Monthly Archives: July 2020

Get ahead – what you can do before you arrive

Here are some things that you should do before you arrive at Kent.

Arrange your accommodation

At Kent we offer different types of accommodation to suit a variety of needs. These include a mixture of catered and self-catered, sociable and quiet and single and mixed-gender halls.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your preferences, as many halls places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Get in touch with your university’s accommodation office to discuss your options.

Sort out your finances

You’ll need to get your finances in order before fresher’s week. This may not seem like the most exciting task when preparing for university, but it’s one of the most important. We have put together a Money Timeline that covers all of this.

Decide what to take

Find out what’s provided at your accommodation to avoid making unnecessary purchases, and check how much storage you’ll have – there’s no point taking things you don’t have the space to keep. We have written a blog post about the items you will need.

Organise a railcard

Railcards offer value for money if you travel by train, saving you at least 1/3 on most rail fares. There are a variety of railcards available from the 16-25 Railcard, 26-30 Railcard and the Family railcard. You can find more information about them here.

Get reading

Many schools put their reading lists online weeks before their courses begin, or will send you the details via email. This will give you an idea of what to expect from your workload, and getting a head start on reading will build your confidence for lectures.

You don’t need to own every book on the list – identify the core texts and buy these. Any others you need will be available to borrow from your university library or to buy from former students for a fraction of their original retail price.

Get to know the area

You can read up on your campus town area by heading to Visit Kent, Kent County Council, Medway Council and Canterbury Council. Also try resources such as The Student Room who have threads about various student towns.

Learn to cook

Ask for help with making your favourite meals while you’re still at home – you’ll be glad you did once you’re fending for yourself. Student cookbooks, available in bookshops and online, focus on using simple ingredients and cooking on a budget.

Shopping cheaply is easier than you think – Co-op offers a 10% discount to NUS cardholders, and own-brand food from the supermarket is often of the same quality as the more expensive branded alternatives.

Gold Programme Gloabal Officers 2020

Kent students achieve GOLD!

The Global Officers Leadership Development (GOLD) Programme has celebrated another successful year which ended with our celebration event and certificate presentation taking place online.


The programme, led by Kent’s Dean for Internationalisation Dr Anthony Manning and International Partnerships, is a co-curricular venture which provides a framework of activities for globally minded undergraduate students at Kent to develop their leadership skills, global citizenship and cultural awareness.

This year’s cohort made an impact through their role in leading the various Global Hangouts that took place, leading the way with a green marketing strategy for Worldfest, introducing a speed-friending event for new international students and participating in our first Erasmus+ virtual exchange programme. Participants also took part in various workshops including Talking Cultures, event management, explored the concept of curriculum internationalisation and looked at their own cultural intelligence (CQ). Other activities they supported included orientation for new exchange students, the S Group Conference and provided campus tours for some of our international partners and visitors.

Students who have completed the programme have said that it has helped to increase their own cultural awareness, enhance their employability and given them the opportunity to meet a range of people from diverse backgrounds.

The Gold Programme was a highlight of my time at Kent. The team leading the programme listened to all of our ideas and supported us throughout the year. I developed many transferable skills, gave back to the student community, and made many new friends.
Melissa Couvet, LLB English and French Law

I thoroughly enjoyed my participation in the GOLD programme, not only do I think that it has allowed me to develop skills that have strengthened my employability, I also found the programme to be an important avenue for expression during an intense final year of study. I would recommend the GOLD programme to any student that is interested in further developing themselves personally and professionally.
Leo Harris, BA History and Spanish

Many of this year’s cohort were final year students and we wish them all the best for the future after their graduation.

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 28 July 2020

We have reached the time of year when most of us normally have the chance to draw breath. However, this has been an extraordinary time for the University and I wanted to acknowledge that I am aware of the impact that all the change we are going through is having on you as individuals. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done this year, particularly in recent months as we navigate our way back to some form of normality as lockdown eases. Your support in this, and in the measures we have taken to mitigate against the financial impact of Covid-19, has been invaluable.

Now that the consultation process has begun in areas going through changes under Organising for Success this summer, I also wanted to acknowledge the impact that this will be having on many colleagues both centrally and across our new academic divisions. There is no doubt that this is a challenging time and, more than ever, we need to support each other and work together through this period.

I end with my very best wishes for the summer, I do hope that you manage to have something of a break with family and friends and are able to re-charge your batteries for the new year.

Karen

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

August resits: Mindfulness workshops, 4 and 11 August

Are you taking August exams? Could you do with reducing your stress levels? Then booking onto an online Mindfulness workshop might be a good idea…

We are pleased to announce two online Mindfulness based stress reduction workshop for students sitting August exams – one on 4 August and one on 11 August, both from 12.00 – 13.00.

Places are limited, so please book your free place online using your Kent student login to access the booking site:

Book for Tuesday 4 August

Book for Tuesday 11 August

What is it?
In this free experiential workshop we aim to introduce you to the basics of mindfulness; a way of focusing on body and breath as an alternative to the usual panicked states we can find ourselves in both when revising, and when sitting an exam. The workshop facilitators, qualified counsellor Patmarie Coleman, and Wellbeing Adviser Richard Stack, will guide you to carry out the exercises individually and opportunities to share experiences with the other participants should you choose.

How do I join in?
The link to the hour-long Zoom meeting will be sent to you on the day of the workshop. You will have the option of using the video and audio functions to connect with the group or turn them off as you wish. You will also be able to rename yourself for the meeting using the Zoom function. The meeting hosts are staff members from Student Support and Wellbeing and will be facilitating the meeting from a private and confidential space.

If you have any queries, please email wellbeingevents@kent.ac.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Laptop, Coffee, Notebook, Pen & Glasses

Care First webinars w/c 27 July

The Covid-19 webinars from Care First continue the week commencing Monday 27 July. Please see below for the schedule and where you need to register.

Monday 27 July 2020 –  ‘The Emotional Impact of feeling hopeless during the COVID-19 pandemic’

Time: 14.00 – 15.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Tuesday 28 July 2020 – ‘COVID Fatigue’

Time: 12.00 – 12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 29 July 2020 – ‘Financial Wellbeing this Summer’

Time: 12.00 – 12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 30 July 2020 – ‘COVID-19: How the pandemic has changed our relationships’

Time: 14.00 – 14.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 31 July 2020 – ‘Lockdown Belly: how to lose weight and shrink your waistline’

Time: 12.00 – 12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

overhead view of laptop with person typing and plant on desk

Making virtual meetings work for you

Most of us are becoming more familiar with virtual meetings on platforms such as M365 Teams. While it’s great to be able to continue to connect with colleagues in this way, lengthy remote meetings can be intense and some people find them more tiring than in-person discussions.

Our COPE Framework is designed to help you work remotely and includes some useful hints and tips on virtual meetings, including:

  • Apply the same good practices as for face-to-face meetings – eg good agenda management and ensuring everyone can contribute.
  • Try to minimise the number of meetings where participants ‘round the table’ simply report and update on what they’ve done since the group last met.
  • To support staff wellbeing, it is strongly recommended to take a short break in any meeting lasting 60 minutes or more. We also recommend that no virtual meetings take place between 12.30 and 13.30 to ensure we all have time to eat!
  • Agree whether you have cameras on or off as part of the ‘ground rules’ for the meeting. It’s preferable to switch your camera on when you’re speaking or asking a question.
  • Recording a meeting could be helpful for those who could not attend, but only do this with the agreement of all participants.
  • When chairing a remote meeting, allow for longer pauses and silence after asking a question or inviting contributions. This gives people time to think as well as switch their microphone/camera back on.
  • Bear in mind two key principles for all meetings – remote or otherwise: BE RESPECTFUL of others’ time and contribution and BE PRESENT, focusing on the meeting rather than eg checking emails and completing other work.

You can find out more about adapting to our new ways of working in the updated COPE Framework.

Coronavirus

Returning to Kent in Autumn 2020

For the attention of all students returning as undergraduates in September 2020.

I hope you are enjoying the summer – even if the summer is not quite what you might have expected – and are getting some well-deserved rest. 

Here at the University, we are working hard to prepare our campuses for your return in September. 

Looking after all members of our community is our top priority so we are putting measures in place to help you stay safe, study and socialise on campus. 

To give you a better idea of what to expect, we have developed a set of FAQs with the students’ unions. Read the FAQs online now. These are being frequently updated in line with Government guidance, so please check the FAQs before you come to campus. 

Please note, Medway campus arrangements are being discussed with our campus partners (Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church) and more information will be available in due course. 

There is an accommodation Webchat on Friday 24 July at 10.00. Laura, from our Accommodation Team, will talk you through everything you need to know about on-campus accommodation. Lesley, from GK Unions, will also be sharing advice for students renting off-campus. Sign-up now. 

I also want to take this opportunity to remind you of the student support on offer over the summer. Our student support teams are on hand to help with any wellbeing, study or finance questions you have as are the Kent Union and GK Unions advice centres.

If you have any questions about returning in September 2020, please email studenthelp@kent.ac.uk. Alternatively, if your enquiry is about this summer’s exams and assessments, please email exams2020@kent.ac.uk.   

I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in September! 

Richard 

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience 

Kent Student Awards logo

Winners of the Kent Student Awards

The University of Kent and Kent Union have announced the winners of the annual Kent Student Awards, via a video live-stream broadcast to all students via the University’s YouTube channel.

The event took place on Monday and the ceremony was hosted by Karen Cox, Vice Chancellor and President of the UniversitySasha Langeveldt, President of Kent Union; and Gavin Esler, Chancellor of the University.

The winners of the Kent Student Awards 2020 were:

Outstanding Contribution to Media and the Arts

Nathan Keates, for running improvisation classes and bringing people of different backgrounds and age groups together in the community. In doing this, he has shown the merit and uniqueness among student projects.

The T24 Drama Society, which had six shows each term in 2019, donating £300 to charities such as East Bridge Hospital in Canterbury and the Roald Dahl foundation, with upcoming donations to Mind and a local LGBTQ+, in addition to providing stage experience to those with none.

Outstanding Contribution to the Community

British Red Cross On Campus: UKC, for developing the welfare hubs project on the Canterbury campus, delivering peer to peer welfare hubs at University events. Since the Summer Ball, the project has trained 30 Kent Safe Mate volunteers in basic physical and mental health First Aid.

Elena Ilia and Libby Kane, for further developing the university-based charity UKC STAR (Student Action for Refugees), whose aim is to help refugees by spreading awareness of the issues facing refugees and asylum seekers, and coordinating volunteers to help on projects.

Outstanding Contribution to Sports Development

Charles Dabbs, for his role as President of the Ice Hockey club this year and contributing to the development of the club and sport in general at Kent. He has helped to reorganise the structure of the Ice Hockey Club, in a way that has provided new opportunities for student athletes.

Molly Walsh, for leading the lifting group Kent Barbell to have Kent’s first ever Olympic Weightlifting team, with Molly herself spending her own time and considerable effort to qualify as a British Weightlifting coach to help the club.

Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability

Yasmin Ali, who has made significant contributions to sustainability action at the University. Yasmin has been committed to leading student engagement on social justice and sustainability issues, spearheading awareness-raising on the links between colonialism and the climate emergency as well as facilitating climate activism through creating “DeCO2”. Yasmin is also a co-founder of the Swish Society, encouraging grassroots action against fast fashion in Canterbury.

Carolyn Postlethwaite, as the first elected Sustainability Network Chair where she has organised events and supported initiatives in sustainability, including; Sustainability Network Nights, a Network coffee morning and a week of events related to climate action. Carolyn’s efforts contributed significantly to Kent’s sustainability, and she is expanding plans to care for Kent’s campus wildlife.

Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity

Christine Bishop, as Class and School Rep, has listened to the student voice and liaised with Kent Business School to ensure concerns and ideas are always addressed. She has supported Academic Peer Mentoring for others throughout the University experience and has campaigned for the school to employ a student support officer for BAME students.

Lama Jaghjougha, for recognising the vulnerability of immigrant and refugee women, even more so for those wearing the hijab, leading to her establishing the initiative (RWAN – Raise Women’s Awareness Network); supporting and encouraging immigrant and refugee women in their goals of further study, training and employment.

Outstanding Contribution to Student Voice

Kester Campbell, who has played a huge part in representing the student voice as the Biomedical Student Rep for his 1st and 2nd year and now in his final year is the Biosciences School Rep. His continual commitment in being a liaison with academic staff has helped many students through their academic journey.

Loveness Williams, who has supported fellow students, advocating for their rights and concerns as their Student Rep. Her efforts in supporting one another fostered unity and togetherness amongst the whole group and she has fulfilled her role with a high level of professionalism and dedication, finding a way to encourage everyone.

Young Europeans, which signed up over 500 new members to their mailing list at the 2019/20 academic year, helping to create a community of pro-European students. Most recently the society organised a European solidarity march on 31 January to show the European staff and students at the University of Kent that they are welcome, helping to support those feeling isolated during the Brexit process.

Outstanding Contribution to Fundraising

Kent Islamic Society, which raised £14,524 to fund a variety of different international projects such as cancer treatment and care in Gaza, constructing schools and providing access to education in Niger, Afghanistan and the Middle East and providing emergency aid to Syria, Sudan and Southern Africa. This campaign pushed students out of their comfort zone to learn new skills.

Kent Uni Boob Team, who have put of a range of events stressing the importance of getting to know your body in order to detect early signs of breast cancer in a climate where young people are often ignored and deemed too young to have breast cancer. The team have been a vital part of spreading the message of breast cancer awareness, having collaborated with multiple sports teams and societies to give a fifteen minute talk at the beginning of events. The team has raised over £2000 this year.

Outstanding Contribution to Academic Communities

Economics Society, whose aim this year has been to engage students with economics outside lectures, running weekly meetings on various topics within economics and arranging social events. The society has organised an Economics Summit and a trip to Frankfurt (to visit the European Central Bank as well as the European financial district). The summit has sold nearly 150 tickets, with various economic experts scheduled to speak on some of the biggest issues facing our decade.

Mooting & Mock Trial Clerks, Nicole Bolick and Nathaly Andreou, who have arranged 10 full Crown Court Trials (involving 200 student jurors, professional judges and actor witnesses), external moot competitions as well as the internal mooting programme. They had to arrange and co-ordinate the student judges and mentored the teams, co-ordinating 80 students. These co-curricular activities are vital to the law school’s curriculum and for the experience of students.

The Mike Oliver Award for Improving Accessibility

Paul-Georg Ender, who has helped in preventing the need for retrospective adjustments. This includes both the physical and digital spaces at Kent, such as evaluating tactile bumpers that the library will install on their steps and providing user feedback on Moodle and Blackboard Ally software, which are key to the student experience. Paul has engaged with this so much that he has launched initiatives of his own such as suggesting the creation of a tactile 3D map of the campus. This has now led to the creation of a PhD project in the School of Architecture.

Krysia Waldock, who organised Kent’s first ever Autism Pride event on 1 September. The event raised awareness of autism in general; raising awareness of autism support services provided at the University of Kent; providing a forum for information and discussion for autistic people in the region.

Student of the Year

The University and Kent Union were delighted to announce Paul-Georg Ender as 2020 Student of the Year, for his outstanding efforts in improving accessibility on campus and for Kent digitally.

Group of the Year

For their excellent work in supporting international emergency relief efforts to Syria, Sudan and Southern Africa, the Kent Islamic Society has been announced as 2020 Group of the Year.

Academic Support Services guide has been updated

Student Learning Advisory Service have released the new version of the Academic Support Services guide. It is aimed at new and returning students and focuses on the services Student Learning Advisory Service offer.

In the guide you will find information about 1 to 1 appointments, the Royal Literary Fund Fellows and the various partnerships with schools.

You can download the guide here.