Monthly Archives: August 2022

woman working on a laptop on a desk with a notebook

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 15 August 2022

Monday 15 August –‘Care first critical incident support’ – This webinar provides details of the support Care first can offer that maybe relevant following a traumatic incident in the work place
Time: 13.00-13.30 – click on this link to sign up

Wednesday 17 August – ‘Never give up day – 18th August 2022’ – This webinar in about motivating and inspiring ourselves and others to never give up, while understanding how we can support those that might find it difficult.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Friday 19 August –‘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

Week commencing 22 August 2022

Monday 22 August -‘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 24 August – ‘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 26 August – ‘Returning to school anxiety’ – A light touch session offering tips to help manage stress and anxiety when your children are returning to school or moving to a new one
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Staff funding available for extra-curricular trips

The Work and Opportunities Fund offers a limited number of monetary grants for students who, through their own initiative, have secured unpaid work experience, are undertaking a training course or attending a networking event, which supports their employability.

The fund can also support Divisions who wish to organise an extra-curricular trip, for example, to an organisation’s office or to a conference, which will contribute to the employability of students at the University.

What can I use the funding for?

This funding can be used to fully fund the cost of travel for the trip e.g. a coach. Where students are attending a conference or event and there is an entrance fee, we may be able to contribute towards these costs too.

Eligibility Criteria

In addition to the terms and conditions, the trip must:

  • be an extra-curricular activity, which does not form part of a programme or module.
  • be offered to registered students at the University, studying in the UK only.
  • contribute to the employability of students, supporting skills development and/or supporting a student’s future career aspirations.

How do I apply and when is the deadline?

To apply, please visit the staff funding page to access the application form and full terms and conditions.

There is no deadline to apply, and applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, subject to fund availability at the time of application.

If you have any questions about the funding, please email us at: careerhelp@kent.ac.uk

We hope to receive an application from you soon!

Kent Sport at the Commonwealth Games

Three Members of Kent Sport ‘walked the walk’ by supporting Home Nations Sport at the highest level, in three very different ways.  As Simon Le Bon wailed his last and the final firework whizzed over Birmingham’s Alexander stadium Kent’s finest went to work.

Mel Clewlow: Director of Sport, Kent Sport

In case you are not familiar, our double Olympian Director of Sport, Mel Clewlow will be celebrating her 30th playing year for Canterbury Ladies this year. She is still a first choice for their first XI and has represented England Hockey at three Commonwealth games with podium finishes in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 games.

Her love of the game extends from play to pitch side where she has been commentating since 2010 with notable commentary at the London & Rio Olympics plus multiple world cups and world competitions.  This year Mel will commentated on the World Feed, providing commentary to all nations.  Mel confidently predicted a top four finish for the England teams, with the women’s hockey team beating Australia to take gold and the men’s hockey team beating South Africa for bronze.

Vicky Annis: Physiotherapist, Kent Sport

Vicky supports the Kent Sports Clinic which combines the expertise of Kent Sport physiotherapy and the School of Sport and Exercise clinics creating one of the most extensive performance, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation services in Kent. No stranger to service in sport Vicky has previously supported the GB Triathlon Team in Cape Town and has worked at several World Series races. A keen swimmer, Vicky spent last summer swimming the English Channel solo, in an impressive 12 hours.

This summer she was selected to work at the Games as part of the Commonwealth Collective (a group of over 13,000 volunteers). Vicky provided physiotherapy from the Birmingham athlete village and the Team England HQ at the NEC.

Vicky said before the Games took place “I will be working with some of the best physiotherapists in England, this is an amazing learning opportunity”

Find out more about how the Kent Sport Clinic can help you .

Vicky’s Channel Swim

Jacquie Edwards: PA to the Director of Sport

Behind every good woman…is a good woman. Jacquie has worked for three consecutive Directors of Sport. She is an ex professional athlete with multiple international caps for England and Great Britain rugby.  Her trophy cache includes a prized gold winner’s medal after scoring the winning try in the 92 Women’s world cup.  Since retirement from Jacquie has been able to pursue her second love, music.

Jacquie travelled to Bisham Abbey (the national centre of excellence for the country’s leading sportsmen and women) to teach the England Hockey Men’s Team how to sing England’s national anthem, Jerusalem. Jacquie said “Those poor lads didn’t know I was coming and didn’t know what hit them! They were a bit reticent at first but by the end of the session they were all singing with gusto, pride, and passion” “Those are my lads now and I will definitely have a little tear in my eye when they sing the anthem”

Jacquie performs as Ginger Bennett and you can see her in her award winning show Songs from My Soul as part of this year’s Canterbury Festival

England Men’s Hockey Sing Jerusalem – watch on Instagram.

Songs From My Soul Preview.

Join us for Medway Pride 2022!

Saturday 20 August is Medway Pride and we are excited to announce that we are sponsoring the event alongside the University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University, under the Universities at Medway banner.

The parade will pass through Rochester High Street at 10:45, and is followed by a star-studded event in the Rochester Castle Gardens from 12:00.  Find out more about the schedule and line-up.

Take Part in the Parade

University of Kent LGBTQ+ staff, students, and allies are all warmly welcomed to take part in the parade. We will be walking as a group ‘Universities at Medway’ and you can register through the main Eventbrite page. Please register, choose to get tickets as an organisation member, type ‘Universities at Medway’ into the text box, click it in the drop-down menu and you will be able to register for your tickets. Instructions of where to meet to get wristbands on the day are part of the ticket registration. 

We look foward to seeing you there!

Reflections on the Lambeth Conference

Sunday 7 August was our last day hosting this year’s Lambeth Conference so I wanted to write to thank all of you for your patience and support throughout. We don’t host conferences of this scale and international profile very often and I appreciate the knock-on effect this will have had on many, from smaller things like the Gulbenkian being closed to the impact on some of your workspaces. I also want to thank all of those involved over the last fortnight – I know lots of colleagues have been in daily contact with the conference organisers, including across the weekends, to make sure we fulfilled our duties as hosts. The feedback from the organisers and delegates has been uniformly positive throughout the last two weeks so well done to all on a superb operation.

Our commitment to equality, inclusion and mutual respect

I am also very aware that many will have found our hosting of the Lambeth Conference difficult on a personal level. As Georgina updated ahead of the Conference, we are clear that the official Anglican stance on the place of LGBTQ+ people both within the Church and wider society does not fit with our own values as a University. This is especially true of our deeply held commitment to equality, inclusion and mutual respect. I’m sure that many will have seen the coverage of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s restatement of the Church’s 1998 position on Equal Marriage and we are unambiguous that we are in fundamental disagreement on this issue.

While we had no say over the content of the Conference, what we always aimed to do as hosts was to support positive voices seeking to move the debate forward within the Church. This included providing support where we could for those promoting positive change on LGBTQ+ equality and extending our welcome directly to the same-sex spouses of LGBT bishops in attendance. Our University is welcoming and inclusive to all and we were in regular contact with the same-sex spouses throughout to ensure that they felt as welcome on our campus as any guest to our University has a right to expect.

Progression within the Anglican Church

Meeting them and hearing their stories was moving and humbling, both the pain they felt at their exclusion from the Conference programme but also their determination to be present, visible and proud and, through their presence, to help bring about the change that they and we very much want to see. It made me reflect that progress can be difficult, uncomfortable and too slow for our liking but that it happens through small acts of personal courage, resilience and determination just as much as through the bigger public and media debates and discussions that we also saw during the conference.

The Lambeth Conference has been hosted at Kent since the 1970s and we are aware the Church has evolved its thinking in a number of areas over that time. However, the pace of progress, in a world that is rapidly changing and increasingly challenged, appears frustratingly slow and, while it is clear from liberal voices within the Church that many felt significant steps forward had been made in the past fortnight, we hope that the Church’s thinking and actions in this area will now evolve more rapidly.

Evolving our EDI Strategy

Lastly, I wanted to touch on both the Lambeth Walk and Rainbows in Religion symposium organised by the University’s LGBTQ+ Staff Network, which saw different voices coming together to discuss the intersection of faith and sexuality and to celebrate our diversity. I know how challenging the last two weeks have been for our LGBTQ+ colleagues in particular and I know too how important it was for everyone to have the opportunity to show their support for our community. I hope the Network events were a help with this and I know that the large and positive show of support for LGBTQ+ people on campus was also hugely appreciated by many Conference delegates.

Events like Lambeth bring together different voices from diverse backgrounds. That said, it’s very important we learn what we can from this experience, particularly around the impact on our community. Coming out of this, I know we have work to do to listen and evolve our EDI strategy in particular and to build on vital work underway in that area. Kent is a special community which all of us are part of and I am determined that we celebrate and champion the breadth of its diversity in all that we do.

With all good wishes for the rest of the summer,

Karen

calendar with yellow marker pen

Managing your studies

Good time management and organisation are key to staying on top of your studies. You will need to plan your time and your assignments, maintain a good filing system for all your study materials, and ensure that you keep pace with your course.

Plan your time

Use a time planner

Use a time planner to take control of your time. This will involve organising your studies (lectures, seminars, reading and assignments) along with all other activities and commitments in your life (work, family etc) throughout the year. Try colour coding different activities on your planner to help keep track of them.

Plan each assignment

Start each assignment as early as possible. Working backwards from the deadline, consider the stages of work needed to complete each one and estimate how long you have to dedicate to each, then plot them on your time planner. Complete each stage of work on time to avoid last minute panics and to meet your deadlines. For a sample of stages in one type of assignment, see managing your essay.

Set achievable goals and prioritise tasks

Divide individual days into bitesize chunks of time and allocate an achievable task to each session e.g. 9-11am – Read/make notes on Journal article x; 11-12am – Draw up essay plan for assignment y; 12-1pm – Proof-read report z… etc. This will keep you focussed and productive, and ensure constant progress.

Consider which tasks are both important and urgent – e.g. Proof-read and submit assignment x – and prioritise these on your daily schedule.

Set up a filing system

Group, organise and store information and work in a logical order

  • Think about where and how you will group, organise and store course information, handouts, research and your notes so you can find them easily e.g. ‘Module X: Topic A/B/C/D’ or ‘Assignment Y: Research/Notes/Drafts’.
  • Number assignment drafts (essays, project reports etc) to keep track of the most recent version.
  • Use ring binders with labelled dividers, computer folders/files or a mixture both to stay organised and save time.

Back-up work regularly on your computer to avoid any risk of losing it

 

Keep on top of your work

Be pro-active

If you find yourself falling behind with your studies don’t ignore it, reflect on the reasons, consider solutions and take action – action can even be seeking advice if you are struggling or not sure of what you are doing

Seek help in plenty of time if you need it

Ask your lecturer or seek advice from relevant university services which may include:

Resources

For more information on all topics mentioned above and more visit the Student Learning Advisory Service – University of Kent (SLAS) we also offer appointments and workshops.

HR GO partnership to revolutionise UK recruitment with AI

HR GO, one of the UK’s leading recruitment companies, and the University of Kent have been successful in a joint application for a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. 

The award for £93,177 will provide half the cost of a two-year research project exploring how technology can better match roles with clients, including improving the feedback job seekers receive. HR GO will match fund the grant, resulting in a total project budget of £186,350.  

KTPs aim to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills within the UK knowledge base.  

John Parkinson, Chief Information Officer, HR GO, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our application to UKRI for a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) with the University of Kent. 

“This project will develop innovative AI models and systems to deliver feedback, scoring and matching of candidates at scale. At present, we receive over 500,000 applications for work each year for roles across all sectors, and across the whole of the UK.

“These AI models will power a semi-automated communications process to deliver enhanced feedback to candidates whilst helping HR GO’s clients ensure they find the best possible candidates to meet their needs. 

The project team is now in the process of hiring an associate, who will be delivering the project over the two years. In addition to being tasked with analysing millions of points of HR GO data, they will consider all aspects of machine learning and AI development, from ethics to avoiding bias.  

Dr Anna Jordanous, senior lecturer at the University of Kent’s School of Computing and co-lead of the project said: “This is a fascinating opportunity to work with complex real-life data. There are multiple interesting technical challenges to tackle, and it is exciting to see how research knowledge can be applied to make a real difference to recruitment candidates and clients.” 

HR GO has previously worked with Dr Jordanous to review potential machine learning solutions which could be deployed to automate contractor candidate role matching, as well as having sponsored the Kent HR Network and offered placements for students through the University of Kent’s Employability Points Scheme. 

Learnings from taking part in TASO’s Summer School Evaluation

The University of Kent’s Year 10 ‘Breaking Barriers’ Summer School was involved in the TASO research project to evaluate the impact of virtual summer schools. As TASO publish the interim findings, it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on what we learnt from taking part in this research project and lessons for the sector.

Developing our outreach curriculum

This research project gave us the opportunity to speak to a group of students that we considered to be highly impacted by the pandemic. A number of findings from the Implementation and Process Evaluation (IPE) made us think about how we can adjust our outreach curriculum to accommodate these students (and their influencers), and consider whether they are unique or enduring circumstances.

Despite only being in Year 10 and therefore a few years away from having to make decisions around HE, the students were clear that access to mental health support would be an important factor to them when deciding on university. Perhaps this is due to poor mental health being exacerbated by the pandemic and it’s something that we had already started to consider in activities designed for younger audiences. These findings helped to re-enforce that it was the right direction to go in.

Many of our talks designed for parents focus around student finance and funding, but the parents and guardians that we spoke to worried about their young person’s grades being a barrier to them accessing and succeeding at university. This may be due to the interrupted education their young person has experienced and something worth exploring in our curriculum design for this audience.

One of the key motivators for students taking part in the summer school was just for ‘something to do’; a way to spend their summer –

“Because it’s the Summer and I feel like if I hadn’t have done this, I would’ve wasted my time and not done anything else. So, this feels really productive”

That was something that as an institution we hadn’t considered (or perhaps wanted to consider!) before but we don’t yet know if it’s specific to this cohort – after having 2 years of interrupted study perhaps they’re motivated to do something productive. That’s something that will be interesting to explore this year and going forward.

We would have offered a virtual summer school in 2021 irrespective of our involvement in the TASO research project but it is reassuring that students agreed they had met each of the aims that we had set for the activity and that it did have a positive impact on them. We’ve now been able to adapt this content for in-person delivery this year.

Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) in outreach evaluation

One of our motivations for taking part in this research was because we were interested in the RCT process as a means of being able to demonstrate causality, but reluctant to do it ourselves. Having the support of TASO and the other partners was a real positive influence on our decision to apply. Although the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) performed the randomisation and selection of participants, the prospect of running an RCT as an evaluator is less daunting than it was before. There are few other outreach programmes in our curriculum that are suitable for this method of evaluation but we will definitely be exploring more Type 3 methods going forward.

The project also allowed us to have additional communication with the control group. Where previously our last communication with unsuccessful applicants was to tell them that they hadn’t got a place, this gave us an opportunity to get in touch with them again and let them know that we wanted to hear from them, and that we valued their thoughts and their opinions. We were able to leave it on a positive note, and we were pleasantly surprised with the response rate.

We look forward to the final research findings once we know whether these students applied to and enrolled in Higher Education or not and can see any differences between the control and treatment groups and any impact that may summer schools had.

Amy Burt, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, University of Kent

Apply to be a Global Officer

We are delighted to invite Kent students to apply for this year’s Global Officers Leadership Development (GOLD) Programme. The programme is a co-curricular venture, designed to fit around your academic studies. It provides a framework of activities for globally-minded undergraduate students at Kent to develop their leadership skills, global citizenship and cultural awareness. 

There are 5 components which can be completed throughout the academic year. Benefits include:

  • Employability Points awarded per activity
  • Certificate of recognition and personal reference from the Director and Dean for Global and Lifelong Learning
  • Recognition on your Higher Education Achievement Report
  • Practical event & project management experience
  • A chance for you to record your international skill development in the Kent Global Passport.

This programme is also offered as a credit-bearing ‘wild’ module, GOLD5000.

Kent Gold programme

For further details please see our website.

Deadline to apply is 9.00 (UK time), 10 October, 2022.

(If considering taking this as a wild module, usual module registration deadline applies).

What past students have said:

I would highly recommend this programme to any student who is globally minded and wants to be more active on campus, as well as wanting to learn new skills that you don’t get when you join a society.

Preena Dodhia, BSc Biomedical Science

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

The GOLD programme is a GREAT opportunity for anyone looking to place themselves out of their comfort zone, gain skills and meet like-minded people. It gave me the chance to develop new interests and connect to other programmes and opportunities with international universities, all of which can be utilised in my search for a job after university. I have made amazing friends who I will keep in touch with, and felt like I have extended my year abroad experience in the comfort of Kent, keeping my passion for understanding cultures alive! I would recommend GOLD to all Kent students with an interest in the international and encourage you to put yourself out there. 

Lucy Lavender, BA Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe

Get involved in the Kent HR Conference 2022

Research and Innovation Services are looking for University of Kent academics to speak at this year’s Kent Human Resources Conference which will take place on our Canterbury campus on Wednesday 23 November.

Now in its eighth year, the conference will provide an opportunity for HR professionals and those responsible for HR in their roles to come together with University of Kent academics and guest speakers to learn, network and spark ideas. Throughout this one-day event, delegates will gain an insight into the latest research, examples of best practice and tips and tools which could be applied in the workplace.

We would like to feature voices from academics from across the university and are looking for proposals on topics relating to HR, or research and approaches which could be applied to overcome common HR challenges. These include but are not limited to:

·       Recruitment and retention

·       Changes in employment law

·       Workplace wellbeing

·       Diversity and inclusion

·       Flexible working practices

·       Training and Development

·       Leadership and management

·       Productivity and performance

·       Reward and Recognition

We actively encourage submissions from our academic colleagues at all stages of their career – from individuals who have never presented or run a session at a conference or event before, to more experienced voices from our community. Please submit your proposal using this form by Friday 9 September.

The Kent HR Network, sponsored by specialist HR platform provider, Ciphr, is an initiative focused on facilitating knowledge exchange between the academic community at the University of Kent and HR professionals, both locally and nationally.

If you have any questions about the conference, please get in touch with Chris McCarthy at c.mccarthy@kent.ac.uk.

We will be announcing further details about the conference over the coming weeks. To be the first to receive future updates on the conference, including ticket availability and our speaker line-up, sign up to our HR Network newsletter.