Author Archives: Miles Banbery

New DVC Research and Innovation

Congratulations to Professor Shane Weller, who has been appointed as our new Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation.

Shane was educated at the universities of Oxford and Yale, and worked for some years in the publishing industry before pursuing a career in academia. His first teaching post was at the University of Oxford. He joined the University of Kent in 2005, was promoted to a professorship in Comparative Literature in 2010, and from 2013 to 2019 was Head of the School of European Culture and Languages. In 2020, he was appointed Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation at Kent, and in that capacity oversaw the University’s submission to REF2021.

His own field of research is the history of ideas, with a particular focus on modern European literature and culture. He has published nine books in that area, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. His two most recent books – The Idea of Europe: A Critical History and Samuel Beckett and Cultural Nationalism – were both published by Cambridge University Press in 2021.

On his appointment to the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation at Kent, Shane says:

‘Over the past year, I have learned so much about the exciting and innovative work being undertaken by Kent’s researchers. I am absolutely delighted to have been given this opportunity to work with colleagues across the institution to take forward the University’s ambitious plans for research and innovation.

‘I believe strongly in the importance of a people-centred research culture, and in the contribution to be made by everyone in the research and innovation ecosystem. I have been particularly impressed by the engagement of Kent’s researchers with both regional and global challenges, and their commitment to bringing cultural, social and economic benefits to wider communities. The richness and diversity of Kent’s research and innovation is truly impressive.

‘In my capacity as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I will do my very best to support, champion and reward Kent’s research community, and to help it to achieve the national and international recognition that it deserves.’

Black and white photo of hands tying on laptop

Exams result update – 5 July 2021

15.30 update

The vast majority of exam results for final year undergraduates and diploma students have now been released with the remaining results due to be released today.

If you have not received an email to your University account notifying you that your results are available by the end of today, please contact your school or department.

Once again, thank you for your patience.

Richard

12.40

We are pleased to announce that the release of exam results for final year undergraduate and diploma students is in progress. Please bear with us as each Board’s results are released in turn. You will be emailed when your Board’s results have been released and your results are ready to be viewed.

We will update you again with a progress report at 15.30.

Thank you again for your continued patience and we wish you all the very best of luck with your results.

Richard

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

socially-distanced students walking on campus with view of cathedral in background

Canterbury campus Covid-19 update

From Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of Covid-19 Silver Command

Following my email earlier in the week on the rise of student cases of Covid-19 on our Canterbury campus, I wanted to give you all a further update on what the latest picture is and what we can all do to continue to keep each other safe.

We have been liaising with the local Health Protection Team throughout the week to ensure we are doing all we can to maintain safety on campus. This includes helping students to travel home safely, many of whom have now done so, and supporting those who need to remain with us to self-isolate for a short period – thank you to all of you for everything you are doing to support this, across a wide range of departments and services.

Covid cases have been rising across the country, particularly among 18-24 year olds. With that in mind, colleagues should continue to work from home if they can to ensure we are doing our bit to minimise any further cases. Sticking to key safety guidance – including ‘Hands, Face, Space’ – remains hugely important for those working on campus or accessing campus facilities, and we continue to have measures in place to support social distancing across our campuses.

Testing is also a vital part of this if you are on campus at any time, with our asymptomatic testing centre remaining open for those that need it. Vaccination is also a key part of stopping the spread of Covid-19 and we encourage all of you to have the vaccine if offered – your manager will support you if you need to book either vaccination or testing during work time.

We will be reassessing all our safety measures on campus following the Government’s next review of their roadmap later this month. I will be in touch then, while we will also be able to update further on changes and how they affect you at our next Staff Webchat scheduled for Thursday 15 July, from 12.00-13.00. Sign-up details for this webchat will be available in next week’s staff newsletter.

Thank you once again to all of you for the tremendous effort across our campuses to keep infection rates low for the vast majority of the year, and for the way you have all pulled together to keep our students, and each other, safe.

With all best wishes,

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of Covid-19 Silver Command

Close up of someone typing on laptop

Exam results release update – 2 July 2021

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

I apologise to all of you for the confusion caused yesterday by some of our communications around the timetable for releasing your exam results. We were hoping to have these available from 1 July but were aware that the time it takes to process the results meant this could take a day or two longer – we should have made that clearer to you ahead of yesterday, and I fully accept that the subsequent delay in updating you further on the day itself caused unwelcome additional concern.

I want to reassure you that staff are working tirelessly to get your results to you as soon as possible, including ensuring the no-detriment measures introduced this year are applied fairly and evenly across everyone. We are currently cross-checking results in KentVision to make sure we are in a position to share them early next week, with the vast majority expected on Monday.

I know how keen you all are to find out the outcome of your exams and that a further wait may cause additional anxiety, but hope you appreciate the importance of us taking this additional time to ensure you get the correct results.

Thank you for your continued patience with this and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.

Richard

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

 

Coronavirus

Covid-19 update – 29 January 2021

Academic mitigation

A new Academic Mitigation Group has been established to plan for and coordinate issues relating to students’ academic performance and progression during this academic year. Led by Professor Richard Reece (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience), the group brings together divisional and professional service staff with working groups currently focussing on four areas:

The first outcome of the group was to confirm details of the current coursework extension available for students which is outlined in the Student Coronavirus webpages. Outcomes from the Group will continue to be shared with staff before being communicated to students and we hope to have the first overview of our no-detriment plans and processes early next week.

Regular Covid-19 testing

Taking part in regular testing is an essential part of the Government’s strategy to combat the spread of Coronavirus. According to Government guidance, any staff working on campus should be tested twice a week. You can book to have your tests at our Canterbury Asymptomatic Testing Site or at the facility at the Deep End at Medway. Testing facilities are also available in the community and relevant sites are listed on the Kent County Council and Medway Council websites.

Further information about asymptomatic testing is available on our Staff Coronavirus webpages.

Coronavirus

Letter to all students from UK Minister of State for Universities

[05.01.2021 Please see latest update following the announcement of a third national lockdown which supersedes the 1 January update.]

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

Following my email yesterday, please read the following letter to all students from Michelle Donelan MP, Minster of State for Universities outlining the UK Government’s decision to further restrict the number of courses that can return to in-person teaching as planned at the beginning of the Spring term.

As I said before, I will continue to keep in touch over the next few weeks as we develop our plans in response to this latest change and update our online information as soon as we can.

Please do sign up for our Web Chat on 6 January 2021 during which we will answer your questions about these latest changes as well as any others about the Spring term.

If you have any concerns or queries, please check our student Coronavirus webpages  or email CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk and we will respond as soon as possible.

My very best wishes to you, your friends and your family.

Yours sincerely

Richard

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

Coronavirus

Spring return update for staff – 31 December 2020

[05.01.2021 Please see latest update following the announcement of a third national lockdown which supersedes the 31 December update.]

From Alison Ross-Green, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development.

Dear Colleague,

I hope you have had an enjoyable and restful winter vacation.

You will be aware that the Government announced yesterday a further tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in England as result of the rising infection rates.

As part of these restrictions, the Government has requested that universities delay the return of the majority of students to campus after the winter vacation. The Government has stressed that university campuses are regarded as COVID-safe and this is simply an effort to reduce the number of people traveling across the country at this time.

This means that we have asked students not return to campus or to their term time address for the start of term unless they are studying medicine or social work or fall under the following exemptions including

  • being an international student who is unable to make reasonable adjustments to their travel arrangements
  • not having access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their current location
  • requiring additional support, including mental health support
  • being on a placement where the provider is permitted to open under the current restrictions
  • being a postgraduate student and requiring specialist facilities for their work

You can read the email we are sending to students online.

The start of term remains 18 January 2021, and we have been asked by the Government to ensure that all teaching is online for the first few weeks. Students have been told that they are expected to attend all timetabled sessions.

While the latest position replaces previous plans for a staggered return to campus, I hope that the preparations that have already been made to move teaching online for the start of term will mean that we can comply with the Government’s recommendations without increasing workloads.

We have been informed that the return to campus will be paused at least until the week commencing 25 January. The Government will review this decision in the week commencing 18 January. We will update you shortly after.

We will continue to offer asymptomatic COVID testing for staff and those students who have to return to their term time address. Please be assured that there will be sufficient booking slots available for all those who need them once we are all back on campus.

University staff who are needed on campus to provide essential services continue to be regarded as essential workers and can travel to and from work. Please ensure you carry University ID (such as your Kent One card) on your commute. If you are working on campus, we strongly recommend that you book an asymptomatic COVID test on campus if you have not already done so,

I also wanted to flag that we are aware that that some staff will be impacted by the delayed reopening of schools in Kent. I would like to reassure you that the University has measures in place to support staff during times such as this and to ensure that your pay is protected as far as possible if you are unable to work due to the impact of COVID.  If you are affected, please liaise with your line manager as soon as possible.

We will continue to keep in touch with staff and students over the next few weeks as we develop our plans in response to this latest change and will update the staff coronavirus webpages with new information as it becomes available.

My best wishes to you and your family.

Yours sincerely

Alison

Alison Ross-Green | Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

Coronavirus

Spring return update for students – 31 December 2020

[05.01.2021 Please see latest update following the announcement of a third national lockdown which supersedes the 31 December update.

01.01.2021 Please note – we have now received a letter to all students from Michelle Donelan MP, Minster of State for Universities which accompanies the update below.]

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

Dear Student,

I hope you have had an enjoyable and restful winter vacation.

You will be aware that the Government announced yesterday a further tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in England as result of the rising infection rates.

As part of these restrictions, the Government has requested that universities delay the return of the majority of students to campus after the winter vacation. The Government has stressed that our campuses are regarded as COVID-safe and this is simply an effort to reduce the number of people traveling across the country at this time.

This means that, if you left your term time address for the vacation, you should not return to campus or to your term time address for the start of term unless you:

  • are studying medicine or social work
  • are an international student who is unable to make reasonable adjustments to your travel arrangements
  • do not have access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in your current location
  • require additional support, including mental health support
  • are on a placement where the provider is permitted to open under the current restrictions
  • are a postgraduate student and require specialist facilities for your work.

If you have remained on campus over the vacation, please be assured that we will continue to provide our vacation facilities at both Canterbury and Medway. I would encourage you to stay on campus as much as possible. If you have not already done so, it is strongly recommended that you book an asymptomatic COVID test at one of the campus-based sites at Canterbury or Medway.

If you are a commuting student, please do not come to campus unless the above exceptions apply to you.

If you are among those who need to return to campus, you are strongly advised to take a COVID test before making the journey back to your term time address, if asymptomatic testing is available to you locally. If this is not possible, please self-isolate on arrival for 10 days, or until you are tested on campus.

The start of term remains 18 January 2021, and all teaching will be provided online for the first few weeks of term. You will be expected to attend all timetabled sessions.

This latest position replaces our previous plans for a staggered return to campus that I communicated to you before Christmas.

We have been informed that the return to campus will be paused at least until the week commencing 25 January. The Government will review this decision in the week commencing 18 January. I will update you shortly after.

Whenever you return to campus, asymptomatic COVID testing will be available at both Canterbury and Medway  and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this as soon as possible on your return. If you have already made a booking but your return to campus is delayed it would be very helpful to staff if you could cancel that session. Please be assured that there will be sufficient booking slots available for all those who need them once we are all back on campus.

I will continue to keep in touch over the next few weeks as we develop our plans in response to this latest change. I know you will have many questions over this current situation, and we will update the website with new information as it becomes available.

We will be running a Web Chat on 6 January 2021 during which we will answer your questions about these latest changes as well as any others about the Spring term. The booking form is now open so please do sign up.

I realise this is not the news you may have wished to hear. Our priority remains to keep you and our community safe while still providing the highest quality teaching and student experience.

We know that this is a worrying time, and we are here to support and advise you wherever you may be. If you have any concerns or queries, please check our student Coronavirus webpages  or email CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk and we will respond as soon as possible.

My very best wishes to you, your friends and your family.

Yours sincerely

Richard

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

Coronavirus

National lockdown announcement: University response

From Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President.

I wanted to contact you following the Prime Ministers announcement this evening. You will be aware that, from Thursday this week, England will be entering into a four-week lockdown. However, unlike the previous period of lockdown, the Government has decided that universities will remain open. 

We are now working through the implications of tonight’s announcement for our students and reviewing any adjustments that may be required to the way we currently deliver teaching, undertake research, provide support to our students and our staff and manage campus and University operations. 

Please continue to study as planned over the next few days and we will be back in touch with you during the day on Monday with an update on the current situation. 

Finally, I want to reassure you that the numbers of those testing positive for Covid-19 at the University remain low. However, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff are our key priority and we continue to work closely with the local public health protection team and will be taking their advice on any changes that may be required to the way we are operating. 

We know that this is a worrying time and we are here to support and advise you. If you have any concerns and wish to speak to someone please call Student Support and Wellbeing on 01227 823158, email CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk or ring the University Nursing Service on 01227 823503. 

My very best wishes to you, your friends and your family. 

Yours sincerely 

Karen 

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President 

National lockdown announcement: University response

From Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President.

I wanted to contact you following the Prime Minister’s announcement this evening. You will be aware that, from Thursday 5 November, England will be entering into a four-week lockdown. However, unlike the previous period of lockdown, the Government has decided that ‘universities will remain open’.

We are now working through the implications of tonight’s announcement for staff and students and reviewing any adjustments that may be required to the way we currently deliver teaching, undertake research, provide support to our students and our staff and manage campus and University operations.

For the next few days, please continue to work in line with the arrangements in place and agreed with your line manager/school, and we will be back in touch with you during the day on Monday with an update on the current situation.

If you have any concerns, please discuss them with your line manager in the first instance.

Finally, I want to reassure you that the numbers of those testing positive for Covid-19 at the University remain low. However, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff are our key priority and we continue to work closely with the local public health protection team and will be taking their advice on any changes that may be required to the way we are operating.

Thank you to all of you for your continued contributions and support during these challenging times.

My very best wishes to you and your family.

Yours sincerely

Karen

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President