Category Archives: Awards

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.

Kent Staff Recognition Awards – Congratulations to our first winners!

Congratulations to all of the shortlisted nominees and our fantastic winners in the inaugural Kent Staff Recognition Awards! At last night’s Oscar-style ceremony, the top awards across four categories – Community Impact, Great Team, Supportive Colleague and Unsung Heroes – were presented by members of our Executive Group and Council. Welcoming everyone, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Cox said: ‘I have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of interest in these awards in such a short space of time. Thank you to everyone involved – it’s a huge mark of how well this university works as a unit and how much we want to say thank you to each other during what have been truly unprecedented times.’ She added that kindness had been a key attribute during the pandemic and was evident in each of the more than 250 nominations. Award-winners were:

Community Impact

Winner: The PPE response team in recognition of their work to design and manufacture CE marked PPE provided free of charge to care homes, hospices and hospitals in Kent. In the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic, the team of technicians across 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. Donations followed from alumni and local businesses, as well as positive feedback – with, for example, the Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury, hailing the “huge difference” it had made to both patients and staff. Team members include: Kevin Smith, Technical Manager; Colin Cresser, Technical Specialist; Julien Soosaipillai, Technical Specialist (all Arts & Humanities Division); Daniel Knox, IT & Technical Services Manager; Ryan Morrow, Technical Manager; Jon Foley, Technician; Antonio Mendoza, Technician; Keith Greenhow, Technical Specialist (Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Division); Marcus Wright, Head of Business Development (IS); Paul Sinnock, Deputy Director (IS); Lucy Druesne, GOETEC Partnership Manager (IS); Carole Barron, Director of KEI; and Lauren Keating, Business & Industry Relationship Officer (KEI). Runners-up in the Community Impact category were: (2nd) Vicky Annis, Sports Physiotherapist (Kent Sport) and (3rd) Community Gardens: Adam Hancock, Security Officer (Estates); and Emily Mason, Environmental Sustainability Officer (Safety, Health and Environment Unit).

Great Team

Winner: The team of staff supporting our students on campus during Covid – comprising Lucy Foley, Jacqui Double and Laura Maclean and members of the Isolation Team. The award recognises that these staff went well beyond their remit to ensure students received the support they needed. This included guidance on latest travel restrictions and providing quarantine accommodation with daily food packages for international students; co-ordinating support and care for any students required to self-isolate and those unable to travel home over Christmas and the end of term. All of this took place on top of team members’ day jobs, resulting in ‘an outstanding and sustained contribution to the University with far reaching impacts for our students and their families’. Through Lucy and her amazing leadership, they acted as our key contact with the Local Health Protection Team and ensured our students were looked after. Our team’s response was always calm, considered and professional despite the changing and challenging environment in which they were working. Team members include: Lucy Foley, Director of Student Services; Jacqui Double, Head of Colleges (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). Runners-up: (2nd) Asymptomatic Testing Site Team comprising Charlie Dast, Sports Development Officer (Kent Sport); James Collett, Food & Beverage Assistant (Kent Hospitality); Becky Verlin (Head of Housekeeping); Thomas Tegento, Cleaner (Kent Hospitality Housekeeping); Luis Howell, Student Ambassador (Outreach Ambassadors); Rebecca Sharpe, Bar/Bistro Assistant (Gulbenkian Café); Ryan Tilley, Holly Porton, Orla Dean Odey, Thomas Lennox Robb, and Kemi Abidekun, Test Support Assistants (all Commercial Services). (3rd) University of Kent eLearning Team comprising Daniel Clark, E-Learning Manager; Phil Anthony, Faculty Learning Technologist; Steve Ganfield, Faculty Learning Technologist; Nick Cornwall-French, Faculty Learning Technologist; Tom Finley, Distance Learning Technologist; Mark O’Connor, Distance Learning Technologist (all e-Learning Team); Dan Bartlett, PHP Developer; and James Keavney, PHP Developer (Learning and Research Development).

Supportive Colleague

Winner: Paul Sales, IT Trainer, Student Operations. Paul has played a key training role in the roll-out of KentVision, our new student data system. He has been praised for his ‘huge support to divisional and PSD colleagues trying to find their way with the new system and way of working. His nomination also notes that 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. The nomination concludes: ‘Paul has seemingly endless patience, is incredibly knowledgeable, always ready to help, offer advice or just his ear for a rant’. Runners-up: (joint 2nd) Jan Moriarty, Student Success Project (EDI) Manager (Student Success) and Philippa Moreton-Howell, Student Support Officer, Education & Student Experience (Arts and Humanities Division); (3rd) Heather Ferguson, Divisional Director of Research & Innovation (Human and Social Sciences Division).

Unsung Heroes

Winner: Becky Verlin, Housekeeping Manager, Kent Hospitality. During 2020, universities were asked by the Department for Education to set up asymptomatic testing centres on their campuses for students and staff. Despite the absence of a clear roadmap, the University was able to respond, set up and run a full testing site service for our staff and students and continue to do so during the 2021/22 academic year. Becky’s nomination notes that she was instrumental in the setting up of the site, the training and support of staff and ongoing delivery of this service. 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) Runners-up: (2nd) Charlotte Ransom, Education & Student Experience Manager (Human and Social Sciences Division) and (3rd) Iris Prieto, Domestic Assistant (Kent Hospitality).

Other awards

The awards ceremony was attended by over 100 staff and compered by Olly Double, Reader in Drama and Theatre at Kent. As well as the main awards presentations, the audience voted on an award for the Most Humorous Moment which went to a mystery piano player during one of the Covid-19 webchats. A special Services Rendered to the Nation award was presented to the Marsh family singers – including Dr Ben Marsh in the School of History and Danielle Marsh in KBS – who performed a popular rendition of their version of One Day More. A number of long-serving staff were also presented with their 25 Year Service Awards, before the evening ended in style with a student cabaret, featuring Harry Negus-Ross, Daniel Lambert, Hannah Etheridge, Harvey Pinder, Ellie Panoula, Roy Clarke and Ruby Sullivan.

Find out more

See some of the best moments from the awards ceremony in our highlights video on YouTube.

To  access the official photos of the staff awards ceremony visit National Expressions Photography and enter the password: kentawards2021

Jim Everett

Dr Jim Everett announced as 2021 Levehulme Prize winner

Congratulations to Dr Jim Everett, Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology, who is among the winners of this year’s 2021 Philip Leverhulme Prizes.

The annual prizes recognise the achievement of ‘exceptional researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future careers are exceptionally promising’. 30 prizes are awarded annually, each worth £100,000 to be spent on further research.

Jim has been awarded the prestigious prize for his work ‘on experimental social psychology; moral psychology; experimental philosophy.’ His recognition by the Leverhulme Trust is an honour given to only a handful of the UK’s psychologists in each three-year cycle, and follows several other awards from the international research community, including a Rising Star award by the International Association for Psychological Science, the Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Early Career award from the European Association for Social Psychology.

Jim said: ‘To see my name amongst such impressive awardees in psychology from this year and previous years is a very strange feeling. As always, thank you so much everyone who has supported me. I say this every time I get an award, but nothing I have done, or will ever do, will be mine alone and I remain deeply indebted to my family, mentors and colleagues.’

Head of School, Professor Robbie Sutton said: ‘We have always had an outstanding international reputation for research in social psychology, which in recent years has only grown stronger with the recruitment of  supremely talented and energetic researchers who are publishing in the world’s leading journals, winning millions of pounds in research funding, and training the next generation of researchers with the skills and enthusiasm to address the UK’s, and the world’s, most urgent challenges.’

Read more about the awards on the Leverhulme Trust website.

Kent Staff Recognition Awards

We are delighted to announce that nominations are open for the brand new Kent Staff Recognition Awards!

The past year and a half have been difficult for us all.  Whether we have been furloughed, working from home or continuing to work on our very quiet campuses, everyone has had to adapt, to change the way we work and to juggle work with our home lives in ways that we wouldn’t have imagined beforehand.  And we must not forget that some of us have suffered illness and lost loved ones.

Every employee and every team should be proud of what we have all achieved and, whilst Covid and the University’s financial challenges haven’t gone away, we feel the time is right to celebrate the amazing efforts of our staff by launching our new Kent Staff Recognition Awards.

The Awards are intended to celebrate the achievements of Kent staff across five categories: unsung heroes, great teams, supportive colleagues, most humorous moments and community impact. Further detail about the Awards and how to nominate a colleague or a team can be found on our Kent Staff Recognition Awards webpages. Nominations will close at a minute to midnight on Sunday 31 October and awards will be presented at an Awards Evening on Wednesday 10 November.

We look forward to receiving your nominations and to celebrating the fantastic contributions and achievements of our staff, as well as hearing about those funny Teams moments we have all enjoyed so much.

Karen and Martin 

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President
Martin Atkinson | Director of HR and Organisational Development

Hayley BACHE story image

Congratulations for Kent Hospitality Housekeeping Team

Kent Hospitality’s Housekeeping Team were delighted to award one of their team members, Hayley Blindell, with a British Association of Cleaning in Higher Education (BACHE) Highly Commended certificate last week.

The BACHE certificate recognised Hayley’s professionalism, hard work and the supportive team role which she fulfils within the university. Hayley has demonstrated this through all her seven years working at Kent, but her nomination pulled examples from the past 12 months. In this period, Hayley has repeatedly gone above and beyond by altering working patterns and being heavily relied upon to support her colleagues with the many changes that have arisen due to the pandemic.

Extracts from Hayley’s successful nomination included customer feedback such as the following:

“Please could you share with your team a massive thank you from KMMS. I understand speaking to a colleague this morning that your team were awesome! And made our Academics feel like everything was taken care of. As you can imagine assessments are a highly stressful time for both staff and students – the housekeeping team in Pears made things so easy that we did not have to fret about it.”

“We know how methodical the team are but to have this support on the day was amazing.”

Many congratulations to Hayley on her well-deserved win.

Keith Somerville

Royal Historical Society Fellowship for Professor Keith Somerville

Congratulations to Professor Keith Somerville on being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (RHS).

Keith’s current roles at Kent include teaching Propaganda, and Communication and Humanitarianism modules at the Centre for Journalism, and being an active member of the Durrell Institute (DICE); for example, giving lectures on the ivory trade to Master’s students.

The RHS Fellowship recognises Keith’s contribution to historical research, including his history of research and publication (five books and several journal papers) on modern African history. This has culminated in Africa’s Lond Road Since Independence, The Manu Histories of a Continent, and his last three books on the history and current nature of human-wildlife conflict in Africa, dealing with the ivory trade, human-lion conflict and demonisation of the hyena by humans.

Commenting on his Fellowship, Keith said: ‘The RHS is an excellent forum for exchanging ideas and finding out about new research… Being a Fellow will be invaluable as a networking and research tool and is a very welcome recognition of my contribution to historical study.’

Keith is also a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London; a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group; and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London. His book on Ivory won the Marjan-Marsh Conservation Award in 2016.

A full list of the recently conferred RHS Fellowships can be seen on the Society’s webpages.

Athena SWAN success for three more Kent Schools

The results from the last Athena SWAN submission round have been announced and we are delighted to announce that three new Schools were successful in securing Athena SWAN Bronze.

Congratulations to the School of Anthropology and Conservation, Kent Business School and School of Arts for securing their first Bronze award!

The overall success rate for an award this time round was 82%. You can read more about the Athena SWAN submission and success rate statistics on the Advance HE website.

These results bring the total number of Schools holding an Athena SWAN award to 13. Our current awards holders are:

Division of Arts and Humanities: School of Arts, School of European Culture and Languages, School of History

Division of Natural Sciences: School of Biosciences, Medway School of Pharmacy

Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences: School of Computing, School of Engineering and Digital Arts, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (Silver)

Division of Human and Social Sciences: School of Anthropology and Conservation, School of Psychology

Division of Study of Law, Society and Social Justice: Kent Law School, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Kent Business School 

Congratulations again to our newest award-holders SAC, KBS and Arts! Securing an award is always a result of hard work and commitment to the Athena SWAN principles.

You can find out more about Athena SWAN, including latest news and how you can get involved on Kent’s Athena SWAN webpages.

Estates Reward Scheme

Nominate a colleague in Estates for a reward

The Estates Staff Reward Scheme is open again from 1 November 2020, following a temporary suspension due to Covid-19 and lockdown.

The reward scheme was launched in 2017 to recognise Estates staff who have made a difference to colleagues or customers through dedication, innovation, understanding or skill.  Since then, more than 100 awards have been presented.

Award categories

The Customer Services Award is given to a staff member or team who provided a timely and professional service to customers, were responsive to customer needs and requests, were courteous and considered the needs of the customer when making decisions. Nominations are invited from colleagues across the University.

The Staff Excellence Award is given in recognition of a colleague who has shown consistent exemplary performance and has demonstrated integrity and a significant support to their teams in the course of their working day, whilst upholding the spirit of the Estates core values. This category is open to nominations from Estates colleagues only.

The winner/s in each category will each receive a £20 Amazon voucher to be awarded on a monthly basis.

In addition, the winner/s of each category will be entered into the Staff Member of the Year Award. This award will be presented to someone recognised by the Senior Management Team as providing outstanding commitment to the department. Nominees will be selected from the Customer Services Award and the Customer Excellence Award entries. The winner will receive a £100 Amazon voucher and the runner-up, a £50 Amazon voucher.


To make a nomination, follow this link on the Estates webpages. Deadline for the November nominations will be Friday 27 November at midday. Any nominations received after the deadline will be rolled over to the following month.

PRIDE Award winners - September 2020

Congratulations to Kent Hospitality’s latest PRIDE Award winners

It was a bumper round of PRIDE Award winners last month with three staff members winning the award.

Congratulations are due to Angela Forsyth (Accommodation Co-ordinator), Keira Hannigan (Chargehand) and Jason Townsend (IT Systems, Development and Support Officer). PRIDE stands for ‘Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence’ and the panel felt that the hard work and dedication of all three exemplified this and could not be ignored, especially where multiple nominations were received for different projects each was working on.

While recognising how hard the entire Accommodation Team have worked throughout the Clearing and Arrivals period, Angela’s nomination singled her out for her ‘tireless’ work and “unflagging efforts” on the Clearing hotline call centre, both in training the team and responding to student calls. Additionally, Angela contributed and helped to implement a new procedure for processing student data in the Accommodation Office that “increases efficiency, is time saving and improves customer service”

Keira’s award recognised her “dedication, consistency, proactiveness, and her willingness to support and assist the Housekeeping Team in their work”. Her nomination focused on a recent three-month period where Keira stepped up to help run and manage one of the college Housekeeping Teams above and beyond her role. Keira has also taken on extra tasks and hours throughout the Covid-19 pandemic so far and has also helped to support new staff starters and has consistently shown why she is a “valued member of the Chargehand team”.

The final winner was a familiar face; however, the panel felt that Jason’s outstanding work producing 14 fully operational tracking devices from scratch for Kent Hospitality’s catering outlets deserved recognition. Jason designed a bespoke computer prototype, tested it, sourced parts and manufactured the final trackers often giving up his own time to ensure the trackers were ready as soon as possible. An extract from his nomination read that his “innovation, devotion and selfless voluntary service” on this project “has made the jobs of the Catering Team easier and safer”.

Many congratulations to Angela, Keira and Jason on their well-deserved wins.

We are sure that there are lots of our staff going above and beyond, so if you know of any Kent Hospitality staff member from either the Canterbury or Medway campus, it is quick and easy to nominate them for a PRIDE Award. To submit a nomination, just visit the PRIDE website and complete our online form.

The award is given in March, June, September/October and December with each winner receiving £100 of shopping vouchers, a certificate and a PRIDE pin badge.

The closing date for the next PRIDE Award is currently Wednesday 2 December 2020 at 12 noon.

Picture shows; Angela, Keira and Jason with their certificates.