Earlier this week, a report by the Runnymede Trust showed that less than 1% of university professors in the UK are black, a figure that has not changed in five years. Here at Kent, work is underway to address racial inequality and to create a change in culture. We are early in the process of this activity and are committed to working with students and staff as we continue to take it forward. Next week Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance, who is the EG lead on this work, will publish a blog setting out our approach.
As part of this work, we are launching our ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign, which includes a programme of learning and development for staff. We will also provide staff and students with clear and transparent information and updates relating to this work on the website so that we can be held accountable by our community for the actions we take in this area. In the meantime, I would urge all staff to sign-up to a short series of live webinars on ‘Race & Racism’ that have been developed in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University and City, University of London.
With the Spring Term now underway, it was good to hear of the experiences of some of our international students at this week’s Global Showcase event. It was truly heartening to see that that even those who have not been able to join us in person due to Covid-19 feel that they are very much part of our community and have a strong sense of receiving an international experience. My thanks go to all of you who have worked so hard to support our international students alongside with the rest of our student body
Over 130 people took part in the event, and there is no doubt that there is a huge amount of work taking place across the University to develop our international activities and that having to move online has paved the way for innovative thinking around our offer to international students. In addition, while we were all disappointed that the UK will no longer be part of the Erasmus scheme, the new Turing scheme will provide global opportunities for UK students to study and work abroad. We are well placed to engage fully with this scheme as it starts in September 2021, and which targets students from disadvantaged backgrounds among others.
We have now held the second of our Covid-19 staff webchats this week. It was good to hear from a range of staff once again and to see so many of you via the screen! I hope you find the meetings useful. We will continue to do these weekly and post the videos of the meetings afterwards for those who are unable to attend.
With my very best wishes to you and your family,
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President