Author Archives: Wendy Raeside

Clearing 2021 – get involved

Help us to make Clearing 2021 a success! We need help and support from everyone; particularly around offer-making, staffing the hotline and making calls to prospective students.

The 2021 Clearing campaign was soft-launched in May, raising awareness and collecting leads from students who were thinking about using Clearing for back-up,  because they haven’t yet applied or want to change their subject or university.

Clearing ‘proper’ opened on 5 July and applications are already being processed for those who have their results. The extensive campaign is phased across awareness, consideration and decision and uses a wide range of media, targeted to specific audiences. Digital platforms TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Google are a major part of the advertising but also included are Spotify, mobile phone in-app, YouTube and Snapchat.  More traditionally, and important for both students and their influencers, there will be adverts on billboards and at bus stops, radio, SkyAdsmart, in the local press, and email campaigns through 3rd party specialists, all driven by data showing where Kent’s potential students are living and studying.

All the leads we generate, either as enquirers or applicants, will become part of our nurture and conversion email campaigns which are designed to build a relationship between the student (or supporter) and the University, focusing on the supportive and diverse student community, academic and personal support and highlighting the accommodation guarantee and free sports membership offers.

Get involved

If you’re able to help, particularly on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 August, and you’re not already on a Clearing rota, please get in touch with Laetitia Gullett via schoolsliaison@kent.ac.uk.

Full training will be given and, for anyone who hasn’t done it before, it is a really rewarding experience. Clearing will be run remotely so we can guarantee we have the staff cover we need, with full support for everyone taking part and supervisors on hand to help at all times.

Thank you for all your help and support.

The Gulbenkian with red flowers at the forefront of the image.

Covid-19 update – 20 July 2021

From Nikki Hyde, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

As you will be aware, Government Covid-19 guidance changed earlier this week (Monday 19 July) and most legal restrictions have now been lifted in England.

In keeping with the Government’s emphasis on a gradual return to workplaces for those who have been working from home, our roadmap for staff returning to campus remains unchanged:

  • Any staff who wish to start working back on campus are now free to do so, but they should talk to their line manager first to ensure that returns are managed and gradual.
  • From 20 September, all staff are expected to work on campus, albeit with increased flexibility offered by the new Hybrid Working Scheme where possible.

While the restrictions have ended, staff still working at home should only come back on campus as much as they are comfortable with from now until 19 September.

A range of guidance, activities and initiatives will be available soon to help support staff with a gradual return to campus from mid-August, and to support teams manage new hybrid ways of working.

The return to campus process of requesting approval from HR and the requirement for a logged Risk and Concern Conversation is no longer in place. However, the framework for holding conversations with staff and the option of logging any concerns remains in place if line managers feel this is appropriate.

Updated risk assessment

The University is currently revising its Covid-19 risk assessment following the receipt of new Working Safely guidance from the Government and has begun the process of consulting with Staff and Union reps. Once the risk assessment is finalised and published, we will update our staff FAQs and supporting guidance.

Although all social distancing requirements and therefore current building occupancy limits are being removed, the resulting changes to campus layouts and signage will take time to implement. During this period, until the risk assessment is finalised, staff should follow existing rules and signage, where still in place. In line with Government guidance, we recommend face coverings continue to be worn in crowded and enclosed spaces, and where possible natural ventilation should be increased by keeping doors and windows open.

Thank you for helping us manage the process of safely returning staff to campus. If you have any questions, please contact hrcovid19@kent.ac.uk.

Nikki

Nikki Hyde | Deputy Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

 

Coronavirus

Condolences for Will Simpson

Words by Helen Buhler

The University was very sorry to hear of the death of Will Simpson on 7 July 2021.

Sadly, and unexpectedly, Will Simpson, the University of Kent’s second Librarian, died on 7 July  at home. Since succeeding Stephen Darlow, Kent’s Founding Librarian, after four years as his Deputy Librarian, Will’s time in the best office on campus was characterised by forward-thinking and efficient management, together with a deep dislike of red tape and paperwork. He was a major figure in the development of KLACS, Kent’s online circulation system, written by the Computing Lab’s Rod Saunders, which came into use in October 1976, and was the first in a British university library. This was eventually replaced by Cambridge’s cataloguing and circulation systems.

Will was also instrumental in fostering a relationship with the Cathedral Library, and was (together with Naomi Linnell and David Shaw) involved in the Cathedral’s online catalogue of pre-1801 printed books. The Templeman’s extension on its eastern side owed its initial planning to Will, aided by Margaret Smyth.

Always approachable and helpful, Will made the Templeman a very pleasant place to work. I have happy memories of those years. Needless to say, his retirement was marked by the Templeman’s best and biggest party!

Our condolences and thoughts go out to June and to their children, Harold, Lucy, and Victoria.

May Will rest in peace.

 

Coronavirus

Condolences for Dr Jingqi Miao

The University was very sorry to hear of the death of Dr Jingqi Miao on Friday 2 July.

Dr Miao was appointed as a Lecturer at the University in 2001 and she retired two years ago. She was a valued member of the School community and the sad news of her death has been deeply felt across it.

Dr Jingqi Miao

Jingqi joined us at a challenging time, when subjects like Physics were facing a shortfall in Higher Education funding. After taking up her academic post at Kent, Jingqi was immediately confronted with the task of increasing undergraduate student recruitment in Physics and Astronomy, a role she relished and made her own. The increase in recruitment that she helped generate set up the School on a path of substantial growth over the next decade.

She was successful in making a powerful case for renewing funding from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council to establish “Space School” which quickly became an annual SPS tradition. This event ran in the summer every year from 1999 (and was only suspended in 2020 due to COVID).

Jingqi’s research was appreciated across the world. Her work on the origin of stars, using computer simulations, will hold a special place in the future development of the subject. Her enthusiasm for her research was unwavering and transmitted to her students and collaborators.

All of her colleagues will always remember her as kind, modest, hardworking and devoted to her family. Well-liked and respected by all, she was the kind of colleague that made the School a better and happier place to be in.

A fuller tribute to Dr Jingqi Miao, by Dr Silvia Ramos and other members of the School of Physical Sciences, is available on the School website.

International Nonbinary People’s Day – 14 July

14 July is International Nonbinary People’s Day, where we celebrate the contributions and resilience of nonbinary people worldwide. We also join with people around the world raise awareness of the issues faced by nonbinary people. Nonbinary people do not identify with the binary distinctions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’. In the UK, nonbinary people face poor mental health, physical harassment and ongoing discrimination.

To address this at Kent, we encourage you to engage with learning about the experiences of nonbinary people. The Stonewall “10 ways to step up as an Ally” highlights some steps that you can take as an individual to build an increasingly inclusive community at Kent. At Kent, our pronoun guide can help with creating an inclusive culture for everyone in our community. Our LGBT+ Staff network and student network are welcoming to all – the  Kent LGBT+ Staff Network blog has many resources, for both members of the community and allies, including a post wishing you a Happy International Nonbinary People’s Day!

We recognise there is more work to do in creating an inclusive community for nonbinary members of our community at Kent, and we encourage you to report incidents of harassment so that we can address systemic discriminations.

Throughout the day, stories written by nonbinary people will be shared on social media through the hashtags #internationalnonbinaryday and  #ThisIsWhatNonBinaryLooksLike – this is an opportunity to learn of the experience of nonbinary people and to amplify their voices.

BAME Staff Network statement in response to racism following England’s defeat in Euro 2020 final

From the Co-chairs of the BAME Staff Network:

Dear BAME Staff Network members and all University staff and students,

The BAME Staff Network wishes to express solidarity with all members of the Black staff and student university community, our local Black community in Canterbury and Medway, and our Black brothers and sisters across the nation in what has been a very upsetting and disturbing run of events following England’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday. The racism to which the three marvellous England football team players, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, have been subjected to, is despicable – yet many people in the Black community have said, not surprising.  Indeed, many of them sadly predicted what unfolded, evidencing that we are still very much living in a society where racism is prevalent and where many Black members of our community continue to feel unfairly treated.

Yet again, we are reminded of how quickly the tide can turn when it comes to matters of race and how progress can be so seriously threatened – from Black Lives Matters, to unhindered and overt racism. There is so much more we as co-chairs can say, but for now we wish to acknowledge the deep hurt such abusive comments have caused to the players, their families and friends, and to all of our fellow Black citizens.

We wish to remind everyone of the policies against racism and harassment and the support services based at the university, should you feel the need to access these:

https://www.kent.ac.uk/hr-staffinformation/policies/dignity.html

https://www.kent.ac.uk/challenging-racism

https://www.kent.ac.uk/equality-diversity-inclusivity/harassment

https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-support

https://livekentac.sharepoint.com/sites/MentalHealthSupport

https://www.kent.ac.uk/equality-diversity-inclusivity/reporting-incidents

The events reaffirm the absolute need for us all to continue our discussions on race but more importantly, to take action at an individual and organisational level and have the courage to challenge any form of discrimination, overt or covert. Only through this collective action can we dismantle the structures which allow such behaviour to continue.

As the BAME Staff Network, we will certainly continue to engage in relevant discourses and action in coming months, and keep working towards dismantling systemic racism through our committed efforts as educators. If anyone wishes to contact the network co-chairs, even if it is simply to talk through how they feel about these events, please email bamestaffnetwork@kent.ac.uk and we will arrange a suitable time to talk with you.

Take care all,

Vanisha, Bridget, Barbara and Dave
Co-chairs of the BAME Staff Network

Future of Work Survey – what you said

As a University community, we will be able to adapt well to what comes next – that’s among the positive responses we’ve had to our recent Future of Work staff survey.

The aim of the survey was to capture the best parts of what’s happened over the past year and find out how the University can support us in future. Staff working on campus and/or at home were asked to share their experiences of work since March 2020.

You told us that:

  • You’re proud of how teams had pulled together to find viable and productive ways of operating during the pandemic
  • If working on campus, you stressed the importance of being able to engage and collaborate with colleagues, as well as disconnecting from work on leaving campus
  • If working at home, you appreciated having less distractions, and being able to devote more time to personal health and wellbeing and exercise
  • You also gave a thumbs-up for Microsoft Teams changing how we work, highlighting stronger collaboration between Canterbury and Medway colleagues since connecting virtually
  • And many of you voiced your appreciation for colleagues who have continued providing essential services, as well as praising technical support and communications.

You also mentioned some of the difficulties and challenges you’ve faced over the last year:

  • Concerns about long-term digital engagement leading to poor mental health and isolation for some
  • Missing seeing colleagues in person, catching up informally and sharing ideas and insights
  • The effort involved in overcoming the challenges of engaging with students in an online setting
  • Needing time to prepare resources after the sudden switch to online teaching
  • Inadequate set-up for working at home longer-term
  • Too much screen time and experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’

What happens next

Your feedback (anonymised and non-attributable) is now informing discussions at EG and the JSNCC about how we work in the future and the infrastructure and support we will need.

Follow-up work is already underway across the University, with key stakeholders incorporating feedback from the survey into their planning for 2021/22. This includes education, student experience, technology, space planning, staff training and development, and further opportunities for collaborative working.

Find out more

Fuller feedback from the survey is available now on our HR webpages. You can also learn more about the survey, as well as our new Hybrid Working Scheme and plans for major changes in HR services at Kent, at our next Staff Webchat on Thursday 15 July 

Picture of Ponyo (film at Gulbenkian)

Plastic Free July inspired family films at Gulbenkian

Kick start environmental conversations with your family this Plastic Free July with Gulbenkian’s family film screenings of Moana and Ponyo.

In Moana, the daughter of a Polynesian Chief undertakes an oceanic odyssey to save her endangered isle from environmental devastation enlisting the aid of the legendary demigod Maui along the way. Moana and Maui’s quest to restore ecological balance and preserve traditional culture highlights how indigenous peoples are among those most impacted by global warming. Moana will be screened at Gulbenkian on Sunday 18 July at 15.00

Fantastic for younger children, Ponyo is a colourful story of a little boy who befriends a magical fish, who evolves into a young girl.  An environmentalist twist on the little mermaid tale from Studio Ghibli, touching on themes of pollution, global warming, personal responsibility and rising sea levels. Ponyo will be screened at Gulbenkian on Sunday 25 July at 15.00.

Tickets for family film screenings are £3.50 / Baby on laps(0-18months) +£1. For more information and tickets please visit www.thegulbenkian.co.uk or call 01227 769075.

Find out more about how you can join the global movement to reduce plastic pollution so we can have cleaner streets, oceans and communities on the Plastic Free July website.

A new vision for staff news and information  

The University is creating a new online space for staff information, as our new staff intranet, delivered through SharePoint OnlineIt will be the go-to place for staff information and news.  

Rather than one size fits all, you’ll be able to tailor the new intranet to what works best for you. Each Division and Department will have its own special space to share with its community, and staff will be able to choose much of the news they see depending on their interests. 

Using SharePoint Online as the basis of our new intranet will ensure compatibility with all our other Microsoft 365 tools, including Teams, OneDrive and other apps.  

What type of information will be on it? 

  • University-wide news  
  • University-wide resources  
  • Departmental and divisional news, resources, events and information 
  • Project information and document sharing  
  • Specialist topic areas such as Copyright and Finance 

See how all the Staff Intranet will fit in with other Microsoft 365 tools 

It will replace the Staff Guide on the University website, and current SharePoint sites such as the departmental, divisional and project sites housed in SharePoint 2013. 

Why we’re changing things 

Our new staff intranet will offer the following benefits:  

  • Simpler to find what you need – no need to search in numerous places online 
  • Single source of accurate information 
  • Easy to manage and update content through a simple interface  
  • Keeps audience-specific content separate e.g. staff and student information 
  • Let’s you tailor content that is relevant to you  

Timeframe for introduction

Divisions already have access to a SharePoint Online Communications hub site, and are putting in content useful for their own division.

July – October 2021 

  • We’ll consult with your department / directorate to understand your needs and requirements for storing and sharing staff information. We’ll take this feedback into account when developing the service.
  • We’ll pilot intranet sites with different business areas across the University. 
  • Professional service directorates’ needs will be gathered over this period. 

November 2021 to 2022  

There will be a phased approach to the creation of intranet sites across academic divisions and professional service directorates. 

By September 2022 

Existing SharePoint 2013 sites will become ‘read only’. 

End 2022 

Work is expected to be completed by end 2022. SharePoint 2013 sites will need to close by then. 

Support 

We’ll offer training and guidance to support you in creating your new intranet presence and choosing the most appropriate place to store your content. There will be no automated transferring of information from SharePoint 2013 to the new intranet 

You’ll need to plan in some time to review all your current staff-based content stored elsewhere eg SharePoint, Staff Guide, the Kent.ac.uk website. It will take time to review and scope your new intranet area. 

It is suggested that you identify a lead person for this workWe’ll be in touch to identify with you the best way to proceed.  

What should we call it? 

The new intranet is a first for the University and a unique opportunity to celebrate our staff community and everything that makes it special to work at Kent. 

We need a name for our new staff intranet and would welcome your suggestions. Head over to Yammer now and cast your vote on the options, or feel free to add your own!  

There will be a new SharePoint Online site published soon with all the information you will need about the staff intranet and how you will be supported in this change.  

For further information contact: Isobel Linthwaite, Collaboration Services Owner, through Teams or email 

Our new Hybrid Working Scheme is now live

Applications open today (Wednesday 30 June) for staff who wish to choose where they work for part of the week.

Under our new Hybrid Working Scheme – open to all professional services staff on UK employment contracts – if your job is suitable for remote working, you can request to work off-campus for up to two days per week, starting from 20 September 2021.

Staff who are contracted to work on four days per week or more will be able to apply to work remotely up to two days per week. Staff who work on fewer than four days can apply for one remote working day per week.

How to apply

The default application window for eligible staff is from 30 June – 30 July 2021. This may be varied locally, if necessary due to logistical constraints, and you will be notified if this is the case.

To apply, log into Staff Connect and go to ‘My Forms’ where you will find a link to the Hybrid Working Scheme application documents.  It is important that you read the Application Guide on the HR pages, and take into account any local parameters that have been shared with you by your line manager, before submitting your application.

Your application will be assessed by your line manager, in consultation with your departmental director and in line with agreed criteria. This will take account of what is operationally viable for you in your role, service requirements and overall needs of your team. Managers are being encouraged to facilitate hybrid working wherever operationally possible.

Why we’re doing it

The new scheme underlines the benefits of hybrid working for both the University and our staff. We believe that giving you more choice and control over where you work helps build mutual trust, employee motivation and wellbeing, and can result in enhanced performance.

The Hybrid Working Scheme has been developed in consultation with a JSNCC Working Group and cross-section of other key stakeholders across the University.

Find out more

Further information on the Hybrid Working Scheme, including FAQs, is available now on our HR webpages.