Author Archives: Allie Burnett

covid test kit

Covid-19: Working together to keep each other safe

As I am sure you are aware, recent weeks have seen a national rise in the number of Covid cases in the UK. While we do not currently have any major concerns locally, this is an important reminder to all of us that, unfortunately, Covid has not gone away, and we all need to continue to keep safety at the front of our minds, especially while on our campuses.

Face coverings and indoor spaces

We strongly encourage and recommend that you wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces, including teaching and study spaces or while standing in queues. Face coverings are available free of charge at all student reception desks – wearing one can really help keep each other safe.

All of our rooms on campus have been assessed and adapted where necessary to meet Government ventilation guidelines. If you are meeting up with friends, then try to do this outside if you can – avoiding busy indoor spaces is a big part of stopping the spread.

Testing, reporting and vaccinations

Everyone coming onto campus should continue to take a Covid lateral flow test twice a week. You can get walk-in tests or pick up take-home kits from the Old Bank on our Canterbury campus or the Old Sports Hall at Medway, or order them online.

It also really helps us if you report the results of your tests to the NHS whenever you take them, whether they are positive or negative – instructions on how to do this should come with the testing kit itself. If you do have symptoms or test positive, you must self-isolate and get a PCR test as quickly as possible. Let us know that you are isolating so we can make sure you get the support you need – if your PCR test is positive, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started.

Lastly, vaccinations continue to be key to minimising the impact of Covid –  if you haven’t already, we strongly recommend getting two jabs if you can. Watch out for the Government’s Grab a Jab campaign for local walk-in centres.

Keeping going

I have been hugely impressed by the way all of you have worked together to keep each other safe as you have come back onto campus, and am really pleased that we have managed to keep infection numbers low to date. All of us have a part to play in continuing to keep our campuses safely open, so let’s continue to be careful in crowded indoor spaces, taking regular tests and getting vaccinated if you can.

With all good wishes,

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Education and Student Experience

hands typing on laptop

Join the Remote Study College Committee

Here’s a message from the Remote Study Residential Life Assistant (RLA), Abigail about the Remote Study College Committee and why you should join:

‘Hi, my name is Abigail. I am a postgraduate student studying an MA in Curating. I am also a Residential Life Assistant (RLA). As you probably already know, there are 8 colleges at the University of Kent and each college has an RLA. I am the current RLA for Eliot College.

‘Interesting additional fact about me, I am also currently the only RLA that is remote. The University has gone a long way to bring as many students back on campus as possible for in person learning. However, there remains a large community of students like us who for one reason or the other are still remote. This fact sparked conversation between the College and Community Life Team and the RLAs and we have decided to create the Remote Study College Committee to cater specifically to the needs of the remote student community.

‘The traditional college committee is made up of student volunteers who plan encouraging and fun events for their college to promote student socialisation and keep up the community spirit at Kent.

‘The remote student experience, as we know, is vastly different from that of the typical student’s and so to ensure that we can make the very best of our student experience, I would like to invite YOU! Yes, you reading this, to join the Remote Study College Committee.

‘Help us to help you to make new friends, create a more accessible and inclusive environment, as well as plan, promote and manage the kind of events YOU want to see.

‘To find out more information about this committee and how you can join, contact cclteam@kent.ac.uk’

Black male student looking at camera

Supporting the mental health of Black and racially minoritised students

Warning: Contents contain references to racism and may have a triggering effect for some individuals

Racism can happen anywhere; at work, at home, at University, online or in the physical world. Racism is still a very real and damaging facet of modern day society and can have a long term and lasting impact on anyone who has experienced it either directly or indirectly. This includes the mental and emotional strain created by microaggressions. Here at Kent we want to support all students who have been affected or continue to be affected by racism and work together to create a culture where racism is not just challenged, but eradicated completely.

Have you been affected by racism? Young minds have some great resources and signpost organisations and helpline services to support you: 

Advice on racism and mental health #BHMKent2021

Speak to someone you can trust. It might be difficult to talk about how you are feeling or to revisit personal experiences of racism. Take your time and only share what you are comfortable sharing. Student Support and Wellbeing have a free confidential counselling service for all students at Kent. 

Learn your rights and how to report abuse. This can help empower you and remind you that what you are experiencing is not okay and no one should express that it is. Use our online reporting tool ‘Report and Support’ to be part of a culture shift and get the support you need. Allies should acquaint themselves with the support tools available as well so that they can be advocates for their friends and classmates.

Find supportive groups and communities who understand what you are going through. It can be very hard to explain how you feel to a person that has not experienced racism, whether directly or indirectly. Communities can be a way to find like-minded people with similar experiences and shared interests that you can talk to, have a safe space to be heard and remember that you are not alone. One of the online platforms you have free access to as a Kent student is Togetherall

Join a movement to create change. There are many anti-racist movements and organisations who are fighting for change in society. Being part of a larger movement can help you feel empowered, valued and give you a sense of hope that change is possible. Make sure to take time out to rest and look after yourself if you are regularly involved in activism. Kent Union supports a number of student networks. These are student-led spaces where students who share an interest of identity can discuss issues relating to their group and help build a community.

Remember it is not your responsibility to fix racism. Do not put pressure on yourself – this is a problem you cannot solve on your own. The people around you all have a responsibility to make changes to their behaviour and to uphold the rights of Black and racially minoritised individuals.

Enough is Enough! Clean your social media feed. What we see online can have a negative impact on our mental health, but remember you can have control over what you see on your social media. Try unfollowing or blocking accounts and muting words that upset you. All social media channels have ways you can report abusive behaviour. At Kent we expect certain standards of behaviour both online and in the ‘real’ world. If you are concerned about anything you see you can report it to us in a safe and confidential manner using our online Report and Support tool. 

The University of Kent and Kent Union are working together to celebrate Black History Month 2021 #BHMKent2021. Take a look at the Kent Union BHM website for events and resources at Kent. This includes a free mental health support workshop by Diverse Cymru, an organisation that specialises in Black mental health. Please check the website for further information and to register your attendance.

Photo by Mubarak Showole on Unsplash

Laptop computer with hands in front

Have you completed or are you facing issues with Financial Registration?

New and returning Kent students need to complete Financial Registration on KentVision by 18 October 2021. 

In receipt of a scholarship or fee waiver?

Scholarships, fee waivers and discounts are not currently appearing in student accounts. This may result in you receiving an invoice for your full programme fees for the academic year 2021/22.

You are only required to pay for any outstanding fees minus the value of any scholarship you have. Find out more on our FAQs page.

We are sorry for this inconvenience and working to get this fixed as soon as possible.

If you haven’t completed Financial Registration because your scholarship or discount isn’t appearing in the system, please follow the steps on our FAQ webpage.  

person using laptop

Issues viewing your timetable?

We are aware of some technical issues which are stopping some of you from viewing your timetable.

We are sorry for this inconvenience and working hard to fix any issues and respond to your queries.

Here are a few things you can try yourself to fix the issue, as well as where you can go for help:

Log out and in again 

Try logging out of KentVision and log back in again.

Are you fully registered?

You must be fully registered on your modules for your personal timetable to show. Please check you have enough module credits in KentVision. If you think module registrations are missing please speak with your Division.

8am slots

Classes which appear on the timetable at 8am are recorded and can be viewed at any time in Moodle. You are not expected to do this at any particular time of day and so do not represent a clash on your timetable. They are conveniently placed on your timetable to help you pace your studies through the week with other taught content.

Timetable clashes

See above about 8am slots. For clashes at other times please consult with your Division.

If you are missing classes, studying remotely or have a question about group allocations, please speak to your Division. 

Issues with Ical feed

Information Services are looking into problems some students are having with the ical feed. Please use the KentVision timetable while they fix this.

Spring term queries

The timetable for spring is yet to be completed and is subject to change. It will be released later in the autumn term.

Challenging racism artwork

George Floyd’s murder: one year on

Today, May 25 2021, marks the anniversary of George Floyd’s tragic murder. One year ago, its painful news travelled from Minneapolis sparking pain, outrage, and unified calls for justice against racism around the world. Just weeks ago, the world also witnessed as Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, was lawfully convicted of Mr Floyd’s murder, bending the needle a little more towards justice.

Last summer, our own community members at the University of Kent joined in global solidarity and called for the acute end of racism within our own institution. Student voices organised by the Afro-Diasporic Legal Network, West African Society, University of Kent Ethiopian & Eritrean Society, University of Kent ACS, UKC Nigerian Society, Kent Caribbean Union, Kent Southern African Society, and the Kent East African Society organised a call to action and highlighted just 10 of the many areas where may begin the work to tackle racism.

Their submission joined a legacy of leading student voices, such as those who came together to submit the BME Student Voices Project and Decolonize the Curriculum Manifesto, who rallied for the same cause. In requested response, this year we launched the Challenging Racism webpage, focused on directly engaging our student and wider community on our actions to address these recently raised concerns.

Throughout the year, one also marked by compounded hardships, the University of Kent continued the work of realising a university community that holds ‘zero tolerance’ for racial antagonism with new vigour. University leadership organised to install a new EDI Governance structure that will take reported concerns through address to completed action. Alongside this, we launched the new EDI website as a central hub for staff and students to keep connected with University endeavours fixed on equality; specifically the Challenging Racism pages, where we communicate updates on the progress made towards meeting the demands articulated, including developing an Antiracism strategy, Executive Group training and a revised Campus Security Charter. We have also begun the process of preparing an application for the Race Equality Charter.

The horrid injustice that ended George Floyd’s life is one that can never truly be redressed—but our actions towards ending repeated occurrences are essential. We at the University of Kent continue to come together to tackle the structural issues of institutionalised racism. We acknowledge that work has yet to be complete and there is still much to do. We invite everyone’s continued engagement, commitment to self-reflection, continual learning and work to dismantle discriminatory structures at Kent.

Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura
Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance

Dr Auzimuth Jackson
Student EDI Officer

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Definition of Antisemitism – student consultation

We strive to be an organisation where everyone feels welcome, supported and can take pride in who we are.

We are committed to taking action against all forms of racism at the University and beyond.

As you are aware, we are currently considering whether we should join a number of other universities in signing up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition was created in response to evidence of rising antisemitism and seeks to build an international consensus around a non-legally binding definition of what antisemitism means to help tackle the rise in hate and discrimination. In the UK, the Home Affairs Select Committee added some modifications to address some of the concerns raised.

Feedback from a previous consultation raised some concerns over some aspects of the IHRA definition being open to misinterpretation, but a strong feeling that Kent should have a commitment in this area. Recently, the Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism (JDA) has been suggested as an alternative. The authors of the JDA definition have stated that their aim in writing this was to offer a clearer core definition to assist with tackling discrimination against Jews, while protecting space for open debate on the future of Israel/Palestine.

Signing up to a definition of antisemitism would be an important statement of our solidarity with the Jewish community in recognition of the hurt many are feeling due to rising discrimination. With that in mind, we would welcome the views of all students on the approach we should take to help inform our response to Council. Please see the following briefing paper that sets out more of the background to the issues explored in the survey.

Share your feedback now

Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura
Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance

Aisha Dosanjh
Kent Union President

headphones

Music to my ears!

Second year student Harvey shares the best music to revise and study to:

‘Hi, I’m Harvey, a second year Marketing student at the Canterbury campus. I have a secret; I have never studied for an exam in my life. I completely winged it through my GCSEs and got some undeservingly good results; followed by promptly failing my AS levels. Coupled with my first-year exams being online, open book and fairly straight forward, I have never had to do a ‘late night exam study sesh’. With second year exams looming, which are distinctly harder and need a lot more reading to pass, I thought it’s finally time I actually learned how to revise.

‘Plus, with COVID-19 I also have to share the office with my Dad who is on calls all day, every day. So, I turned to my hilariously diametric Spotify to keep me focused and see what music would get me studying best. Oh, and naturally being a data specialist, I did it scientifically through controlled variables and quantitative analysis. Seeing as I know mostly anyone reading this has no interest in that, I have included a “study score” as an amalgamation of how well each genre performed, which, of course, is completely subjective.

Classical

‘Lauded by many as the premier thing to play children in the womb, or the perfect accompaniment to a peaceful evening reading a textbook, classical music is the stereotypical study soundtrack. Perhaps to the dismay of my classically trained musician Dad, I never have showed a great amount of interest in ‘the classics’, but I thought now might be the time to invest in some enculturation.

‘I chose the aptly named “Classical Focus” from Spotify’s official playlists for my first experiment. Encompassing composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, it features all the works I probably should have studied while I was doing my short-lived music degree but didn’t.

‘Classical music has the ability to make you feel smarter while you’re listening to it. It also generally doesn’t have vocals, unless we’re getting into choral works. So you supposedly have less to distract you, according to some (especially my Dad) “it is terrible to focus with music with words, it distracts you! I could not play that in the office!”

‘After using the playlist for a good hour I found it to be a mixed bag. Perhaps this is just personal taste, but I found it hard to focus on the particularly dry article I was reading with anything aside from piano music. Although orchestral works are impressive, and I have been lucky enough to see this in person a handful of times, I find they’re too busy and complex to focus on the task at hand. Even with piano music I was finding myself encountering a déjà vu of melodies I’d heard on adverts or TV shows from across the years; so I found myself pretending I could play the piano, perhaps in a vain attempt to pretend I knew more than I actually do.

‘I think classical music has the ability to be a deeply relaxing and spiritual listening experience, if the right piece appears. As a study tool? I’m less convinced. Maybe if you’re less of a musical person than I am you’ll find it appropriate background listening for an afternoon of reading and revising; if so, I particularly recommend the works of Chopin or the various other pianists and piano playlists available on Spotify. For me, it was time to explore what’s next.

Study score: 3/5

Drum and Bass/EDM

‘What a juxtaposition! From the realms of the concert hall, my next stop was the substantially more modern field of the synthesiser. I’ll be honest, I am very biased – my favourite band is Pendulum (the Australian drum and bass outfit who were popular in the late 2000s). However, bias aside (ok maybe not), I wanted to see how this eclectic musical umbrella fared when I was working.

‘As previously mentioned, this is probably the music I use most while studying. Generally, it is my aptly titled ‘Pendulum’ playlist that I will put on although I also have “Straight bangers, no re”, titled (hopefully ironically) a few years ago with a fairly broad range from the electronic side of music.

‘Personally, I find that depending on my mood, the heavier the better when it comes to writing those essays that ‘you really should have done three weeks ago but now its due tomorrow’, however, as this is an exercise in mainly reading, it’s time to test it in that respect.

‘Again – like classical music – I feel that a lot of electronic, especially drum and bass, has way too much going on to enable you to properly focus on reading. Although, for me I think I like the songs enough that I can tune a lot of the song out, and it’s good for getting rid of the distractions that permeate the estate I live on. As a way to digest material I am not familiar with? I’m less convinced. If we liken it to having a rave with a textbook it’s very similar, I simultaneously wanted to fall asleep and party at the same time. Writing up notes was a different story. I found, especially Pendulum as it’s more melodic (and as we know I am very biased), or anything similar was very good for driving me forward and keeping me energised.

‘So, in conclusion, it’s a great way to get you energised, especially if you’re doing the type of work where you just need to get pen to paper – a bit like this article (this is exactly how I’m writing this segment!) However, I think on our search to find the right accompaniment for all the read I am sure many of us need to catch up on, we need to look a bit further!

Study score: 2/5

Chill/Acoustic

‘When I first heard this kind of music non-ironically, I remember I was driving to work on a cold morning as the sun rose; a fairly beautiful scene that I felt relaxed me into what was a pretty stressful job at the time. Nowadays, I have a dedicated “Chill Stuff” playlist for when I’m not in the mood for anything heavy. The music I am talking about here is the kind that doesn’t try to shout loudly, or invest you with intricate melodies; although it must be said I can’t listen to it if I’m particularly emotional, I do not need more reasons to cry while revising for exams!

‘It is a very wide spectrum, especially if you’re looking at Spotify’s pre-made playlists; which vary from electronic to acoustic guitars and even hip-hop. I found these playlists to be very hit-and-miss if I am honest. Although some things I am sure I could play in the background to a cute date night, others seemed to be very loose in their affiliation to “chill” (angry psychedelic-synth playlist, anyone?), and others still just are a bit plain weird (Cat Jazz is my mum’s favourite to wheel out at family dinners); therefore, I think it’s important to clarify what I found myself drawn to.

‘Personally, and given my usual taste I have no idea why, I found myself rather enjoying the most stripped-back guitar and vocal music I could find. I think it is a certain honesty that brought me away from all of the stresses I was experiencing and into the moment (very mindful, I know). From there I was able to look clearly at what I was studying and feel I was taking in information and working with more clarity. If we want to be philosophical, maybe it is this kind of music that makes you realise how fast-paced and hectic life can be unless you take time to focus on the now – how thoughtful, right?

‘In conclusion, I probably found this the most helpful of all the music I listened to in terms of helping me focus on reading. There is a caveat that there is a lot of terrible music branding itself as “chill”. However, whether it is the classic “chill beats to study to” I am sure many of us have used in the past, or simplistic guitar and vocal performances I enjoy, I think personally it is the perfect music to focus to and digest a difficult reading!’

Study Score: 5/5

Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash

women sat smiling at laptop

Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS): Appointments

Over the Easter break why not take advantage of SLAS and get on top of:

  • planning and revising for your exams including developing revision and exam techniques
  • developing your maths, financial maths and statistical knowledge in time for exams
  • developing and completing assignments including dissertations

You can either book an appointment online, visit our website or email learning@kent.ac.uk