Author Archives: Sophie Conner

Kent sign on campus

Voluntary Severance Scheme: Deadline Friday 10 March 

As you will have seen from the previous message from Martin Atkinson, the voluntary severance scheme that the University is currently running was recently extended to give more people a chance to apply if they wanted to. The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday, 10 March 

The scheme offers generous terms to eligible staff who could consider leaving the University this academic year, where a significant cost saving could be made. Find out more about the scheme or email if you have any questions, 

KentVision unavailable morning of 7 March

The KentVision system will be unavailable for all users during the morning on Tuesday 07 March due to planned maintenance and made available again by 09:00am. 

If students need to view their timetable during these times, they can integrate their timetable with a personal calendar (e.g Outlook or Google calendar) on a mobile or computer through iCal.

Please direct them to the my study webpage and click the cog in the top right-hand corner to see the subscribe to calendar options. 



Volunteering at Graduations events: 7 & 8 March

Have you ever wanted to volunteer at the Graduations but not sure what it would be like?

If you are interested in volunteering at our students’ special day in July, then please come to the Graduation Launches to find out more about the volunteering roles, how graduations work and meet the team.

Canterbury Launch 7 March in Darwin Conference Suite from 12.00 -13.00 and Medway Launch 8 March in the Oasis Lounge from 10.00 -11.00.

Introducing Salary Finance

We have now launched Salary Finance to help support you through the cost-of-living crisis.

Salary Finance is our new financial wellbeing benefit provider that offers:

  • Simple savings: Savings account with Yorkshire Building Society where contributions are transferred directly from salary to an instant access savings account, with 2.75% gross Annual Equivalent Rate (AER). You choose how much you want to save and there are no fees or hidden costs.
  • Help to Save: With this government-backed scheme, anyone receiving Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit could earn bonus payments on their savings. You could earn up to £1,200 in tax-free bonuses from the Government over four years. That works out at an extra 50p for every £1 you save.
  • Money insights: Visit the Learn platform and access simple and accessible educational resources to help you navigate and understand your finances. There’s support for all employees including webinars, videos, guides and tools to help make money simple.
  • Loans repaid through salary: Salary Finance also offers loans at affordable rates with a higher acceptance than banks. A lower-rate loan could help to pay off more expensive debt or pay less interest if you need to borrow money for a car, home improvement or unexpected expense. Representative Rate 9.9% APR (fixed). For loans under £5,000, Salary Finance offers a price promise – if you get a better rate they’ll match it.

To find out more about Salary Finance, visit the FAQs page and head to the Salary Finance webpage see the options available.

Don’t forget about our cost of living support webpage and the Emergency Support Fund, where you can get up to £500 from the University to help with a short-term, emergency cash flow problem.


Important: This is an option, not a recommendation. University of Kent does not benefit from offering this service and all your communications will be with Salary Finance. Loan applications will be assessed to ensure the loan is appropriate and affordable for you. “Learn” content is for guidance and educational purposes only and is generic in nature. Salary Finance does not offer regulated financial advice. Please seek independent financial advice.

Kent Global Roundtable

Calling all Kent staff! Join us for this follow up to the Kent Global Showcase.

Next week (6-12 March) is WorldFest, the University of Kent’s annual celebration of our diverse student and staff community. The week is packed with a full programme of internationally-focused events.

As a part of the festivities, we are inviting all staff to join us for the Kent Global Roundtable!

The event follows on from the Kent Global Showcase that took place on 22 February 2023 and focused on developing the vision, values and objectives of the University’s Global Engagement Strategy.

The Kent Global Roundtable takes place on 8 March from 10am-11.30am in Sibson SR2 and is hosted by Dr Anthony Manning, Dean & Director of Global and Lifelong Learning. The event offers Kent staff the opportunity to dive deeper into the main objectives of the Global Engagement Strategy, looking in depth at how it relates to their individual contexts.

You’ll learn innovative ways to build upon your current work activities and implement the Strategy, ensuring your work is more globally engaged. And you’ll be invited to identify potential areas of guidance and support that would benefit you in achieving your global engagement goals.

Plus, you’ll get to hear about the various internationalised student experiences taking place across the University.

The Kent Global Roundtable is open to all staff. Sign up to attend here.

Don’t miss other WorldFest events!

WorldFest is a unique opportunity to get involved with the wider University community and appreciate the cultural diversity of our staff and students.

Don’t miss the programme of WorldFest events taking place throughout the week!

WorldFest Letters

For instance, sample an array of global cuisines at the International Food Fayre in the Central Plaza on the Canterbury campus throughout the week. Food stands and trucks will include Greek, Spanish, Korean, Moroccan and South African food options, including meat free choices.

Liven up your work day and destress with the University Community Choir on 8 March from 1pm-2pm in Colyer-Fergusson, who will be singing international songs as a part of their weekly performance.

Support Women in STEM on International Women’s Day on 8 March between 12.45pm and 2pm in The Gulbenkian Cinema at the Women in STEM Panel Discussion titled ‘How far have we come? What obstacles still need to be overcome?’.

And don’t miss the International Showcase on Saturday 11th March from 7pm to 10pm – a chance for Kent Union’s cultural student groups to showcase cultural performances, singing and dancing.

Be a part of the WorldFest celebrations and join us in celebrating our culturally diverse community! For details of the whole WorldFest programme, check out the WorldFest homepage.

A cluster of vegetables from Sven Brandsma

Kent Giving Week 2023: The Thrifty Cook

As part of Kent Giving Week, we are creating a cookbook jam-packed with recipes, all for under £5 per serving. We have had some fantastic contributions from the likes of Joe Wicks, local chefs, staff and students.

Priced at £5, pre-orders for The Thrifty Cook are starting soon, you will also be available to buy during Kent Giving Week. There’s also the option to donate one to our students. All proceeds will help to provide nutritious meals to students facing financial hardship at this time.

To get a taster for what’s to come, check out Philip Pothen’s Easy Cauliflower and Spinach Dal with Coconut recipe:

Number of Servings: 4
Cost per serving: £3.50


250g red lentils
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2cms ginger, grated
2-3 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
250ml coconut milk
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
200g baby spinach leaves
Coriander leaves, chopped (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for ten minutes or so until the onion starts to soften. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies stirring for two minutes.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander, tumeric and a teaspoon of salt, stirring continuously for one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, and then add the red lentils stirring until all lentils have been coated in the spiced mixture.
  3. Add 500ml of water and the coconut milk and bring to the boil. When boiling, turn down the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the lentils begin to become a soft mush. This should take about 25 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.
  4. Add the cauliflower florets and stir occasionally.
  5. After eight minutes or so, add the spinach leaves. After two more minutes, take the saucepan off the heat. if using coriander leaves, add them and stir.
  6. Serve with a portion of rice or naan bread.

Tribute to Gerald Rickayzen

By Prof. John H. Strange and Prof. Bob Newport

Professor Gerald Rickayzen died on 7th February 2023 at the age of 93 after a long and distinguished career as a theoretical physicist, teacher and academic administrator. An outline of his extensive contribution to Physics and the University of Kent is provided below; we offer first, however, brief personal reflections from two of his former colleagues.

John Strange, Professor of Physics and a former Head of the Physics Laboratory (- the original manifestation of Physics at the University) recalls the day on which he met Gerald:

“I first met Gerald during the summer of 1964 on a hike in Ithaca [New York State, USA] organised by the Physics Department of Cornell University where he was a visiting academic and I was a post-doctoral research fellow. Gerald had a two year old son, Ben, on his shoulders and was accompanied by his wife Gill and their three other children, Alan, Sonia and Asher. Throughout his life he was a devoted family man. Gerald and I met again in the post room of Cornell Physics Department a few days later and were amused to find that we had both applied to join the academic staff of the new University of Kent.

“Whilst at the University of Kent, he lived in Blean and was known among friends and colleagues for the social activities in his large garden that included admiring the Rickayzen flock of sheep that kept his extensive lawn in trim. His family were keen amateur musicians. Gill, with Gerald’s support, organised ‘Monday Music’ which provided lessons and other musical activities for all ages. Gerald played the cello and Gill the viola and they hosted musical evenings with others to form string quartets, playing chamber music together. Gerald was a member of the University symphony orchestra for many years.”

Another former colleague, Professor Bob Newport, writes fondly of Gerald:

“I knew Gerald as a man to look up to: a man of honesty and integrity, with a gentle spirit, a mind as sharp and perceptive as any I’ve encountered and with a strength of character and conviction surpassed by no-one. Having said that, my first exchange with Gerald was a distinctly unsettling one – he chaired the large interview panel arrayed before me on the happy day I was offered a junior lectureship in John Strange’s department; Gerald, in his role as Deputy Vice Chancellor, was standing in for the VC. That was in 1985. For more than a decade thereafter I learned from his example and revelled in the lively and wide-ranging coffee-time conversations we were a part of within the original Physics Laboratory (now the Marlowe Building). He was a genuinely inspiring academic leader and his voice was one of the few I relied upon during the tumultuous days of 1997 when the Physics Laboratory and its sister Chemical Laboratory were greatly reduced in size and merged into the School of Physical Sciences. (I had been appointed the School’s first head of department.) We lost touch after his move back to London, but that distance doesn’t lessen the sadness I felt at the news of his death.”



Additional material from John Strange:

Gerald Rickayzen joined UKC, the University of Kent at Canterbury, in the summer of 1965 as Reader in Theoretical Physics from Liverpool University bringing with him a research fellow, Dr W.A.B. (Alan) Evans who later joined the physics staff as lecturer. (Sadly, Alan also died recently.)

Gerald was responsible for teaching the core course on waves to the first and subsequent intakes of science students. Teaching was important to him and he contributed to various courses throughout his career, at all stages from the introductory to advanced postgraduate theoretical physics. He was an extremely clear and sympathetic teacher. From his arrival in Canterbury he was involved with education at all levels and in the mid 1960’s he was a leading light in the local branch of CASE, the Campaign for the Advancement of State Education.

He already had a distinguished research career when he arrived at Kent, having worked on the theory of superconductivity with Bardeen (the B of BCS theory that explained this phenomenon of superconductivity) and was the author of an advanced textbook on the theory of superconductivity. He also published a postgraduate-level textbook on Green’s Functions and Condensed Matter in 1980. His research interests at Kent were focussed on many-body problems, superconductivity, superfluidity and the theory of colloids. In later years he collaborated with David Hayes and colleagues Jack Powles and Alan Evans on computer simulation, molecular dynamics and the theory of liquids. He worked with a number of research students and post-doctoral research assistants throughout his career.

It was shortly after his arrival at Kent that he was promoted to a personal chair in theoretical physics, which he held until retirement, and was awarded a Research Professor position 1994 -96 on retirement. Thereafter he was Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics and continued to be active in research, in collaboration with Jack Powles. In 1974 he had followed Jack Powles as Director of the Physics Laboratory but relinquished that in 1976 to become Dean of the Faculty of Science until 1980 when he was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor. From 1984 to 1990 Gerald was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. His contribution to the work of the University of Kent, to science and more generally to Canterbury was immense and we can gratefully celebrate a long and successful life of one of the University’s first members.


Students walking on campus with cathedral behind

International college planned to launch in September

We are pleased to announce that we are working on launching an International college at our Canterbury campus in September this year.  

The college will be a joint venture between the University and a private provider. This will offer foundation and pre-Masters programmes for international students, with the aim of significantly increasing recruitment. The market has changed considerably in recent years and many other universities are already successfully operating in this way.  

There are still a number of permissions that need to be agreed both internally and externally before the college can be launched. However, we are working hard to deliver a first cohort for September 2023.  

There is a great deal of work underway to support this and the important next step is agreeing the programmes that will be taught at the college to ensure they meet our academic and quality standards, whilst making sure students will successfully progress to our mainstream programmes. We will be discussing these measures with colleagues across the University and we look forward to continuing these discussions.  

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Simone Davies, Director of MORA.  

Industrial action

Industrial Action: postponed strike dates

The University and College Union (UCU) has held strikes days throughout this term, with more planned for March 2023. These will take place at all universities across the UK and are over national issues around pay, pensions and working conditions.

All remaining strike days in February have been postponed, meaning UCU’s current outstanding strike days are below. Action Short of a Strike will continue throughout as it has been throughout this period of industrial action.


  • Thurs 16 – Fri 17
  • Mon 20 – Weds 22 inclusive

We’re really pleased to see this step by UCU, which has been done to support the progress of the national negotiations happening throughout. Negotiations regarding the strikes take place nationally, which means we have limited influence over decisions taken on the issues under dispute – however this postponement is a positive sign and we urge all parties involved in the negotiations to use it to reach common ground.

For more information, take a look at the industrial action webpages. 

What is Sanctuary? Upcoming seminars

This year the University of Kent is applying for University of Sanctuary status. As part of the City of Sanctuary movement, the Universities of Sanctuary network aims to ‘make Higher Education institutions places of safety, solidarity and empowerment for people seeking sanctuary’.

To help ensure that the University’s application process is properly reflective and self-critical, the Migration and Movement SRT is continuing its series of seminars that address the question ‘What is Sanctuary?’

Speakers from a range of disciplines, career stages and backgrounds consider what sanctuary means and entails. Contributions are a mix of academic talks and reflections on lived experience.

All sessions are online. Everybody is invited to join the conversation.

What Is Sanctuary 3, 16.00-17.00, Wednesday 8 March 

Rachel Larkin, Lecturer in Social Work (SSPSSR) 

Sanctuary: A place or a feeling? This presentation will explore sanctuary as a relational affective space, drawing on data from research with migrant young women in the UK. Using psycho-social and affect theory, it will consider the role of emotion in both the attempt to create sanctuary and the experience of seeking it.

Matthew Whittle, Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature (School of English) 

In this talk I’ll be looking at Walton Ford’s painting ‘Sanctuary’ (1998) as a jumping off point to discuss the relationship between forced migration and colonialism. The context of the painting is the Congo region and the privileging of eco-tourism over human life. It invites a contrast between forms of sanctuary relating to the forced movement and precarity of animals and humans in (neo)colonial contexts.

Join Zoom meeting:
Topic: What Is Sanctuary 3
Time: Mar 8, 2023 04:00 PM London 
Meeting ID: 831 8572 4134
Passcode: 657680 

What Is Sanctuary 4, 16.00-17.00, Wednesday 29 March 

David Roberts, Reader in Biodiversity Conservation (School of Anthropology and Conservation) 

What is a refuge in conservation and ecology?During the process of extinction, the last individual of a species has to have occurred at a specific location at a specific time. This, however, does not mean the location contributed significantly to its persistence (i.e. that it was a refuge) as its persistence could merely be the result of chance, that this individual at this location was the last of its kind. Understanding why populations persist in the face of adversity is fundamental to conservation and ecology. There are numerous definitions of what constitutes a refuge, with most incorporating some form of spatial and temporal isolation from the cause of, or resistance to, disturbance. However, use of the term refuge is often imprecise, has been used interchangeably with other terms such as relic population and biogeographic nodes, and is often based on unsubstantiated statements. Here we look how the term refuge is applied in ecology and its application to some famous extinctions and environmental events.

Jonathan Rock Rokem, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography (School of Anthropology and Conservation) 

Mounting violent borders and rising inequalities bring new global challenges and opportunities facing the enablement of migrant arrival and settlement. This talk brings to light differences in migrant access to public urban resources across the socio-economic and ethnic profile of three major cities. Comparing Stockholm, Berlin and London, the research investigates spatial inequality and urban segregation, and shows how this can affect migrant mobility and accessibly to public urban resources. Taken together, this is argued to have an impact on newly arriving people’s participation in diverse urban societies.

Fateh Shaban, Academic Fellow in Human Geography (School of Anthropology and Conservation) 

The Syrian civil war, which began with a revolution in 2011, has led to a vacuum in higher education in north-western Syria. Some universities in the area have continued to provide tertiary education, whilst others have emerged since. However, higher education in northern Syria faces significant challenges due to the war and the conditions it has generated, most notably the lack of infrastructure, neglect by international support, the interference of armed forces, and other problems associated with war conditions. This paper will consider the urgent needs faced by the higher education sector in north-western Syria, the most pressing of which are financial support, unification of the sector, attaining accreditation, and building relationships at the international level.

Join Zoom Meeting:
Topic: What is Sanctuary 4
Time: Mar 29, 2023 04:00 PM London
Meeting ID: 858 9353 1278
Passcode: 953000  

What Is Sanctuary 5, 16.00-17.00, Wednesday 5 April 

Sian Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Law (Kent Law School)  

This talk will consider forms of sanctuary provided by religious groups in ancient times and the significance or otherwise of that to present day ideas of sanctuary. Building on this, the talk will address the cities of sanctuary movement in the USA, in particular the refusal to implement (repressive) federal immigration laws.

Hayley Gibson, Lecturer in Law (Kent Law School) 

Constituting Sanctuary: Theorising law and refusal. Aside from its connotations of mercy and kindness, the phenomenon of sanctuary often elicits a jurisprudential discourse concerning the conflict between two normative or legal regimes: one claims sanctuary from the reach of the law; and at the same time there is some force, uniquely capable of providing a space in which the law may be refused, which runs contrary to the monopoly on force that is definitive of sovereignty and, by extension, State law. This paper aims to think through the jurisprudential implications of this unique territory-within-State-territory, in which law is not suspended, but refused. It will draw on the work of Jacques Ranciere in conceptualising the territory of sanctuary as an aesthetic realm in which the ‘part of no part’ is made manifest; and in doing so, it shall consider what the significance of this unique space might be for the concepts of human rights and citizenship. 

Reda Mahajar, Doctoral Researcher in International Relations (Brussels School of International Relations) 

In this talk, I will illustrate my experience as a refugee pursuing my lifelong dream of a PhD research project against all the odds of war, danger and displacement in Syria and Lebanon. Born and raised as a refugee in Syria, I became a refugee again in Lebanon from 2013 to 2018. However, my life changed when I came to the Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent, in Sept 2018.

Join zoom meeting:
Topic: What is Sanctuary 5
Time: Apr 5, 2023 04:00 PM London
Meeting ID: 893 1719 8474
Passcode: 680916