Monthly Archives: April 2020

Collage of selfie from Virtual Music Project

Listen to the first song from the Virtual Music Project

The Virtual Music Project has yielded its first fruit – the complete first movement of Vivaldi’s Gloria (listen now on YouTube). The project, run by the Deputy Director of Music, Dan Harding, brings together students, staff and alumni from across the University community to continue rehearsing and making music together. Participants have included musicians from around the country and even across the world from Germany to Luxembourg and Japan!

The project affords musicians amongst the University community the opportunity to record their individual vocal or instrumental part and send them, contributing to a combined ‘virtual’ performance of Vivaldi’s vibrant Baroque masterpiece.

There’s still the opportunity to get involved in the project, as it moves into building the second movement of the piece, as well as a virtual Dance Orchestra performing tunes from the 1940s and 1950s, with other pieces coming as the project continues to unfold.

Read more about the project or find out how to get involved on the Virtual Music Project Facebook page.

 

Professor Karen Cox

Message from the Vice-Chancellor (30 April 2020)

Next Monday sees the first day of term and, for most students, it marks the start of exams. The last few weeks have been particularly intense for those involved in the development of an adapted approach to the delivery and assessment of exams and I would like to thank all of those who have been involved in what has been an outstanding – and complex – piece of work.

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have an impact and it is likely that we will have to continue to adapt how we deliver our education, and the wider student experience. As I mentioned last week, Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience, is working with colleagues to prepare for the next academic year when we will be welcoming new and returning students to the University. We will continue to update you on this.

At a time when we are all having to deal with additional pressures, it was particularly heartening to learn that the One Hour Degree, created by the Student Success project, has been shortlisted in the Guardian University Awards 2020 in the Digital Innovation category. Congratulations to all those involved.

Work also continues across the University in support of the fight against COVID-19. I think we have all been touched by the response we have had from healthcare professionals, students, members of the community and others in response to the work of colleagues.

In the next few days, I will provide a fuller on some of the actions we have been taking over the last few weeks including how we are preparing for the new academic year, and an update on the financial impact of the current situation.

My very best wishes to you and your families.

Karen

Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

KITC 2020 team

High client satisfaction and praise for student consultants

The Kent IT Consultancy (KITC) is part of the School of Computing and is a student staffed IT consultancy delivering services to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Its mission is to solve business problems with technology and to make our student consultants more employable.

This year the KITC had 26 undergraduate consultants who delivered between them 7000 hours of work across both Canterbury and Medway campuses. The team delivered a range of customer facing projects including 9 Digital Transformation projects, helping small businesses to make the best use of technology, Three App Prototype projects, four Website projects and 29 Cyber Security Health checks, helping businesses to benchmark themselves against the National Cyber Security Centre’s Small Business Guide.

In feedback clients were highly satisfied and indicated they were likely to recommend the services to others.

Catherine Barratt, Managing Director at Furnitubes International Ltd, for whom KITC created a standalone website that promotes a new product said: “The KITC team were fantastic. They understood the brief really well, were very well organised, checked in every week and delivered a fantastic site within a few weeks. Probably the best supplier experience I have had in a while!”

Julian Jennings, Managing Director at Legality Ltd, said “Legality experienced conflicting advice from various IT companies presenting difficulties in determining the best solution. The KITC team gave us a clear and unbiased assessment of what we required to best meet our needs. Giving us reassurance and confidence in choosing the right path going forward.

The KITC is in the process of adapting its offering in the face of in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Local SMEs can continue to access its services over the summer with a new cohort of Master’s student consultants who can help businesses adapt to new ways of working.

Coronavirus

No-detriment explained and University update

We hope you, your friends and families are all continuing to keep safe and well and that you managed to have a break over the vacation alongside studying and revising and all your other responsibilities.

As well as marking the start of the Summer Term on Monday, I am writing to let you know that additional information has been added to our student coronavirus webpages, much of it in response to your feedback at our recent WebChats and through your Kent Union representatives.

No-detriment policy explained

In particular, we are aware of how much you want to understand more fully how the no-detriment approach will work. There is a new section entitled ‘No-detriment policy explained’ that we would strongly encourage you to read.

The no-detriment approach assures all students, whether you are an undergraduate or postgraduate, that we will take account of how Covid-19 may be impacting your performance in assessed work.

Whilst further detail is in the FAQs, the key message is that we have a number of elements to the University’s no-detriment policy:

  1. A ‘safety net’ calculation based on your performance up to Saturday 14 March. We’ve published more info on this today and will add more detail on the calculation itself very soon.
  2. Additional mitigations put in place since Saturday 14 March such as extensions to deadlines and 48hr exam windows
  3. Guidance to Boards of Examiners to ensure they can and will take the disruption created by covid-19 into account in agreeing your final marks and/or degree classification.

We have also added new pages for those who have studied abroad this year or plan to next year. There are also new pages for taught postgraduates and research students.

Advice and support

Following the successful launch of the new and informal series of Kent Student WebChats delivered via Zoom earlier in April, we are planning to hold these weekly at 10.00 on Fridays. We look forwarding to engaging with you as part of these chats as they will help us identify how we can best support you.

This forms part of our extension of virtual services and online support. All of the University’s services remain open.

To help you make the most of our services and support, we are redeveloping and refreshing the Student Guide and putting together another issue of our student update e-newsletter to be sent out early next week.

In the mean time you can read about access to online and remote support in our Guide to getting support from the University and Kent Union including Student Support and Wellbeing, the Student Learning Advisory Service, IT Service Desk and both the Kent Union and GK Unions advice centres. We also urge you to make full use of our study guides for online examinations and the Kent Union De-stress zone.

There’s also more information about our continuing services for students who remain on the Canterbury campus and the Kent Union Food Bank and Kent Union Co-op shop also remain open. See their website for the opening times.

University and Kent Union staff and Full-Time Officers continue to remain available to support you throughout this period so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

On behalf of all the staff at the University, Kent Union and Full-Time Officers we wish you all the very best luck with your examinations, dissertations and final year-end assessments.

Best wishes,

Christina and Sasha

Professor Christina Hughes                                          Sasha Langeveldt
Interim Director of Student Services                           Students’ Union President of Kent Union

Financial Sustainability and Improvement: Update

The Vice-Chancellor’s February blog outlining the work required to get the University back on a financially sustainable footing, helping ensure we continue to be a great place to work, teach, research and study.  

Since then, the Financial Sustainability and Improvement programme has been approved by Council, with a focus on carefully reducing costs, specifically targeting increase in income in areas that make sense and making the right strategic decisions.  

This work is being coordinated by our Financial Improvement Director Peter Pentecost, who has been employed by the University specifically to develop this and to support its implementation. Peter reports to the Vice-Chancellor, supporting colleagues across the organisation to make sure the plans in the programme are delivered on time and that project milestones are achieved. 

The four main strands of activity to deliver the programme have now been established, with Executive Group leads in each area focussing on how to identify savings and income opportunities with sufficient pace without destabilising our strong teaching and research ethos. There is more information on the different areas of work on our new Financial Sustainability staff webpages, with updates to follow in the coming weeks on recent progress with non-pay savings led by the Cash & Capital Approvals Committee, and new analysis undertaken for the University on student data trends to support our Academic Sustainability and Performance activity. 

Find out more about our Financial Sustainability and Improvement work. Further information, including FAQs, will be available on these pages shortly. 

writing at a desk with hot drink

Creative writing prompts series- writing about self with Dragan Todorovic

The School of English have launched a new Creative Writing prompts series for Creative Writing students, applicants and aspiring writers, with the aim to write about self.

How to write memoir? How to write about yourself? How to write into the history we are all living through? Dragan Todorovic, author and lecturer in Creative Writing, is hosting a series of writing challenges with the aim of leading you towards writing a memoir during this time of self-isolation.

Use the Writing Self with Dragan Todorovic videos as a prompt to help you write. New episodes are posted every 3 to 4 days.

Students on campus

Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Annual Report 2018/19

Our annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) report, showcasing the excellent work across the University to promote and embed equality and inclusivity, is now available on the HR webpages.

The 2018/19 report goes beyond the fulfilment of our statutory duties for equality reporting and is a testament to Kent’s commitment to being in the vanguard of organisations that view equality as not simply a matter of institutional fairness and access but a key component of a fair and just society.

We believe that all staff and students have a role to play in improving equality and removing barriers to inclusivity. Our aim is to provide experiences in the work and education space that will inspire and empower them to be a part of a changed world.

Find out more about our strategic aims, some of the EDI challenges over the past year and how we’re responding to them, by linking to the online annual report now.

Learning & Organisational Development Team

Two War, Trade and State books stacked on top of a piano with a bottle of champagne

Royal Netherlands Embassy hosts online book launch

The book, War, Trade and the State who’s editors are Kent’s Professor David Ormrod and the University of Leicester’s  Dr. Gijs Rommelse, will have it’s own online book launch later this month. 

Leading scholars from the Netherlands, Britain and the United States will participate in the online book launch and symposium hosted by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in London on 29 April.

War, Trade and the State places the history of Anglo-Dutch conflict during the seventeenth century in a global context, and sheds new light on the rise and decline of the British and Dutch commercial empires.

The event will include discussion of the historical background to Brexit and the potential for retaining close economic and cultural ties with the Netherlands, Britain’s oldest European ally.  The book’s co-editors, Professor David Ormrod and Dr Gijs Rommelse helped to organise earlier symposia at the Marine Etablissement, Amsterdam and the University’s Medway campus at the Historic Dockyard, which formed the basis for the current publication.

The event will be chaired by the Dutch Defence Attache in London, Capt. Wolter Sillevis Smitt in the presence of the Dutch Ambassador to the UK, HE Mr Simon Smits, and the UK Ambassador to the Netherlands, The Hon Peter Wilson CMG.

A stack of newspapers

Subscribe to our daily scoop.it! newsletter

Did you know that colleagues were mentioned today in the Times Higher Education, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, Sydney Morning Herald and more?

If you are interested in keeping up to date with the latest University mentions in the news, then why not subscribe to our daily scoop.it! newsletter. Each morning we circulate a selection of coverage from around the University – a great way to keep up to date what our colleagues are working on. Our newsletter will allow you to read articles (excluding subscription publications) and listen to broadcast clips.

Last year staff, students and alumni contributed to nearly 10,000 pieces of coverage (print and online) and were heard over 2,000 times on TV & Radio.

To subscribe to the daily newsletter, simply email Karen Baxter in the Press Office.

Clay green hands coming together

Digital festival Unite | Rebel

Students at the Paris School of Arts and Culture are excited to announce this year’s edition of their postgraduate festival, taking place in June 2020: Unite | Rebel. This year the festival will be taking place virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We are a group of postgraduates from the University of Kent Paris School of Arts and Culture, coming together to consider the power of unity and rebellion and to nurture the academic community through celebration, creativity and debate.

Join us from 2-5 June 2020 for an online conference, film festival and more. The events are still open for submissions. The conference keynote speaker is Julian Hanna. His latest book, The Manifesto Handbook: 95 Theses on an Incendiary Form, was published this year by Zero Books.

To take part, unite and rebel please visit the the festival’s website.