Monthly Archives: May 2022

People at a festival

Events roundup: 23-29 May

Here’s a roundup of this week’s top events:

Launch of Race Equality Charter Student Survey

This week sees the launch of the Race Equality Charter Student Survey. Complete the short survey to help shape Kent’s anti-racism strategy. Plus, complete by 17 June for the chance to win one of three £50 gift vouchers. Take the survey now.

Monday: Litter pick and language taster sessions

Give back to your local community by joining the College and Community Life team for litter picking! Get involved on Monday lunchtime to meet new people and earn some employability points while you improve the local environment.

Would you like to learn a new language? Our language taster sessions are for beginners who would like to try learning one of the following languages: Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese and Spanish/Italian. These events are in person and online, and open to all students.

Tuesday: Petting Zoo and outdoor live music

Take a break from revision and visit the Animal Encounters Farmyard and say hi to cows, ponies, donkeys, and loads more at Woody’s! Join us 13.00-15.00 for lots of cuteness.

As part of the Gulbenkian Summer Festival, singer/songwriter Fred Clark will be performing on the Gulbenkian Lawn. Grab some friends and enjoy live music and food/drink from 17.00.

Wednesday: Spring into Summer at Medway

Join us on the Medway campus for an amazing afternoon of fun with Spring into Summer. With a ball pit, chocolate fountain, crazy golf and more! Whether you have finished your exams and want to celebrate or need a break from deadlines and studying, come join us. Plus, the evening will see the Deep End transform for a UV club night.

Thursday: Bubble football and outdoor cinema

Give Bubble Football a go and bounce around with your friends as part of Kent Union’s Give it a Go activities. Come along between 17.00-20.00 at the Sports Pavilion and have some fun, no experience needed.

This week’s outdoor cinema screening is Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille! Grab a seat on the hay bales on the Gulbenkian lawn, or bring your own picnic blanket. The film starts at 21.00 but you’re welcome to arrive before to get some food and drink.

Friday: Managing stress and anxiety with mindfulness and Woody’s Fest

Feeling stressed or anxious? Consider attending this StudyPlus online workshop on how to manage stress and anxiety with mindfulness, 11.00-12.30. This practical workshop will give you an introduction to research-based strategies for coping with stress and anxiety

Woody’s Fest is back! Supported by the UKC Live Music Society, there will be a line up of acts and bands to keep you entertained. Plus a mixture of food and drinks deals that you just can’t say no to.

Student job alert: Student Content Creators

Become a student content creator at Kent, apply by 5 June 2022. See more student opportunities on the Student Guide.

Browse all student events.

To do list, pen and glasses

Care first fortnightly webinars

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

Due to the stabilising situation of Covid, they’ll be doing a side-range of webinar topics. Here’s the schedule for two weeks:

Week commencing 30 May 2022

Monday 30 May – ‘‘Practical information and advice through Care first’ – The webinar provides detail about our Information Specialists and their role as part of your EAP service
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Wednesday 1 June  – ‘How Care first can support you’ – A webinar for awareness and how to access the EAP service provided by Care first.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Friday 3 May – BANK HOLIDAY QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE

Week commencing 6 June 2022

Monday 6 June –‘Care first manager and MHFA support’ – This webinar provides an overview of the support available for managers and also the mental health first aiders of organisations through the EAP.
Time: 13.00-13.30 – click on this link to sign up

Wednesday 8 June – ‘How Care first can support you’ – A webinar for awareness and how to access the EAP service provided by Care first.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Friday 10 June – ‘Supporting each other’s differences’ – A webinar to help us understand we are all different but how we can be supportive to each other with the choices we make and lives we have.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Kent Researchers Author High-Profile Report

Dr Edd Pitt and Professor Kathleen M. Quinlan, academics in the University of Kent’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education, authored the latest in a series of high-profile literature reviews from Advance HE.

Their review, focused on enhancing assessment and feedback practices in higher education, launched on 19 May.  Based on 481 empirical studies published from 2016-2021, it is a timely and comprehensive resource for higher education practitioners and policy makers.

The review concludes with a series of evidence-based recommendations for educators, policymakers, and researchers in the field.

According to Stuart Norton, Senior Adviser Learning and Teaching, Advance HE, “the authors have done an excellent job of providing details and explanations of each [recommendation], ultimately with a view to rethinking and repositioning assessment strategies, processes, and practices across the sector.”

In an accompanying blog, Quinlan and Pitt reflect on the process of completing the review.  In two companion podcasts, they discuss high level messages from the review, explaining key principles and offering examples of practices that illustrate those principles.  They will present webinars on 9 June.

Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience at the University of Kent welcomed the report, “it offers valuable and insightful guidance on the steps we need to take as a University and a sector to ensure assessment and feedback best serve our students’ learning. It will guide our own review of assessment and feedback policy and practices at the University of Kent in the coming year. We hope colleagues will begin that process at this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference on 20 June, which Dr Pitt and Professor Quinlan have organised around these themes.”

Sign up to the conference on the 20 June.

Advance HE is a charity that works with institutions and higher education across the world to improve higher education for staff, students, and society. A membership organisation, it enrols more than 500 higher education and research institutions around the world, including most UK higher education providers.

This literature review is being showcased as a member benefit, ensuring wide dissemination among key stakeholders. To retrieve these resources, simply login using an email address from a member institution.

Kent hospitality staff member

Job opportunity: Work at Lambeth Conference this summer

Are you looking to earn some extra money this summer?

The Commercial Services & Estates catering team are looking for enthusiastic, hard-working individuals to lend a hand at this year’s Lambeth Conference (18 July – 10 August).

What is the Lambeth Conference?

Meeting around every ten years since 1867, the Lambeth Conference is an international meeting of Anglican bishops convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The conference takes place across venues at the University of Kent, Canterbury Cathedral, and Lambeth Palace during the British summer of 2022.

Over six hundred bishops (and their partners), from all over the world, will travel to the conference.

Bishops

What roles are available?

To ensure the Lambeth Conference is a success, the catering team are looking to recruit extra Food and Beverage Assistants and Bar Bistro Supervisors to help deliver a professional and memorable catering experience.

Person serving food

Duties will include:

  • Assisting with the preparation and serving of meals and beverages.
  • Providing first class customer service.
  • Ensuring kitchen and service areas are clean and tidy.
  • Working within a team to provide a high-quality catering experience.

Applicants must have a can-do attitude, bags of energy, and be willing to muck in! They will need to be able to work quickly and accurately within a busy environment and have a flexible approach to work.

Working at the Lambeth Conference will be challenging, but it will also be exciting and rewarding.

This is a great way to gain experience in the catering industry; and add valuable, transferable skills to a CV!

FREE on-campus accommodation will be available to those working 35 hours or more!

How to apply?

For more information, please email Adam Watkins A.P.J.Watkins@kent.ac.uk.

Short-Life Voluntary Severance Scheme

As we approach the end of the financial year at Kent, we have opened a short-life Voluntary Severance scheme to specific cohorts of staff across the University. While we continue to make good progress in delivering our Financial Improvement Plan, we still have work to do to be sustainable and we have an opportunity with funds available this year to explore potential savings in areas that could make a difference. 

The scheme is open to all academic staff in the Division of Arts & Humanities, along with all staff at Grade 10 and above across the University. All eligible staff will be contacted directly to let them know they can apply, with the email including a link to full details about the scheme itself. 

As many will be aware, the Division of Arts & Humanities has recently been reviewing its different academic areas to respond to the national decline in prospective students looking to study humanities courses. This scheme is predominantly being launched to support any academic staff in the Division who may wish to leave the University, with any savings helping to inform the future direction it takes. 

However, given the external environment remains uncertain with both ‘frozen’ home fees and new challenges linked to the cost of living crisis, we have also opened the scheme up more widely across senior staff in case there are any other opportunities to make savings. This is part of helping us get ahead of any future financial constraints while we can, making sure we manage their impact in a way that minimises the effect on overall staffing levels. 

Directors of Division will also be communicating with colleagues in their respective areas to provide local context on the scheme, with all applications considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have any further questions about voluntary severance, please contact your HR Manager, or the central Employee Relations team at VSscheme@kent.ac.uk. 

The University also has a number of existing options available to staff across the organisation who are looking to move on at a time that is right for both them and their division/directorate. These include efficiency retirementflexible/phased retirementill health retirement as well as our existing voluntary redundancy package. If you would like an informal, confidential conversation about any of these schemes please contact your local HR Manager.

People working in music studio

Creative Access workshops – exclusive for Kent students

We have teamed up with Creative Access, one of the UK’s leading diversity, equity and inclusion organisations, to offer two exclusive career development opportunities to Kent students who are interested in roles within the creative industries.

The creative industries encompass a broad range of sectors – including music, journalism, advertising and PR, theatre, TV, film, fashion, IT and software, museums and galleries, and publishing – as well as a variety of roles. You do not need to have studied a creative degree to work in the creative industries!

To support students considering a career in these areas, Creative Access are running two online events in May and June that are exclusively available to Kent students. Book your place now using the links below:

Join Creative Access and a music professional for this online group training session via Zoom. You will get step–by–step guidance on standing out in the application process, a chance to hear from a music industry professional, and tips to kick-start your creative career!

Join this online group consultation with Creative Access to learn how to celebrate your skills and experiences in your CV and cover letter, making for an outstanding application!

Note: These events are aimed at students from backgrounds that are typically under-represented in the creative industries. This may relate to ethnicity, socio-economic background, and/or disability (including self-identified mental health conditions), or those facing significant barriers to employment. If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact careerhelp@kent.ac.uk.

We hope to see you there!

A Marathon of Reading – call for enthusiastic readers to perform their work

In association with Kent Review and The School of English Literary Festival, 14 June 15.00-17.00. Open to students, staff and the general public. 

Calling all writers, poets, literary enthusiasts, wordsmiths, and those of you yet to make up your minds!

To mark the production of its fourth edition, the Kent Review is hosting a fund-raising Marathon of Reading as part of the upcoming School of English Literary Festival. We’re looking for enthusiastic readers to perform their work as part of a continuous flow, linking each participant to those who went before and those to come after. The theme of this event is ‘Bridges and Journeys’.

Required: poetry, prose, and any other spoken word forms to be performed in 5-7 minute slots. Your piece can be new work written for the occasion, or previous writing edited to fit the brief (more details below).

The Literary Festival is a programme of events by the School of English on June 13- 14 June, offering workshops, speakers, taster sessions, discussions and much more. The Marathon will take place 15.00-17.00, on 13 June at the Gulbenkian café stage. The event will be both live-streamed and recorded. Being part of the festival is a great opportunity for your work to be heard by broader audiences – both as your own and as part of the collective project.

Please get in touch to express interest with a short proposal of what you’d like to read. As this is a collaborative event, participants will then be given two specific words with which to begin and end their pieces; serving as a bridge between each reader. Going forward, we would also like a copy of each piece performed to create a display of work that will remain in the School of English for posterity.

Note: as this is a fundraiser, participants would be expected to make a donation (recommended: £5) to the Kent Review Fund – but you do not need to be included in the Review to take part in this event.

The Kent Review is an industry-standard anthology of MA and PhD creative writing from the University of Kent, published every other year. As in previous years, volume IV aims to showcase the very best writers Kent has to offer; to maintain the publication’s high standards, this fundraiser is in aid of printing costs.

Send thoughts on proposed reading, questions or concerns to the Kent Review team at e.dee@kent.ac.uk, or sep37@kent.ac.uk.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Advice and support for PhD students from other academics

Our academic staff reflect on their experiences as PhD students.

A guest blog by the team at Togetherall.

Togetherall is an anonymous online peer-support community, managed by clinical professionals 24/7 and is free to all students and staff at the University of Kent, including PGR students who can register online.

At Togetherall we know how powerful sharing experiences and peer support can be, so we asked academic staff at Kent to reflect on their own PhD journey and what they wish they knew back then. Read the advice from others who have been in your shoes.

“Am I doing something worthwhile here?”

One staff member felt this a lot throughout their PhD journey. When your research feels like it’s going sideways, it’s easy to second-guess yourself.

If you’ve ever felt lost or lacking direction, try some of these tips from fellow academics below.

  1. When motivation wanes, remind yourself of why you are doing this work. Each day is getting you closer to your goal.
  2. Do active, useful, vaguely PhD-related things, like volunteering and activism linked to your research topic. A grounding in the ‘real world’ will help you to stay sane and keep you joyful about your work.
  3. Every day, write down 5 things (no matter how small) you have achieved. Focus on those, rather than on the list of things to do.

Your PhD “does not define who you are.”

While it may not feel like it at times, your work does not define you. It’s one facet of your identity, but there are so many aspects and layers to who you are as a person and the uniqueness you bring to the world.

One professor stated they had to remind themselves constantly that, “your PhD is not your life.” It is a part of who you are, but it’s not who you are.

Getting perspective can be really difficult, but if we can find interesting activities that allow us to be at the edge of our comfort zones, we can feel better and more grounded.

If you feel like you’re in need of a fresh cup of perspective, try some of these tips from your professors.

  1. Remember that you can have a good life outside of academia. Your self-worth does not depend on being valued by this group of people for doing these things.
  2. Have a life outside the PhD, and outside academia. Academia is too precarious for all your energy to be put into it. You need other things to turn to when you get a paper rejected, or progress is slower than you would like.
  3. Success in academia is not a measure of merit. Being good helps, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. Stop measuring yourself against career success.

Academia is “famously bad” at “setting boundaries between work time and rest time.”

It can be really hard to prioritise yourself over your work in academia. Your journey may be filled with unique opportunities, pressure, and excitement, which can make it hard to tear yourself away from your work.

Feel like you need help prioritising rest? Check out what these academics said below on the importance of resting and what it can look like.

  1. Prioritise rest as rest will enable your brain to work better, make you more productive, give you perspective.
  2. Expect to have bad days where you don’t achieve much but don’t push on a bad day – take a break instead.
  3. Go home, hang out with some friends, call your loved ones, and book a holiday!
  4. Invest in yourself with nutritious food, exercise and rest.

“Don’t try to solve your problems on your own.”

Getting your PhD can be a lonely experience at times, which can contribute to self-doubt and burnout. Professors said they wish they would have laughed more and shared their frustrations with friends to help them through it.

If you feel like you’ve been isolating yourself, check out these tips and reminders from academics who have been there before:

  1. Find friends and people you can share your frustrations with. Doing your PhD in isolation is the absolute worst.
  2. Find your tribe of fellow postgrads, and if all else fails have a get together and give yourselves a limited amount of time for a good old moan!
  3. Reach out to others. They may need you. You may need them.

"When motivation wanes, remind yourself of why you are doing this work. Each day is getting you closer to the goal"

“It’s ok to feel lost and lonely.”

It can sometimes feel like everyone else is in control of their life and finding things easy, but this is rarely the case.

If you take the time to share with others, you’ll see that everyone struggles with something. Their struggles may be different than yours, but everyone has challenges.

If you remember one piece of advice from a professor reflecting on their PhD journey let it be this:

“When you conduct your research, it is OK to feel lost and lonely. All of us did, we just tell you after we graduate. Because while we were doing the PhD, we were ashamed to admit it. I realize now that I should have spoken up and there was not shame in what I was feeling. It was normal and there was help out there. I just needed to ask.”

You’re not alone. There are a range of support services available at Kent.

You also have FREE access to the Togetherall community where you can anonymously share your story and get and give support to others who understand what you’re going through.

The Togetherall community is managed by clinical professionals 24/7 and access is immediate – there are no waiting lists. Find out more about the Togetherall community.

Student on large deck chair

Job opportunity: become a student content creator at Kent

Our student content creators work with us – the Communications team – to create engaging digital content that brings the student experience at Kent to life.

We’re looking for students that are passionate about all things content from creating Instagram reels to writing blog posts and vlogging about all the things that make Kent great.

So if you’re a confident and enthusiastic student that wants to help share Kent’s story this could be the role for you!

View the full job description.

How to apply 

We’re recruiting right now and it couldn’t be easier to apply. 

All you need to do is share your CV and a video (one minute max) introducing yourself and what you’re passionate about. We recommend adding your video to YouTube and then sending us the web link to view.

We’d love to see examples that link to your time at Kent, for example:

  • why you choose to study at Kent
  • a project you’ve worked on as part of your course
  • a society you’re part of or have set up
  • championing sustainability or social justice on campus
  • student life at Kent
  • ideas you have about the kind of content you’d like to produce

Please note, you will need to be a University of Kent student for the academic year 2022-23.

The closing date for applications is 23.59 hours BST on Sunday 05 June 2022 (unless otherwise stated)

Read the full job description and apply.

Post it notes saying "journey map" and "apply"

How to find summer work experience

Are you looking to expand your experience and skills during the summer vacation? Perhaps make new contacts and build your CV, LinkedIn or any other profile?

Taking on some unsalaried opportunities can give you the flexibility to try a variety of new experiences that fit round your other interests or commitments. If you are taking on any unpaid opportunities the work and opportunities fund could help you to meet any costs associated with this.

  1. What do you want to achieve or experience?
  • Reflect on strengths and experiences so far; consider what is missing or what you would like to experience more of.
  • Identify skills and experiences that fit with your career or personal development plans.
  1. Find out what is available
  • Online work experiences and internships are often short and workable in your own time. Schemes are available and are a great way to make connections and develop sector awareness.
  • Volunteering could be directly related to your programme of study, career goals or something completely different. It could be ongoing or as part of a one off event, at home or abroad.
  • Company Insight days and events are available throughout the year are often online. Attending them shows your motivation and can help you make career decisions.
  • Work shadow or short work experience. – an opportunity to observe and develop your understanding of a role, grow your network and commercial awareness and identify your career goals. You will likely need to arrange this opportunity yourself.
  • Self-directed projects. You could try entering competitions; Search social media, using hashtag to find opportunities. You could set yourself a research project, develop a design, product or business idea.
  • Search for opportunities on the Target connect portal.
  1. Decide on the opportunity you want and apply
  • Check company websites and social media. Find details of key contacts and check for any application or registration deadlines.
  • Check the application methods. Some may have structured application processes others may be undefined, requiring you to make a speculative approach.
  • What tools do you need? CV, cover letter/ email. Include evidence of motivation for the opportunity and prior experience in your application.
  • Ask the Careers and Employability Service for support to develop your CV or help with your application.
  • Remember to log your activities for Employability Points and update your CV and LinkedIn profile with your experiences, new learning and skills!

Good luck with your summer experiences!