Monthly Archives: April 2020

Jordan Regan - School of Computing

School of Computing welcomes Jordan Regan

We are pleased to welcome Jordan Regan to the School of Computing as Student Success Project Officer.

The Student Success Project is a University of Kent initiative that commits to helping every student to achieve the best degree that they can. Jordan will be working as part of the professional services team and with Student Success Lecturer, Jacqui Chetty, to evaluate and improve the retention, attainment and progression of undergraduate students.

Jordan started work the day before the Covid-19 lockdown so has been working from home and meeting colleagues virtually.

Jordan graduated from Kent in 2017 with a BA Sociology degree. Since graduating she has worked in Higher Education at Kent Union, Canterbury Christ Church University, and most recently as the Democracy and Engagement Manager at the University of Essex Students’ Union. She is currently studying a part-time Masters in Business and Management.

Jordan said: “I was not expecting to start a new job in the middle of a global pandemic. Relocating back to Kent a few days before lockdown was an unexpected challenge, as is having to meet the majority of my colleagues online and work from home. However, both the Student Success Project and School of Computing teams have been incredibly welcoming and have really helped me to understand my role. Having studied at Kent, I am fortunately very familiar with the University and look forward to starting to work back on campus. I am excited to meet students and staff from the School of Computing in person, and to begin supporting the delivery of various interventions. “

We look forward to working with Jordan and meeting her in person as soon as we are back on campus.



Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor

Message from the Vice-Chancellor (23 April 2020)

I hope you managed to get something of a break over the Easter period.

Just a brief update from me before the start of term to let you know that Executive Group met on Monday and had an update from COVID-19 response group lead Professor Christina Hughes.

The update covered the work of colleagues associated with examinations and assessment, as well as updates on our infrastructure response and support for staff and student welfare. We are now moving from the immediate/crisis response mode to look at the next few months in terms of delivering examinations, exam boards, supporting completing students and enabling ongoing work related to the COVID-19 response and planning ahead for the autumn and the start of the 20/21 academic year.

In order to prepare for the autumn term, I have asked Professor Richard Reece, our new Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience, to work with colleagues across the University to bring together a team to begin to map out how we would do this.

We remain operational as a University and, while we are uncertain as to the exact conditions we will be working in over the next few months, we want to be clear with current, returning and prospective students, our partners and stakeholders that we remain ‘open’ and are planning our autumn activity. We will always of course keep health and safety issues front and centre and so we will need to prepare for a range of scenarios. Further updates and ways to get involved will be shared over the next few weeks. Division Directors will also be working with their Schools to progress this work with Richard.

In the meantime, thank you all for all that you are doing. I hope you, your families and friends are all well.


Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Industrial action

Student expense claims open for February/March 2020 strike

We have introduced a system to allow students to claim back any additional costs, such as travel or childcare they may have had during industrial action.

The student expense claims form for the February/March 2020 strike is now available on the industrial action webpages.

Student expense claims for the February/March 2020 strike should be received by midnight Sunday 31 May 2020. Claims received after this date will not be paid.

Rock Choir performing at the Colyer-Fergusson Hall

University Rock Choir is going virtual!

Calling all members of the University community!!

The University’s Rock Choir is going to continue this coming term but instead of being in Colyer-Fergusson each Monday lunchtime, the sessions will now be ‘virtual’!

The plan is to ‘meet’ as usual between 13.00 and 14.00 via Zoom, beginning on Monday 4 May. There will be chance to learn a couple of new songs and go over some old ones and, in advance of each session, there will be some tutorial videos to watch at home.

These sessions are for staff and students at Kent, so if you need any further information or would like to join the Choir, email Susan Wanless. These are strange and stressful times and we must all keep safe, smiling….and singing!

An open laptop with a pen, phone and glasses lays next on an open laptop and flowers

Virtual International Visiting Academics Network

International Partnerships would like to invite you to our virtual event as part of Kent’s International Visiting Academics Network (IVAN) via Zoom.

The meeting will be lead by the Dean for Internationalisation and will address the topic of ‘Adapting to new ways of working’. The network has been established to give you the opportunity to build on your existing connections at and beyond the University.

Date: Wednesday 29 April 2020

Time: 11.00 – 11.35 (BST)

Book your place via the Eventbrite website

The Zoom meeting ID and password will be sent to attendees in advance of the meeting.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Arts and Humanities Research Council logo

Nicola Shaughnessy commended by the AHRC

Nicola Shaughnessy, Professor of Performance in the Department of Drama and Theatre, has been commended by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for her outstanding contribution to the work of the council over the past year.

Nicola was nominated by AHRC staff in recognition for services to the for the AHRC Peer Review College (PRC) in 2019. The AHRC’s Peer Review College has around 1,150 members from higher education institutions and independent research organisations in the United Kingdom and overseas, and from outside academia. Nicola is one of a small number of individuals who are members of multiple colleges and is appointed to four of the PRC groups: Academic, International, Knowledge Transfer and Strategic Review.

The PRC is central to ensuring the robustness of the decision-making mechanisms of the AHRC. It is vital that it operates effectively and efficiently and that it holds the confidence of the academic community. College members play a critical role, not only in providing high quality reviews, but in informing and influencing the current work of the AHRC and its future direction.

Our congratulations to Nicola for this excellent achievement, undertaken alongside her many other duties with the university.


Kent Logo

New coronavirus FAQs on annual leave and sick pay

In response to Covid-19 and our new working arrangements, adjustments have been made to policies covering  annual leave and additional sick pay. FAQs on these changes are now available on our staff coronavirus webpages.

Annual leave

Our Executive Group and JSNCC have agreed some principles for interim annual leave arrangements during 2020.  These are aimed at ensuring staff continue to take annual leave wherever possible to promote wellbeing and to avoid staff losing untaken leave at the end of the year:

  • Staff are encouraged to still take annual leave during the current period of disruption, even if they are at home.
  • Staff wishing to cancel booked leave should immediately re-book it on confirmation that their request has been authorised.
  • KVSS applications, where approved, will be conditional on all outstanding leave (pro-rata) being taken prior to the last day of service.
  • For those staff with an additional work burden due to Covid-19 or maintaining essential operations on campus, we will increase the carry forward above 5 days, in line with the amended Working Time Directive.
  • There will be no change to the current policy of not ‘buying out’ untaken leave at the end of the year, and that any untaken leave, over and above what can be carried forward will be lost. 

Additional sick pay

The NHS has advised hospitals to suspend all non-emergency elective procedures for an undetermined period, possibly for a number of months, because of the surge in coronavirus patients.

To ensure staff already in receipt of long-term sick pay are not disadvantaged by the NHS delay, the University plans to maintain the current level of sick pay (either full pay or half-pay) for an initial period of up to three months, pending receipt of a (new) treatment date.  These arrangements will be reviewed after three months if the NHS continues to defer treatments or if delays are experienced due to a high backlog of deferred treatments.

If you have any questions on these new arrangements, email the HR Operations Team

Other new FAQs

Other new FAQs on our staff coronavirus webpages include the University’s approach to the Government’s Staff Retention Scheme.

Three people talking in a learning environment

Postgraduate Virtual Open Event

On Thursday 21 May, the University of Kent will be hosting their virtual Postgraduate event.

From 16.00 – 19.00, staff and students will be available to chat about Kent, answer any questions and help people discover more about what makes Kent a great place for postgraduate study.

Kent has a wide range of subjects, most of which are available full or part-time and some by distance and blended learning. Programmes, many with professional accreditation, are informed by the latest research from world-leading academics so you can develop career-focused skills and knowledge relevant to today’s issues.

What to expect from the event: 

  • Learn about the multimillion-pound postgraduate scholarship fund
  • Hear from specialist academics
  • Attend live Q&A sessions with staff and current students
  • Discover Kent’s inspirational locations: Canterbury, Medway, Paris and Brussels
  • Take a look at Kent’s wonderful campuses and postgraduate centres
  • Hear a welcome from Prof Paul Allain, Dean of the Graduate School

To find out more please visit the courses website.

University counsellor collaborates on video about managing anxiety

Gerard McGill, a counsellor at the University has collaborated with Carers Trust East Midlands to create a video on how to cope with anxiety during a crisis.

The video covers how to manage your anxiety, how to spot triggers and small things that you can change that will make your life less stressful.

The short video shares tips on how to create a daily routine, implement exercise, having a healthy diet and how to communicate effectively with family and friends.

Dr Wissia Fiorucci, Director of Education and Languages Co-ordinator in the Department of Modern Languages

Dr Wissia Fiorucci appears on BBC radio Kent

Dr Wissia Fiorucci, Director of Education and Languages Co-ordinator in the Department of Modern Languages, has appeared on BBC Radio Kent as part of a discussion on whether, during the lockdown, it is easy to learn a new language online.

In the programme, Wissia discusses what it could be about British people in particular that makes it hard to learn a new language.

‘There is unfortunately a resistance towards learning different languages,” Wissia says, “Not from individuals, but obviously this is a country where the native language is spoken throughout the world. Therefore, motivation is somewhat lost.’

then goes on to discuss the benefits of broadening your horizon and careers prospects by picking up a language, and also comments on whether learning a language something you should start when you’re younger or if it can be picked up just as easily at any age.

‘At Kent, we have different pathways for students who have studied the language before and students want to start from scratch.” Wissia explains, “students who start as beginners often tend to actually become better because they have the passion and commitment that you can’t really have when you’re a child. I think that any age is fine to start learning a language as long as you’re motivated.’

You can listen to the full interview on the BBC website (timecode 1:13:00)