Author Archives: Wendy Raeside

Paul Allain

Kent People: Paul Allain, Dean of the Graduate and Researcher College

When did you join the University and why?

A Senior Lectureship in Drama came up at Kent in 2000, which was rare those days. With my eldest son about to start primary school in London, a move to Canterbury with its excellent schools and a bit more space felt like a positive step. The drama department was then, and still is, among the biggest and best in the UK. I joined Kent in September and was fortunate enough to begin with a term’s externally funded sabbatical – a soft landing.

What did you do before joining Kent?

I started a PhD in contemporary Polish theatre in autumn 1989, an interesting time to be researching there. I performed with a Polish theatre group about whom I was also writing, which led to work as a Movement Director in companies such as the RSC and the Royal National Theatre. I collaborated with some very famous actors, though to list them would be namedropping!  I gained my first permanent 0.5 position in 1993 and continued to mix academic and theatre work for a few years until I decided to give my all to research and teaching.

Why has the new College been created and what’s its remit?

I have now been Dean for four years. From the beginning, I saw benefits in joining up our excellent support for postgraduates with that for research staff, especially postdocs who were ‘falling between the gaps’. I commissioned a report which confirmed this problem and gave us clear guidance on what was needed to support all staff who research across the whole academic lifecycle. 

Tell us more about who’s who within your College team?

Within the Graduate and Researcher College, we’re a very small team and there’s been a lot of change over the last year, from people departing through KVSS to maternity leaves. But it’s all good, and we’re finding ways to adapt as a team so we can deliver on our expanded remit. Core team members are sustaining and enhancing our PG activity and support, in particular with the Global Skills Award for Master’s students and our Researcher Development Programme, while a new post will work closely with myself and colleagues on rolling out our programme for academic researchers.

What are your immediate plans for the newly formed College?

The imminent task is to sustain what the team has been doing so well for our postgraduates, while incorporating new workshops, activities and networks for academic staff, ultimately all geared towards improving our research performance. We signed up to the Concordat to support researcher career development in June 2020, so can’t shirk this. We are also active in several UKRI-funded postgraduate consortia which has been very preoccupying during Covid, ensuring we help our research students fairly with the limited resources we have. Inevitably, this is rumbling on… 

Why do you think postgraduate education has a pivotal part in Kent’s future success?

Delivering quality postgraduate taught courses and offering excellent research supervision has to be a priority for any institution that is serious about conducting research. As a REF panel member (in 2014 and imminently for REF 2021 in subpanel 33), I see clearly how vital postgraduates are to academic life.

Covid-19 permitting(!), what are your interests away from work?

Not surprisingly, I enjoy live events such as concerts and theatre, overseas if possible, and often in Poland. Is that not work though? In case it is, I also play tennis. I’m a bit of a fidget, so that burns some energy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Engaging your legs can greatly enhance your serve!

 

Coronavirus

Asymptomatic testing appointments still available at Canterbury and Medway

If you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, ie are asymptomatic, you can make an appointment to be tested for on campus.

Canterbury and Medway appointments are still available to book online.

Please remember that asymptomatic testing is for people not displaying Covid-19 symptoms. If you do have symptoms, please follow our Self-Isolate, Test, Inform procedure and book a test via the NHS Coronavirus website.

You should ideally have two asymptomatic tests 3-5 days apart and then return home within 24hrs of your second negative test result. If you are unable to wait for a second test, please return home as soon as possible after your first negative result.

If you decide to get tested, please register for an NHS login before your appointment. You can set this up using your email address. Please note that you will not receive your barcode until you arrive to be tested, however you can still set up the rest of your account.

Once registered, please bookmark this link to the NHS Coronavirus Testing site on your phone. Pre-registering for an NHS login will speed up your appointment and make the testing process even easier.

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

Kent Logo

Covid-19: Asymptomatic Testing Site at Canterbury now open for staff

The Asymptomatic Testing Site on our Canterbury campus is now open for all University of Kent staff to use. 

If you do not have Covid-19 symptoms ie are asymptomatic and would like to be tested, please make an appointment.

Appointments are available from 2 December until 15 December 2020.

Please note that the NHS advises you are tested twice, ideally within 3 days, in order to receive a reliable result.

The Asymptomatic Testing Site (ATS) offers Lateral Flow Tests which are different to the tests offered by NHS Local Testing Sites. Lateral Flow Tests are specifically for those who are asymptomatic. 

We are currently working with the local Public Health Team to arrange for asymptomatic testing to be available for staff on the Medway campus. More information will be provided very shortly.

Please note that if you do have symptoms of Covid-19, you should self-isolate immediately and follow our Staff reporting procedure. Please book a PCR test as soon as you can via the NHS Coronavirus site. Please also let HR and Occupational Health know by emailing staffwellbeing@kent.ac.uk and inform your line manager.

To find out more about the ATS and Lateral Flow Tests, please see our dedicated Coronavirus website

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience 

Brexit

Brexit update – 1 December 2020

As we near the end of the transition period, we would like to highlight some key areas to help you understand the impact of Brexit including travelling in the EEA from January 2021, UK travel disruption and the new immigration system.

Further information and support can be found on the Staff Brexit webpages or, if you would prefer to speak with someone, please email staffEUqueries@kent.ac.uk.

Disruption to travel to and from our UK campuses

Delays at channel ports and the closure of major roads for lorry parking may cause travel disruptions or delays when travelling to and from the Canterbury and Medway campuses in early 2021, with potentially longer-term congestion.

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that a significant proportion of staff are now able to work from home, but there are still many staff who need to attend campus and who may therefore be affected by increased congestion. If you are required to work on or attend campus, you are advised to be prepared for increased journey times and to plan your journey in advance.  Alternative travel arrangements may need to be made particularly when we return from the Christmas break. If you have any concerns about getting to work please discuss this with your line manager.

Travel delays for UK passport holders travelling to Europe

From January 2021, UK passport holders are encouraged to check the new requirements before travelling, which includes passport validity, insurance and allowing additional time for increased checks at points of entry to the EEA. If you are travelling for business, including teaching at our European centres, please ensure you refer to the latest Government, post-Brexit travelling advice and the general Key Travel webpage

EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

The EUSS is open until 30 June 2021 for EEA nationals resident in the UK before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020). In order to qualify, you must be resident in the UK but it is not mandatory that you have commenced employment or your studies. Pre-Settled status will be granted if you have less than five years’ residency and Settled Status will be granted if you have five years or more.

EEA staff, and their families, are strongly encouraged to apply to the scheme to ensure their current rights are protected. If you do not obtain Settled or Pre-Settled status, you may be required to apply for a visa under the new immigration system should you change employers from July 2021. You will also need to provide evidence of your Settled or Pre-Settled status from July 2021 when opening a new bank account, obtaining a new rental tenancy agreement or applying for a mortgage.

If you require guidance or have any queries regarding the scheme, please contact our dedicated email address: staffEUqueries@kent.ac.uk.

UK and EU Frontier Workers

On 10 December 2020, the Home Office will launch the Frontier Worker Permit scheme which will be open to EEA citizens employed in the UK by 31 December 2020, but who live elsewhere.  The Home Office meaning of a Frontier Worker is as follows:

  • an EEA national;
  • not primarily resident in the United Kingdom; and
  • either—
    • a worker in the United Kingdom;
    • a self-employed person in the United Kingdom; or
    • a retained worker or self-employed person.

You may also be a Frontier Worker if you are a UK national living in the UK and you are working in the EU.

If you believe you are eligible to apply to the UK or EU Frontier Worker schemes, please contact staffEUqueries@kent.ac.uk so we can help to ensure you have the correct permissions from 1 January 2021.

Kent Logo

Covid-19 update – 26 November 2020

Today, the Government announced the new Tier structure that will come into force once the national lockdown ends on 2 December 2020. Canterbury and Medway have both been placed in Tier 3, the ‘Very High’ risk category. At this Tier, there are restrictions on households socialising and non-essential travel is not permitted. As previously, universities and other educational institutions are to remain open. We are currently awaiting DfE guidance about what this will mean for Kent, and will provide more information as soon as it is available.

Planning for Christmas vacation

As we approach the end of the Autumn term, I wanted to tell you about the important work taking place to support the students that will be staying with us over the Christmas vacation period. We estimate between 300 and 500 students will be remaining with us, staying on our two main campuses after term ends on 18 December 2020. This year, more than ever before, it is vital that we provide a safe, secure environment for our students which will allow them to enjoy a restful festive break. Staff from across the University are working in partnership with Kent Union and GKSU colleagues to provide a programme of events and online activities that these students can enjoy. The team will be distributing festive goodie bags for the students and are planning to decorate campus to bring some much-needed festive cheer. Students will be able to connect with each other, via dedicated social media channels, and the programme of events will be publicised through a new webpage. We hope this project will allow students to interact, share experiences and provide valuable support for each other during the winter vacation period. My thanks to all staff involved in this important work and for your commitment to supporting all our students.

Asymptomatic testing

As part of the Government’s national Covid-19 testing programme, we are now offering asymptomatic testing at both Canterbury and Medway. These tests are specifically for people without symptoms of Covid-19, ie they are asymptomatic. Bookings are now being taken for students with appointments beginning on 30 November 2020. Any member of staff wishing to book an appointment can do so from 30 November 2020. Please remember that if you do have Covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate and book a test through the NHS Coronavirus website.

Spring 2021

After what has been challenging and unpredictable year, we are busy planning for Spring 2021 and how we can best meet the needs of our diverse student population. At this stage, we have yet to receive guidance relating to the return of students in January from the Department for Education. However, we do expect this shortly. It is likely that universities will be encouraged to invite students back to campus using a staggered arrivals approach. This could mean that for the first few weeks of the Spring term, all teaching is again delivered virtually. My sincere and heartfelt thanks go out to all staff involved in delivering teaching at our University; the changes imposed on us by the pandemic have been significant, and you have responded valiantly throughout.

It is vital that we continue to demonstrate to students that we are listening to their feedback, and evolving our approach in response, for the Spring term. We will be running a campaign to show students all the events and activities they can engage with in the New Year. We hope Schools will get involved in sharing best practice and celebrating the great work taking place across our University. There will be lots positive case-studies of how staff and students are adapting to get the most out of learning and teaching at this unpredictable time.

Thank you again to all University staff for your commitment and dedication to our students.

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

New Strategic Lead for Medway

Dr William Collier has been appointed to the role of Strategic Lead – MedwayWilliam, who is currently Deputy Dean (Education and Student Experience), will take up his new role in January 2021 for a 12-month period.

The University has been offering higher education in Medway for more than 20 years, and over time we have adapted our offer. However, there is more we should be doing to make the most of our presence in Medway, and the development of a new and comprehensive vision for the campus is a key strategic aim for the University.

As this year has shown, the new strategy for Medway needs to ensure we are better positioned to support the rebuilding of the region’s economy post-Covid, that we continue to support the bid of City of Culture through our Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, and that we maintain and develop strong partnerships with local education providers, the Council and other external stakeholders

In his new role, William will be responsible for taking this work forward, consulting with both external and internal stakeholders. He brings a wide range of institutional experience to the role, with expertise in student recruitment, portfolio development, education and student experience. He is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE and an Associate of The Economics Network.

Hands of an office woman typing

Learn how colleagues are using electronic feedback and assessment to engage learners

The E-Learning team will be running the second webinar in their new series of Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars on Friday 11 December from 10.00-12.00.

The second session, on ‘Using Electronic Feedback and Assessment to Engage Learners’, will feature six speakers from both inside and outside of the University. They will share their teaching experiences and provide some concrete examples that colleagues could adopt or adapt for their own practice.

If you would like to join the webinar series, please express your interest by enrolling on the Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars Moodle module and we will add you to the Team linked to the webinar series.

Book on resilience

New book promotes new understanding of resilience

‘Resilience in EU and International Institutions’ is the title of a new book co-edited by Elena Korosteleva, Professor of International Politics at Kent, and Trine Flockhart, Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern Denmark.

The book, to be published by Routledge on 30 November, explores the concept and practice of resilience. It proposes a new understanding of resilience, both as a quality and a way of thinking, to argue that a more sustainable way to govern the world today is bottom-up and inside-out.

While carrying a seemingly unifying message of self-reliance, adaptation and survival in the face of adversity, resilience curiously continues to appear ‘all things to all people’, making it hard for the EU and international institutions to make full use of its potential.

Engendering resilience today, in the highly volatile and uncertain world hit by crises, pandemic, and diminishing control, becomes a priority like never before. This book develops a more comprehensive view of resilience by looking at it both as a quality of the system, and a way of thinking inherent to ‘the local’ that cannot be engineered from the outside.

About the editors

Elena Korosteleva is Professor of International Politics and Jean Monnet Chair of European Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at Kent. She is Co-founder and Director of the Global Europe Centre and Principal Investigator for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) COMPASS project (ES/P010849/1), focusing on resilience and governance in (Eastern) Europe and Central Asia. She has published widely in the journals Contemporary Security Policy, Journal of International Relations and Development, Cooperation and Conflict, Democratization and International Relations.

Trine Flockhart is Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the Centre for War Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, and Founder and President of Women in International Security–Denmark (WIIS–DK), Copenhagen, Denmark. Her research focuses on international order and transformational change, NATO and transatlantic relations. Her article ‘The Coming Multi-Order World’ published in Contemporary Security Policy (2016) was awarded the Bernard Brodie Prize that same year.

Further information about the new book is available on the Routledge website. You can use the discount code SSM20 to save 20% on purchase.

Coronavirus

Condolences for Anne Seller

The University was very sorry to hear of the death of Anne Seller, one of the first members of our academic staff, on Wednesday 11 November.

Anne Seller was appointed to a Lectureship in Philosophy in 1966, and helped to shape the profile of philosophy at Kent. Her speciality was political philosophy.

She was a member of Keynes and played an active part in the life of the college. She also played a central role in setting up the Women’s Studies graduate course at Kent.

Outside the University, Anne Seller also made an enormous contribution. Locally, she taught philosophy for children, working at the Orchard School, and served as Lady Mayoress of Canterbury in 2001-2.

On the national stage, she played a lead role in the Society for Women in Philosophy and took an active part in campaigning against siting Cruise missiles in the UK.

She spent a year teaching at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, where she continued to be a frequent visitor, and held a visiting appointment at Mother Teresa Women’s University in south India

A fuller tribute to Anne Seller, by Professor Richard Norman, Professor Sean Sayers and former student Professor Miranda Fricker FBA, is available on the Department of Philosophy webpages.

Warp-it logo

Warp-it recycling scheme proves a sustainable success

The University’s Warp-it recycling scheme has proved its green credentials. Over the past four years, the scheme has resulted in 134 tonnes of used furniture and other equipment being donated to charities and local schools.

This has led to an estimated saving of £768,919 – based on the cost of recycling these items, and the time and money spent on buying new furniture.

Within the University, we have been able to completely furnish areas such as School of Psychology’s Woodlands Building at a saving of around £40,000. Other areas benefiting from a “Warp-it makeover” have included the School of European and World Languages’ staff room, using a mixture of Warp-it items and reupholstered old seats, and seating in the Rutherford Dining Room.

Furniture and other items have also been donated to local schools such as St Edmund’s, Dane Court Grammar School, Sandwich Technology College, Archbishop’s School, DaVinci Dance School and Animal Care Specialist School, and to charities such as Canterbury Scouts and the Necessary Furniture Group.

Warp-it furniture at Dane Court Grammar School

Warp-it furniture has even reached as far as Sierra Leonne! A previous Vice-Chancellor’s meeting table and chairs is being used in a school there, following a donation to the Kori Women Development Project.

Most commonly reused items have included desks, chairs, coffee tables, filing cabinets, tambour units and whiteboards, but sofas, modular furniture units, magazine racks, a water cooler dispenser and a safe have also featured!

The Warp-it team

The University of Kent Warp-it team comprises Jenny Martine, Interior Services & Signage Manager; Peter Hayes, Interior Services & Signage Administrator; Emma Dimond, Facilities Management Coordinator, Recycling & Waste; and the Estates Support Services Team managed by Calvin Froud, Support Services Supervisor.

Peter Hayes and Jenny Martine

Emma Dimond commented: ‘The team started using Warp-it in 2016 for several reasons; we were seeing how much good quality, pre-used, furniture the team were collecting and recycling and we knew that these items could have a second, third or even fourth home depending on their condition.

‘Over the years, Support Services had informally collected, stored and donated pre-used furniture to departments right across the University and we decided that we needed a more organised approach in order to document the types of items being reused, the cost savings and the improved environmental impact of these actions.’

Emma Dimond

Why Warp-it?

As part of the University of Kent Waste Strategy, the Waste and Recycling team within Estates targets different waste streams and how to sustainably improve the disposal method. In addition to reducing the amount of waste the University produces, there is an agreed target to increase our reuse by 36% in 2020-2021.

Warp-it is one of the ways that we are working towards this target. Changing the disposal method from recycling to reuse allows us to reduce our CO2 emissions, moving up the waste hierarchy (prevention, reuse, recycling, other recovery, responsible disposal).

Emma comments: ‘The Waste and Recycling team are focused on goal 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – these are designed to form a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all. With Warp-it on our team, that bright future becomes more achievable every day.’

Find out more

You can find out more about accessing Warp-it for our free on-site service via the Estates webpages. Or you can email the Warp-it team at warpit@kent.ac.uk

More information on recycling and waste disposal on campus is available on our recycling webpages.

Further details of our Sustainable Development Goals and the Sustainability team can be found on our sustainability webpages.