Author Archives: Sophie Conner

Group of students on campus

Help introduce the new generation of students to Kent

We are looking for staff to volunteer and get involved at our upcoming Open Days at our Canterbury campus

If you haven’t worked at an Open Day before, they are really good fun! You will be a warm and welcome face to potential students and their families whilst assisting and directing them to locations across campus. Watch our Canterbury Open Day video to get a taste of what you could be involved in.

Canterbury Open Days:

  • Saturday 8 October 2022 08:45-14:15
  • Saturday 22 October 2022 08:45-14:15
  • Saturday 19 November 2022 08:45-14:15

Please note, all staff up to Grade 6 will be able to claim overtime. If you would like to volunteer, please email opendays@kent.ac.uk with your availability.

 

National Inclusion Week: Put inclusion at the heart of everything you do

We’re celebrating National Inclusion Week with a call to action: Put inclusion at the heart of everything you do using an Equality Impact Analysis.

Embedding inclusion in our work, from the start

When we create or make changes to policies, processes, events, and even meeting schedules and timetables, it may seem that everyone will be impacted equally. However, if we consider the changes more closely, we may find that they impact certain groups of people differently.

An Equality Impact Analysis focuses on the impact of the piece of work on each of the protected characteristics and whether it is putting someone with one or many of the protected characteristics at an unfair disadvantage. It is crucial to complete an EIA at the very beginning of your work – this will mean you avoid making changes later down the line and potentially causing yourself extra work. You should never complete an EIA on your own – the point of an EIA is to widen your perspective, and the easiest way to do this is to include colleagues in this work.

By carrying out an EIA, the owner of the piece of work will benefit from:

  • identifying areas of impact that may not have been otherwise considered
  • thinking of possible ways to mitigate any negative impacts
  • a way to show how equality considerations have been considered and addressed

An EIA that has been completed to an acceptable standard will include the following:

  • A consultation with key groups of people – we call these groups our ‘critical friends’ (staff network members, student network members, EDI Leads and Reps, ‘expert staff’ e.g. researchers in the specific topic of policy you are creating or updating)
  • A list of mitigations put in place to lessen any unavoidable impact on protected characteristic groups
  • A list of changes made based on feedback from your ‘critical friends’

Practicing inclusion every day makes the EIA easier every time

EIAs can feel overwhelming when you first complete one – that’s ok. Remember, you should never be completing an EIA on your own, so this should instantly lessen the burden. Be open to suggestions from colleagues and ‘critical friends’, and use this as an opportunity to learn about the wider community of students and staff here at Kent.

We’ve built a toolkit and a template you can use to begin your journey with Equality Impact Analyses. You can find these, a training module and some example EIAs listed on our webpages here. If you think you’d benefit from some more training, just let us know! Email us at equalityanddiversity@kent.ac.uk and we can arrange a training session for you and your team.

Canterbury Food Bank

Science Supply Stores Autumn Food Bank Collection

The Division of Natural Sciences, Supply Stores are doing an Autumn food bank collection running Monday 3rd – Friday 7th October

Items wished to be donated can be brought to the Science Supply Stores, Ingram Building, Ground floor G22 (near Ingram reception).

Pop by any time Monday – Friday 09:00-16:45

All donations are gratefully received!

The Canterbury Food Bank is community project and registered charity providing emergency (three-day) food parcels to individuals and families in short term financial crisis across the Canterbury District (Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay and surrounding villages).

Any and all tinned/canned/packeted/long life products are of course welcome, but for those wanting a shopping list they are particularly low on:

  • Instant Mash
  • Canned Potatoes
  • Tinned Beans and Vegetables
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned dessert
  • Rice Pudding
  • Pasta sauce
  • Cup-a-soup
  • Tinned soup
  • Long-life fruit juice
  • Long Life Whole Milk
  • Coffee (small jar)
  • Canned Ham
  • Tinned Fish
  • Shampoo
  • All Toiletries
  • Male and female deodorant
  • Size 3 nappies
  • Size 5, 5+ 6 and 6+ nappies
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Cleaning sprays
  • Washing powder
  • Baby wipes
  • Dog food

The Canterbury Food Bank is registered charity No. 1153791.

 

Stipend raise for UKRI and Kent-funded PhD studentships

In September, UKRI and the Leverhulme Trust announced that they would be increasing their annual stipends for doctoral studentships by 10%, from £16,062 to £17,668. Recognising the importance of this increase in the current financial climate, the University will be applying this same increase to all of its internally-funded PhD studentships. This includes GTAs, studentships funded through specific schemes such as the Global Challenges Doctoral Centre and Signature Research Themes, and match-funded studentships with external organisations.

Commenting on this increase, Gordon Lynch, Director of the University’s Graduate and Researcher College, said, ‘I’m very pleased that the University has been able to do this, building on financial returns from its successful performance in REF2021. I’m also grateful to staff who have been working to tight deadlines to ensure that our students receive this money as soon as possible. We recognise the cost of living pressures faced by students and this will remain an important priority for the University in the coming academic year.’

This stipend increase will be effective from 1st October 2022, and will be applied to the first payment rounds that students receive this autumn.

 

Help make our graduations memorable

This November we will be hosting our graduates from 2022. We have two days of ceremonies with Rochester on the 23 November and Canterbury on the 25 November. Be part of this amazing experience and sign up to get involved.

Celebrating July 2022 Graduates

Watch some of the highlights from the July 2022 Graduation Ceremonies at Canterbury Cathedral.

What roles can you help with?

  • Ticket Collection: You will be responsible for helping graduands and guests exchange their ‘E-Receipts’ for graduation tickets.
  • Graduand Registration: This role assists with checking in each graduand as they arrive and giving them a number to line them up in processional order around the precinct. You will have an alphabetised list of names to check.
  • Ushering: As an usher, you will be responsible for making sure the guests are seated promptly and safely in the Cathedral prior to, during and post ceremony
  • Certificate Table: Based in the Cathedral, this role is responsible for ensuring that all graduates receive their certificate.

Why should you get involved?

  • Spend time working in the wonderful locations of Canterbury or Rochester Cathedral.
  • Experience the joy of graduation ceremonies
  • Get Free refreshments including one or more meals if you work for two or more consecutive ceremonies.
  • You can claim TOIL (time off in lieu) or overtime pay for hours worked outside of your normal working pattern if you’re on Grades 1-6.

Here is what a previous staff member has said about being involved in graduation ceremonies:

‘it was such a pleasure to volunteer, and it was so lovely to see all the proud students and supporters! I’m looking forward to more graduation joy at the next graduation ceremonies’.

Be present in a student’s most memorable day sign up to get involved

The Youth Summit is all set to go!

By Jessica Messenger | Research Excellence Assistant

Earlier this year the University received funding through Kent County Council’s schools programme to run a Youth Summit on campus, the idea being to reconnect young people in Kent to their learning after two years of missed activity. Although the plans for the event were exciting and ambitious, we still needed to put a lot of work into realising our ideas and to make them happen.

I’m pleased to say that, with a lot of hard work by a lot of people across the University, including a reschedule of the date from the summer to October, those early ideas have developed and those plans have been firmed up. Not only that, the programme has proved to be popular beyond what we could have hoped for with more than 800 young people coming to our campus over three days next week.

Take a look at the programme and you’ll see a wide range of exciting and innovative sessions, including workshops exploring maths through natural and everyday objects, exercises that combine drumming with movement, a ‘multilingual Tempest for our times’, opportunities to take part in a court trial in a fun and interactive way, stand-up comedy workshops, sessions to create environmental land art, workshops on cyber security, the showing of a contemporary Ukrainian play called The Grain Store, and much more.

Each day there will be a plenary session including a UN-style debate on Monday led by our Humanities and Social Sciences Division on key challenges facing our young people, an interactive film called ‘Anthropocene’ on our changing environment and KMTV will deliver a Generation Genome event that aims to inspire young people to delve deeper into the world of genomics. It all amounts to what we hope will be an incredible festival of learning for our young people who have missed out on so much over the last two and a half years.

Every Division has been involved in helping to come up with the programme, and our Signature Research Themes have been in the thick of developments, contributing some of the highlights of the week. Students too will be on hand to help deliver the learning activities and make sure things run smoothly.

One of the key objectives of the Youth Summit was to give our young people a voice and a platform to tell us about their hopes and ideas for the future. So we’ll be eliciting their ‘ideas for a better world’ to compile and to make them available in different formats to send to MPs, council leaders, headteachers and other senior figures in the region as a clear statement about what our young people want for their future.

I hope as many of you as possible will drop by between 3 and 5 October to take in the atmosphere of the Youth Summit, follow it on KMTV or through our comms channels. It promises to be something special.

student sat at laptop

Hybrid Working Scheme Review 2022

The University’s Hybrid Working Scheme has now been in operation for just under a year and we are pleased to announce some enhancements to the scheme, resulting from feedback received from a variety of stakeholders following a review of the scheme earlier this year.

Thank you to all managers and staff who contributed to the review – either through the survey of Directors/Heads of Service, through sharing feedback with your managers or through taking part in individual consultation with the project team.  The review sought to ensure the scheme achieves a balance between providing as much flexibility as possible for staff whilst maintaining essential on-campus services and having consideration to the fact that we are a campus-based university.  In addition, a key aim was to make the process as light touch as possible.

Please view a summary of the findings of the review here.

The main headlines for staff to be aware of are:

  • The HWS has been widely accommodated by managers, in line with the over-arching principle that managers should seek to facilitate hybrid working where operationally possible. In the period under review 86.3% of applications were approved and 13.7% declined.
  • Going forward, there will be Director discretion regarding the maximum permitted number of remote working days. The standard maximum will remain as two days per week – meaning a 60:40 office to home ratio – but Directors will have discretion to specify parameters within their area that exceed the standard maximum, subject to guidelines.  This allows working practices to be more agile in view of business needs, particularly to take into account market forces in different areas.
  • We will keep the standard policy under review, taking into consideration the impact on the student experience and changes to service needs over time.
  • In order to make the process more ‘light touch’, we have simplified the application approval process so that Directors are no longer required to sign off on individual applications. Managers and staff fed back that the additional level of authorisation in Staff Connect proved cumbersome and time consuming. It also led to a number of errors, which may have slowed things down.
  • There will be no annual application window. Both new starters and existing staff who are not already in the scheme can apply at any time.
  • Additional support has been arranged to support managers with the challenges in leading hybrid teams – see here: Leading Hybrid Teams
  • The University remains absolutely committed to facilitating greater flexibility for staff where possible, to improve work-life balance. Hybrid working is unfortunately not operationally viable for some staff, due to the nature of their roles, but it’s important that no grades of staff feel that they are automatically barred from applying to the scheme due to their grade (as opposed to the nature of the work they do).  The University will also be establishing a separate project to explore other ways of introducing more flexibility into working practices for campus-based staff for whom hybrid working isn’t operationally viable.

Updated scheme guidance documents are available on the Hybrid Working webpages.

 

 

 

Be part of the University Community Choir

Are you starting a new academic year?  Are you a new or existing staff member?

Try something new and feel connection, create community and lift your spirits… We are delighted to invite you to join the University Community Choir, meeting weekly on Canterbury campus.

Create new connections within the University community and get away from your work and study in a relaxed and uplifting environment.

Singing in a Choir has many benefits, it’s informal, social, and helps you focus on something different as part of a group. Most importantly it’s fun!

It’s free to join, and there are no auditions, and you don’t need to be able to read music. Come along to meet others, or bring a friend. Starting from 28 September, every Wednesday 13:00 -14:00. Sign up now  Upcoming dates

  • Wednesday 28 September 2022, 13.00-14.00 ( Colyer-Fergusson Hall)
  • Wednesday 5 October 2022 14.00-15.00 ( Colyer-Fergusson Hall)
  • Wednesday 12 October 2022 14.00-15.00 ( Colyer-Fergusson Hall)

Spread the word to anyone else (staff or student) who might enjoy this opportunity. If you have any questions, please email Mita Mondal, Email: mm595@kent.ac.uk

Future Human Signature Research Theme 2022-23 PhD Studentships Round

Details and selection process for the Sandpits

The Future Human Signature Research Theme have been allocated two Vice-Chancellor PhD Studentships to start in the 2023-24 academic year. We will be allocating these two studentships to named supervisory teams running a pre-determined project. To select these supervisory teams, the Future Human leadership team are running a research Sandpit event, specifically designed to creatively generate cross-disciplinary projects that align with the Theme. The Sandpit event will include 20-30 academics, from a range of disciplines and career stages, through which it is hoped 8-15 project ideas will be formed. From these project ideas, two supervisory teams will be awarded the PhD studentships. Seedcorn funding awards are available to support the development of other projects ideas arising from the Sandpits.

More details about the Sandpits are provided in this document and a full briefing pack will later be provided to those academics involved in the Sandpits. It is anticipated that more than 30 academics will be interested in attending the Sandpits, so we need a run a process to select the academics to attend this event. A short application form can be found on the last two pages of this document, which will need to be submitted to the Future Human Leads by 9:30am on Wednesday 28th September 2022 to be considered for the Sandpits (email your application form to futurehuman@kent.ac.uk). The applications should come from individual academics (rather than pre-formed teams), as the purpose of the Sandpit is to develop new collaborations and projects. If you are not able to attend the set dates for the Sandpits, or are not selected for them this time, there are still other ways to get involved with the resulting projects and we hope to run a similar process for the 2024-25 studentships.

Dates

22nd July 2022                                     Sandpit applications open

28th September 2022                          Sandpit applications close

28th September 2022                          Staff notified of outcome of applications

12th October 2022                               Pre-Sandpit workshop (12-1pm delivered live and online)

19th and 20th October 2022                     Sandpits (in person, 9:30am-4pm, must attend both days)

3rd November 2022                                    Pitching/presentations of projects

8th November 2022                                    Staff notified of outcome of studentship projects

  • In the Sandpits, teams of two or more academics will form to co-develop a PhD project idea. The project proposals will be presented to a Panel two weeks after the Sandpit.
  • Additional supervisors and/or advisors can be added to this team, and these people do not have to be at the Sandpit. They may be from academia (Kent or another institution) or from business/industry. They do not need to be involved in the pitching of the projects.
  • Projects will need to be within the scope of the Future Human Signature Research Theme. For more information on this, please see the description on the Future Human website and blog and read the short paragraph on the following page. More information on Future Human will be provided in the in the pre-Sandpit workshop.
  • Projects will need to be demonstrably interdisciplinary, and ideally involve academics from two or more Divisions.
  • In addition to being suitable for a PhD studentship, the project will need to propose a plan to develop and submit an application for external funding.

What to expect from the Sandpits

The Sandpits on the 19th and 20th October will bring together 20-30 academics from a range of disciplines and Divisions. The Future Human team will facilitate the Sandpit to guide the participants through a number of interactive conversations and activities that allow everyone to share ideas and engage their curiosity. Through this process, participants will develop ideas and interests for projects that can be shared with and commented on by peers, allowing a dynamic reframing and revising of ideas. Co-design lies at the heart of the Sandpit, and we will help support participants to self-organise into collaborative teams centred around a research idea or ideas – suitable for PhD Studentships – that they are interested in exploring further. The formed teams will co-develop their research ideas and gradually work this up into a project pitch that is scheduled for the week after the Sandpits.

The Sandpits are scheduled to run all day and in-person on the 19th and 20th of October. Sandpits can be intense, but also intellectually exhausting. The activities across the days will be interspersed with break-out time, coffee stops, and varied tasks to help keep the mind active. Participants will need to attend the whole of both the Sandpit days. If you cannot make a section of a day because another commitment cannot be rescheduled, please let us know. We will try and schedule the day so that start/finish time and more flexible activities (e.g. break-out sessions) are run when childcare commitments are more likely (e.g. the school run).

An overview of Future Human

Future Human explores the use of tools, techniques, and technology for human enhancement and/or restoration (sometimes referred to as human augmentation). Only a true transdisciplinary approach can fully understand the opportunities, limits, challenges, and risks of using scientific and technological advancement to restore or improve performance/function and overcome current limits of body and mind.

Human augmentation is the application of science and technology to improve human performance temporarily or permanently. This can be achieved at two levels: 1) optimisation, and 2) enhancement. Human performance optimisation is the improvement of human performance up to the limit of biological potential without adding new capabilities (e.g. wearing glasses). Human performance enhancement is when performance goes beyond the limit of biological potential (e.g. using binoculars) and can include additional capabilities that are not innate to humans (e.g. night vision googles). Optimisation and enhancement can be applied to a range of populations, from those with an injury or chronic disease, to an elite athlete. Thus, the outcome of augmentation may be to restore performance/function to that of a ‘normal’ person or extend it beyond biological potential.

What and how the body can be augmented defines the possible, but other fields such as law, politics and ethics will help determine its place in society. The opportunities that human augmentation provides for changing how we work, how we stay healthy, and how we live and experience our everyday lives crosses multiple government strategies, Research Councils and Challenge Funds, and provides scope for broad collaboration outside of academia.

The Future Human Signature Research Theme considers both optimisation and enhancement, and the consequences of their development and application across any human population and society.

If you have any questions about the Sandpits or Future Human more generally, please get in contact with Sarah Hotham (s.hotham@kent.ac.uk) or Lex Mauger (l.mauger@kent.ac.uk).

Future Human Sandpit Application Form

Pussy Riot: Riot Days £5 ticket offer

Never more relevant than now, the world’s best-known activists bring their worldwide smash hit Riot Days to Canterbury.

Since forming in 2011, this iconic Russian feminist punk rock performance art collective are a powerful force for protest, on themes including feminism, LGBT rights and opposition to Vladimir Putin. In the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, they find themselves more relevant and vital than ever. Riot Days is an innovative stage show combining live music, theatre and video, telling their story.

You can see them live in the Gulbenkian Arts Centre on campus this week, Wednesday 21 – Saturday 24 September, at 19.30.

We are offering students £5 tickets on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 September (or £10 on Fri 23 and Sat 24 Sep).

Book online – use the code GULB50 – https://bit.ly/GACpussyriot

Or buy tickets on the door from an hour before the performance.