Monthly Archives: March 2021

Laptop, Coffee, Notebook, Pen & Glasses

Care first webinars w/c 5 April 2021

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 5 April – Friday 9 April) webinars are as follows:

Monday 5 April 2021 – BANK HOLIDAY

Tuesday 6 April 2021 – ‘How Care first Can Support You’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 7 April 2021 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 8 April 2021 – ‘Social Media, Technology and Young People’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 9 April 2021 – ‘Tips for Managers and Leaders during the COVID-19 Pandemic’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link


woman working on a laptop on a desk with a notebook

Care first webinars w/c 29 March 2021

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 29 March – Friday 2 April) webinars are as follows:

Monday 29 March 2021 – ‘Spring Clean Your Wellbeing’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Tuesday 30 March 2021 – ‘Isolation After Lockdown Eases’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 31 March 2021 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 1 April 2021 – ‘Managing Pressure’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 2 April 2021 – BANK HOLIDAY

Kent logo

Covid-19 update – roadmap, testing and accommodation for exams

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

Some of you will know that according to the Government’s current roadmap, the next stage of relaxing the coronavirus restrictions will take place on 29 March.

From 29 March

You may meet outdoors, including in private gardens, with 5 other people not in your household (the ‘Rule of 6’) or as 2 households. Indoor socialising is still not permitted.

You may take part in outdoor sporting activities including team sports. The planned reopening of our sports facilities is outlined on our Kent Sport website.

The ‘stay at home’ rule ends on 29 March. Consequently, you can return to your campus or term-time accommodation from then onwards should you choose to do so and access our currently available facilities. Please bear in mind that teaching for the majority of you will continue to be online until the end of term, and if you do return to campus we encourage you to minimise travel and take part in regular Covid-19 testing.

Postgraduate research students (PGRs) are still expected to work from home unless this is impossible. Access to campus office spaces for PGRs remains extremely limited and only under special circumstances with prearranged agreement. Those PGRs who have already been working on campus can continue to do so under the same conditions.

Our Student Guide events calendar contains many different online activities that you can take part in, as well as links to Kent Union and GKSU, so please get involved.

Covid-19 testing

Thank you to all of you back on campus who are getting tested regularly at our asymptomatic testing site. It is so important you continue to do so, to help look after your friends and those around you.

Please play your part so we can all get back to the life we miss at Kent.

For students on the Canterbury campus, did you know that by being tested regularly you’re entitled to free coffees and lunch? Find out more about our great reward programme.

Summer Term accommodation at Canterbury

Would you like to live on the Canterbury campus during the Summer Term, to help with your studies and taking your examinations?

We can provide a range of accommodation options, from 24-hour to the whole term. 24-hour accommodation will be charged at £35 per night. This price includes bedding, kitchen equipment and your own shower facilities. Longer booking periods are available at discounted rates; please contact for further information.

Our booking form is now available, please enter the promotion code EXAMSTUDY to reserve your room. Availability is limited until the Government restrictions are eased (currently 17 May at the earliest) so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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

Introducing a new approach to Knowledge Exchange

On Wednesday 24 March, Research and Innovation Services (RIS) welcomed practitioners from PraxisAuril, Research England and Universities UK to talk to Research and Innovation (R&I) staff from across the University about the emerging Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and Knowledge Exchange Concordat (KEC).

The aim of the KEF is to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public funding for KE and to further a culture of continuous improvement in universities. It will form the third pillar of assessment of university activities, alongside the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The KEC will support this, by asking Universities to sign up to good principles and practice which embed KE into the institution.

The KEF will help us to enhance our KE activities at Kent and benefit the region and beyond. Our submission to the development year KEF as well as participation in the KEC are already clearly helping us to get a much clearer sense of what we have achieved, what we’re doing really well and what we can achieve in the future on the KE front. They will enable us to live up to our ambitions as a civic University, permitting not just high quality research but also to making wherever possible a positive difference within society and more widely.” Shane Weller, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation Services

Whilst many R&I staff members work with some element of knowledge exchange, few have come into direct contact with the KEF and the KEC. Last weeks’ event, which was open to all academic staff supporting knowledge exchange and innovation within our Schools, and Divisions, was an opportunity for staff to increase their understanding of the KEF and KEC, and build their confidence in how they can play a part in the University’s Knowledge Exchange activity and reporting.

Tamsin Mann, Greg Wade, Hamish McAlpine, Myles Hanlon and Carole Barron
Tamsin Mann (top left), Greg Wade (top right), Hamish McAlpine (bottom left), Myles Hanlon (middle), Carole Barron (bottom right)


The event kicked off with an introduction from Deputy Vice Chancellor of RIS, Shane Weller, followed by an overview of the KEF from Dr Hamish McAlpine, Head of Knowledge Exchange Data and Evidence at Research England. Policy Manager, Greg Wade, and Policy Researcher, Myles Hanlon, from Universities UK then shared their knowledge from leading on the development and implementation of the KEC, after which Tamsin Mann, Head of Policy at PraxisAuril provided a rounded perspective on what the KEF and KEC might achieve and some of the challenges and opportunities facing the Knowledge Exchange community in the University sector. In the second half of the event, staff members joined Shane Weller and Director of Knowledge Exchange and Innovation and appointed KE Condordat Evaluator, Carole Barron, for an internal discussion about what the KEF and KEC will mean for Kent.

A full recording of the event is available for University of Kent staff to watch online here.

Eastern Arc logo

Registration for EARC Conference 2021 now open

The Eastern Arc Conference 2021 is now open for registration. Taking place between 10-14 May, it will be a series of five daily 2-hour online sessions, based around the EARC thematic priorities. You can choose to join as many of the individual sessions as you like; the intention is for it to be flexible and fit with your interests and availability.

Entitled ‘Aftermath’, the conference will look at where we are now, after the tumultuous events of 2020. We will look at how agriculture may change following our departure from the EU, the challenges we face in researching the alt-right and other radical groups, whether the new way of managing health will impact research funding in the UK, and how cultural organisations have survived the challenges of lockdown.

We’ll also hear from the British Academy about how the events of the last 12 months have affected its work, and will look at how Eastern Arc itself has evolved in that period.

Click here to find out more about the conference and to register. There’s also time to submit an abstract to host one of our breakout sessions; the deadline for these is 31 March.

It is free and open to all, both within and beyond the three EARC universities of UEA, Essex and Kent.

Kick-start your fitness journey with our Exercise Referral Scheme

 Article from Kent Sport

It’s difficult to know where to start when beginning your health and fitness journey, or getting back into a fitness routine after some time out. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruption to all of our lives; and with gyms reopening on Monday 12 April*, now is a great time to think about kick-starting your journey to a healthier you.

The Exercise Referral Scheme is designed to promote physical activity for people who have an existing health condition and are physically inactive. The weekly check-ins over a 12-week period will keep you motivated to stick to your programme with help and guidance from our Exercise Referral Team.

What does the Exercise Referral Scheme involve?

At the beginning of the programme, a member of our Exercise Referral team will meet with you for an initial consultation, where they will discuss your medical history questionnaire, exercise history, a nutrition questionnaire and a diary to help get you started with your programme. Then, they will provide you with a tailored 12-week personal exercise programme and will support you throughout the programme with diet advice, review your progress and discuss your general wellbeing.

After the 12-week programme, your Exercise Referral instructor will discuss your progress and how you are going to continue with your new, healthier lifestyle.

How do I find out more?

To read more about our Exercise Referral Scheme and to check whether you are eligible, please visit our website.

University sets new zero carbon target

The University has set a target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040 but is already planning how to engage students, staff and other stakeholders to achieve this target earlier – by 2035.

Our Executive Group has agreed the new target following a review of our current emissions, building performance, financial resources and available technologies.

The target applies to scope 1 and 2 emissions (gas, electricity and University-owned vehicles) by 2040 at the latest, with scope 3 emissions (including business travel, emissions from waste and water) targeted for net zero by 2050.

The new target will be a key objective in the University Sustainability Strategy currently being developed by our Sustainability Steering Group. It builds on a carbon emissions reduction target set in 2010, which aimed to reduce emissions by 23% by 2020 and was achieved a year early.

Next steps

A Carbon Management Plan will set out the roadmap for achieving the new target, stating how we will reduce carbon emission across the whole institution, from buildings and operations to teaching and research. Progress will be monitored by our Sustainability Steering Group, chaired by Richard Reece, DVC Education and Student Experience.

Catherine Morris, Environmental Adviser at Kent, comments: While technologies such as renewable energy generation and decarbonised heating systems will play a large part in achieving the target, ultimately, it is people’s behaviours’ and activities that drive the demand for energy. By adopting a whole-institution approach to carbon management, we hope to reduce demand alongside supporting our staff and students to adopt low-carbon lifestyles and to contribute to local, national and global sustainability efforts.’

Getting involved

The Sustainability Team is keen to hear what you think about its sustainability plans. Have your say now via our sustainability consultation, which is open until the end of April.

Staff can also get involved by becoming Futureproof sustainability champions and students have the option to become sustainability ambassadors.

Further information is available on our Sustainability webpages.

Picture shows: John Kingsland, Energy Engineer, Estates Department.

Staff in Registry 4

Update on the activity to reduce workload pressure

From Martin Atkinson | Deputy Director of HR  

It continues to be an incredibly busy time, with significant workload pressure on staff being further exacerbated by the ongoing Covid pandemic. Both Executive Group and managers more widely fully recognise this and are hugely appreciative of everybody’s ongoing efforts at what is such as challenging time. There are a number of projects underway to address some of the underlying causes of this, which are summarised below. 

Process Improvement 

Adapting to our divisional structure is a continuing priority as new team structures bed in across the University. Alongside this, we have much still to do at a strategic level to improve our processes. This is a major focus in the weeks and months ahead, with the Project Management Office leading a wider look at how we work and what different areas could do to simplify things. This will be a mix of quick fixes and things that will take longer, but is a key activity for us as a University. 

Academic Workload

Alongside this, our DVC Academic Strategy Planning & Performance Georgina Randsley de Moura is leading a longer term project looking at how academic workloads are allocated, with a view to creating an set of agreed principles across the University, that will give better visibility of staff workload overall. This will facilitate the management of academic workload and enhance transparency of commitment towards diversity, equality, and well-being, whilst also allowing space for disciplinary difference. This project includes talking with stakeholders across the organisation (including divisional management teams and UCU) to understand their priorities. The intention is to bring transparency and consistency to managing workloads across the divisions, and facilitate cross-divisional working.

Future of Work survey 

Part of the pressure at the moment is the continued challenge of working from home, and as we start to look ahead to what a return to campus might look like, we are determined find the right balance between old and new approaches. A number of you have already completed our Future of Work survey to help with our planning around this; do share your thoughts if you haven’t already. 

Closer Working Relationships  

We are also looking at opportunities to do more to strengthen the connection between senior leaders and staff on the frontline. Opportunities like our ongoing staff webchats are part of this, but we are also looking into what else we can do to further build those connections. 

Hopefully this will go some way to reassure staff how seriously we take workload as an issue, and how determined we are to lighten the load for staff in the months ahead wherever possible. 

SYA logo

Neurodivergence workshop as part of Autism Acceptance Month

We are all part of the neurodiversity of humanity, where everyone experiences the world in different ways. In this  online workshop, Dr Chloe Farahar will work with you to discuss the challenges and strengths of being neurodivergent (e.g. Autistic; attention differences; anxiety; etc.); how your strengths can make you a great university student; and how the University of Kent has dedicated support for the challenges neurodivergent students face in education.

Session overview:

  • What is neurodiversity and what kinds of neurodivergence are there?
  • Life in labels (trigger warning for non-detailed mention of suicidal thoughts).
  • A rose by any other name would smell of…stigma (the importance of language).
  • Challenges and strengths of being neurodivergent.
  • Being Autistic at university and the support offered at Kent: Q & A ask questions about university life.

You can attend the workshop in a way that suits you, so you can say as little as you like, use the chat function only, or just attend – all modes of participation are welcome.

Sign up for the ‘Understanding, Accepting & Embracing Neurodivergent Experiences in the World’ online workshop now.

There is a vast amount of support available here at Kent including:

Throughout April, as part of the National Autism Acceptance Month, we want to celebrate neurodiversity at Kent, @unikentssw and @humansofukc are working together to amplify the voices of our neurodivergent students. If you are Autistic and want to contribute, send a direct message to @unikentssw and @humansofukc explaining what being Autistic means to you, your experiences will be reposted anonymously for the Kent community to understand and celebrate neurodivergent experiences.

University Teaching Prizes 2021

Each year, the University awards a number of prizes to individual staff or teams for outstanding work in teaching and/or learning support. This year colleagues are encouraged to submitted applications which address three criteria: Excellence in Teaching or Supporting Learning, Dissemination & Influence and Above and Beyond Expectations of Normal Operation. The call for applications for the 2021 prizes is now open.

The closing date for applications is Friday 14 May 2021.

The application form can be downloaded from the CSHE website