Author Archives: hk391

Upcoming Moodle Outage on 25 April

Moodle will be undergoing scheduled maintenance on Thursday 25 April from 07:00 – 17:00, and will be unavailable during this time. Although inconvenient, this maintenance is essential to ensure a high-quality virtual learning environment and cannot be rescheduled. Therefore, we kindly request you to download any materials you might need for that day in advance from your Moodle modules.

Lecture Recordings Access: Although Moodle will be unavailable, you can still access all your lecture recordings directly via Kent Player. We encourage you to use this resource to catch up on or review past lectures.

Service is expected to resume fully by 17:00 on 25 April. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes. Please contact IT & Library Support for support and advice regarding this Moodle outage.

Contact IT & Library Support

 

FACE x Horniman Exhibition

As part of #Black365, March 2024 sees the launch of FACE X HORNIMAN – Hair: Untold Stories exhibition. FACE (Fashion Academics Creating Equality) and the Horniman Museum. This exhibition is set in a physical space for the first time, and explores and celebrates the influence, importance and personal narratives attached to the significance of hair seen against Eurocentric beauty standards from Black, Brown and Asian perspectives within the UK.

The exhibition has been curated by Fashion designer and Senior Lecturer Davina Hawthorne (De Montfort University) and Photographer and Associate Professor Max Kandhola (Nottingham Trent University), both council members of FACE and Co-Founder of FACE, Sharon Lloyd. Contributing editors: Dr Sarah Bryne, Professor Emma Tarlo, Rose Sinclair (MBE), Andrew Ibi, Jacob Goff, Benita Odogwu-Atkinson and Michelle Marshall.

The exhibition will seek to take visitors on a journey of discovery of the importance of hair from within the academic and student educational space. Both students and academics explore the complex relationship between hair and identity, revealing the importance of generational traditions in different communities and the power of creative invention.

The exhibition will launch on Wednesday 27 March, 5pm in Keynes College and remain open and free to view for all staff, students, and members of the community in Keynes Atrium and Teaching Gallery spaces until July 2024.

If you would like to attend the Private View please contact Becky Lamyman on StudentEDI@kent.ac.uk by 25 March 2024.

#Black365 is a yearlong campaign to celebrate Black culture, Black excellence and Black achievement at the University of Kent.
FACE (Fashion Academics Creating Equality) works to challenge Higher Education Institutions and industry in fashion, art and design fields to be more inclusive, unified and equitable, with a particular spotlight on issues concerning race, colour and ethnicity. More information on the FACE academics who have supported this exhibition through text and works can be found at weareface.co.uk.
Horniman Museum is located in Forest Hill, South East London, and aspires to connect visitors with global cultures and the natural world, encouraging us to shape a positive future for the world we all share and was the Art Fund Museum of the Year winner 2022.
Works and text produced by FACE Academics and Students for Horniman Museum’s Hair: Untold Stories can also be viewed online.

Living Black at Kent student focus group

Help the University Accommodation team develop their next Living Black at Kent welcome booklet, they rolled out a welcome booklet last year, and work towards improving our Black students’ experience.

The booklet is to help smooth the transition to life in Kent and the University, and the team are all ears to know what you think of it. Honest opinions are needed on what worked and what needs improvement. There are two focus groups lined up and the team are looking for Black students to pitch in their ideas to make this resource even better.

What is a welcome booklet?

The Living Black at Kent booklet is an honest effort to spotlight local services near our campuses. It’s designed to assist Black students in adjusting to living in a new town by making them aware of helpful resources within the local area.

Who created it and what did the report say?

Kent’s staff and students collaborated to create this booklet, following a report by Unite Students, and supported by Halpin Partnership. The report by Unite Students highlighted the experiences of Black university students living in UK student accommodation and indicated that “over a quarter (28%) of Black students felt that they cannot access culturally relevant services close to where they live”. This was just one of the report’s findings which inspired us to launch the booklet and help our students feel more at home.

What can I do?

Join us in the Living Black at Kent focus group and let’s make a difference together! Share your unique experiences as a Black student at Kent, or perhaps some hidden gems of services you’ve discovered that others might not know about yet. Your insights could be the guiding light for the next set of students.

When and where are the Living Black at Kent focus groups being held?

Don’t miss the chance to join our focus group on 20 or 27 March 2024, in the Darwin Conference Suite, from 13:00 to 14:30. We’re looking for 20 participants per session. By participating, you’ll play a critical role in enhancing our community and making a lasting impression. Your contribution can make a real difference, and don’t forget that £20 KentOne credit!

Use the form to register your interest in our upcoming sessions. Once done, we’ll provide you with even more exciting details!

You can also check out the 2023 Living Black at Kent booklet online and if you would like to read the full Unite Students report, you can find this at Unite Students. Please get in touch if you have any further questions about these sessions, by emailing the ResLife Team.

Living Black at Kent

The first research report into Black students’ experience in UK purpose-built student accommodation, Living Black at University was published in February 2022 by Unite Students. At the University of Kent, we wanted to respond to and act upon the findings and recommendations of the report published which had found evidence of racism, cultural insensitivity, and exclusion – all of which had a significant impact on Black students’ mental health.

A Living Black at Kent Working Group was set up in April 2023, comprising stakeholders from across the University and student union, to respond to the findings, and ten recommendations in the report listed below, thereby improving, and enhancing the lived experience for our Black students.

  1. Universities and accommodation providers should collaborate to eliminate racism from all areas of the student experience, including student accommodation.
  2. Improve acclimatisation and integration activities for all new students and extend the period over which these activities take place.
  3. Introduce meaningful race training for peers and staff.
  4. Accommodation providers should confirm a commitment to tackling racism, both in their internal policies and in their student behavioural agreement or charter
  5. Improve the representation of Black people as employees to reflect the diversity of students.
  6. Universities and accommodation providers should work together to create intentionally diverse and inclusive student accommodation.
  7. Universities and accommodation providers should collaborate to ensure mental health and wellbeing support is available, accessible, and appropriate for Black students.
  8. Ensure there are clear and accessible policies and procedures (including anonymous reporting) that deal explicitly with racism in accommodation.
  9. Accommodation providers should routinely collect, analyse, and publish relevant data on the racial diversity of their residents and employees, as well as outcomes of reporting and investigation of complaints.
  10. Accommodation providers should work to build a relationship of trust with Black students.

So far, we have looked at our acclimatisation and integration activities to ensure that we offer a diverse range of options during our welcome period, and we are making this a real focus for our ResLife programme to ensure that this continues throughout the academic year.

We have considered Kents student demographics to ensure we are providing culturally relevant services. Our catering options were reviewed as part of this, and students and suppliers were invited to a food tasting event, where we could gather feedback about our food offerings on campus. As a result, in September 2023 we launched a West Indian microbrand called Three Little Birds and are also offering a selection of African and West Indian drinks and snacks in our catering outlets.

Current residential students were invited to share what advice they would give to new students moving to Kent for the first time in terms of other culturally relevant services in the area. From this we have created a welcome booklet called ‘Living Black at Kent’ featuring peer-to-peer advice from current students, signposting to where students can find global food suppliers, Afro-Caribbean hair salons, and suggestions for student societies and faith groups.

As the Living Black at University (LBU) report is a national project, to ensure that the work we do here at Kent is relevant for our student body we included the original research questions in our 2022/23 end-of- year residential student survey to which we had a fantastic response rate, demonstrating the engagement of Kent students in this discussion.

The findings were compared with the original LBU Report findings, as well as comparing with qualitative data collected by both our EDI team and Students Union which focused on Black students’ experiences at Kent.  With this feedback data we are confident that we are improving areas at Kent that will have significant impact.

The residential survey, with the addition of the LBU elements, will run annually at Kent enabling us to respond to the current student body and measure our initiatives impact.

Most importantly is here at Kent we are open to the findings and embrace change to make positive improvements for our Black students; we look forward to sharing the results and initiatives as they evolve with you and welcome any feedback you have on the Living Black at Kent project.

Three students sitting and talking on campus

Introducing our next University Strategy

From Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education and Student Experience

Future plans for Kent

I wanted to update you all on work underway to develop our next University strategy, which is focused on ensuring we do more to put students at the heart of everything we do. This is being delivered through our Kent 2030 plan, which brings together a range of improvements based on suggestions from students.

Lots of this is due to come into effect from Autumn 2025 onwards, including planned changes to the structure of our academic year. We are also looking at the make-up of the courses we plan on recruiting to in the future, recognising that students have different needs and different expectations than they did in the past.

As part of this, we have started talking to staff in some areas about phasing out future recruitment to a number of courses. If agreed, this would only affect recruitment for future cohorts of students in these areas – for those studying them now, your teaching and graduation would carry on as normal.

These proposals are to do with our broader portfolio rather than any specific campus – we remain fully committed to our presence at Medway and as part of this will be looking at how we can refresh what we do to ensure we have a vibrant offer at Medway that matches what students and employers are looking for.

Why are we doing this?

We are always looking at ways we can do things differently as student demographics change, ensuring we match the ambition of students in what they can study at Kent and the ways we support them in doing that. Alongside this, like other universities across the country, we are responding to a challenging financial environment – we want to get ahead of this by building something different and better for future generations of Kent students.

What does it mean for you?

The Kent 2030 programme will be making improvements to lots of aspects of the student experience. As the programme develops, we will be in touch directly should any proposed changes affect you. Our priority throughout will be to ensure we maintain the quality and consistency of your course through to when you graduate, and your Division will be in touch via email shortly if there are proposed changes in your area as part of the current curriculum review.

None of the proposed plans being discussed would impact students’ ability to graduate or complete their courses, and as with any organisational changes, we will do everything we can to minimise the impact on your studies.

Find out more about Kent 2030

Change can be challenging for some colleagues but we are sure that these proposed changes are the right thing to do to ensure a positive future at Kent. We are working with Kent Union and staff unions to do everything we can to support affected staff as a result of the upcoming curriculum review. If you have questions or concerns about any of this, please contact Kent Union at union-president@kent.ac.uk or the Kent 2030 team at Kent2030Student@kent.ac.uk.

Want to hear more about how changes might affect your student journey and ask your questions? Join our next Student Open Forum from 15:30 – 16:30 on Wednesday 21 February online via Teams.

Sign up to attend Student Open Forum Wed 21 February

Read about Kent 2030 plans online

Exams: Religious Observation request deadline Fri 2 Feb

Some religious days or festivals will fall during the May/June exam period and we understand that students may wish to observe these. We will therefore make every effort to avoid timetabling exams or assessments on such dates where a religious observation request has been made ahead of the deadline.

The deadline for submitting a religious observation request for the 2024 exam period is Friday 2 February 2024. Find the request form and further information on Religious Observations here.

Watch the latest iCSS cybersecurity video for online safety

The University of Kent’s Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS) is ramping up their efforts to keep everyone in the know about the growing risk of cyber security in our highly digitized world with their latest animated video above, “Why does cyber security matter for everyone?”

This is the second animated video in the series, following “How to be cyber superhero”, which was released earlier this year for Safer Internet Day. 

The new video was produced by iCSS Director Professor Shujun Li and Science Animated (SciAni), a company dedicated to scientific communication with the public. A team of iCSS researchers also contributed to the project.

As the UK Government recognized Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education with a Gold award, iCSS is committed to promoting cyber security and online safety for all students and staff at the University of Kent. They recently launched a Moodle e-learning space called “Cyber Security: Training, Awareness and Engagement for All Students” and the Kent & Medway Cyber Security Student Society (KMCS3), both aimed at educating students from all subjects about cyber security. More initiatives are in the works, so keep an eye out on iCSS’s website and social media accounts for updates.