Monthly Archives: February 2023

Student looking at computer

Planning, researching and writing your dissertation

A dissertation is a long, formalised form of essay, in which you generate a topic or enquiry, plan and execute a project that investigates it, and write-up what you did and what you found.

It may be the most substantial assignment you undertake at university, the one which potential employers may ask you about, or academics in your field may look-up and read. You want it to be good. Or, rather, you want it to be great!

The Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) has produced guidance on ‘Dissertations’, ‘Literature Reviews’, ‘Researching your dissertation’ and ‘Writing up your dissertation’ that will help you produce an excellent piece of work.

For now, here are three tips that may help you:

Be inspired: Choose a research topic that really interests you and adds in some way to the knowledge in your field of study. Dissertations take time and commitment to complete, so you will need to stay engaged.

Be organised: Organise your work and your time. Identify the stages of work required to complete your dissertation, calculate how long each stage will take, and plot them on to a calendar.

Be discerning: The research methods you choose, and the sources of information you use, should all be of the highest quality. A dissertation, like a cake, can only be as good as its ingredients.

SLAS can offer guidance on these and many other aspects of your dissertation – just book an appointment with one of our advisers.

Pets as Therapy dog

Events roundup 27 Feb – 5 March

This week (and throughout March), we have lots of events to support your wellbeing for Uni Mental Health Day.

Monday: Wellbeing Café, Oscars movie dance class and UV Games (Medway)

Our weekly Wellbeing Café is a space to connect with other students in a relaxed environment with a focus on promoting your wellbeing and mental health through activity.

Enjoy dancing? Bust out some moves at this Oscars movie magic dance class at the Venue. From Disney to Marvel, from Stage and screen to Classic movies from the past, dance along to movie soundtracks.

Try  some UV Games at The Hub on Thursday evening, combining the classic sports of badminton and table tennis with a twist – all the action takes place under black lights!

Tuesday:  Inspiring Women Week career’s events, Mindful colouring and yoga (Medway)

Join Residential Life Assistants Sarah and Ashutosh at the Oasis Lounge in Rochester Building for a hot drink, some mindful colouring and practising gratitude.

Try out Yoga for free at The Hub on Tuesday lunchtimes. This is a great way to de-stress and gently exercise.

This week is Career’s Inspiring Women Week and on Tuesday there are lots of events you can join including Improving your network, Giving Women The Fair Advantage: In Conversation with Code First Girls and Inspiring stories from people in Health and Care.

Wednesday: Mental health webinar, University Community Choir and Turkey-Syria earthquake support drop in

Join this mental health webinar discussing the importance of creating an open culture around mental health, building a good support network, and exploring the resources available to you and your peers. The webinar is hosted by Keith Walsh (Radio DJ, Writer & Presenter) featuring Lee Fellows (Head of Student Support and Wellbeing at Kent) and Dr Aman Kwatra (Chartered Psychologist).

Love to sing? Become a part of the University Community Choir! Create new connections within the University community and take a break from your work and study in a relaxed and uplifting environment.

If you’ve been affected by the Turkey-Syria earthquake and would like a space to talk about how you are feeling, please come along to Locke Building 13:00-14:00 for a friendly and supportive drop in with Student Support and Wellbeing Advisers, College and Community Life Officers and Kent Union staff.

Thursday: Wellbeing activities including therapy dogs!

On Thursday we have lots of activities to boost your wellbeing. Head to Nexus in Templeman Library to see some cute therapy dogs, try some mindful colouring and even pick up a small succulent plant (until they run out!)

There’s also a free lunchtime journalling for wellbeing workshop. Find out how journaling can help support your mental health and your studies, with Ali McDowell, Co-Founder of The Positive Planner.

And on Thursday evening join us in Waterstones Canterbury for a mindfulness book talk, live music, and a 15% discount on all books!

See more student events.

Student opportunities

See more student opportunities.

Cost of Living Hardship Fund opens 6 March 

To help support students facing hardship as a result of the increased cost of living, the UK Government has provided additional funding of £15m to English universities. Of that, the University of Kent has been allocated £126k, which must be awarded to students by 31 July 2023, to add to existing hardship funds. 

We have created a Cost of Living Hardship Fund to release these funds to Kent students. The fund can be used to help with rent or any other increased living costs due to the cost of living crisis. The Cost of Living Hardship Fund will open on 6 March 2023. 

Students who are facing financial hardship due to the increased cost of living are invited to apply for an individual award of £300 to help with any increased living costs. Priority will be given to students who have not been awarded other hardship funds. However, if you have previously received a hardship fund but are still in financial need please apply as your application will still be considered.

The Cost of Living Hardship Fund will open on 6 March 2023. We encourage you to read the guidance on how to apply in advance so you can apply quickly once the Cost of Living Hardship Fund opens on 6 March. Once we reach the application threshold, we will close the fund so we can begin processing applications. 


Tribute to Gerald Rickayzen

By Prof. John H. Strange and Prof. Bob Newport

Professor Gerald Rickayzen died on 7th February 2023 at the age of 93 after a long and distinguished career as a theoretical physicist, teacher and academic administrator. An outline of his extensive contribution to Physics and the University of Kent is provided below; we offer first, however, brief personal reflections from two of his former colleagues.

John Strange, Professor of Physics and a former Head of the Physics Laboratory (- the original manifestation of Physics at the University) recalls the day on which he met Gerald:

“I first met Gerald during the summer of 1964 on a hike in Ithaca [New York State, USA] organised by the Physics Department of Cornell University where he was a visiting academic and I was a post-doctoral research fellow. Gerald had a two year old son, Ben, on his shoulders and was accompanied by his wife Gill and their three other children, Alan, Sonia and Asher. Throughout his life he was a devoted family man. Gerald and I met again in the post room of Cornell Physics Department a few days later and were amused to find that we had both applied to join the academic staff of the new University of Kent.

“Whilst at the University of Kent, he lived in Blean and was known among friends and colleagues for the social activities in his large garden that included admiring the Rickayzen flock of sheep that kept his extensive lawn in trim. His family were keen amateur musicians. Gill, with Gerald’s support, organised ‘Monday Music’ which provided lessons and other musical activities for all ages. Gerald played the cello and Gill the viola and they hosted musical evenings with others to form string quartets, playing chamber music together. Gerald was a member of the University symphony orchestra for many years.”

Another former colleague, Professor Bob Newport, writes fondly of Gerald:

“I knew Gerald as a man to look up to: a man of honesty and integrity, with a gentle spirit, a mind as sharp and perceptive as any I’ve encountered and with a strength of character and conviction surpassed by no-one. Having said that, my first exchange with Gerald was a distinctly unsettling one – he chaired the large interview panel arrayed before me on the happy day I was offered a junior lectureship in John Strange’s department; Gerald, in his role as Deputy Vice Chancellor, was standing in for the VC. That was in 1985. For more than a decade thereafter I learned from his example and revelled in the lively and wide-ranging coffee-time conversations we were a part of within the original Physics Laboratory (now the Marlowe Building). He was a genuinely inspiring academic leader and his voice was one of the few I relied upon during the tumultuous days of 1997 when the Physics Laboratory and its sister Chemical Laboratory were greatly reduced in size and merged into the School of Physical Sciences. (I had been appointed the School’s first head of department.) We lost touch after his move back to London, but that distance doesn’t lessen the sadness I felt at the news of his death.”



Additional material from John Strange:

Gerald Rickayzen joined UKC, the University of Kent at Canterbury, in the summer of 1965 as Reader in Theoretical Physics from Liverpool University bringing with him a research fellow, Dr W.A.B. (Alan) Evans who later joined the physics staff as lecturer. (Sadly, Alan also died recently.)

Gerald was responsible for teaching the core course on waves to the first and subsequent intakes of science students. Teaching was important to him and he contributed to various courses throughout his career, at all stages from the introductory to advanced postgraduate theoretical physics. He was an extremely clear and sympathetic teacher. From his arrival in Canterbury he was involved with education at all levels and in the mid 1960’s he was a leading light in the local branch of CASE, the Campaign for the Advancement of State Education.

He already had a distinguished research career when he arrived at Kent, having worked on the theory of superconductivity with Bardeen (the B of BCS theory that explained this phenomenon of superconductivity) and was the author of an advanced textbook on the theory of superconductivity. He also published a postgraduate-level textbook on Green’s Functions and Condensed Matter in 1980. His research interests at Kent were focussed on many-body problems, superconductivity, superfluidity and the theory of colloids. In later years he collaborated with David Hayes and colleagues Jack Powles and Alan Evans on computer simulation, molecular dynamics and the theory of liquids. He worked with a number of research students and post-doctoral research assistants throughout his career.

It was shortly after his arrival at Kent that he was promoted to a personal chair in theoretical physics, which he held until retirement, and was awarded a Research Professor position 1994 -96 on retirement. Thereafter he was Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics and continued to be active in research, in collaboration with Jack Powles. In 1974 he had followed Jack Powles as Director of the Physics Laboratory but relinquished that in 1976 to become Dean of the Faculty of Science until 1980 when he was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor. From 1984 to 1990 Gerald was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. His contribution to the work of the University of Kent, to science and more generally to Canterbury was immense and we can gratefully celebrate a long and successful life of one of the University’s first members.


Students walking on campus with cathedral behind

International college planned to launch in September

We are pleased to announce that we are working on launching an International college at our Canterbury campus in September this year.  

The college will be a joint venture between the University and a private provider. This will offer foundation and pre-Masters programmes for international students, with the aim of significantly increasing recruitment. The market has changed considerably in recent years and many other universities are already successfully operating in this way.  

There are still a number of permissions that need to be agreed both internally and externally before the college can be launched. However, we are working hard to deliver a first cohort for September 2023.  

There is a great deal of work underway to support this and the important next step is agreeing the programmes that will be taught at the college to ensure they meet our academic and quality standards, whilst making sure students will successfully progress to our mainstream programmes. We will be discussing these measures with colleagues across the University and we look forward to continuing these discussions.  

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Simone Davies, Director of MORA.  

Industrial action

Industrial Action: postponed strike dates

The University and College Union (UCU) has held strikes days throughout this term, with more planned for March 2023. These will take place at all universities across the UK and are over national issues around pay, pensions and working conditions.

All remaining strike days in February have been postponed, meaning UCU’s current outstanding strike days are below. Action Short of a Strike will continue throughout as it has been throughout this period of industrial action.


  • Thurs 16 – Fri 17
  • Mon 20 – Weds 22 inclusive

We’re really pleased to see this step by UCU, which has been done to support the progress of the national negotiations happening throughout. Negotiations regarding the strikes take place nationally, which means we have limited influence over decisions taken on the issues under dispute – however this postponement is a positive sign and we urge all parties involved in the negotiations to use it to reach common ground.

For more information, take a look at the industrial action webpages. 

£3 meal deal at Medway campus

To help with the rising cost of living, the Deep End at The Hub are offering a £3 meal deal during term time so you can get tasty food at a great price.

Plus, you can help yourself to free porridge, tea and coffee for breakfast in the Oasis Lounge in Rochester Building.

More support with cost of living

You can see all the financial support available to students on our Cost of Living Support webpages.

And please remember, if you are struggling financially, get in touch for support.

Industrial action

Strikes postponed this week and next

From Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education & Student Experience

Late on Friday night UCU announced that all strike days this week and the one after have been postponed. This means that, unless informed otherwise, your lectures and classes for the next fortnight will go ahead as planned. 

We’re really pleased to see this step by UCU, which has been done to support the progress of the national negotiations happening throughout. This isn’t necessarily the end of the current dispute, but it is the sincere hope of all parties that this pause will give national bodies the space to reach a long-standing deal that avoids further action. 

As it stands, if no agreement is reached the next strike day will be Thursday 16 March. UCU are also reballoting their members so that they keep a number of options open if talks break down. However, this postponement is a positive sign and we urge all parties in the negotiations to use it to reach common ground. 

I will be in touch again when we have a clearer picture of what the weeks ahead will look like. In the meantime, I am glad you will have a few weeks of normality after so much disruption and thank you again for your patience with this throughout. Do also remember to submit any claims for expenses you may have incurred during the earlier strike days by 31 May.   

EasterZone children’s activity camp

Our children’s holiday camps for 5-12 year olds  are coming back for 2023! Filled with daily multi-sports and activities, DBS-checked camp staff, and qualified coaching, your child will love our EasterZone holiday camp! EasterZone runs from Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 April 2023.

“Both my children loved it all. They loved the staff, said they were fun and kind to them, and they enjoyed every activity they did (including the drawing!). Really varied and great fun. Thank you.”

Children’s Holiday Camp survey feedback, 2022

Qualified coaching

Our daily timetables include various sports and activities for your child to get involved in. With traditional sports such as football, hockey, and rugby alongside new sports like endball and goalball, there’s loads to keep children entertained, regardless of their age.

We’ve also introduced some fun activities like Drums Alive and Street Dance, and we’ll close out the camp on Friday 14 April with a School Sports Day for the whole camp! You can see the full PDF camp timetable on our website.

EasterZone 2023 prices

Spaces can be booked either for individual days or the full four days. Spaces are limited so book your space early.

University of Kent staff

We’re offering University of Kent staff a 15% discount on the below rates. Please contact to receive the discount code.

Members of the public

  • One day £35 per child
  • One week (four days) £120 per child

Late pick-up (15.00 to 17.00)

Our late pick-up option includes fun and engaging activities tailored to the location, such as table tennis, table football, new-age kurling, bowls, speed stacks, twister, board games, and creative drawing.

  • £12 per child per day

Booking and payment

This year we’ve made the process for booking much simpler, through our new Holiday Camp booking system; LTA ClubSpark. You will need to create an account with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) first before you can book EasterZone.

Once you’ve created your account and you’re ready to book, visit the EasterZone booking page.

You will need to complete the process for each child you wish to book on to EasterZone (you only need to create the LTA account once though). Within your booking confirmation email, there will be a link to an additional details form. This contains very important information, so please make sure you complete this for each child you book on EasterZone. We will get in contact if we require additional information.

If you have any questions about our children’s holiday camps, please email or call 01227 816391. Alternatively, please contact us if you would like to be added to our mailing list for future camps.

Annual DICE Lecture 2022/2023 – 9 March 2023

We are delighted to announce that this year’s DICE Lecture will be given by Professor Dave Goulson, on ‘Silent Earth: averting the insect apocalypse.’

Professor Dave Goulson is a world expert on insect ecology and conservation, with a particular focus on bumblebees and other insects. His work also looks at understanding pollination in general and sustainable management of pollinators in agricultural ecosystems.

He is currently working as a Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex and has published more than 300 scientific articles and several popular science books. Among his most celebrated books are the Sunday Times bestseller “A Sting in the Tale” in 2010 and “Silent Earth” in 2021.

This year’s lecture is open to everyone and will take place on Thursday March 9 from 18:00 to 19:30 in Keynes Lecture Theatre 1 on the Canterbury campus. The lecture will be followed by a book signing featuring Dave’s latest book the “Silent Earth” and some of his previous work.

For more information on accessing the lecture online, please visit our Facebook site.