Author Archives: Wendy Raeside

Outstanding Library Team at the THE Awards 2019

Entries for THE Awards 2020

The entry deadline for the Times Higher Education Awards 2020 has been delayed due to coronavirus. However, it’s not too early to start thinking about potential entries.

The Times Higher is inviting entries from UK higher education institutions across 19 categories, which will be shortlisted and judged by an expert panel. This year’s categories are listed below and, unless otherwise stated in the specific subject criteria, the judges will be looking for outstanding examples of best practice during the 2018-19 academic year.

  • THE Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Business School of the Year
  • Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year
  • Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year
  • Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Research Project of the Year: STEM
  • Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year
  • Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community
  • Outstanding Support for Students
  • Outstanding Entrepreneurial University
  • Outstanding Library Team
  • Outstanding Estates Strategy
  • Outstanding Marketing/Communications Team
  • Most Innovative Teacher of the Year
  • International Collaboration of the Year
  • Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Outstanding Technician of the Year
  • University of the Year

Winners will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London on 26 November. Corporate Communications will once again be co-ordinating Kent’s award entries this year and is happy to support schools/departments with their submissions. Please email Corporate Communications if you know of a potential entry.

Further information on the awards is available on the THE Awards 2020 website.

Picture shows: Kent’s Outstanding Library Team at the THE Awards 2019

Man and a woman holding hands

Helping out in your community

Helping and supporting others is essential in times of crisis. NCVO, which champions the voluntary sector and volunteering, has some good suggestions on ways you can get involved with your community during the coronavirus outbreak:

Look out for your neighbours

The simplest thing everyone can do right now is look out for their neighbours and offer help with shopping and other errands.

It’s not just about neighbours who are self-isolating or vulnerable. Other people in the community who might also appreciate help are:

  • stretched medical staff and volunteers
  • staff and volunteers in key worker roles
  • supermarket workers
  • delivery drivers.

Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint – your help will be even more crucial in a few weeks’ time. For now, the best thing to do is to check in on neighbours.

Stay safe when supporting others

  1. Keep washing your hands often for 20 seconds.
  2. Stay at least two metres away from people you’re helping.
  3. If you’re helping someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services.
  4. Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
  5. Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes.
  6. Let family and friends know what you’re doing.
  7. Don’t take on too much – it’s often better not to offer at all than to let someone down.

Volunteer with organisations providing support

Charities are working with the government and local authorities to create ways for people to get involved.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you don’t have a particular charity in your local area, contact your local Volunteer CentreCVS or visit the Do-it website.
  • You can sign up to NHS Volunteer Responders who are supporting the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak.. Once you’ve registered and checks are complete – you’ll be provided a log-in to the GoodSAM Responder app.

Other ways to help charities

Supporting charities including as a volunteer or trustee would be incredibly valuable to help keep their work going.

Getting involved locally

Why not check your local council’s webpages? Kent County Council’s website has a ‘How Can I Help?’ section with a handy list of local authorities in Kent and links to the sort of volunteering support they’re after. And you can register to help in and around Medway on the Medway Voluntary Action website.

Laptop, cup of tea, open book and a fruite pastry all on a made bed, with a nightstand next to it.

How to self-isolate

Self-isolating and social distancing means non-essential contact with other people. To achieve this, you need to work at home wherever possible, avoid all unnecessary travel and avoid public gatherings.

Self-isolating and social distancing can feel lonely and lead to anxiety, depression and make you feel demotivated. So we have put together some tips for you on how to make the most of the situation.

Write a to-do list

You will find a to-do list keeps you on-track and motivated. Also it’s an amazing feeling when you tick off things on the list. The best thing to do is to write the list the day before or first thing in the morning.

Take regular breaks

Regardless of your workload, please remember to take regular breaks especially to have lunch or dinner. This is vital to keep you refreshed and your energy levels up.

Stay in touch

You might not be able to physically meet people but you can stay in touch thanks to the wonders of technology. Skype, Zoom and Facetime friends and family and chat via Whatsapp with fellow staff. Remember that plenty of support is also available to you – you can talk to your line manager, get support from our Occupational Health team, or access expert help with both workplace and personal issues via our Employee Assistance Programme.

Eat healthily

This might be a bit of an ask considering what is going on in the shops but you can still eat healthily by using staple ingredients such a fruit, veg, milk, rice and potatoes. You can look up recipes online.

Exercise

While you are at home, it is essential to keep fit and you can do this by following exercises on YouTube or use fitness DVDs.

Binge on Netflix and box sets

What better way to end the day than by binging on a box set or watching a TV series or film on Netflix? The platform has launched a new facility called Netflix Party where you can chat with your friends while watching the same film or TV show at the same time.

Overall, stay safe and make the most of this time. And remember that you are not alone.

Guide to online teaching and learning  

As we all adjust to working off-campus, a new guide has been published to help academic colleagues deliver teaching and assessments online. 

The Online teaching and learning: guidance for staff includes: 

  • A checklist for module convenors to complete 
  • Tips on using Moodle to deliver your teaching 
  • Using Office 365 Microsoft Teams to interact online with your students 
  • Accessing our Library’s digital resources 
  • Ensuring your online teaching and assessments are accessible to all 
  • What technology you will need  

The guide also links to University guidance on working and studying from home/off-campus,and support available for online learning, teaching and assessment. 

The guide has been compiled by colleagues in Information Services and our Unit for the Enhancement of Learning. 

Find out more by clicking on the guide now. 

Apple Macbook Pro, iPad and iPhone and glasses on table

Top 10 tips for working remotely

CIPD, the professional body for human resources and people development, has put together a series of top tips to help you and your teams get the most out of homeworking. They include top 10 tips for working remotely.

Don’t forget to check out our own Information Services guide to working at home – everything you need on setting up your IT plus key information on data security, redirecting phones and health and wellbeing.

1. Set up a designated workspace. Separate space for yourself to work in, somewhere you can focus on tasks without being distracted and set up with everything you need for a normal working day – computer, phone, stationery, papers etc.

2. Make sure you have all the tech you need. This includes a reliable and secure internet connection, any necessary files, hardware and software, remote access to your company network and, importantly, knowledge of how to get IT support.

3. Get dressed. Changing into working clothes will help you mentally switch to productive work mode. It will also help you distinguish between ‘homeworking’ and ‘home life’.

4. Write a daily to-do list. Set out a list of realistic, achievable tasks to keep you focused.

5. Know when to step away from your desk. Be clear about when your working day begins and ends and take breaks to refresh. It’s easy to let yourself be ‘always on’ when your home and office are the same place. When work is over, be sure you switch off to avoid burnout. Think about having ‘core hours ’ which people you work with are around for.

6. Stay in conversation. Contribute regularly to team chats/group emails so you don’t drop off the radar. Ask about what people are working on and share what’s on your plate. Being physically separated means you miss the ‘water-cooler moments’ so this is a means to keep informed.

7. Foster relationships. Make time for non-work chats as you would in the workplace and use video calling to maintain face-to-face contact.

8. Be clear in your communication. Speaking in person gives you visual and audio cues that help you communicate. Conversing remotely removes a lot of that extra information so make your communications extra clear and concise.

9. Ask for support when needed. Speak out when you need assistance, further training or support. Your manager, colleagues and you are part of a team and should be supporting each other, especially remotely.

10. Make remote working work for you. Change where you sit, put on music, whatever helps you work. And enjoy the perks – no commute or uncomfortable shoes, and all your home comforts!

For more information and resources, see the CIPD webpages.

Tree structure internet networks

Coronavirus – key University and other links 

Action to combat Covid-19 is a fast-evolving situation and it is important to keep up-to-date with the latest information and advice. 

Below are some useful links for you to find out more support available at the University and our latest position, as well as key links for latest coronavirus information, health advice and higher education queries. 

University contacts 

For health and wellbeing, you can get support from our Occupational Health team, or access our new Employee Assistance Programme for help with both workplace and personal issues.  

To find more how the University is responding to Covid-19you can check our coronavirus website (which includes a regularly updated list of staff FAQs) or, if your query isn’t answered here,email the Coronavirus Response Group. 

Health advice 

The NHS Online service that can tell if you need medical help and advice. Use this service if you think you might have coronavirus; if you have been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus; or you have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus. Use th111 onlineweblinkor call 111 if you need to speak to someone. Don’t go to a hospital, GP surgery or pharmacy. 

Staff should contact the Wellbeing Team if they are asked to be tested or self-isolate by NHS 111 or a medical professional.  

Government updates 

Latest Government advice and guidance is available on the gov.uk website. You can also check the NHS website for latest health advice. You may also find media outlets such as the BBC useful sources of information. 

There is a daily update from the Prime Minister every evening. 

Higher education information 

The Department for Education can help with queries relating to higher education staff, students and parents with Covid-19 in relation to education. Phone: 0800 046 8687
(opening hours: 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) or email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk 

The Home Office can advise on immigration queries related to coronavirusfor international higher education staff and students. Phone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, free of charge) or email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk 

 

Supporting your health and wellbeing

Staff are the University’s most valuable asset and your health and wellbeing is extremely important. 

There are many ways that colleagues, even when they are not working on campus, can access support and advice as and when they need it. These include a new Employee Assistance Programme specifically for Kent employees, as well as access to specialist advisers across the University. 

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) 

This new scheme offers University staff easy access to expert help with both workplace and personal issues. Whether you have questions on issues from debt and landlords, to nutrition and stress, our new EAP website should have the answers. To log-in, use the username: uokent and the password: university. 

Alternatively, you can phone the providers, Care first/Sodexho, free of charge on 0808 168 2143 and get free and confidential advice from an information specialist or accredited counsellor. 

Occupational Health support 

As well as EAP, the University has a dedicated Occupational Health team whose remit is to: 

  • prevent work-related ill health 
  • facilitate rehabilitation and return to work following periods of illness or injury 
  • promote physical and mental health and wellbeing at work. 

Your line manager can refer you to Occupational Health or you can opt for self-referral. Find out more on the Occupational Health webpageor the OH team’s Health and Wellbeing webpages.  

At the present time, it’s best to contact the OH team via email: occupationalhealth@kent.ac.uk 

Talking to your line manager 

Don’t forget that your line manager can also support you on health and wellbeing issues – either directly or pointing you to the right colleague/place to ensure you get the support you need. 

If you are able, speak to your line manager first. There may be a simple solution and they are not going to know you have a problem unless you discuss it with them. 

Line Managers can also take advantage of advice available from the EAP.  

HR contacts 

Our HR department is responsible for a number of staff wellbeing policies – from special leave to flexible working.  

The Employee Relations and Business Partnering Team provide line managers and other colleagues with specialist, professional advice, guidance and policy implementation on those policies, amongst others.  

Each area of the University has a specific Business Partner and Employee Relations Adviser – you can find out who yours is on the HR websiteTo make initial contact with the general ERBP team, email ERBP@kent.ac.uk. This address is monitored 09.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday and using it will enable us to deal with your query as quickly as possible.  

Colleagues in Estates and Commercial Services have their own dedicated HR teams who can advise as necessary. 

Nostalgia podcast

Working at home guidance

In line with Government guidelines on Covid-19, we are limiting face-to-face contact and adopting recommended social distancing measures. Unless physical access is absolutely essential, all staff should be working from home. 

Setting up at home 

Our HR and IS teams have put together a handy guide to working at home. This includes useful information on: 

  • Redirecting your office phone  
  • Setting up your work station and Display Screen Equipment 
  • Accessing network files through the VPN (Virtual Private Network) 
  • Storing sensitive data 
  • Using Office 365 
  • Accessing Staff Connect 
  • Staying in touch with your team members (eg through Skype for Business) 
  • Links to key resources 

IS have also published a comprehensive guide to accessing and using our IT services from home or elsewhere off-campus. 

In addition, you can find helpful advice on setting up your home work station in new guidance from our Safety, Health and Environment Unit. 

If you can’t work at home 

If you are unable to work due to caring responsibilities, then you should contact your manager. Our focus is on maintaining core services and it may be (particularly if two parents are working from home) that it is possible to rotate caring responsibilities so that you can undertake at least some of your core tasks. If staff are unable to work, they will be expected to use any accrued TOIL by agreement with their manager but pay will be maintained as normal.  

For timesheet staff who are available for work and have already agreed working hourstheir manager will arrange for these hours to be paid in the usual way. Timesheet staff who have not agreed any working hours will not be paid. 

Hourly-paid lecturers (HPLs) who have moved their teaching online and continue to support their students should continue to submit timesheets to their school for payment as normal. HPLs who are not able to continue with their teaching duties should speak to their school regarding alternative activities.   

How it affects your pay 

Our new University Pay Policy related to COVID-19 sets out temporary changes from standard policies, recognising that staff may find it difficult to work from home or while caring for dependents and that staff are concerned about their pay. 

 

Labyrinth on campus with sun rise

Supporting your health and wellbeing at Kent

Staff are the University’s most valuable asset and their health and wellbeing is extremely important.

There are a number of ways that colleagues across our campuses and centres can access support and advice as and when they need it. These include a new Employee Assistance Programme specifically for Kent employees, as well as access to specialist advisers across the University.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

This new scheme offers University staff easy access to expert help with both workplace and personal issues. Whether you have questions on issues from debt and landlords, to nutrition and stress, our new EAP website should have the answers. To log-in, use the username: uokent and the password: university.

Alternatively, you can phone the providers, Care first/Sodexho, free of charge on 0808 168 2143 and get free and confidential advice from an information specialist or accredited counsellor.

Face-to-face counselling (up to eight sessions) is available through the EAP, not just phone or online advice. Following an initial telephone assessment by a qualified counsellor, there can be a referral to a counsellor within your locality.

Occupational Health support

As well as EAP, the University has a dedicated Occupational Health team whose remit is to:

  • prevent work-related ill health
  • facilitate rehabilitation and return to work following periods of illness or injury
  • promote physical and mental health and wellbeing at work.

Your line manager can refer you to Occupational Health or you can opt for self-referral. Find out more on the Safety, Health and Environment website or the OH team’s Health and Wellbeing webpages.

Talking to your line manager

Don’t forget that your line manager can also support you on health and wellbeing issues – either directly or pointing you to the right colleague/place to ensure you get the support you need.

If you are able, speak to your line manager first. There may be a simple solution and they are not going to know you have a problem unless you discuss it with them.

Line Managers can also take advantage of advice available from the EAP.

HR contacts

Our HR department is responsible for a number of staff wellbeing policies – from special leave to flexible working.

The Employee Relations and Business Partnering Team provide line managers and other colleagues with specialist, professional advice, guidance and policy implementation on those policies, amongst others. Each area of the University has a specific Business Partner and Employee Relations Adviser – find out who yours is on the HR website. Please use the general ERBP team email to make initial contact on ERBP@kent.ac.uk. This address is monitored 09.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday and using it will enable us to deal with your query as quickly as possible.

Colleagues in Estates and Commercial Services have their own dedicated HR teams who can advise as necessary.

Development opportunities

Our Learning and Organisational Development team, part of HR, also provides a wide range of personal and professional development opportunities for staff across the University. Courses include Mental Health Awareness, Crucial Conversations, Promoting Inclusion, and Resilience and Wellbeing.

Find out more on the L&OD website.

Staff representatives

Staff representation and consultation are key to good employee relations

Our Joint Staff Negotiating and Consultation Committee (JSNCC) is the main forum for consultation between the University and our staff on all matters of mutual interest. Membership includes both staff and trades union representatives, who can share your concerns with other members of JSNCC. Find out more about the JSNCC and who your representatives are on the JSNCC webpages.

You may also wish to seek advice/support directly from your trade union if you are a member.

The University has a number of trade unions active across its campuses and centres, including:

  • GMB – mainly representing staff in grades 1-6
  • University and College Union (UCU) – mainly representing academic and academic-related staff.
  • Unison – mainly representing staff in grades 1-6
  • Unite – mainly representing technical staff.

Find out more about trade unions and campus representatives on the HR Information for Staff webpages.

 

 

Anne Marie Baker and Minna Jahonen displaying the each for equal sign International Womens Day 2020)

Inspiring women to mark International Women’s Day

In recognition of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2020, members of staff have been sharing who their most inspirational woman is and what makes them so special:

Jacinta Ardern (PM of New Zealand) – ‘Compassionate leadership in a male dominated world. The youngest female head of government, and only the second elected head of government to have a baby and take maternity leave while in office.’ (Laura Pheils, L&OD Advisor)

Dame Julie Andrews – ‘Her incredible talent and how she coped with having to use this to support her family as a young child; not letting her childhood put her off her dreams. I admire her grace, charity work, her love of family, her strength after losing her voice and as the only person I’ve ever seen to get a standing ovation just walking into a room. ‘ (Helen Oliver, L&OD Coordinator)

Barbara Castle – ‘for introducing the Equal Pay Act.’  (Maddy Withers, Reward Assistant)

Aphra Behn – ‘A playwright, poet and spy was a remarkable and talented woman who made her voice heard and took risks for the things she believed in. Virginia Woolf wrote of her: “All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn… for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.”‘ (Alison Ross Green, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development)

‘Mary Lacy’ – ‘She was determined to succeed and did so in spades. Born and bred in Ash, Kent she ran away to sea and also became an accomplished shipwright: she was arguably the first women ever to train as shipwright (albeit disguised as a man) and was also the first woman (this time not in disguise) to gain a pension from the Admiralty. She published her fascinating, candid memoirs – The Female Shipwright – in 1773.’  (Simon Kirchin, Director of the Division of Arts, Culture and Design)

Isabel Myers Briggs – ‘No-one has to be good at everything, By developing individual strengths, guarding against known weaknesses and appreciating the strengths of others, life will be more amusing, more interesting and more of a daily adventure than it could possibly be if everyone were alike.’ (Anne-Marie Baker,  Project Manager Athena SWAN)

Mother Teresa – ‘Despite all her encounters with adversity and distress, she maintained an iconic symbol of hope, peace and compassion.’ (Jena Dady, L&OD Advisor)

Emmy Noether – ‘As a woman in a patriarchal scientific community and a Jew in a brutally anti-Semitic society, she was unquestionably an outsider. Yet she discovered mathematics of great power and reach: her theorems on symmetries underpin our understanding of physics, and her exceptionally clear teaching has formed the heart of algebra for the last century.’ (Peter Hydon, Professor of Mathematics and Director of Division)

The abolitionist Sojourner Truth – ‘Born into slavery and at one point sold with a flock of sheep. She fought for the right to have all that comes with the freedom of personhood and equality.’ (Christina Hughes,  Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience)