Category Archives: Campus online

Financial Year End: Looking Ahead

Looking ahead to next year’s budget has meant reconciling two different, seemingly contradictory, positions. Our financial position has undoubtedly improved and we are on a much surer footing, including having the means to do more this year to invest in areas like employability, student facilities and enhanced equipment through successful capital funding bids, while also doing what we can to support staff with the cost of living pressures being faced. Meanwhile our underlying performance shows we still face challenges to balance the books, not helped by a number of external factors adding additional pressure on both ourselves and wider society. Income growth remains a key priority for us, while the reality of rising costs means we need to think carefully about where and what we are spending on and ensure a positive return from any investment made. 

Despite this, it’s important we reflect on how much we have achieved together over the past 30 months during which we ran the Financial Improvement Plan. I know this has been far from easy, but we have delivered huge savings in both pay and non-pay activity which has put us in a much healthier position, while also giving us enough leeway to survive the rigours of Covid and even make some investment in key areas. 

However, our ability to move faster and further is ultimately tied to how much we get in financially compared to how much we have to pay out. Despite the huge progress in recent years, this remains a tricky balance and we are having to weather significant external pressures that have only grown over that time – from rising energy bills and inflation to shifting student priorities leading to a national decline in student applications in some academic areas. Keeping a close eye on how we balance the equation is going to remain critical in the years ahead and we will all need to see this as a normal part of how we work as a University, ensuring we are agile and adaptive to opportunities and threats in an increasingly uncertain world. 

With that in mind, our budgets for next year will require Divisions and Directorates to work their budgets harder and look for further ways to run operations more efficiently and economically, building on the collective efforts already delivered over the past two years. This isn’t just about good financial management, but will involve looking carefully at our processes and activities and determining where these can be simplified or improved – in some cases, we may even decide to stop doing things we’ve done previously. We need to ensure our academic delivery, research and innovation performance and professional support models are resilient and sustainable in the face of change and that we have the flex we need to deliver our wider objectives and take advantage of new opportunities. Part of this will be building on our fantastic REF results to ensure our Research & Innovation income catches up with the best of our peers, including investment in areas with funding potential – we will also need to continue work on how we deliver and support the reshaping of our academic portfolio, and enhance the experience our students have, including the opportunities they are provided with in their journeys through to employment.  

Getting the right balance between being ambitious in our pursuit of a superb student experience while ensuring we are cost-efficient is never easy, but making the right adjustments where we can, to achieve it, will help all of us stay on track in the face of the wider pressures we face. Our immediate priorities are to attract, recruit and retain a sufficient number of students, ensure their time with us is as good as it can be through vibrant campuses and an ambitious, supportive teaching and learning environment, and deliver a high quality and growing research and innovation agenda. To achieve this, we need to have a stable and sustainable financial platform and I look forward to working with all of you to ensure we deliver this over the coming year. 

Jane Higham | Chief Financial Officer 

Data Protection Update: July 2022

The University’s data protection, data breach and data subject rights policies have been updated to reflect current data protection requirements and safeguards.

Please read the policies so that you are confident that you are using data lawfully in your role.

These policies help you do the right thing when you are:

  • using personal data
  • responding to requests for personal data
  • reporting a data breach or data security incident
  • contracting with other organisations who use personal data on the University’s behalf
  • handling particularly sensitive data such as allegations or reports of criminal activities.

The policies can be found on the Policies and Procedures page.  You can also contact the Assurance and Data Protection team for further support and guidance by emailing dataprotection@kent.ac.uk

Templeman Library

Lambeth Conference: What to expect over the next fortnight

The Lambeth Conference is taking place at the University of Kent, Canterbury Cathedral and Lambeth Palace from 26 July – 8 August, with early arrivals having started yesterday.

Given both the scale and international profile of the Conference, campus will be busy with delegates, support staff, media and members of the public following the different events. We are also likely to see protest from different groups who wish to voice their concern at different aspects of the Church’s work, and we have worked closely with the Conference organisers to ensure this is peaceful and well managed. If you have concerns at the way any protest is being conducted on campus, please contact Campus Security.

Catering and Room Bookings

The increased numbers of visitors mean that alongside usual summer closures, a number of our catering outlets will be closed to the public and staff temporarily – Kent Union-run outlets such as Woody’s and the Library Cafe remain open, along with Co-Op and Caffe Nero. Room bookings will also be much busier due the number of fringe events we are hosting.

This will be a different environment to what we are all used to over the summer, so do consider working from home where you can and discuss any concerns with your line manager – there is also a wide range of support services available to staff if you need it, including your local HR team and our Employee Assistance Programme.

Main Conference Venues

The main meeting venue for the Bishops is the Kent Tennis and Events Arena, with Spouses meeting in the Sports Centre. The Chaplaincy will be based in the Kennedy Building, with numerous seminar rooms and lecture theatres used across campus for fringe events throughout the Conference.

Summer Parking Changes

With a very busy summer of conferences and events taking place at the Canterbury campus, there have been some temporary changes to our car parks. Please see notices within car parks and the email sent to permit holders for further details of the date and time of closures.

Please note that from Monday 18 July the Pavilion car park will be closed until 12 August and From Monday 25 July to Monday 8 August, all University of Kent permit holders will only be permitted to park within Pink Zone car parks, except Chipperfield and Sibson car parks. 

Thank you in advance for helping us make this summer’s conference season a success.

Rainbows in Religion Symposium 

In the run up to the start of the Lambeth Conference, our LGBT+ Staff Network have organised a special event exploring the intersection between sexuality and religion on Wednesday 27 July. 

The Lambeth Conference will see senior figures from across the worldwide Anglican Communion coming together for prayer, reflection, fellowship and dialogue. The Church has attracted criticism ahead of the Conference over the place of LGBT+ people within it and we are clear that their views on equal marriage in particular do not fit with our own values as a University. However, our aim throughout the conference is to facilitate debate and discussion where we can in the interest of positive progress. 

Speakers at the Staff Network event include UoW Trinity St David lecturer Dr Angus M Slater, who will discuss LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Church in Wales, and General Synod Member Jayne Ozanne, a former member of the UK Government LGBT Advisory Panel and Director of the Ozanne Foundation which works with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender. 

Following the talks, there will be a panel discussion including staff and students from the University, followed by a networking and social event. Rainbows in Religion takes place from 2 – 5pm at Marlowe Lecture Theatre. Spaces for the Symposium are limited to please register via EventBrite if you want to attend! 

All staff and students are also invited to walk with their LGBT+ colleagues at the Lambeth Walk ahead of the event, which is a chance to tell the world that people of all gender identities and sexualities are welcome and part of the Kent community. Meet at the Registry Lawns (by the Gulbenkian Theatre on the Canterbury campus) from 1pm. 

Did you know? The LGBTQ+ Staff Network recently launched our Researching the Rainbow podcast, which explores LGBTQIA+ research taking place across the University and beyond. 

Man jumping in the air reading a book

New look Research and Innovation Active newsletter

Research and Innovation Active is the brand-new look quarterly newsletter that brings you research and innovation news from across the University.

Discover

Get access to a fascinating range of stories and events, find out who is at the heart of research and innovation activities across the university, and discover opportunities to get involved.

Access the latest issue of Research and Innovation Active: July 2022.

Share

We feature stories from across the research and innovation network of professional service and academic colleagues.

Use our dedicated form to submit your story or event to be featured in the next edition.

Subscribe

Subscribe to Research and Innovation Active to automatically receive future issues and avoid fear of missing out.

Contact us

If you have any questions or comments, please email Josie Caplehorne and Lyle Young.

Evidencing Impact workshop

Due to the popularity of the event, an additional date has been scheduled for the In-person workshop “Evidencing impact”.

When:

Tuesday 23rd August, from 14.00 – 16.00

Where:

Tuesday 23rd August, from 14:00 – 16:00

Book in early to secure your place – to do this visit the Evidencing Impact website.

Getting the pieces right

This workshop provides you with the tools to understand how to evidence impact. We will discuss what does and doesn’t work for different types of impact and what pieces should be part of a good evidence parcel. We will learn how to obtain strong testimonies, and we will have a hands-on breakout session where we work together to identify strong evidence pieces.

Speakers:

Dr Ann Kinzer, REF Impact Officer –  What is good evidence for impact and how can I obtain strong testimonies?

Claire Perera, Research and Policy Support Officer – Interactive Breakout Session: Selecting strong evidence pieces and curating evidence.

Staff Conference 2022 (15-16 September)

Following the success of last year’s virtual event, we are excited to announce that preparations are well underway for this year’s Staff Conference. We have received some wonderful contributions, so thank you to everyone who has submitted their ideas.

The Conference will take place on campus from 15-16 September 2022 with the theme ‘Building our University Community’. On the Friday afternoon, the event will close with an all-staff barbecue, and we hope it will top off two days spent celebrating our learning and enhancing our connections with one another.

Over the two days, we are planning numerous activities, both informative and informal. These might include:

  • Seminars about projects, initiatives and activities across the University
  • Talks on what it is like to work at Kent
  • Discussions and workshops on important topics such as wellbeing and support
  • Informal events which you can take part in, either individually or as a team
  • Demonstrations or tours of facilities

The Conference allows us to mark the start of the academic year together, providing opportunities to learn about each other’s work and giving us a chance to reflect on how we all – whether academic, professional services, technical staff, or otherwise – contribute to achieving the University’s ambitions.

We look forward to seeing you there!

templeman sunburst

Keeping safe in the heatwave

From Brenda Brunsdon |Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team Manager

We are going through a sustained period of very hot weather and the Met Office issued its first ever red warning for extreme heat last month. Such high temperatures present a challenge to our health and wellbeing. In addition to sun care awareness, it’s important to know the signs of when the heat or sun exposure can affect someone to the extent that they can become ill and be aware of what one can do to prevent becoming overheated in the first place.

OH issues advice on sun exposure every year. We refer people to the advice given by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) and the NHS. BAD offers advice based on an easy to remember SOS theme: Save Our Skin:

  • Slip On a Shirt
  • Seek Out Shade
  • Slap On Sunscreen

Accessing their website below provides additional information on sunscreen, skin advice for skin of colour, sun protection advice for children and babies, a Vitamin D factsheet and sun awareness leaflets.

The NHS also offers comprehensive advice on how to keep yourself safe in the sun; the link to their website is also below.

What can you do you do to stay safe in the heat? The UK Health Security Agency have the following advice:

  • stay cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms that face the sun – and remember that it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • check that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you if you are travelling

When a person does get too hot, it can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is the lower level condition which can progress to heat stroke. Both can occur when a person’s body overheats to the extent that its natural temperature control mechanisms fail to cope. When this happens, the affected person feels unwell, lacking in energy, and is usually dizzy and nauseous. They could develop cramp in their limbs or in their stomach. Signs you can observe for heat/sun stroke are a person having clammy, very sweaty, pale skin, and they often have a faster pulse than normal, sometimes exceeding 100 beats per minute.

Some sectors of the community are more susceptible to developing heat exhaustion/stroke: babies and toddlers; the elderly; people who are physically active through work or exercise; people with chronic, debilitating illnesses.

The NHS advice on immediate treatment for helping someone with heat exhaustion is:

  1. Move them to a cool place.
  2. Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.
  3. Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK.
  4. Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good, too
  5. Stay with them until they’re better.

They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.

They also give advice on when you should consider reaching out for assistance by ringing 999, either because the situation is the same after 30 minutes or because the person’s symptoms are so debilitating that you suspect heat stroke; follow the NHS link below to read more.

For those of us who are able and where it fits in with the demands of our role, the University has said we currently have the flexibility to work from home if this provides us with a cooler work environment. However, not all members of the University workforce are able to do that. Cleaners and maintenance and grounds staff have to work as usual. They and their managers need to be more aware of the possibility of heat/sun stroke.

‘Heatwave: National emergency declared after UK’s first red extreme heat warning’ on bbc.co.uk

British Association of Dermatologists’ Sun Awareness website

‘How to Stay Safe in the Sun’ on the British Skin Foundation website

‘Staying Safe in Extreme Heat’ by Agostinho Moreira Sousa on ukhsa.blog.gov.uk

Heat Exhaustion and Sun Stroke on NHS website

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke’ by Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE on the patient.info website

Signs of Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke’ by CBS Los Angeles on YouTube

How to Identify and Treat Heat Stroke’ by BBC Earth Lab on YouTube (very good demonstration of simple First Aid treatments for heat exhaustion)

How to Treat Heat Stroke – Signs and Symptom’s by St John’s Ambulance on YouTube

 

New water bottle

Heatwave: how to stay cool on campus

As temperatures today could hit record numbers, make sure you take precautions and look after yourself during the heatwave.

Whether you’re working from home or on campus, here are a few tips on how to take care of yourself:

Tips to say cool and well

  1. Keep your windows closed so you don’t let the hot air inside. Only open your windows first thing in the morning or late at night once the temperature has dropped
  2. Keep blinds and curtains closed to stop heat from the sun warming up your home or office
  3. Use a fan – if you’re on campus contact the Estates team to see if you can borrow one
  4. If you’re on campus and are too hot in your office, you could visit an air-conditioned area of campus (see locations below)
  5. Keep hydrated (see water refill locations below)

Where are the coolest spots on campus?

The following buildings on our campuses have areas of air conditioning:

Canterbury campus

  • Templeman Library
  • Sports Centre

Computer rooms on campus are also generally air conditioned.

Medway campus

  • Gillingham building
  • Medway building
  • Medway Park
  • The Engineering Workshop (Dockyard)
  • Drilling Shed (Dockyard)

Computer rooms on campus are also generally air conditioned.

Where can I refill my water bottle on campus?

Locations behind the counter – ask colleagues who will happily fill your water bottle for you

  • Create Café (Marlowe Building)
  • K-Bar (Keynes College)
  • Origins Bar & Grill (Darwin College)
  • Gulbenkian

Open access locations

  • Sibson Café (Sibson Building) – designated water station next to coffee machine
  • Rutherford Dining Hall (Rutherford College) – designated water station in open fridge in the dining area
  • Dolche Vita (Keynes College) – designated water tap in dining area
  • Oasis Lounge in Rochester building – tap
  • The Hook Lounge in Clocktower building- tap

NHS advice

The NHS provides advice for how to cope during the hot weather and signs of heat related illnesses to watch out more.

University Teaching Prize winners

This year’s University Teaching Prizes were awarded to applicants from across the University. The panel, chaired by Professor Richard Reece were very impressed by the array of applications demonstrated real impact and commitment to education and the student experience.

The award winners demonstrated both strong evidence of engagement and impact across all 3 criteria:

1. Excellence in Teaching or Supporting Learning
2. Dissemination and Influence and
3. Above and Beyond Expectations of their roles.

Winners from both 2021 and 2022 were presented with their Certificates at the end of this years Learning and Teaching Conference. 

Congratulations to the following winners:

Ru Su  The Language Centre                                          

For innovative approaches to tackling the challenges presented by the pandemic to ensure the student learning experience was sustained rather than negatively affected.

Debbie Kemp – Kent Business School

For extensive, wide-ranging, innovative work within and beyond their context which influenced and enhanced the education and student experience.

The Mechanical Engineering Group – Division of Computer, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

For establishing and delivering a new and thriving programme that aligns with the University strategic objective of employability.

Professor Mark Wass – Division of Natural Sciences

For sustained and demonstrable impact upon Learning and Teaching practice and innovation within their school and wider division.