Author Archives: Wendy Raeside

Blood pressure checks on campus 9-13 September

Our Occupational Health team will be offering blood pressure checks at Canterbury and Medway campuses to mark Blood Pressure UK: Know Your Numbers Week 09-13 September 2019.

Do you know what blood pressure is?  More importantly, do you know what YOUR blood pressures is? Having your blood pressure taken is a simple and excellent way of gauging the health of your cardiovascular system, that is, your heart and your blood vessels.

Blood Pressure UK campaigns to increase knowledge of how to stay healthy and manage blood pressure. Each year they run a Know Your Numbers campaign encouraging people to have their blood pressure checked. Occupational Health has engaged once again with this campaign and is offering blood pressure checks for staff at both Canterbury and Medway campuses.  The checks are only available on certain days across the week of 9-13 September – for details see the Blood pressure checks poster

A check is straightforward, doesn’t involve any invasive testing or needles and only takes 5-10 minutes of your time. You’ll be advised straightaway of what your blood pressure reading. If it is higher than expected you will be recommended to visit your GP to have it checked again.

If you are interested in booking on a Campus Blood Pressure check please contact Occupational Health either by ringing Pat Armstrong, the OH Technician, on extension 4691 or by emailing

For more information on blood pressure, follow these links:

Dr Richard Guest

New Home Office role for cyber security expert

Dr Richard Guest of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts and core member of the Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security has been selected to join the UK Home Office’s Biometric and Forensics Ethics Group.

Appointed by the Home Secretary, Richard Guest will join the independent group of leading multidisciplinary experts to provides advice and guidance to ministers and government on issues of biometric and forensic data use and systems implementation, such as the use of facial recognition technology.

Richard Guest’s appointment builds on the success of biometric research at Kent within current projects such as the AMBER Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, the Hummingbird interdisciplinary project and collaborations with organisations such as the UK National Cyber Security Centre.

Clearing call centre

Thank you!

Thank you to the hundreds of staff who took the time yesterday to call the Clearing hotline to help with the stress testing needed to ensure that we were fully functional in time for this morning’s Clearing activities.

Although we offer our applicants a web-first approach, we receive calls to the hotline not just from applicants, but from prospective students asking about a wide range of issues ,from grade outcomes to accommodation, and from those wanting reassurance about their offer of a place.

Thanks to the efforts of staff, and those of the specialist teams in EMS, IS and Estates, we opened the hotline at 07.00 today (Thursday 15 August) confident that it would be able to handle the volume of calls we are expecting.

A special thanks also to the hotline operators, a team of 60 students, for all their hard work in testing the hotline.

The dominant infant microbiota member Bifidobacterium

Wain Medal Lecture 2019

Harnessing our microbial ‘Guardians of the Gut’ is the title of the Wain Medal Lecture 2019, on Wednesday 30 October at 17.00. The lecture will be given by Dr Lindsay J Hall, Microbiome Group Leader & Wellcome Trust Investigator for Norwich-based Quadram Institute Bioscience.

The human microbiome has emerged as a central player in human health and wellbeing; modulating our immune system, providing resistance to pathogenic microbes, and helping to digest the food that we eat. Importantly, birth and the first 1000 days represents a critical developmental window in which microbes and their human host ‘communicate’, laying the foundations for lifelong health.

It is now recognised that disturbing this fledgling microbial ecosystem has both short- and long-term consequences such as increased risk of infection, allergy, and chronic inflammatory diseases. Thus, understanding the factors that modulate the microbiome during the first stages of life, during pregnancy, and in infancy, is a key research focus.

In this Wain Medal lecture, Dr Hall will discuss the important roles the microbiome plays, particularly during early life, including recent clinical work relating to beneficially modulating the preterm infant microbiome, and our mechanistic studies using model systems to determine mode-of-action for specific microbiota members (ie Bifidobacterium), with a key focus on developing novel live biotherapeutics for improving infant health.

The lecture will take place in Woolf Lecture Theatre on Canterbury campus. Admission is free and open to all.

Picture shows: The dominant infant microbiota member Bifidobacterium.

Disability Confident Employer logo

We are a disability confident employer

Learning & Organisational Development are pleased to announce that the University has achieved Level 2 of the Disability Confident Grading Scheme and we are now accredited with ‘Disability Confident Employer’.

Through Disability Confident, we will work to ensure that disabled people and those with long-term health conditions have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations. Recognition of this scheme will help us to recruit and retain the widest possible pool of talent and help develop our valuable skills and experience.

As a Level 2 Disability Confident Employer, we have committed to all elements of Level 1 and also commit to:

  • getting the right people for our business
  • keeping and developing our people

Disability Confident Employers are recognised as going the extra mile to make sure disabled people get a fair chance.

The certification is valid for two years and we can now display the Disability Confident Employer badge on University stationery, correspondence and websites.

Please review where and how you can use this badge within your own processes.

Over the next two years, we will continue to review the criteria for the Level 2 certification ‘Disability Confident Employer’ to improve services and the experience for all employees. We will also review the next level of the Disability confident scheme ‘Disability Confident Leader’ and understand requirements to move forward.

Garrett Gorman and Rich Payne with their bikes in front of the Eiffel Tower

Finance colleagues take part in Paris cycle challenge

Garrett Gorman and Rich Payne from our Finance Department have completed a 220-mile cycle ride to Paris, and raised nearly £2,400 for charity.

Garrett and Rich joined 70 students (seven from Kent) for the Breast Cancer Now London to Paris from 5 to 7 July. They were keen to support Breast Cancer Now as they have both had family members and friends affected by the disease.

Garrett said: ‘We wanted to do something to support a charity that is actively researching a cure for this disease. More recently, myself and Rich have had a very close friend and work colleague fighting this disease – she was especially in our thoughts as we completed this challenge and we wish her the very best as she gets through this.’

The three-day cycle, which raised a total of over £90,000, started in Waltham upon Thames and stopped off at Portsmouth, Caen and Evreux en route to Paris.

Garrett said: ‘Emotions were running high as we came around the road under the Eiffel Tower. There was family, friends and strangers cheering us on and cars tooting their horns in encouragement for the final stretch. Both of us appreciated just how much our family and our work colleagues did to support us – without them, we don’t believe we would have managed to raise the full amount.’

Breast Cancer Now cyclists

In an extra boost to their fundraising, Garrett and Rich held a raffle and cake sale on campus during March ahead of the cycle ride.

There’s still time to support them by clicking on Garrett’s sponsorship page or Rich’s sponsorship page.

Medway campus

Medway Festival of Learning and Teaching 2019

The Universities at Medway fifth annual festival of learning, teaching and assessment, entitled ‘Developing a culture of student engagement’, will take place on Thursday 12 September at the Medway Campus, Pilkington Building Room 008 from 09.30-14.30. The Festival is free to attend but you must book your place before 6 September by completing the online booking form.

Our keynote speaker will be Professor Colin Bryson.  His talk will be complemented by 17 presentations from colleagues from all three universities.  The programme and details of parallel sessions is available on the festival webpage.

This year’s theme is on student engagement.  It is a consistently strong theme that runs through the sector and is a priority for all three universities and their partner colleges.

The Annual Medway Festival aims to promote, share and celebrate our collective practices across all three universities and their partner colleges based at Medway to benefit all students studying at Medway.  Although our primary focus is the development of the Medway Campus, staff from Canterbury are most welcome to attend.


Changes to printing

Over the next few months the way you print at Canterbury, Medway and Tonbridge will change.

Our Executive Group has approved a new Print, Copy, and Scan Policy (pdf) which will be rolled out across the University. The new policy was agreed in October last year and is vital to our reduction of both the costs and environmental impact of printing, as well as the procurement and maintenance costs of the equipment.

We’ll replace desktop printers with multi-functional devices (MFDs) that have combined print, scan and copy functionality. There will be fewer printers overall. The likely date of the first change will be 12 August 2019. Where it is necessary, desktop printers will be kept by exception.

We’re finalising locations with help from your school/department. Your departmental IT representative (excel file) should shortly be able to share the finalised printer map for your building with you. If you’re concerned that your needs may not be met, please discuss with your departmental IT representative.

We’ll let you know when your offices will switch to the new service and provide advice for using the new printers.

How printing will work

Why this is happening
We have over 850 desktop printers on campus – some of which only print a handful of pages a month. Desktop printers are expensive to maintain and operate, and are energy inefficient.

This change will enable us to:

  • reduce costs considerably
  • reduce energy usage by 55,000kgs of carbon a year
  • reduce paper usage by around 15% – 3 million sheets of paper a year.

Our existing print provider, Apogee, will provide the service and dispose of excess printers in an environmentally-conscious and safe way.

Mark Reed, Head of Procurement

Catherine Richardson

New role for Catherine Richardson

Professor Catherine Richardson has been appointed as the academic Co-Director for our Institute for Cultural and Creative Industries.

Catherine brings a wealth of experience to the role, including past experience of the cultural and creative industries and her work as Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) for the Faculty of Humanities.

Catherine said: ‘I’m really excited to be taking on this new challenge, working with colleagues across the University and beyond to develop a clear and very distinctive vision for our research and education in the cultural and creative industries, and helping to ensure that our creativity spreads more broadly, right across the University, into every part of what we do at Kent.’

She will start in the role this summer, working with our other Co-Director, Liz Moran. Plans will be formed through Autumn 2019 with more announcements made in due course. We anticipate that the Institute will be a major catalyst for Kent as we build to our 60th anniversary in 2025, with work in education, research and innovation.

Professor Simon Kirchin | Dean of Humanities

April McMahon

Preparations for TEF – staff talk on 19 July

Colleagues are invited to an update on Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes (TEF) Framework and Subject Level Pilots, by Professor April McMahon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education. The update will take place on Friday 19 July from 13.30 to 14.30 in Grimond LT1 (Canterbury campus), and then repeated on Friday 13 September from 13.30 to 14.30 (venue tbc).

The presentation is part of our preparations for the next round on TEF. It will include a general update on the TEF framework and its development following the completion of the second year of testing pilot options for subject level assessment. The presentation will also outline what TEF is, how it works, and what it is for, and consider some of the challenges and benefits of including a subject level perspective.

April will discuss some of the work we are doing at the University of Kent to prepare for subject-level TEF, and how important it is for us to approach this as a university community, with academic, professional and student perspectives all contributing and everyone having a role to play.

We hope to see as many of you as possible on either 19 July or 13 September. If you are unable to attend, you can listen to the 19 July event via this link (available to anyone with a Kent IT account).