Author Archives: Alice Allwright

A laptop, next to a plant, glasses and a tablet. The Kent Union logo is in the left hand corner of the image.

Kent Union sets a precedent for accessibility

Making Kent a more accessible place to work and study has been an important process in the lead-up to the legal deadline of September 2020.

With The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations (2018) requiring the University’s digital content to be accessible to everyone, Kent Union has proven to be a leading example of how this should be done.

What Kent Union has done

Kent Union has set a precedent by becoming the first Student Union to publish an accessibility statement, highlighting the accessibility of their website in accordance to defined standards, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA and complying with the public sector regulations.

Created by Lloyd Wilson (Head of Technology) and Christopher Appleton (Front End Website Developer), the statement was published on SearchBOX, – the accessible publishing directory.

As a result of Kent Union’s innovative approach, a new category has being created within SearchBOX entitled, ‘Student Unions’, and has been shared with the National Union of Students (NUS) in the hope other student unions will follow Chris and Lloyd’s proactive style.

Using the third party company ReciteMe, to provide accessibility tools for the Union’s main web pages, the aim is to promote digital access across the Union, including societies and student reps’ interactions.

Fantastic feedback

Ben Watson, Accessible Information Adviser at the University, praises the Kent Union team for their achievement and describes Lloyd and Christopher’s work as a great example of building a service in the right way. He says: ‘A union is meant to make you feel like you belong, and the team’s hard work on accessibility perfectly demonstrates that their services are designed for everyone.’

Sasha Langeveldt, Students’ Union President 2019-2020, says: ‘I am very proud of the work done on the accessibility policy – as someone who is dyslexic I know the importance of making documents accessible to all. As a Students’ Union, it’s important to make sure all students are given equal and equitable amount of support to help them find and read through important documents. People have the right to feel independent and I hope this policy allows students with accessibility needs to feel like they too matter, because they do.’

The University and accessibility

The University is working to meet the regulations as part of the ongoing work to embed accessibility across the University. Led by OPERA (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement) and the KDAWG (Kent Digital Accessibility Working Group).

A great example of digital accessibility being used at Kent is the Digitally Enhanced Education – A Guide to Teaching Online course, launched by the E-learning team. With accessibility woven throughout, this course provides an excellent means of conveying the core information to staff.

For more information on accessibility at Kent go to:

An open book with pages making the shape of a heart

Top 10 recommended reads

We asked you to share your favourite reads with us. Thank you to everyone who sent in their recommendations. Here are the ten books recommended by colleagues:

1. The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud by Ben Sherwood

Recommended by Krystal Allsopp (Accounts Assistant in Hospitality Finance)

Krystal says: ‘It grabs you from the first page and pulls you in, taking you on a journey that will stay with you long after you’ve closed it.’

2. ‘A Small, Good Thing’ by Raymond Carver, a short story from Where I’m Calling From

Recommended by Natasha Moulton (Senior Library Assistant in Academic Liaison Services)

Natasha says: ‘I love this story because it beautifully illustrates the depth of emotion and ultimate kindness that is present in all of us.’

3. The Corduroy Mansions series by Alexander McCall Smith

Recommended by Melissa Mulhall (Assistant Director in Education & Student Experience)

Melissa says: ‘I adore all McCall Smith’s books, the stories and lives of his rich characters. This one stands out due to the affinity between humans and their pets – namely, a dog called Freddie de la Hay.’

4. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Recommended by Brenda Brunsdon (Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team Manager)

Brenda says: ‘I love books that focus on the mystery of time and this is probably the best I’ve read.  Any book that connects you with the characters so much it makes you cry has to be special, and I sobbed at the end of this one!’

5. PopCo by Scarlett Thomas (Professor of Creative Writing and Contemporary Fiction at Kent)

Recommended by Catherine Morris (Environmental Adviser)

Catherine says: ‘PopCo manages to combine mystery and the world of children’s toy invention and satisfies my inner geek with interesting explanations of basic cryptography.’

6. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Recommended by Daniel Harding (Deputy Director of Music)

Daniel says: ‘No film or television adaptation can capture its seasonal magic, and no Christmas is complete without Dickens’ literary present to the world.’

7. Normal people by Sally Rooney

Recommended by Olivia Miller (Press & Public Relations Officer)

 Olivia says: ‘I read this modern-day romantic novel before it became a phenomenon and it’s an emotional rollercoaster, prompting feelings of nostalgia, comfort, frustration and heartbreak – sometimes all at the same time!’

8. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Recommended by Jonathan Thirwell (UX Developer)

 Jonathan says: ‘It’s a coming-of-age story about survival and fighting prejudice as apartheid rises in South Africa. It’s a fantastic read, with brilliant characters and is relevant for our current times.’

9. Witches Abroad by Terry Prachett

Recommended by Nicola Baldwin (Marketing Assistant in Hospitality)

Nicola says: ‘Pratchett’s books are always funny and insightful, but this is the book I always come back to for a good reread.’

10. Wonderland Avenue by Danny Sugerman

Recommended by Ben Watson (Accessible Information Adviser)

Ben says: ‘An absolute riot of excess, disfunction and wilfulness, it epitomises many rock and roll platitudes. You could sum up Sugerman’s philosophy in the words of Viv Savage from Spinal Tap: ‘Have a good time all the time’.’

Keeping sending your ideas for other ‘Top 10’ features to: stories@kent.ac.uk

Dr. Dieter Declercq

Dieter Declercq to host webinar on ‘Stories, Wellbeing and Business’

Dr Dieter Declercq, Lecturer in Film and Media Studies, will be running a webinar in partnership with Kent Innovation and Enterprise entitled ‘Stories, Wellbeing and Business: Finding Meaning in Covid-19 Disruption’ on Friday 17 July at 10.00.

Dieter’s webinar is part of the University of Kent’s Covid-19 Business Recovery Response Webinar Series.

What story is your business going to tell about COVID-19? And why tell a story about it? The COVID-19 crisis presents an unprecedented disruption to our personal and professional wellbeing.

This webinar will explore how stories and narrative art offer strategies to manage wellbeing by making sense of crisis. ‘Stories, Wellbeing and Business’ will explore coping strategies for dealing with profound disruption, and will also investigate how we can harness this disruptive moment to re-examine ambitions moving forward. The arts may not outline ready-made solutions, but they do offer valuable strategies for reflection and creativity in times of uncertainty.

This two-and-a-half hour webinar will include a 30 minute Q&A, and a 30 minute networking session where delegates will be able to dive deeper into the topics raised.

The webinar is open to all and free of charge. Participants can register for the webinar on Eventbrite

Further information about the webinar is available in an interview with Dieter on Kent Innovation and Enterprise’s YouTube channel.

Macbook pro on white table next to a plant and yellow table lamp

Care First webinars w/c 6 July 2020

The Covid- 19 webinars from Care First continue this week. Please see below for the schedule and where you need to go to sign up.

Monday
6 JULY 2020

  ‘Hopelessness: Ways to stay positive during COVID-19’
TIME: 14.00 – 14.30
To register click on this Go webinar link

Tuesday
7 JULY 2020

 ‘COVID-19: What might a second wave mean?’
TIME: 14.00 – 14.30
To register click on this Go webinar link

Wednesday 8 JULY 2020

 ‘Alcohol:  safe alcohol limits after lockdown’
TIME: 12- 12.30
To register click on this Go webinar link 

Thursday
9 JULY 2020

 ‘Supporting Vulnerable Groups during COVID-19’
TIME: 12 -12.30
To register click on this Go webinar link

Friday
10 JULY 2020

 Care first: Support for Managers during COVID-19
TIME: 11 -11.30
To register click on this Go webinar link

 

Coronavirus

Condolences for John Lovell

John Lovell died on Thursday 25 of June in his home at Blean, not long after his 80th birthday.  He had spent his entire career, from 1967 to 1996, at the University of Kent. John was esteemed nationally and internationally as a researcher in his specialist field, trade union history, and an approachable and devoted teacher of economic and social history.

He was also an exceptional and selfless servant of the University, acting at various times as  Chair of the then AUT, Senior Tutor in the Social Science Faculty, and Deputy Master of Eliot as well as being the moving spirit behind the establishment of the University’s Industrial Relations degrees.

Physiotherapist Vicki checking on a client

Free initial online consultations at Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic

Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic online consultations continue to be highly successful and have curved their way through the obstacles created by the pandemic to remain open – virtually.

They’ve been able to adjust the way they approach assessments of functional movements, joint range of movement(s) such as squatting technique corrections and have found the production of online videos to show specific movements has been highly effective. Many have been increasing their running or getting involved in virtual fitness classes, but found themselves getting niggles. The consultations have been great to speak to people and look at their techniques and movements then discuss exercises to help combat the symptoms.

They’re extremely proud of what they’ve achieved and, to date, have been able to reach out and provide more than 150 free initial consultations with clients kindly donating to the NHS Charities.

They will continue to provide free initial consultations and hope to be able to provide face-to-face consultations, with a triage system, in the near future to add the manual therapy treatments which they know many will benefit from and make those next steps towards their goals. This may be the lingering neck pain, back pain or perhaps shoulder pain where exercises have been completed daily as recommended with significant improvements already gained.

“I have recently taken advantage of the free online consultations that are available through Kent Sport Physiotherapy clinic. Although I was unsure whether Vicky would be able to help me online, she diagnosed my problem almost straight away during our first Zoom meeting. She then sent me some exercises which I have been doing daily and which have been helping to reduce the pain I was in. Vicky has also given me a follow up consultation just to check that the exercises are working. It has been really good to know exactly what was causing my pain and to be able to talk to someone so knowledgeable and friendly. Thank you Vicky for all your help!” – Susan Grimer, Library Assistant

So far, they’ve been able to reach out to 32 members of University of Kent staff, who have not been to the clinic before and provide professional physiotherapy advice to them. This number does not include the many staff members who have visited the clinic before lockdown and continue to have contact.

The testimonials from staff members has been incredible and they thank you for your feedback.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the clinic via email: physio@kent.ac.uk.

Find out more about Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic by visiting their website and like them on Facebook. Please consider showing your support by donating to the NHS charities.

Coronavirus

Condolences for Dr Arthur Keaveney

It was with great sadness that the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies learned of the death of Dr Arthur Keaveney, our dear friend and colleague for many years, who passed away on Tuesday 23 June after a short illness.

Arthur Keaveney

Arthur began his teaching and research career at the University of Kent in 1979, developing a distinguished reputation as an Ancient Historian. He was an immensely popular teacher and published frequently, this interest covering wide themes in the history of the Classical World and extending as far as Elizabethan political thought. He retired as Reader in Ancient History in 2014 but remained fully committed to promoting his subject, and primarily assisting and enthusing students and all these who came to share in the fascination of exploring the ancient past.

Steve Willis, Head of Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies writes:

‘Arthur was a cornerstone of our teaching in Ancient History for many years. His style of delivery and guidance was invariably popular with our student cohorts year on year. He had a rich hinterland of interests, with stories and anecdotes to accompany his observations on the human condition. There was something of the old-style political Radical to him. Well-travelled, often to less commonly visited locations, I recall that at the end of three terms of very full teaching and marking, culminating in long Exams Board meetings, he delighted in the prospect of his imminent departure on a Caribbean holiday: to Cuba’.

 

A bowl of food with chopsticks

Rutherford Dining Hall – open all summer to staff

To those of you already working on the Canterbury campus and others preparing to return, we are delighted to inform you know that Rutherford Dining Hall will be open throughout the summer 12.00 – 18.00, Monday to Sunday.

– All staff have been given access to Rutherford College via their KentOne card (staff ID card)

– The Wok bar is serving daily with other special menu items such as breaded haddock, curried duck leg, all day brunch, chicken katsu, roast dinner, fresh salad and veg options and more

– Check out Twitter for the daily menus.

Please note we are only accepting card/contactless payment and currently it is takeaway only, however from 5 July this may change to some socially distanced seating within Rutherford Dining Hall.

For further information or queries, please contact catering@kent.ac.uk

Templeman Library

Congratulations to our new Fellows and Senior Fellows of the HEA

The Centre for the Study of Higher Education congratulates the following colleagues who applied for Senior Fellowship and Fellowship of Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy) through the Route to Recognition for Experienced Staff (RRES), and successfully gained national recognition for their leadership, excellence, expertise and commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning.

Senior Fellowship

Fellowship

Congratulations!

computer-laptop-work-place-mouse

Care First webinars w/c 29 June 2020

From discussing mental wellbeing for home workers, to advice on talking to children about Covid-19, Care First continue to provide free webinars for staff to sign up to.

Here’s the webinar schedule for the week commencing 29 June 2020.

Monday 29 June 2020 – ‘How to talk to Children about Covid-19’

Time: 14.00 – 14.30 – To register click on this Go to webinar link.

Tuesday 30 June 2020  – ‘Physical & Mental Wellbeing for Home Workers’

Time:  11.00 – 11.30 – To register click on this Go to webinar link.

Wednesday 1 July 2020 – ‘Covid-19: Returning to Work after Furlough’

Time: 14.00 – 14.30 – To register click on this Go to webinar link.

Thursday 2 July 2020 – ‘Loneliness during the Covid-19 Pandemic’

Time: 15.00 – 15.30 – To register click on this Go to webinar link.

Friday 3 July 2020 – ‘Teenage Mental Health’

Time: 11.00 -11.30 – To register click on this Go to webinar link.