Monthly Archives: June 2021

A new vision for staff news and information  

The University is creating a new online space for staff information, as our new staff intranet, delivered through SharePoint OnlineIt will be the go-to place for staff information and news.  

Rather than one size fits all, you’ll be able to tailor the new intranet to what works best for you. Each Division and Department will have its own special space to share with its community, and staff will be able to choose much of the news they see depending on their interests. 

Using SharePoint Online as the basis of our new intranet will ensure compatibility with all our other Microsoft 365 tools, including Teams, OneDrive and other apps.  

What type of information will be on it? 

  • University-wide news  
  • University-wide resources  
  • Departmental and divisional news, resources, events and information 
  • Project information and document sharing  
  • Specialist topic areas such as Copyright and Finance 

See how all the Staff Intranet will fit in with other Microsoft 365 tools 

It will replace the Staff Guide on the University website, and current SharePoint sites such as the departmental, divisional and project sites housed in SharePoint 2013. 

Why we’re changing things 

Our new staff intranet will offer the following benefits:  

  • Simpler to find what you need – no need to search in numerous places online 
  • Single source of accurate information 
  • Easy to manage and update content through a simple interface  
  • Keeps audience-specific content separate e.g. staff and student information 
  • Let’s you tailor content that is relevant to you  

Timeframe for introduction

Divisions already have access to a SharePoint Online Communications hub site, and are putting in content useful for their own division.

July – October 2021 

  • We’ll consult with your department / directorate to understand your needs and requirements for storing and sharing staff information. We’ll take this feedback into account when developing the service.
  • We’ll pilot intranet sites with different business areas across the University. 
  • Professional service directorates’ needs will be gathered over this period. 

November 2021 to 2022  

There will be a phased approach to the creation of intranet sites across academic divisions and professional service directorates. 

By September 2022 

Existing SharePoint 2013 sites will become ‘read only’. 

End 2022 

Work is expected to be completed by end 2022. SharePoint 2013 sites will need to close by then. 


We’ll offer training and guidance to support you in creating your new intranet presence and choosing the most appropriate place to store your content. There will be no automated transferring of information from SharePoint 2013 to the new intranet 

You’ll need to plan in some time to review all your current staff-based content stored elsewhere eg SharePoint, Staff Guide, the website. It will take time to review and scope your new intranet area. 

It is suggested that you identify a lead person for this workWe’ll be in touch to identify with you the best way to proceed.  

What should we call it? 

The new intranet is a first for the University and a unique opportunity to celebrate our staff community and everything that makes it special to work at Kent. 

We need a name for our new staff intranet and would welcome your suggestions. Head over to Yammer now and cast your vote on the options, or feel free to add your own!  

There will be a new SharePoint Online site published soon with all the information you will need about the staff intranet and how you will be supported in this change.  

For further information contact: Isobel Linthwaite, Collaboration Services Owner, through Teams or email 

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 30 June 2021

This week was another reminder of the disruptive impact of Covid-19 as we took the difficult decision to end much of our campus activity a week early. None of us wanted this and I know how hard many have worked to give our students the send-off they deserve. However, adapting quickly to fast-moving events has been critical all year and once the rise in cases became apparent, we had little choice but to switch to supporting students to return home safely. This takes a huge combined effort and I cannot express enough my appreciation for what all of you are doing to keep our community safe.

This marks a strange end to another unprecedented term. At Council on Friday we reflected on both the unpredictable environment we continue to operate in and, importantly, the progress we’ve managed to make in spite of it – including our recent Silver Athena SWAN Award, which reflects fantastic work to further equality and diversity across the University.

While I know it has been far from easy, we have also made significant steps to improve our financial position this year and I’m pleased that we will be able to take the brakes off some of our more immediate restraints from last year, such as the pay freeze. We do, though, continue to carry an underlying deficit and face challenges ahead, from planned pension changes to the Government’s much anticipated spending review. Keeping within our means will remain critical as we turn our focus more and more to growing our income, implementing the priorities set out in Kent 2025 and continue towards a more sustainable position and successful future.

Friday’s Council discussion also touched on our political environment, with the continued focus on the impact of universities and issues surrounding freedom of expression. Academic freedom and freedom of speech are fundamental to our work and we have a statutory duty to uphold them; similarly, equality, diversity and respect are our central values, backed by legal obligations under the Equalities Act. It is within this context that Council as our governing body approved adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, following a formal Government request. They also approved usage of the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism to support with interpretation after feedback from staff, students, Senate and wider legal advice. This is an important step in ensuring our Jewish community feel safe on campus and we will be shortly sharing more information on implementation as part of our continued work to tackle discrimination and racism.

Finally, I know that recent weeks have included challenges for many as work continues to bed in KentVision. This has had a big impact on exam boards in particular, and I want to apologise for the extra pressure this has placed on staff and to thank all those involved for the way they have responded to a difficult situation. The KentVision team are working hard to address these initial issues and relieve any additional workload as quickly as possible. I also wanted to point to our upcoming Clearing efforts later in the summer, where we will need a university-wide approach to support our Marketing and Recruitment colleagues and teams in the academic Divisions to ensure a successful outcome; more details on how we can all help with this will be shared shortly.

In the meantime, my thanks once again for all that you have contributed over this last year. I wish you all the very best for the summer.

With my best wishes to you and your families,


Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Our new Hybrid Working Scheme is now live

Applications open today (Wednesday 30 June) for staff who wish to choose where they work for part of the week.

Under our new Hybrid Working Scheme – open to all professional services staff on UK employment contracts – if your job is suitable for remote working, you can request to work off-campus for up to two days per week, starting from 20 September 2021.

Staff who are contracted to work on four days per week or more will be able to apply to work remotely up to two days per week. Staff who work on fewer than four days can apply for one remote working day per week.

How to apply

The default application window for eligible staff is from 30 June – 30 July 2021. This may be varied locally, if necessary due to logistical constraints, and you will be notified if this is the case.

To apply, log into Staff Connect and go to ‘My Forms’ where you will find a link to the Hybrid Working Scheme application documents.  It is important that you read the Application Guide on the HR pages, and take into account any local parameters that have been shared with you by your line manager, before submitting your application.

Your application will be assessed by your line manager, in consultation with your departmental director and in line with agreed criteria. This will take account of what is operationally viable for you in your role, service requirements and overall needs of your team. Managers are being encouraged to facilitate hybrid working wherever operationally possible.

Why we’re doing it

The new scheme underlines the benefits of hybrid working for both the University and our staff. We believe that giving you more choice and control over where you work helps build mutual trust, employee motivation and wellbeing, and can result in enhanced performance.

The Hybrid Working Scheme has been developed in consultation with a JSNCC Working Group and cross-section of other key stakeholders across the University.

Find out more

Further information on the Hybrid Working Scheme, including FAQs, is available now on our HR webpages.

4 different coloured dustbins

Moving out – bin amnesty information (Canterbury)

A bin amnesty will operate from Monday 28 June to Friday 23 July 2021 on these Canterbury roads to help you with moving out.

Where black bin bags would not normally be collected, they will be picked up during the amnesty period to cover students moving out of their properties. The black bin bags should be placed next to the normal bins on your regular bin collection day.

The local recycling centre is open 7 days a week and can be used by appointment only – please ensure you book a timeslot.

Unwanted furniture and bulky household items can be donated to Necessary Furniture and the British Heart Foundation. Get in contact with them to arrange a free collection.

Next Generation Impact: ‘Engaging the public with research’

The University of Kent Research Excellence Team, in collaboration with KMTV, present ‘Next Generation Impact’; the first streamed impact series for all levels of academic and professional staff across our sector.

The series will tackle all aspects of the impact agenda, from engagement to working in partnership and funding impact activities.

The next session titled ‘Maximising impact: engaging the public with research’ will take place online on Thursday 1 July 12.00 – 13.00 and will contemplate the future of engagement with research in a post-Covid world. This open to all ll levels of academic and professional staff across the sector.

Who’s on the panel:

Catherine Richardson, Professor Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent and Director of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (ICCI)

Alex Stevens, Professor in Criminal Justice at the University of Kent

Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kent and Director of Gateways to the First World War

Book your place  by visiting the Next Generation Impact website

Summer library and IT services for postgraduates

We’re here to support your studies throughout the summer:

  • library opening hours
  • study spaces open on campus
  • survey tool now available for taught postgraduates
  • your chance to feed into the development of our new A-Z of e-resources.

Library opening hours

During the Summer Vacation, the Templeman Library opening hours are:

  • Weekdays: 09:00 to 21:00
  • Weekends: 09:00 to 18:00
  • Monday 30 August (summer bank holiday): closed

See the full Templeman Library opening hours and the support available and keep checking our Library and IT services blog post for updates.

The Drill Hall Library’s opening hours (from 28 June) are:

  • Weekdays: 09:00 to 19:00
  • Weekends: 09:00 to 17:00

Check the Drill Hall Library opening hours.

Senate Postgraduate Study Hub

Good news! The Senate Postgraduate Study Hub will be open 24/7 throughout the summer vacation.

More about study space in the Library and on campus

Online Surveys – now available to all postgrads

Online Surveys is now available to taught postgraduates as well as research postgraduates and staff.

The tool allows you to design, share and analyse web-based surveys. Your survey can:

  • be simple or more complex
  • include a variety of question types, such as multiple choice, free text and scales
  • be shared through a link or embedded in an email or social media post

The in-built reporting capabilities allow you to filter data and represent it with different graphs. You can also export the data into a PDF report or into other software for more analysis (for example Excel or SPSS).

To get started, you need to apply for an Online Surveys account.

Help us improve the A-Z of e-resources

Do you ever use our A-Z of e-resources on the Library and IT website?

We are working on replacing it with a tool you can search and filter, with more in-depth descriptions of each resource.

If you can spare a few minutes this summer to help us get it right, please email We’ll set up an individual Teams call with you to demo the new tool and get your feedback.

Here’s a screenshot of our prototype, showing the search box, filters and a list of resources.

LGBTQIA+ letters written in the colours of the rainbow on closed fingers on hands pressed together

Pride Month – Supporting our LGBTQIA+ Community at Kent

Around the world, June is recognised as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) Pride Month to commemorate a tipping point in queer human rights history — the Stonewall Riots uprising. Find out more about Pride Month.

As a part of Pride Month we wanted to highlight the many LGBTQIA+ groups and networks at the University.

Find out more about our LGBTQIA+ Community at Kent:

Harassment reporting

We fully support and encourage all our students and staff to report incidents of racism, harassment and discrimination.  This is through INK for Students or the Reporting Tool for Staff. Students needing additional support during particularly difficult times are also welcomed to contact Student Support & Wellbeing

For allies

We recognise that it can be challenging to know how to support other members of our community facing discrimination and harassment or speaking out when we witness or hear transphobia. We want to encourage all students to stand and be an ally of the LGBT+ community. Here are some tips on how to be an ally to the community, no matter your gender identity or sexuality:

  1. Be open to learning about the adversity faced by LGBTQIA+ people
    Educating yourself, and learning about the difficulties faced by those within the community is an important part of being an ally. By being open to listen and learn about the problems, we can better understand the importance of pride month, and can in turn become a better ally.
  2. Understand our own privileges
    By understanding our own privileges, we are able to become more aware of certain things we don’t need to think about purely because of the way we were born. It can help us to better empathise with groups like the LGBTQIA+ community.
  3. Familiarise yourself with the correct language
    Making sure to use the correct terminology and being respectful is vital to being a good ally. If you are unsure of someone’s pronouns or label, ask them respectfully. Stonewall have put together a helpful glossary.
  4. Stand up against discrimination or hateful language
    Of course, we should all fight back against any discrimination we encounter, but often this can be intimidating, especially when the hateful language is spoken by a friend or family member. Correcting those around us when they may harm the LGBTQIA+ community is vital, as we must all hold each other to account for our actions and words. We encourage everyone to stand up for those that may be marginalised in society, and remind others that there is no room for hateful or discriminatory language or actions.

Find out more about being an ally

Access resources

Using the resources available removes the burden of questions, explanations and discussions from members of the LGBTQIA+ community – the links below are an excellent starting point for people wanting to understand more.

Our LGBT+ network have a fantastic blog that covers ongoing news, events and challenges – stay up to date with the issues affecting the community.

Mermaids UK and Stonewall have easily accessible resources and Q&A that cover many of the relevant issues.

For more information and support please visit LGBTQ+ webpages.

Find out more about the University of Kent’s commitment to creating and supporting a balanced, inclusive and diverse community.

Kent Summer Fest cancellation

Over the weekend, we took the difficult decision to cancel all remaining Kent Summer Fest activity a week early, along with all other non-essential student activity on campus. This is due to a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases among students on our Canterbury campus, meaning we had no choice but to take this precautionary step.

I know this will be hugely disappointing for many of our students and it is not something we wanted to do. However, the safety of everyone on campus has to remain our top priority and we did not feel we had any other choice once the number of positive cases became clear. This also followed advice from the local Health Protection Team who confirmed this was the ‘responsible action’ for us to take.

Our focus now is on supporting all students who were due to leave on-campus accommodation on 3 July to return home as soon as possible, once they have completed all testing requirements in line with the latest Government travel guidance. We have written to all our on-campus residents and event ticket holders and will be writing again today to all of our students based at Canterbury. There is also more information on on-site testing on our Covid-19 webpages.

I would like to thank everybody for the huge effort they’ve put in to coordinating Kent Summer Fest, which was a true team effort across the University. At its heart, the events were an attempt to give our students an opportunity to come together and mark the end of what has been such a challenging year – it is a real shame for everyone that the ongoing pandemic has once again got in the way of our plans.

I would also like to thank all of our staff across a number of areas who are pulling out all the stops to support students with getting testing, self-isolating when they need to, and keeping our campuses safe for everyone. All of your effort and commitment across the year has been truly exemplary and I am humbled to be working with so many dedicated colleagues.

With all best wishes,


Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of Covid-19 Silver Command

Kent Summer Fest cancellation and travelling home

For the attention of those students currently living or studying on campus or visiting to access campus facilities.

As many of you have already heard, yesterday we had to take the difficult decision to cancel all remaining non-essential on-campus student activities a week earlier than planned. This is due to a rapid increase in the number of positive cases of Covid-19 among students on the Canterbury campus. 

While we have no evidence that the rise in cases is linked to our events or the use of campus facilities, given the national picture and the number of you that are needing to self-isolate both on and off campus, we needed to take this step as a precaution.

We know how disappointing this news is, and we share your frustration that the ongoing pandemic has once again disrupted our plans to come together. For those who have booked onto paid activities, event organisers will be in touch soon with further details regarding refunds.

With the exception of those already self-isolating, we are now advising anyone who was planning to leave campus at the end of this week to travel home at the earliest opportunity to ensure we do all we can to minimise the risk of further cases.

Returning home

Walk-in on-site asymptomatic (symptom free) lateral flow tests are available in the Sibson Building from 09.30 – 19.15 daily where you can also pick up home testing kits.

If you do need to self-isolate, we will do everything we can to support you while you remain on campus.

If you need to stay on campus

For those of you who need to stay in accommodation longer for study or personal reasons, including KMMS students and postgraduates, the campus remains open providing essential services and support.

As you know, over the last 18 months we have introduced a considerable number of effective on-campus Covid-secure measures and the University and Kent Union will be continuing to provide a range of essential campus facilities and services including the Templeman Library, study areas, shops and Rutherford Dining Hall.

Staying safe 

Whatever your plans, please do remember that despite the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, Covid-19 is still with us and it is vital that we all:

Thank you for your continued understanding in this, and for the exemplary way you have all approached this most challenging of years. I wish you the very best for the summer break.


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

Pride Month - Neon light in the shape of a heart in the colours of the rainbow set against a wall

Pride Month – Supporting our trans and non-binary students at Kent

At the University of Kent, we are committed to fostering a positive environment where all students and staff are treated fairly, with dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration. All of us have a responsibility to create an environment that is free from harassment, bullying, unlawful discrimination and victimisation.

In recent years, the trans and non-binary community has become more visible in society and the public eye. We have been pleased to see increased awareness of the diversity of the trans community and increased understanding of the breadth of gender identities. Unfortunately, this increased visibility has come with increased hostility towards some members of the trans community.

Trans and non-binary people face discrimination and harassment:

  • At work, including from colleagues, managers, customers and clients;
  • In public, including verbal and physical abuse;
  • Online, particularly on social media where targeted harassment, bullying and abusive comments and even attempts to find and share trans people’s previous names and current address are increasingly common;
  • They also face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as long waiting lists for treatment, and  transphobia.

Recent news events and discussions related to Stonewall have amplified the discussion, particularly online, and we have published our response to this confirming our continued membership of Stonewall. This response underlines our commitment to freedom of speech, academic freedom, and inclusion, which are all University values.

For members of our trans, nonbinary and intersex communities

Gender neutral toilets

We recognise that this is a particular concern for trans members of our community, and we have maps of both our Canterbury and Medway campuses highlighting the location of gender neutral toilets.

Harassment reporting

We fully support and encourage all our students and staff to report incidents of racism, harassment and discrimination.  This is through INK for Students or the Reporting Tool for staff. Students needing additional support during particularly difficult times are also welcomed to contact Student Support & Wellbeing

Join our communities:

Access resources

Using the resources available removes the burden of questions, explanations and discussions from members of the LGBTQIA+ community – the links below are an excellent starting point for people wanting to understand more.

Our LGBT+ network have a fantastic blog that covers ongoing news, events and challenges – stay up to date with the issues affecting the community.

Mermaids UK and Stonewall have easily accessible resources and Q&A that cover many of the relevant issues.

For more information and support please visit LGBTQ+ webpages.

Find out more about the University of Kent’s commitment to creating and supporting a balanced, inclusive and diverse community.