive and stimulating learning environment, helping students to deal with some of the challenges which can arise when studying in a foreign language.

A shared lunch gives students a chance to network informally, develop friendships and share their experiences of living and studying in the U.K..

The workshops require no preparation and involve no additional study commitments.

Any student interested in taking part in a Creative Language Development event can book online using SLAS Connect. Further information is available on Moodle (DP1350).

Da Vinci

Da Vinci Days Outreach Event

From Monday 16 – Friday 20 April, the Partnership Development Office ran the large ‘Da Vinci Days’ outreach event on the Medway campus.  The Da Vinci Days have been running yearly since 2012 and are designed to encourage students to engage with the sciences and the arts, and to develop engineering, creative and team work skills.

Over the course of the week we welcomed over 400 Year 7 students from Brompton Academy and Chatham Grammar School for Girls, the two institutions included in our schools sponsorship.  For many participants, this was their first experience of visiting a university campus and meeting current students.

The days each started with an interactive talk, introducing students to the concept of bridge designing and building.  Students then worked in teams, with the support of student ambassadors, to find inspiration on the Medway campus and build the strongest bridge possible using materials such as straws, tape and plasticine.  Students were also judged and awarded points for their design and teamwork skills.  Each day culminated in a final competition putting bridges to the test using bags of sugar as weights.  The winning teams will be awarded with a trip to the Science Museum in London in July.

The days were organised and delivered by the Partnership Development Office in collaboration with the School of Engineering and Digital Arts and Kent School of Architecture.  Outreach and Academic Student Ambassadors supported and worked in a range of roles to ensure the event went smoothly and the participants had a positive experience.

The event was a great success and enjoyed by all involved. Mark Cawthorne, Assistant Principal from Brompton Academy has said that “the students had a fantastic time and I think it was the best year yet!”

We look forward to running the event again next year.

AUDE Awards for Estates staff

Estates staff receive Highly Commended awards from AUDE 

Members of staff from the Estates Department were recently awarded Highly Commended Awards at the AUDE (Association of University Directors of Estates) Awards Gala Dinner at Canterbury Cathedral’s Chapter House.

Sarah Cooke, Head of Customer Services and Engagement, was Highly Commended in the Chair’s Award for Long Term Contribution. Sarah was reocgnised for continually developing her role and contributing within the Estates Department, the University as a whole, and to the local community. Sarah joined the Estates Department in 1989. She was shortlisted alongside three long-standing University Directors of Estates.

The Head of Customer Services and Engagement, Sarah is an excellent example of someone who has continually developed their role and sought to contribute more and more both within the Department, to the University and to the local community. Having joined the Estates Department in 1989 as a Data Operator within the Maintenance section, Sarah spent the early years of her career gaining knowledge and experience in various aspects of the Estates Department’s activities

Most recently, in keeping with the department’s independent approach to value and goal setting, she has been instrumental in developing the CHOICE value system. As a result of her work with Investors in People, Sarah recognised the significance of implementing a set of core departmental values, as these are the essence of the department’s identity and underpin the behaviour of the team.

Sarah has also been closely involved with development of the Estates Management Development Programme (EMDP) specifically targeted at giving managers the right tools to do the job, and which has now been recognised at institutional level.

Community and social responsibility are two key drivers for the department’s outreach work and Sarah has driven these with unswerving enthusiasm and dedication since the outset. This includes organising key annual events to engage staff and fundraising for local and national charities – in particular, the Estates Charity Christmas raffle, which was an idea Sarah developed in 1999, and brings together Estates staff, local suppliers and businesses in collaboration to raffle off prizes to staff with all proceeds going to charity. The charity is selected from many nominated each year by staff members. The department then adopts this charity for the year; and this idea has led to several thousands of pounds going to worthwhile causes.

Emily Mason, Environmental Sustainability Assistant, received a Highly Commended award in the Emerging Talent Award category, for her project, Futureproof. It uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for staff and students from across the University to assess the impact of their activities and create bespoke, targeted action plans to improve. By developing Futureproof, Emily has delivered something with far wider-reaching impacts than we had ever envisaged. This approach represents a significant change for the better as Universities are extremely diverse and are not suited to a one-size-fits-all approach.


Aurora@Kent event – 15 May

To support the University’s continued commitment to the LFHE’s (Leadership Foundation for Higher Education) Aurora programme, a number of initiatives, discussions and events are open to ALL members of staff throughout the year.

The next University of Kent Aurora@Kent Event will be on Tuesday 15 May, from 13.00 to 14.00, on our Canterbury Campus, Cornwallis East Seminar Room 2.

In this session, three panelists will reflect on their leadership styles and strategies, and take questions from the audience. The panelists are Patricia Baker, Head of Classical and Archaeological Studies; Juliette Pattinson, Head of the School of History; and Louise Naylor, Director Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (UELT). The format will be brief talks followed by informal Q and A.

This is an open event and EVERYONE is welcome! ALL colleagues, ALL genders, and ALL disciplines.

Booking is not required for this event.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding this Aurora @Kent event or the Aurora Programme, please do not hesitate to contact Jena Dady, Learning and Organisational Development Adviser or a member of the Learning and Organisational Development team.

Student Success EDI

Student Success Seminar on Critical Race Theory – New dates

The student success staff seminar on ‘Reframing the gap: Bridging ‘deficit’ readings and critical race theory to understand everyday racial inequities in UK universities’ has been rescheduled for May 2018.

Originally scheduled for March, it will now take place on:

Wednesday 16 May 2018, Canterbury Campus, Woolf College, Seminar Room 5, 13.00-14.00

Friday 18 May 2018, Medway Campus, Pilkington Building, Room 104, 13.00-14.00

The seminar will give an overview of Critical Race Theory and the important questions. Delivered by Dr Alex Hensby, the seminar will be challenging and thought-provoking and the team highly recommends that staff with student-facing roles attend and engage in the debate around race and university.


The past two decades have seen UK universities increase access for students from non-traditional backgrounds, as well as enhance their provision of academic and welfare support, yet across the sector the white-BME attainment gap shows no sign of significantly narrowing. This raises important questions about how racial inequities continue to be reproduced in higher education. Proponents of critical race theory (CRT) offer a direct challenge to longstanding analyses and intervention strategies on the grounds that they take a ‘deficit’ reading of the white-BME attainment gap. Instead, they advocate shifting the onus onto how universities unwittingly reproduce racism and racial inequities structurally and in everyday life.

To book a place on any staff seminar simply email

More information on this and all the staff seminars can be found on the Student Success website.

A recording of the BTEC seminar and Prof Karen Cox’s Inspirational Speaker Talk can be found on the staff only section of the SSP website.

Medway College Life events for staff this summer

College Life is a sense of community that is encouraging Medway Staff to engage in social, physical, recreational and cultural activities for the purposes of creating a sense of community and belonging to Medway College.

You can choose to attend as many of the following events as you wish during the Summer Term 2018. Please email your interest and attendance beforehand to

Event When Where
Lunch with the College Master – book in advance to enjoy a lunch and catch up with the College Master. Tuesday 24 April

13:00 – 14:00

Star Wars Day – Start revising your Star Wars knowledge for our Star Wars quiz. Friday 4 May


Afternoon tea – Enjoy an afternoon full of cream tea. Thursday 10 May


Unconscious bias – Join the campus Chaplain in a discussion on what is unconscious bias. Thursday 17 May


Tea/Coffee morning – enjoy a late breakfast with a pastry and coffee. Thursday 24 May


Bring your own lunch – bring a sandwich and we’ll supply the rest. Cake and fruit included. Tuesday 29 May


Strawberries and cream – Book in advance to enjoy some strawberries and cream. Friday 8 June


Kent Logo

Condolences for Professor Joe Connor

Professor Joe Connor, Emeritus Professor of Inorganic Chemistry in the School of Physical Sciences, died on 14 April 2018.  Professor Connor was appointed as Professor of Inorganic Chemistry in 1981 and was Director of the Chemical Laboratory from 1981 to 1990. He was appointed Dean of Natural Sciences in 1988, and in 1990 he was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (until 1996). Before Kent, he had been at Manchester.

His research interests included organometallic chemistry and then later in his career specialising in thermochemistry of organometallics. He enjoyed teaching and was a clear minded and calming influence in the Chemistry Laboratory and Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Professor Mark Burchell
Dean of Sciences

There will be a funeral service for Joe Connor at St Thomas of Canterbury Roman Catholic Church on Monday 30 April 2018 at 14.30.  On Tuesday 1 May at 11.00, there will be a celebration of Joe Connor’s life. This will be held at the University’s Darwin College, Conference Suite 1.

Sense and Sensibility – the players need you!

The University of Kent Players are very pleased to announce that their next production will be Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ – coming to the Gulbenkian on the 6 – 8 September!

We will be auditioning for the production on 8th and 10th May from 5.30pm-7.30pm in KS4 and all staff are invited to attend – no previous acting experience is required and it is very informal and fun. We would also be interested to hear from anyone who would like to help out backstage.

About the show

When their wealthy half-brother cheats them of their fortune, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are left penniless. They are forced to leave the comforts of Norland Park and relocate to chilly Barton Cottage in Devonshire, but when John Willoughby, a handsome stranger, arrives one day with a rain-drenched Marianne in his arms, the sisters are convinced that their fortunes are changed forever.

About the University of Kent Players

Founded in 2013 by Neil Hornsey, the University of Kent Players are made up of staff and friends of the University of Kent and currently put on two productions per year at the Gulbenkian Theatre. Our productions always raise money for a charity through ticket and programme sales and our members are from all walks of life with varying levels of experience in theatre. Anyone can join and get involved, not just on stage but also backstage. We hold regular socials and lunches and have loads of fun doing what we love.

If you would like to be involved in ‘Sense & Sensibility’ in any way then please do contact us on – we would love to hear from you!

Kent wins 3rd place for Postgraduate WhatUni Award

The results are in for the Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs) 2018, and we are delighted that the University of Kent has been awarded 3rd place for the Postgraduate Award. The University of Kent climbed nine places in the postgraduate category, going from 12th place in 2017 to 3rd place in 2018. In addition to ranking in the top three for postgraduate, the University of Kent ranked 5th for the International Award (climbing from 8th place in 2017).

The WUSCAs celebrate the best in higher education, and universities are selected based on 36,000+ reviews submitted via by university students across the UK. The 2018 awards ceremony took place at The Brewery in London on 19 April, and the event was hosted by comedian, Katherine Ryan. The Graduate School team was delighted to be in attendance to represent the University of Kent for the Postgraduate Award nomination, and members of the International and Enrolment teams attended to represent the University for the International Award nomination.

Congratulations to the University of Kent for ranking so high in two categories of the 2018 WhatUni Awards. The Graduate School would like to particularly thank all of the members of academic and administrative staff who work to support our postgraduate and international students at Kent.

See the top three in each of the fifteen WhatUni Awards 2018 categories here and view all of the rankings and categories here.

Kent logo

Condolences for Professor Jim Brown

Professor Jim Brown, Emeritus Professor of Experimental Physics, died in April 2018.

Professor Brown was appointed to the Readership in Experimental Physics from 1 September 1965 and appointed Professor of Experimental Physics from 1 April 1971. He was appointed Director of the Physics Laboratory in 1976 and he remained Director until 1982. He was appointed Emeritus Professor in 1985 following his retirement. After 1985, he continued to be closely associated with the University, acting as internal examiner in 1991, and still teaching for many years.

These are brief notes, for a life rich in a warm humanity which touched, supported and helped so many of those who came in contact with him.

As he often reminded students in his lectures on magnetism, during World War II Professor Brown worked with the Royal Canadian Navy on degaussing ships and on underwater sound, including the trials of the new hydrophone array on the captured U885.

He was demobilized in Scotland as Electrical Lieutenant RCNVR in October, 1945 just in time to begin his doctorate in Low Temperature Physics at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford. Then, wanting adventure and to explore, he went to Lingnan University in Canton, China. Work on a new type of expansion liquefier to produce the first liquid helium in Asia was interrupted by the arrival at his University of the advancing victorious Red Army during the establishment of the Communist Government. This was followed the next year by the expulsion of Westerners including Professor Brown. He used to happily regale colleagues with stories of his time in China, of which he clearly had many fond memories. As with all his stories, there was often a deep respect for others.

He then spent two years on liquid helium research at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. During the Korean war, he heard from former students on both sides of the conflict. From Ontario he returned to British Columbia, publishing work on liquid helium and superconducting thin films. He was proud of this time in British Columbia, and enjoyed receiving updates from there.

Arriving in Kent with the first undergraduates in 1965, he established the Low Temperature Laboratory here. With colleagues, the first application of the quartz microbalance to measure thickness of the helium film was effected and measurement made of the Bernoulli effect in the flowing electronic fluid of a superconductor, as well as other work to elucidate the contact potential of metals under stress. An NERC investigation of acoustic imaging to explore its feasibility for use in coal mines was carried out on large scale in the air. More recently, Professor Brown has been a member of the Applied Optics Group and still attended meetings on campus in his 90s.

Professor Brown used to visit the campus regularly until earlier this year. He was popular with students, with some of the “First 500” holding him in high regard and still in touch with him all these years later. Staff found his warm, gentle approach to life of comfort, reminding us of the good things in life.

Professor Mark Burchell,
Dean of Sciences