Category Archives: Awards

Sustainability achievement: ISO14001 re-certification

We are celebrating recertification to ISO14001:2015 standard following a successful external surveillance audit by Socotec on our Environmental Management System (EMS).

What is ISO14001 certification?

ISO14001 is the international standard for environmental management recognised by governing and funding bodies and achieving and keeping certification to the standard further demonstrates the commitment and leadership for environmental sustainability which exists at the University. The University has held the standard since 2012.

How is ISO14001 certification audited?

The audit took place both on campus and virtually across 6 days in December and involved talking to staff across the university, inspecting key locations, reviewing our environmental policies, strategies, procedures; and assessing our progress against environmental targets and objectives.

The auditor praised the University, and in particular the staff, commenting that Each member of the university staff that I spoke with during the audit demonstrated a high level of knowledge of environmental management and their role in supporting the university’s environmental objectives“.

Why does this matter?

The Environmental Management System (EMS) covers all of our UK operations, and therefore is at the heart of embedding environmental improvements across the University.  It offers a systematic and transparent way of managing our environmental objectives and targets, reducing our impacts and ensuring compliance against environmental legislation.

The EMS is one of the key ways in which the University will deliver against the strategic objectives of the Sustainability Strategy published in October 2021.

Recognition and thanks go to all the staff involved in the audit process who took time to speak to our auditor and who have contributed to the continual improvement of the University’s environmental performance. Find out more about our Environmental Management System.

For more information please contact Catherine Morris, Sustainability Manager c.morris@kent.ac.uk.

Loretta Finch wins the Apprenticeship Champion for Covid-19 award

National Apprenticeships Week 2022 (NAW) took place between the 7 – 13 February 2022, the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships.

Bringing businesses and apprentices together

The week brought together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses, and the wider economy.

Build the future

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2022 was ‘build the future’. This reflected on how apprenticeships can help individuals develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, whilst businesses develop a talented workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills.

Loretta Finch wins the Apprenticeship Champion for Covid-19 award

Loretta Finch is the Employee Apprenticeship Manager and has built employee apprenticeships from nothing over the last 5 years. There is now a well defined process which is used to recruit new staff, provide development roles and aid in personal development for individuals. During NAW, Loretta supplied updates and information on what Kent does via the T&OD teams site and SharePoint to raise further awareness of the benefit of apprentices.

As part of NAW, creative and content agency Pillory Barn organised the East Kent Apprenticeship Awards (EKAA), in partnership with the EKC Group. These awards showcase what is being achieved across the sectors engaged with apprenticeships. It celebrates outstanding apprenticeships, employers and those who go above and beyond to champion these opportunities.

We are pleased to announce Loretta Finch won the Apprenticeship Champion for Covid-19 award! Loretta was recognised for the work she did in supporting breaks in learning, increased the number of apprentices, supported the recruitment and induction of a number of apprentices, refreshed the strategy and ensured the spend of the levy.

This award is well deserved and T&OD hopes you will join us in congratulating Loretta for her outstanding work.

If you would like more information on Apprenticeships please contact Loretta on  L.Finch@Kent.ac.uk or take a look at the T&OD Apprenticeship SharePoint page

Dave S.P. Thomas

Dave Thomas inducted into Future Leaders Society

Dave Thomas, a PhD candidate within our Centre for the Study of Higher Education, has been inducted into the American Association of Colleges and Universities Future Leaders Society.  

Dave, who is also an EDI adviser and an associate lecturer at Kent, was invited to join the Future Leaders Society after becoming a finalist for the prestigious K Patricia Cross Award. The award recognises graduate students who “show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education and who are committed to academic innovation in the areas of equity, community engagement, and teaching and learning.”

Each year, the award attracts hundreds of nominations from across disciplines. Dave is the only student from a university outside of the USA to be selected this year. Since he began his part-time doctoral studies in Higher Education in 2017, Dave has amassed an exceptional record of achievements including:

  • engagement of student and staff communities at Kent through the Decolonise UKC initiative and the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network
  • local community engagement that strengthened connections between African and Caribbean heritage residents in the Medway region and the University of Kent
  • research on race equality and enhancing teaching and learning in higher education, particularly for minoritised students
  • and service across the UK higher education sector on race equality. 

During Dave’s doctorate, he contributed as a student success professional at Kent before recently taking up appointments as a Senior Advisor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Advance HE and Associate Lecturer in the Kent and Medway Medical School.

Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, says: ‘It is excellent news that Dave’s substantial accomplishments have been recognised.  He will be able to exchange expertise with American colleagues on this very important aspect of higher education as he continues to grow as a leader in HE here in the UK.’

Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries Fellowship Programme 2022 

The Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries Fellowship Programme provides funding for individuals who want to extend the use of their research within the cultural and creative industries.

The fellowship will last for one year and the total funding available is up to £3,000 to spend over the course of the fellowship.  This funding can be used for any activities that:

  • Meet the goal of the fellow and follow our four key thematic areas of research:

– Health & Wellbeing

– Creative & Cultural Education

– Creative Heritage

– Human-Machine Creativity

  • Foster novel ways of working with our Associate Artists and Kent staff; for instance, around technology transfer, impact, grant applications, network building.

Examples of possible activities include travel, hosting of online workshops, running training events, spending towards prototype development, nurturing or contributing to communities of practice, collaborative activity with other Fellows or Associate Artists.

Full details can be found the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi) webpages, but if you have any questions please contact icci@kent.ac.uk

How to apply

Applications for the Fellowship Programme 2022 are now open.

Please submit your CV and covering letter to explain your plan for the fellowship and how it will help you and the Institute to achieve goals together.

Email application to: icci@kent.ac.uk

Key dates: Applications close at midnight on April 4, 2022

Online interview: during the week commencing April 11, 2022.

Babatdor Dkhar

Babatdor Dkhar awarded Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship

The Centres for Postcolonial Studies and Creative Writing have awarded the annual Charles Wallace India Trust Writing Fellowship to Babatdor Dkhar.

Since 1991, the Charles Wallace India Trust has sponsored a Fellowship at the University that enables a writer from India to come and work in Kent for the spring term. Additionally, they have the opportunity to present their work to staff and students in talks organised by Kent’s renowned Centres for Creative Writing and Postcolonial Studies.

Babatdor is a writer and filmmaker who studied Creative Writing at Oxford, has taught English in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, worked as an editor in New Delhi, and is the Founder of Ka Ktien Media and the Chief Editor of Half and One.

The Fellowship will enable Babatdor to live and work in Canterbury whilst writing his novel The Khasi Album which is set in Shillong, a town in the north east of India, and is a work of satire, black comedy, romance and tragedy.

As Babatdor says in his application, the novel tackles “the differences between East and West, nationalism and communalism, small-town mindsets and tribal minority sensibilities in an India that is completely different from the one that is portrayed in mainstream literature and media”.

Dr Matthew Whittle, lecturer in Postcolonial Literature and Director of the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies says: ‘On behalf of the Centres for Postcolonial Studies and Creative Writing, I’m delighted to welcome Babatdor as this year’s Writing Fellow, and looking forward to fostering a creative voice from an under-represented region in Indian literature such as Shillong.

‘The standard of applicants this year was incredibly high, but Babatdor’s writing really stood out to the judging panel as exceptional. We look forward to his contributions to the rich community of creative writers and postcolonial scholars at the University of Kent, and we’ll be following his writing career with great interest!’

Malcolm Dixon outside the Templeman Library

Malcolm Dixon wins inaugural young fiction writing award

Malcolm Dixon is Head of our Quality Assurance and Compliance Office but may soon be better known as an award-winning writer.

Malcolm’s first book, The Little House on Everywhere Street, was awarded the inaugural Acheven Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction. The prize includes a cash award and publication of the novel by Regal House Books in early 2022.

The Little House on Everywhere Street centres on a family who live in an unusual house, where they can step out into London, New York or Paris through different doors. Unknown to the three adventurous children at first, they can also travel in time – and so the adventures begin!

It may be Malcolm’s first published book but it’s not the first time he has seen his name in print. He has been writing for a number of years – since studying English at universities in Sunderland and Minnesota, US – and his short stories have featured in publications such as The London Magazine and Aesthetica.

Writing fiction alongside a full-time job has not been easy. Malcolm says: ‘I aim for around 1,500 words a week. I write mostly at weekends but then, in the week, I can often be found at lunchtime editing the novel on my phone in the Templeman Library – I missed it during lockdown!

‘When I came to write the first page of The Little House on Everywhere Street, I knew, with absolute certainty… this is exactly what I should be doing. Everything came together, the years of effort… I wanted the novel to be both well-written and as entertaining as I could make it. That the novel has been honoured by the award of this inaugural prize recognises that fact and means everything to me.’

How to get a copy

The Little House on Everywhere Street by F.M.A. Dixon will be published on 4 February 2022, but is available now for pre-order from Regal House Publishing, as well as Amazon UK, Blackwell’s and Waterstones. Leading UK sci-fi writer and critic, Adam Roberts, has hailed the novel as ‘a scrumptious time-travel adventure written with elegance and charm,’ and Malcolm hopes that this praise indicates his book will be well-received – and with good reason.

Two follow-on books have also been written, although whether or not we get a chance to read them may depend on how well the first one performs. ‘I’m truly grateful to everybody who has pre-ordered a copy,’ says Malcolm. ‘They’re helping me achieve a lifelong ambition, one that I hope can continue long into the coming years.’

 

Supportive Colleague Award winner – Paul Sales

Winner of the Supportive Colleague award is Paul Sales, IT Trainer, Student Operations. 

Paul was nominated for his key role in training and support for the rollout of KentVision, our new student management system. 

On receiving his award, he said: ‘I feel overwhelmed and massively thankful to everyone who nominated me. Working with me is a fantastic team trying to make KentVision work for everyone. I wouldn’t want their work to go unnoticed – they have been incredible, relentless and just doing their best for staff and students.’ 

Paul’s nomination  

Paul’s nomination notes how he ‘has been a huge support and a primary contact for many colleagues with all manner of KentVision queries. His KentVision expertise and university business process knowledge has been invaluable for collating feedback and working with users and the KentVision team together to find ways forward.  

‘He was directly involved with enabling divisional and central PSD colleagues, right from the start, to complete essential and urgent student records management work, including student assessment processing, examination timetable preparation, exam boards, student enrolment and registration, module registration to name but a few. He has seemingly endless patience, is incredibly knowledgeable, always ready to help, offer advice or just his ear for a rant.’ 

Unsung Hero Award winner – Becky Verlin

Winner of the Unsung Heroes Award is Becky Verlin, Housekeeping Manager for Kent Hospitality.

Becky was nominated for her pivotal role in setting up and running a Covid-19 testing site on campus for our staff and students.

On receiving her award, Becky said: ‘It’s a team effort – there were lots of other people involved, including Colin Smith (from HR), the space management team and others. I am happy to take the award but what I am really proud about is that the ATS team stayed right the way through – they’re the real heroes.’

Becky’s nomination

Becky’s nomination notes that during 2020, universities were asked by the Department for Education to set up asymptomatic testing centres on their campuses for students and staff. In the face of this ‘challenging ask’ and without a clear roadmap, the University was able to set up and run a full testing site service for our staff and students, which has continued into the 2021/22 academic year.

Becky’s nomination notes that she was instrumental in the setting up of the site, training and support of staff and ongoing delivery of the testing facility. She is praised for delivering ‘a great service with skill, professionalism and good humour’ and it is noted that ‘the University owes her a debt of gratitude for her leadership of this project’.

The award also reflects that, while working on the new testing centre, Becky continued with her ‘day job’ as well as advocating for others as a staff representative on our Joint Staff Negotiating and Consultation Committee (JSNCC).

Read more about Becky, including her ATS site role, in her Kent People profile published earlier this year.

Community Impact Award winners – The PPE Response Team

Winners of our Community impact award are the PPE Response Team for their design and manufacture of CE marked PPE free of charge to care homes, hospices and hospitals in Kent.  

Team members include: Kevin Smith, Technical Manager; Colin Cresser, Technical Specialist; Julien Soosaipillai, Technical Specialist (all Division of Arts & Humanities). Daniel Knox, IT & Technical Services Manager; Sarah Carey; Ryan Morrow, Technical Manager; Jon Foley, Technician; Antonio Mendoza, Technician; Keith Greenhow, Technical Specialist (Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences ); Andrew Brookman, Technical Manager (Electronics); Mark Wheadon (Computing Fellow); Marcus Wright, Head of Business Development; Paul Sinnock, Deputy Director; Lucy Druesne, GOETEC Partnership Manager (IS). Carole Barron, Director of KEI; and Lauren Keating, Business & Industry Relationship Officer (KEI).  

On receiving the award, Carole Barron said: ‘When someone tells you that the team has actually saved lives, it’s very humbling and reflects all the hard work of the team giving support at such a critical time.’ And Marcus Wright added: ‘It’s the first time that technicians have come together in such a way’ and sets a precedent for future collaboration across different team areas. 

Award nomination  

The award nomination recognises the team’s tireless work to produce PPE during the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic. The team of technicians across academic divisions and colleagues in Knowledge Exchange & Innovation produced almost 5,000 face visors, specialist ophthalmic breath screens and over 20,000 face mask ear protectors to stringent safety standards. Often working evenings and weekends, the team were able to design a prototype, source materials and create the University’s first cross-departmental manufacturing centre in just two weeks.  

As a result, donations came in from alumni and local business, including a single donation of £20,000 from Santander. There was also positive feedback from recipients of the PPE in the community. Sarah Martins, Senior Ward Sister at Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury said: ‘Thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, it makes a huge difference to the patients and staff here at the Hospice and enables us to continue caring without compromising safety.’ Another recipient of face visors, Redkite, added: ‘Thank you is not enough, this will make sure we can continue our work as safely as possible.’ 

The award nomination notes: ‘This project was the first time that technicians from across multiple departments within the University had independently come together, utilised facilities and resources in a collaborative approach. The University’s Technical Services strategy is now designed to include projects to enhance collaborative technician working, to make technical skills, resources and facilities more available to the wider University and to further highlight the positive impact technical staff have on the University’s activities.  

‘The work of the KEI team alongside technicians was essential in facilitating connections with care homes, hospices and the NHS as well as enabling the fundraising activities, making this a truly collaborative project supporting our local communities.’ 

 Further recognition  

On the same day as our Staff Awards, the Covid-19 PPE Response Team found out that they had won the prestigious Papin Prize, the UK’s only awards dedicated to celebrating technical excellence and innovation in higher education and research. You can find out more on our News Centre story. 

Main picture shows: Lauren Keating, Carole Barron, Paul Sinnock and Marcus Wright at the Kent Staff Recognition Awards ceremony. 

Great Team Award winners – Staff supporting students on campus during Covid

Winners of our Great Team award are staff who supported our students on campus during Covid. Team members include: Lucy Foley, Director of Student Services; Jacqui Double, Head of Colleges and Community Life (Student Services); Laura Maclean, Head of Accommodation and Customer Services; Louisa Harvey, Senior Events Coordinator; Caroline Hames, Event Services Coordinator; Rachel Walmesley, Events Coordinator; Jan Williams, Events Coordinator; Alison Polden, Events Coordinator; and Sarah Tooze, Reception Services Coordinator (all from Kent Hospitality). Their nomination notes that staff from Student Services and members of the Isolation Team worked outside of their normal working hours, regularly working evening and weekend shifts on a rota basis, to ensure that students received all the support that they needed throughout the pandemic. On receiving the award, team member Jacqui Double said: ‘It’s recognition that it takes a big team of people to come together to make things happen for students – particularly to keep changing things as regulations change. It also shows that flexibility and kindness, as emphasised by Karen (Cox) in her welcome this evening, has been shown by the whole team.’ Award nomination The award nomination outlines the team’s support for international students, including daily support and guidance on travel restrictions, as well as booking accommodation for quarantining students and co-ordinating the delivery of daily food packages in conjunction with the catering team. For students who needed to self-isolate, the team provided invaluable support, co-ordinating the delivery of care packs, giving vital information, support and advice. They also co-ordinated student helpers – or when unavailable went themselves – to help with deliveries to isolating students such as medication, toothpaste, food deliveries and more. The nomination notes: ‘This outstanding compassion and support for our students has made a huge difference to our isolating students.’  And students were also appreciative: “The self-isolation team was great with the care packages and checking in, I cannot fault them.” During the University Winter and Spring Bank Holiday closure, a high number of students on campus were unable to return home – and the Isolation Team stepped in again working every day (except Christmas Day) to ensure students remaining on campus were supported. ‘This represented a huge sacrifice for both the team and their families who had been expecting to spend uninterrupted time together after what had been an incredibly challenging period.’ As restrictions eased in Spring 2021, the number of students self-isolating increased. Numbers peaked during Kent Summer Fest, with a record number of students needing to self-isolate ahead of their anticipated departure date causing ‘an extraordinary amount of work’. The Isolation Team were also on hand to support our Accommodation Office with administering two rent rebates in the Spring – ‘a colossal effort and, again, far outside the team’s normal remit.’ The nomination ends: ‘All of this was done in addition to the team’s usual work and represents an outstanding and sustained contribution to the University with far reaching impacts for our students and their families.’ Picture shows: Jacqui Double, Rachel Walmesley, Alison Polden, Louisa Harvey, Jan Williams and Caroline Hames.