Author Archives: Allie Burnett

Student on large deck chair

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.

Challenging racism artwork

Take the Race Equality Charter Student Survey for chance to win one of three £50 gift vouchers

We are committed to addressing racial inequalities and creating an inclusive culture and environment at Kent where individuals can thrive, irrespective of their race or ethnicity.

To help facilitate progress, we are currently working towards an application for Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter.

We want to hear your views on studying at the University of Kent and whether you think there is anything we can do to eradicate racial discrimination and advance race equality.

Take the survey by 17 June and you will be entered into a prize draw to win one of three £50 gift vouchers.

The survey takes no longer than 20 minutes to complete and you will help shape the University’s anti-racism strategy.

Find out more and take the Race Equality Charter Student Survey >

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Ready to start building your digital skills?

Your Digital Pathway is a new, free digital skills course from Santander in
collaboration with the Institute of Coding, and the award winning
TechUP initiative based at Durham University.

With 50,000 places available, the course is designed to help if you want
to take the first step on the pathway to building your digital skills, and
can support you to:

  • Return to, or start education
  • Return to or start work, or to pivot your career
  • Set up a business online

We know that everyone has a different digital skills starting point.

The course is taught at an introductory level and includes up to 8 hours
of content which can be completed in your own time, and at your
own pace.

Everyone who completes the course will receive a certificate of
achievement and will also be entered into a prize draw for the chance
to win one of 88 Santander grants worth up to £2,500 (T&Cs apply),
available to use on the tailored Santander Aspire webstore to purchase
a range of items including laptops, tablets and Chromebooks.

Registration for Your Digital Pathway is now open and applications
close on 29 June 2022.

Find out more about the course and how to apply.

Challenging Racism project update

Update from Leroy | Race Equality Charter Co-ordinator

Since our last update the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Team has been working on our Race Equality Charter (REC) and at the end of 2021, introduced our Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment (RECSAT) Team to analyse its data.

Here’s more information about the Race Equality Charter and the work being done by the Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team:

What is the REC?

The Race Equality Charter (REC) is an AdvanceHE charter mark focussed at Higher Education (HE) institutions reflecting and tackling race inequality. It follows fairly similar principles to AthenaSWAN with the exception that its focus is ethnicity rather than gender. It asks us as an institution to set up a Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team (RECSAT).

What is RECSAT?

The Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team (RECSAT), is the committee involved in analysing our application, commenting and critiquing on data.

We established the RECSAT in December 2021 and since then it has had two full meetings and they have been discussing topics such as the University’s wider EDI work alongside how we go about fulfilling REC requirements.

Outcome from the RECSAT meetings

The RECSAT decided to continue to use the term racially minoritised in Kent. While we know that the term racially minoritised isn’t perfect, we all acknowledge the problems the term Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) brings, especially how it excludes some minoritised communities and homogenises others.

As set out in the Antiracism Strategy; racially minoritised is a term increasingly used in EDI work as an alternative to BAME as it highlights the social construction of racial categorisation. However, the term racially minoritised also has limitations:

  • it could be perceived as passive and limiting in terms of individual agency
  • it also risks homogenising the experience of individuals and communities who experience racism in different ways.

The term is used here fully aware of these limitations but in acknowledgement that there is no consensus on a new national preferred terminology as of yet.

Where we classify racially minoritised and we as an institution support racially minoritised individuals, there may be a mismatch in support from external providers and we are looking to see how we can do that effectively.

We would encourage staff and students to talk to RECSAT members so that thoughts and opinions can enhance meetings. We would ask however to respect that the individuals are students and full time staff and may also have a lot of things on their plate alongside the vital work they are doing in the REC.

One of the other key things that our RECSAT emphasised in their previous meetings, is the importance of making spaces and mechanisms with proper throughput of lived experiences of staff and students. Members stressed the importance of listening and discussing these things and not losing the spaces that provide them, as well as ensuring what’s heard is acted upon and taken up with feedback and progress.

Discussions of the things that come out of RECSAT meetings will form part of the REC action plan as well.

The EDI Team has been working on our REC application with the input of the RECSAT and staff around the institution.

How you can get involved

If you’re a group of staff, a student network, Divisional EDI team, a person who wants to know more, get involved or mention something to us, do get in touch.

There are some quick and easy things you can do:

  • Have open discussions about EDI between yourselves and your Divisional/Departmental EDI teams. The more we talk, the more we can listen, the more we can improve. Those things can feed into the REC process and our EDI forum.
  • Ensure you’ve got your demographic information complete as possible and up to date on StaffConnect. We need to ensure we have as complete a picture as possible when we do our work to make sure it has the widest impact.

There are resources in Kent and across the board that can help you get started, enhance what you know with some intersectionality in Kent:

Progress on student demands

Throughout the REC and antiracism work we have been doing we are keeping a close eye on the student demands and what we can do to take more action on them.

Kent made its Antiracism Strategy in response to student demands as well as to incorporate the University’s commitment to being an antiracist institution. An action plan to that strategy is being made as part of our REC submission process to push the progress in a positive direction with meaningful accountability.

We are setting up a Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Group. The group will include staff and students and look at potentially being an independent panel having no senior management involved in the processes.

The excellent survey made by the BAME staff network is entering its next phase. Big shout out to the network co-chairs for the amazing piece of work they are continuing.

Other institutional progress

Kent has signed up to StellarHE Executive Development Programme for Diverse Leaders (BAME) in Higher Education. It is aimed at academic and professional staff aspiring to senior leadership positions in Higher Education and we have submitted our first round of staff to the programme.

Cathedral view with Daffodils

Spring break 2022 opening times

If you are staying on campus over the Spring break, most of the University’s services are still on hand to help. Here’s a list of services and opening times:

And of course, Campus Security staff are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Top 5 tips for promoting the NSS

With the deadline for the 2022 National Student Survey (NSS) fast approaching (30 April), here are some ways you can help encourage students to fill out the NSS.

  1. Talk to your students about the NSS and why they should complete it

If you have any revision sessions planned over the break with final year UG students, please remind them that the NSS is open, and they need to complete it by 30 April. You can also add the NSS lecture slide to any sessions you might be running.

  1. Download the promotional materials

As well as the lecture slide, you can also download a range of NSS promotional materials from the Staff Guide. Including the QR code that takes students straight to the survey and an email signature.

  1. Tell students about the changes that have been in made in response to previous NSS feedback

When promoting the NSS tell students about the changes they benefit from today because a previous student took the time to complete the NSS. You can download editable designs to add examples of changes.

  1. Use Moodle and other channels to tell students about the NSS

You can use the Moodle messaging tool or the channels you typically use to communicate with your students to let them know the NSS closes on 30 April.

  1. Make use of your targeted NSS mailing lists

The Student Data Team has created targeted mailing lists of students who are eligible to complete the NSS and haven’t completed it yet. Please make use of these lists to avoid spamming students who have already completed. To find out who in your Division has access to those lists, please email Christophe Collard.

Don’t try to influence how students respond to the NSS. Read the help card on what counts as inappropriate influence.

You can find out more on the NSS staff guidance webpages, including what the NSS is, why you should help promote and when Ipsos MORI will contact students.

Thanks for your help promoting the survey this year.

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Apply for Summer Research Experience Placements

Apply now for a great Summer Research Experience Placement in social sciences.

The placements aim to give undergraduates from underrepresented groups a first-hand opportunity to undertake a research project supported by researchers and receive information on graduate study.

Successful undergraduates will gain benefits in terms of confidence, skills and experience that will enhance their career opportunities and any future postgraduate applications.

Research experience placement students will be made an employee of the placement host organisation and receive a salary for the duration of the placement.

Placements will take place during Summer 2022 for a maximum duration of 8 weeks.

Find out more and apply by 29 April 2022 on the South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) website. 

Kent Union president Aisha

Kent Union President reflects at ‘Class of 2020’ Cathedral ceremonies

Just over 2 years on from the start of the pandemic, Aisha Dosanjh, Kent Union President, celebrates and reflects with the ‘Class of 2020’ at their celebration ceremonies in Canterbury Cathedral this week.

Watch Aisha’s full speech

Read Aisha’s speech

‘I am so honoured to be able to address all of you here today, 2 years and 6 days after we parted ways and the world went quiet. I am so pleased to be able to sit amongst you in this beautiful cathedral and share this once in a lifetime event with you. Of course, not everyone has been able to make this journey with us and we have lost family and friends along the way. I’d like us to take a moment to pause and remember them.

‘We could have never predicted what we’ve been through. When the pandemic began, I held my breath. I couldn’t make sense of the world, though I tried and tried to make sense of it, and grief hit me like a wave. Grief for the connections I had lost, grief for the routine I had gotten used to, grief for the things I had taken for granted. I forgot how to put one foot in front of the other.

‘I spent my days thinking about how close I came to finishing before the world turned upside down, how close I was to spending a day in July in this very cathedral. I had booked the day off work. I had looked at dresses. I felt very sorry for myself, actually. I don’t think I was able to properly process how I felt until recently. But upon reflection and having been able to digest at least a small fraction of the emotions I’ve been feeling these last two years, and after having found my feet a little after the wind had swept them up, I started to think about what my time here at Kent has taught me.

‘Education is not a commodity to be bought and owned, it is to be shared among our community. University isn’t just about lectures and classes and assignments and exams (although it starts to feel like that after about the 5th time you drag yourself up the hill for your Thursday 9am). Education is about giving us the opportunity to learn with each other, to share with each other, to challenge each other. Education is about opening ourselves up to transformation and emboldening one another. It is about using our newfound knowledge to grasp at the roots of injustice and being inspired to be a visionary. It is about expanding each other’s learning and committing to each other’s liberation.

‘Older members of the audience will know that many generations have fallen into the trap of exceptionalism, the idea that we are somehow vastly different to the generations before us. In some ways we are: access to higher education has never been easier and many of us who wouldn’t normally have been able to have the privilege to go to University have now been able to; cultures and identities have never been mixed and shared like they are now; compassion for those who are different from us has never been so bold. But change shouldn’t feel like a weight on our shoulders. It is gradual, something we create when we see a barrier and decide to move forward. Every time we stand up for justice, every time we insist on speaking the truth, and every time we refuse to compromise on our values.

‘I hope that you do not leave today feeling proud only of the certificate you hold in your hand but I hope you are proud also of your experiences. The energy you have invested into relationships, training with your society or sports club, fundraising for meaningful causes, representing your peers… helping others, and letting them help you. I hope you are proud of the change you have made to the world around us, and of the person you have become. When the pandemic began, I held my breath. But now I feel like I can breathe.

‘I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you something special that we created together, a  crowd-sourced poem written by us, for us, brought together by Kent alumnus and former Canterbury Laureate, Dan Simpson.’

Class of 2020 crowd sourced poem by Dan Simpson

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Have your say on the future of the Student Experience

Do you know what a student hub is? Are you wanting more social space? Do you want more options to access student support services? What do you want the student experience to be like at Kent?

These are some of the questions that we want to ask you!

The University is looking to improve the online student guide and to create a new space on campus for students.

Take the survey by 1 April and have your say 

We will also be on campus in the coming weeks so look out for us and have your say!

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IT Services Outage: Update and Next Steps

From John Sotillo | Director of Information Services 

Following the disruption to our IT services at Canterbury last week, I’m pleased to confirm that the majority of our systems are now back online across the University. The outage was the result of a detected cyber-security incident and the necessary steps we took as a precaution to manage this. For some students and staff, the recovery from the original incident will take some time and we are working closely with affected Divisions to manage this process.

What happened   

Earlier in the week our security systems detected a security breach in a specific area of the Kent network. As a result, Information Services (IS) and Divisional staff took prompt action to contain the initial situation and to prevent the attack from spreading more widely across Kent services and systems. We then progressed to more significant protective actions in order to counter the threat we had identified.

What we have done  

As part of measures taken, we isolated the School of Engineering domain from the rest of the University network and reset some 1,000 affected users’ passwords. A consequence of taking these necessary measures was the loss of authentication for Wi-Fi, wired network connections in student accommodation and student PCs on campus. IS worked swiftly to restore the authentication system, with most services back online within 24 hours.

We are pleased to report that services are now restored across campus, with the exception of the Jennison building, which hosts the School of Engineering domain IT infrastructure. Work to mitigate the impact on Jennison continues and will take some time.

What you can do 

We have strong security procedures and protocols at Kent but we all need to remain vigilant so that we can continue to work safely and securely online. There has been a rise in cyber-attacks on UK public sector / education sector organisations in recent weeks and these attacks have been intense, persistent and disruptive.

With your help, we can reduce our risk of further attacks. Please read our latest advice and guidance about staying safe online and use our online resources to stay educated and stay alert.

We are continuing our work to ensure that University services and systems remain secure. If you experience any problems or have any issues, please contact IT & Library Support.

Thank you for your patience during this time.