Happy New Year to all of you and I hope everyone felt the benefit of some time off over the winter break.
Before the new term gets going in earnest I wanted to touch on a few of our priorities for the coming months – do also join our Community Catch-Up on Teams on Tuesday 17 January from 12.00 – 13.00 where I will expand on these further, highlight other positive initiatives on the way and answer any questions you may have.
This year’s National Student Survey is an obvious place to start, with it launching at Kent on 23 January – my thanks to all of you who will be helping encourage final-year students to complete this, it is really important we get a good response early in the year. Student experience is a major focus at the moment and it’s been great to see Nexus, our new one-stop shop for student queries in the Templeman Library, getting off to a fantastic start last term with lots of student interest; we will be promoting this further this term to build on its success.
Before Christmas we published our annual accounts, so do read the summary of these from the Finance team which give the context for our wider financial situation. As I’ve updated previously, alongside the work this year to reduce non-pay spend to cover reduced student retention, the accounts show how the challenges of both inflation and the flat tuition fee mean we have a continued need to look at our ways of working to see how we can be more effective. With that in mind there will be a number of discussions in the weeks ahead to reflect on how Divisions have bedded in, and their interface with professional services, and see how and where we can improve our operating model.
Executive Group has also been looking at our upcoming Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) submission, which is the result of a great deal of work across teams. This has come together well and will be another important marker in terms of what we deliver at Kent, with more updates to follow on this in due course. Employability is another area where we increasing our efforts to ensure we are doing all we can to help our graduates meet local and national need.
Over the months ahead there are also a number of other opportunities to get together with colleagues, with events and initiatives being planned for LGBTQ+ History Month, Time to Talk Day on 2 February, and Kent Giving Week which follows at the end of March. While I know it gets busy, do watch out for communications around these and find the time to take something in outside of the day-to-day if you can – I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible and wish you the very best for the term ahead.