I know there has been a lot going on over the last week or so as we come to the end of exams, move into marking and then exam boards. Doing all of this remotely is not straightforward when people are working in a range of difficult circumstances. In addition, I am conscious that many colleagues are involved in work to re-open the campus and that is also challenging to ensure it is done appropriately and safely. This work does however remain on schedule.
As lockdown continues to ease, we are confident that, despite the inevitable restrictions, we will be able to offer our students a rounded, albeit different, student experience. However, we are conscious that the impact of Covid-19 has been particularly hard on our final-year students. The class of 2020 will inevitably face a very different world to the one they might have imagined entering into as a graduate at the start of the year. We have just launched a campaign highlighting the support and guidance available to all our graduates through the Careers and Employability Service, as well as highlighting a range of postgraduate opportunities. Given the pressure our students have been under, it was great to hear about our fourth-year Modern Language students conducting online tutoring sessions, engaging sixth-form students in language exercises and conversation in French, German, Italian and Spanish!
We have much to be proud of across the University, but as I noted last week we have issues to address as well in relation to creating a genuinely inclusive and welcoming campus for staff and students. This week I was invited to take part in an online student forum organised by Kent Union. Entitled ‘My Campus is Racist – In Conversations’, this was an opportunity to listen to our students about the challenges they face on a daily basis. We have work to do to address the concerns and challenges they raised and my thanks to those colleagues who are already working hard on this across the institution to enable us to do better.
I send my good wishes to you, your families and friends and look forward to the time when we can be back on our campuses once more.
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President