Author Archives: Sophie Conner


KentVision Update: Upgrades, open meeting and drop-in sessions

Before the Christmas break, Professor Richard Reece, KentVision Executive Sponsor met with the six KentVision Functional Groups (KVFG) and communicated the decision by the KV Project Board, to move the KV work from a separate project to an IS business-as-usual delivery model by the summer of 2023 and the decision to re-focus delivery priorities.

By way of reminder, between now and summer of 2023, the project has been re-focused to deliver features, functionality, and data improvements in the following areas:

  • Compliance (e.g., features relating to UKVI reporting)
  • Statutory obligations (e.g., features relating to HESA Data Futures ensuring we maintain our link to UCAS)

Throughout January, each of the six KV Functional Groups (KVFG) have been conducting a thorough assessment of the feature requests which are not related to compliance or statutory obligations. In addition, an assessment of all existing operational workarounds is also being completed to understand the scale of time and effort required to manage these, and all associated risks ­– engaging with colleagues across divisional and central teams.

The KVFGs are making significant progress to confirm the workaround assessment of the KV specific features to be delivered in the future. By March we expect to have completed the assessments – ensuring that a revised KV Product Backlog can be confirmed.

The possible options we will consider for addressing the remaining KV feature requests include:

  • Further technical development work to KentVision
  • An alternative existing software solution (e.g., Office 365)
  • A process and or policy change.

Our revised plan will prioritise areas where we will get maximum benefit for professional service, academic staff, and our students. We are developing plans with Senior Leadership and the KV Functional Group Chairs to move forward these key areas of work, reprioritising the plan.

In addition, we have two delivery teams focused on delivery of KV features and we’ve established a dedicated KV Operational Support Team who are providing technical support during intensive operational processes, that require manual workarounds, throughout the academic year (e.g., online module registration and academic roll-over activities). They are also focused on improving the efficiency of the service desk, and they are progressing KV related tickets daily.

In the coming months, we will continue to communicate with you about our progress and updates.

KentVision Technical Upgrade

Work took place from the 20-23 January to upgrade KentVision to keep us in support with the system supplier (Tribal) and to ensure that we continue to receive essential updates. On Monday 23 January, after careful testing, the upgraded system was switched back to live at 11:00 – 3 hours earlier than scheduled.

Thank you to everyone for their hard work and dedication to make this a success. Your contributions are invaluable and greatly appreciated.

KentVision Online Open Meeting

Colleagues are invited to attend an online open meeting with Professor Richard Reece KentVision Executive Sponsor.

This is an opportunity to hear from Richard and get an update on the future direction of KentVision and for colleagues to ask questions of him.

  • 1 March 2023 – 1PM-1:45PM

Please register your attendance via Microsoft Forms for a diary invitation.

Upcoming Drop-In Sessions

The friendly CSAO training team are running monthly KentVision drop-in sessions, the aim of which is to answer your KentVision related questions and demonstrate the system in-person.

  • 2 March 2-4pm in Darwin Board room.

With best wishes,

The KentVision Project


Vice Chancellor’s Cup highlights: The Cube

This week saw the fourth VC Cup event take place, with The Cube. This was an event based on the original TV show, in which contestants completed a series of challenges without losing all their lives.

For this event, teams met for a social evening at the Pavilion Café Bar, where they took on five different challenges. Following a tense first round, teams headed off to Woody’s common room for the second half of the evening, where teams were able to grab a refreshment before playing three additional challenges, this time earning lives when victorious.

By the final there were two teams standing strong, DoNATS and Kent Union. To determine the evening’s victor and winner of the prestigious Cube trophy, teams competed in the final event, a series of ‘Ball flick’ challenges, which saw team members tasked with flicking balls from their stands in order, by colour and in the fastest time. After a tough and close three rounds, DoNATS finally took the win, leaving Kent Union relegated to 2nd place.

Despite failing to reach the semi-finals, teams Liquorice All Sports, Campus Sporting Exploits and Living La Vida Mocha remain at the top of the leaderboard, with just two points separating them. The heroes of this event though must be Kent Union, who had yet to reach the top five in any of the VC Cup tournaments to date! They clearly found their calling here, working well as a team and using their individual strengths to reach an epic final. This had propelled the team to 9th position overall, with several events still to come!

If you’re curious about the upcoming VC Cup events, check out the information webpage!

Canterbury for Ukraine Fundraising Dinner

Come along and attend the Canterbury for Ukraine fundraising dinner on Thursday 16 March 2023 at Darwin College.

The evening will include welcome drinks, a three-course meal, live music, a bar and auction. All proceeds will go to Canterbury for Ukraine.

The evening will begin with welcome drinks at 6.30pm and tickets will include a three-course meal, a glass of wine at the table, live music, a bar and a live auction will be held in aid of Canterbury for Ukraine’s (C4U) extraordinary and vital work.

Through the enormous generosity and dedication of the local community, including local businesses,C4U provides a wide range of much-needed services to support the growing number of Ukrainians coming to Canterbury and surrounding areas as a result of the devastating and illegal war in Ukraine.

Please do join us in support of this invaluable and inspiring work.

Tickets cost £50 each or £450 for a table for ten

To book please go to:

Volunteer at Medway Night Lights 2023

Medway Light Nights is back!

Following the success of Medway’s first free festival of lights, the two-night extravaganza is back and set to be even bigger, better and brighter!

Incredible, transformative light displays, including a 12-storey-high interactive installation, will illuminate Medway’s naval town of Chatham from 6-9pm on Friday, 10 and Saturday, 11 February 2023.

We are looking for volunteers to make the event as welcoming and accessible as possible on both nights. If you’d like to volunteer, contact for more information.

Attend the Kent Global Showcase 2023

We are delighted to invite Kent staff to the annual online ‘Kent Global Showcase’ event which will be held on Wednesday 22 Feb from 10.00 – 12.00. The Global Showcase will be opened by Professor Richard Reece, DVC Education and Student Experience who holds EG responsibility for Internationalisation. 

This year’s Showcase Event will focus on the cross-institutional development of our Global Engagement Strategy and its vision, values and objectives. The event will be co-hosted by Dr Anthony Manning, Dean for Global and Lifelong Learning and Professor Jeremy Carrette, Dean for Europe.  

During the event you’ll be introduced to key colleagues across the institution, so that you can learn more about how to gain support and draw on good practice from relevant professional services and divisional colleagues. This will include focus on International Recruitment, International Partnerships and examples of engagement with education and research activities. We will also be joined at the event by student representatives from our Global Officers Leadership Development Programme and members of our new International Student Advisory Board. 

The event will end in a Q&A session, giving you a chance to ask how we can support you in your work more specifically or provide a channel for the sharing of your own insights and expertise. 

Sign up now for the Kent Global Showcase event.

Later this term, we will extend the Global Showcase to include an in-person ‘round table’ event, which will be held on Wednesday 8 March from 10.00 – 11.30 in Sibson SR2. This event will give Kent staff an opportunity for a deeper dive into the main objectives of Global Engagement Strategy and the opportunities and challenges in your context. 

Please sign up for the Round Table event.

Nominate someone for an Honorary Degree by 20 February 2023!

Help us choose our next Honorary Graduates by nominating someone by 20 February 2023!

Honorary Degrees recognise the exceptional contributions made by individuals and is one of Higher Education’s most significant accolades. We particularly welcome nominations that reflect our key values and demonstrate our commitment to knowledge.

All staff and students can submit a nomination for Honorary Doctorates. When nominating someone, it’s important to think about the relation they have to the University. Maybe they are from Kent, have achieved academic distinction or have been an inspirational figure who has made an exceptional contribution to society.

To see the full criteria, take a look at the Honorary Degree Kent Community page.

Over the years, we have had a range of incredible Honorary Graduates. Just in 2022, we had Afrobeats star Tiwa Savage, Britain’s fastest woman Dina Asher-Smith and Nobel Laureate for Literature and Kent emeritus professor Abdulrazak Gurnah just to name a few.

To nominate someone, fill out this form by 20 February 2023.


Natural Sciences has won a Teaching Innovation Award!

Congratulations to Dr Alexandra Moores, Dr Emma Hargreaves and Candis Roberts for their work on the Pre-Arrival Hub, which used the LearnSci Direct Virtual Learning Environment. Focusing on two core themes –  Digital Connectivity and Sense of Belonging – the hub helps to ensure success and engagement from the start of a student’s Kent journey.

The aim of the Pre-Arrival hub was to introduce students to the format and style of the VLE Moodle pages which students would be using in their day to day student life. Research has shown that the jump from sixth form/college to university is not always an easy transition for students. 

As well as the changes associated with moving away from home and a shift to independent learning, some students face extra anxiety if they weren’t taught essential course material before starting their degree.

The Division of Natural Sciences produced the Pre-Arrival Hub to support this transition by including numeracy skills worksheets by LearnSci. 81 incoming students attempted these worksheets alerting the team to potential gaps in prior learning and identifying support opportunities.

The Student Handbook was also accessible via the platform enabling students to be well informed before arrivals and feel part of a community within the Division. This student success project has developed interventions and activities to help support ongoing work in closing attainment gaps between certain cohorts of students.

The judges said:

‘Early student engagement is so beneficial to student wellbeing and belonging in higher education and their academic progress, it allows you to hit the ground running. This is a fantastic innovation and a great use of LearnSci’s Direct platform.’

Candis Roberts said:

‘I am so proud of what we achieved with this Student Success initiative. A huge thank you to Alex and Emma for their work and to Learn sci for recognising and supporting supporting our ambitions to help students transition into higher education and building a sense of belonging #studentsuccess

Congratulations to the team and their continued dedication to the Student Success and Experience at the University of Kent. 


In Memory of Richard Simpson

Richard joined the University of Kent in 2007 as part of the Telecoms Team as the Deputy Supervisor, in the Estates Department until its recent relocation as part of Information Services.

Richard was a valued member of the team, and was someone you could count on at work – even trudging his way up the hill to the campus any time there was thick snow and ice on the ground to make sure that the University switchboard would open on time.

Everyone who knew Richard, knew him as a person who was always willing to help and was never too busy to help others with their issues. Nothing was too much trouble and if he did not know the answer, he would find the answer.

Richard had a great, dry sense of humour and loved sharing jokes with his friends at work.  He also loved playing golf and was a passionate Sheffield United Football Club fan.

He was a great friend and colleague to many on campus and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

A just giving site has been set up to have a memorial bench in Richard’s memory on Canterbury campus

There is a web stream of his funeral on Friday 10 February. If you would like to attend, please email Richard Charley at for the link to join online.

Professor Kate Robinson: ‘Veganism and the Choice for Producers’

To launch KBS’s contribution to the UN PRME 10th Anniversary events with their focus on food, Catherine Robinson reflects on Veganuary and the rising demand for plant-based products  

The benefits of plant-based diets are felt by both consumers and the wider environment.  While the main motivation for following a vegan diet is often ethical, vegan diets are generally cheaper and healthier. Vegans and vegetarians are on average less likely to suffer from obesity and associated complications. Fewer health issues and a healthier workforce mean lower pressure on healthcare provision and improvements in workforce productivity.

In addition, the costs of meat-eating are not only felt by individuals but also by the environment. But to what extent are we as consumers responding to these social and environmental pressures?

In the UK, around 2% of the population are vegan with a further 6% being vegetarian; however, around 12% are flexitarian – largely vegetarian but occasionally eating meat or fish. Together this suggests around 20% of the population are committed to low or no meat and fish diets with plenty of variation among different groups, for example women and young people.

In the hotels and restaurants sector, the social nature of eating suggests that greater diversity in dietary needs shapes the choice of where to eat. So we have seen greater attention paid to vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free menus, creating an opportunity for restaurants and food producers to bring innovative products to market, leading to the development of new market niches in the food production and service sector.

The negative image of traditional vegans is being overcome but finding the middle ground in attracting the wider market without alienating traditional vegans is a challenge for vegan food producers.

However, the growth in more sustainable food products will lead to productivity benefits, creating a direct incentive for firms to innovate while food producers should be able to reap these benefits.

For the consumer such innovations will lead to greater choice in food products available for everyone, omnivores and vegans alike. There should be other benefits from consumers feeling they’re able to make more ethical choices as well as improvements in their health. In addition, this could lead to lower food costs. However, research also suggests that in appealing to the larger omnivore market by requiring plant-based products to be more ‘meat-like’, vegan food production may face higher costs and price their products in line with direct substitutes (some of which may be meat- or fish-based products).

So, while the move to greater veganism uptake should be viewed positively from the point of view of choice, innovation, environmental and health benefits, it’s less clear that another benefit will be lower prices.

As part of the UN PRME 10th Anniversary celebrations, Kent Business School, in conjunction with the University’s Right to Food campaign will be hosting a number of student-led events beginning in February 2023 to raise awareness of food security and reducing food waste. Look out for further information.

See the full blog post, of which this is an edited version

Kent sign on campus

Supporting staff and students affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

We are deeply saddened to hear about the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on Monday 6 February. Our thoughts remain with all our students, staff, alumni and those of you with family and friends affected by this disaster. 

We have been in contact with our students and staff from Turkey and Syria and have taken immediate steps to support these individuals. The UK Government advice for anyone concerned about relatives or friends should call the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) on 020 7008 5000.

Ways you can help

Council for At Risk Academics (Cara) Emergency Earthquake Appeal for Syria Programme Colleagues and their Families 

Several staff members at Kent work with Syrian academics through the Cara Syria Programme. Following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria last week, over 150 Cara Syria Programme participants and their families living in the worst-affected areas have been left homeless, several have lost family members and a number of colleagues are still unaccounted for.

The Cara Emergency Earthquake Appeal is raising hardship funds to help those who have been affected reach safer areas and more permanent shelters. Cara has been able to commit an initial sum for immediate distribution, with a view to providing at least 3 months support to Syrian colleagues and their families, many of whom include young children. The more we can raise, the greater assistance we can provide and for longer periods where needs persist.

Another way to support those affected is through the Disasters Emergency Commitee, with immediate priorities focussing on search and rescue, medical treatment for the injured, shelter for those who have lost their homes, heating in safe spaces, blankets, warm clothes, and ensuring people have food and clean water.

Support for students: 

  • Lunchtime drop-ins for those affected by Turkey-Syria earthquake. If you’d like a space to talk about how you’re feeling, Student Support and Wellbeing Advisers, College and Community Life Officers and Kent Union staff will be in here for you 13:00-14:00 on Wednesdays in the Locke building, Canterbury campus. Have a look at the events calendar to find out when the next drop-in session is taking place.
  • If you’re based in Medway and want to talk to Student Support and Wellbeing staff, please call 01634 888474, or email
  • 24/7 support from Spectrum Life. If you or a friend need emergency support, Spectrum Life can offer online, text and telephone support from qualified counsellors and mental health professionals. Call 0800 0318227 and press option 1, or Text/WhatsApp ‘Hi’ to: +44(0)7418 360780
  • Free 24/7 support from peers and trained professionals with Togetherall.
  • Trying to stay positive when the news isn’t blog post from Student Support.

Support for staff: