Category Archives: EDI

Students on grass at Canterbury campus

Time to Talk Day – Thursday 3 February 

From Claire Chapman, Talent and Organisational Development Consultant

Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation and it’s nearly here! Taking place on Thursday 3 February, it’s the day that we can all come together to talk, listen and change lives.

Why talking is important

One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year.We want everyone to feel comfortable talking about mental health – whenever they like. Talking about mental health reduces stigma, helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it.That’s why opening up the conversation about mental health problems is so important – by talking about it we can support ourselves and others. Talking and listening about mental health has the power to change lives. Each conversation we have contributes to reducing mental health stigma, helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it

Walk and talk

Side by side conversations can make talking about mental health feel less awkward. Check out these tips for talking to help break the ice. Why not combine getting out in the fresh air with a chat, come and join the Walk and Talk on Thursday 3 February at 13.00. Meeting out the front of the Registry (Darwin Side), we will have a 30-minute walk around the campus, maybe taking in one of the routes of our campus walks. However you do it, have a conversation about mental health.

Support for you

Remember the University has a number of resources available to you, from the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to Mental Health Allies and our Training and Referral Scheme – full details can be found on our Mental Health and Wellbeing webpages.

There are also a number of resources available to help you on Time to Talk day – from interactive bingo, screen savers and meeting backgrounds to true and false information and a conversation starter game. You can download these and other resources from the Time to Talk website.

Claire Chapman | Talent and Organisational Development Consultant

Stellar HE participants

Applications invited for StellarHE leadership programme

From Martin Atkinson, Director of HR and Organisational Development

We recently adopted our new Antiracism Strategy, one key aim of which is to “Dismantle barriers to racially minoritised staff members’ success and belonging”, which includes an action to provide leadership development opportunities and mentoring for racially minoritised staff.

As a first step towards this aim, we have committed to supporting members of the Kent community to take part in the StellarHE programme. StellarHE enhances and extends the leadership skills of racially minoritised Academic and Professional staff in order to address the under-representation of racially minoritised leaders in senior positions. It has been designed specifically to equip participants with leadership competencies and strategies that reflect the unique challenges and experiences of racially minoritised staff across the HE sector.

The programme is for staff who aspire to operate at a senior, strategic level here at Kent – both academic and professional services, and we are delighted to have secured seven places for Kent delegates, with a dedicated place available to one colleague from each of LSSJ, NatSci and CEMS and four further places available to all colleagues in every area

As places are limited, and there is substantial need in this area, we will be running an internal process, but to minimise additional work will use the StellarHE application form that can be found on the T&OD page under BAME Senior Leadership. (There is no need to complete the additional A4 page or biography unless you are shortlisted).

Applicants need to send the completed form and manager statement to ldev@kent.ac.uk  by 17:00 on Friday 14 January 2022, using the email subject line ‘StellarHE’.

Places will be awarded on a competitive basis – after the deadline, a panel will be convened to review the applications based on the selection criteria in the StellarHE enrolment form. Applicants will also be reviewed on how their applications demonstrate the positive impacts of their participation on:

  • the individual and their career;
  • their team/department/Kent;
  • race equality at Kent.

Applicants will be notified of an outcome via email by Friday 21 January 2021.

Martin Atkinson | Director of HR and Organisational Development

Rainbow lanyards

Kent Rainbow Lanyards now available

Our new Kent Rainbow Lanyard celebrates and promotes our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Wearing one shows your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all of our LGBTQ+ staff and students. It also shows LGBTQ+ people that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction.

Designed by our LGBTQ+ Staff Network, and based on the Inclusion Flag, the Kent Rainbow Lanyard is a symbol that you are aware of the hardships marginalised members of the community have faced and continue to face, and that you are committed to supporting our LGBTQ+ staff and students by being a friend, advocate and a safe space, otherwise known as an Ally.

Designed by Daniel Quasar in 2018, the Inclusion Flag includes pink, blue, black and brown chevron stipes alongside the rainbow flag to represent the trans community and people of colour within the LGBTQ+ community and places a greater emphasis on inclusion and progression than previous iterations. There are three different types of Rainbow Lanyard available – one for staff, one for students, and one for Student Ambassadors. The lanyards are available in most outlets and reception desks across our Canterbury and Medway sites.

Being an Ally

We know that being an Ally is not always easy, and like any skill it takes practice, awareness and education, which is why we have developed resource pages to help support anyone who wants to enhance their Allyship knowledge and skills. We would encourage anyone wearing a lanyard to explore these resources and self-educate to ensure that they feel confident in their allyship abilities.

Wearing a lanyard and displaying symbols of Pride at our sites is an important way to remind our LGBTQ+ staff and students that they belong here in our community, and should always feel safe, supported, and able to bring their whole selves to work and study with us.

Wear yours with Pride!

Becky Lamyman | Student EDI Officer

Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Data (EDI)

Your Information is important to us.

Staff Connect puts you in control by allowing you to review and update your personal details to make sure the University always has the most up to date information for you.

As we return to campus and with life being a little different, it is easy to forget to check your EDI data, tell the University about a change in circumstances such as your new address or a change in telephone number for an emergency contact.

Missing EDI information makes it very difficult for us to succeed with initiatives such as Athena Swan, Race Equality and identifying and addressing gender, ethnicity or disability pay gaps, so please would you take just a few minutes from your day to check and update your personal details?

To get a quick overview of the details that you are missing you can log into Staff Connect, click on the ‘Edit Dashboard’ button in the top right-hand corner of the screen (under the Sign Out button) and select ‘Reporting Services’. Click on the ‘⋮’ symbol in the top right of the widget that has appeared and then click on ‘Settings’. Select Personal Data Check and click ‘Save’; the details that are missing will be red.

The data fields are regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet current equality requirements, so check back regularly in case there have been any changes and your data needs updating.

Staff Connecting EDI info

Please note that this widget is only accessible when you are on campus or via VPN when off-campus.

You can review and update your personal information by selecting the ‘My Details’ button from the left-hand menu. Simply edit your details in the ‘Edit’ screens and your record will be updated once you press ‘Submit’.

If you need help to do this, please refer to our users guides found under ‘Staff Guide’ then ‘Staff Connect Support’ in the left-hand menu within Staff Connect.

Viewing and editing your Details – Staff Connect information site – University of Kent

Kent People: Meet our very own Jacquie of All Trades 

Jacquie Edwards is PA to the Director of Sport, but better known to many as performer Ginger Bennett. During Black History Month, she tells us how stories of being and growing up in the UK during lockdown helped create this alter ego. 

‘I joined the University in 2001 as a temp in the Estates Department. Jill Andrew’s Friday afternoon tray bakes were amazing and I think I knew from the first bite I would be working here until they shoehorned me out!

‘I’ve always had an affliction or a gift, whichever way you look at it. If I say I’m going to do something out loud, I will generally do it. Sometimes I will fail spectacularly but I will always see it through.  

‘In the past, this has led to some marvellous opportunities: I was a canoeing Instructor (who couldn’t swim that well); a karaoke hostess (with chronic nerves); PA to the Head of Exhibitions and Displays at the National Maritime Museum (with no keyboard skills whatsoever); and managed to hoist the Women’s Rugby World Cup (even though I really don’t like mud and dirt). 

‘I think a lot of working mothers know how that adventurous, pioneering spirit can so easily be diluted once you have children. It happened to me and, three children later, I was more prone to muttering under my breath than boldly proclaiming my next bonkers venture.  

Becoming, Being and Belonging 

‘Enter global pandemic and the lockdown. I’d always thought I came from a very close family but those Zoom calls take to you to another level! Those talking heads revealed family stories I’d never heard – stories about my parents’ arrival to the UK and their feelings of being and belonging. When I shared these stories with friends, I found the stories of their parents’ arrivals meshed with their own feelings and stories. Unconsciously, I had started to build an account of Becoming, Being and Belonging for 1st Generation Immigrants to the UK and their 2nd Generation children.  

‘Somewhere around month six or seven, I became very low – Long Covid, lockdown, three children, home-schooling and menopause all played a part. I have a lovely friend who saw through my thin smiling veneer – we talked, sometimes daily, and I read her the stories and poems I had written around the theme. She told me they were funny and important and, before long, I said out loud “I think I can write a play about this” so I did. It may have helped that friend is an award-winning jazz pianist but, regardless, I’ve done it.  It’s out there. 

The England Women’s Rugby World Cup-winning team, 1994. Jacquie is in the front row with her arm around the flag.

Songs from My Soul 

Songs from My Soul is an amalgamation of tales told to me by friends and family about being and growing up in the UK. I think it cuts across race too as I hope it tells the age-old story of mothers fighting for their children the best they know how and then letting them go.  

‘The stories are distilled into the life of Aretha a mother who, now retired, sees the path travelled very differently from her daughter, Bernadette.  

‘Those Zoom calls were a real awakening and I now have a few more job titles to add to my dodgy CV: Playwright, Producer, Actress.’ 

Listen and find out more 

Jacquie performs regularly across Kent as Ginger Bennett with her funk and Soul Band Project F and the KD Dance Orchestra 

Songs from My Soul will be performed at the Tower Theatre, Folkestone, on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 October from 20.00. Tickets, priced £12, are available on the Tower Theatre webpages 

Songs from My Soul is a year-long Arts Council funded project and will examine, Becoming, Belonging and Being as part of a performance of new works next year. The Songs from My Soul team would love to hear your stories and write your song. Get in touch via this Songs from my Soul link 

You can also listen to original songs for the Songs from my Soul project on YouTube. 

Feedback from the ‘Implementing an anti-racism strategy’ session

The final day of Kent’s inaugural staff conference was marked by an important session on our university’s new Anti-racism strategy. GdM (DVC, EDI Lead and Kent’s Race Champion) hosted a staff discussion and Q&A, together with a panel of colleagues instrumental in the development of our strategy.

You can listen to a recording of the event.

Slides to accompany the event – Staff Conference anti-racism strategy slides

Key feedback from the session include:

*making sure that experiences and stories are incorporated into our anti-racism work (along with more quantitative forms of data).

*being as transparent as possible about what we are doing, so that we can get the most out of this living-breathing process and associated work plans.

In response to this feedback we will be continuing to update our Challenging Racism pages so that this can serve as one part of a broader suite of mechanisms for feedback and transparency in our work around EDI. We will also be looking to join up important insights from across the institution, including but not limited to the important experiential information and recommendations which have emerged from the BAME Staff Network’s survey and project.

To amplify work that is already happening across Kent in support of our approach to anti-racism, we’d also like to draw your attention to other key updates at this time:

*Inform Kent (InK) has changed to Report + Support. The Report + Support page can be found on the website. The page gives the option to give an anonymous report or a report with details that Ken can follow up on. In both cases your confidentiality will be respected in-line with our safeguarding policies. This page also collates all of the help and support pages into one, to increase access to the resources that may be most helpful to you at the time.

*The staff reporting tool can still be accessed via links found on the “Reporting Incidents” page.

Just a reminder that this reporting tool is for any sort of incident that occurs, irrespective of whether the incident involves another member of staff.

We hope that staff and students will feel encouraged to report incidents and that the experience of doing so feels helpful and supportive.  Where sufficient information is shared, we hope to enable effective, timely resolutions and support.  Your experience at Kent is important to us.  If for any reason you have concerns about reporting, do please speak to a Harassment Adviser or someone you trust within the institution, as we’d like to ensure you get the support you need.

World Menopause Day – Monday 18 October 2021

Monday 18 October 2021 is World Menopause Day. At Kent, we support staff as they go through different stages of their life.

Menopause is a natural life event that many of our colleagues will experience.  We want to ensure that staff are supported throughout this time, now and in the future. We have curated a range of resources (see below) to help individuals and managers gain a deeper understanding of how to support colleagues before, during and after menopause, including making necessary provisions and adjustments if and when symptoms necessitate this.

If you are currently experiencing symptoms and feel this is impacting on you at work speak to your manager who may decide you would benefit from advice from OH on appropriate adjustments and complete a Management Referral

If you are a manager and have a member of staff who is experiencing symptoms that are impacting them at work, we encourage you to avail yourself of the resources below and to have supportive conversations, to ensure colleagues have the necessary adjustments to help minimise the impacts to them at work at this time. Please be led by staff and their needs – which may fluctuate.

Resources

As part of our membership with Inclusive Employers, we have access to a number of resources including the menopause tool kit

The tool kit aims to equip workplaces with the necessary information, guidance and resources to improve how they support colleagues (including women and some men, trans and non-binary people) before, during and after the menopause.

We also have additional guidance on the Occupational Health webpages, which has details of the EAP and OH referral and the link to the  Women’s Staff Network, which has some further resources relating to the Menopause, as well as the Inclusion passport.

In addition, a virtual Menopause awareness session, delivered by Positive Pause is planned for Wednesday 20 October from 13.00-14.00 and bookable via Staff Connect. As part of the session, you will:

  1. Learn about menopause symptoms and the potential impact of menopause, plus the range of self-care and management options available.
  2. Find out what support is available and how to access it, both in, and outside of, the workplace.
  3. Develop confident conversation frameworks to help with discussions at work, at home and with GPs

Helping everyone

From the resources, you will see that there are some general adjustments that could be considered to ensure everyone feels more comfortable, such as:

  • Ventilation systems in rooms as well as individual/desk access to fans.
  • Engaging providers that use breathable fabrics and materials – for any staff that require a uniform or prescribed work wear.

Some of these changes may support staff who are also experiencing menopause symptoms.  The changes could also usefully be considered in environments in which we hold events.

It’s helpful to note that, while menopause is not in itself a disability, severe symptoms may constitute disabilities.

Report and support. New reporting tool

New Report and Support tool for students

We are pleased to announce a new online reporting tool for reporting student incidents of sexual misconduct and assault, harassment (non-sexual), assault, bullying, discrimination and hate incidents. This replaces the previous inform Kent (inK) system ​and helps Kent students to get the support they need promptly.

The Report and Support online tool allows both anonymous and named reports. If you choose to provide identifiable information, we will be able to contact you to offer support or discuss ways that you can (if you wish to) report the incident formally. By deciding to report anonymously, you will be providing information that will help us to make our university the safest ​environment it can be. Anonymous information will be reviewed at regular intervals throughout the year, to ensure that we are ​monitoring incidents reported and putting ​new strategies in place where needed.

Take a look at Report and Support online for about how to report, and well as several support articles relating to these incidents. It may be worth familiarising yourself with the tool in case you or a friend needs to use it to make a report in future, and you can also find information on positive safety campaigns and ways in which you can get involved in promoting a culture of respect at Kent.

Have your voice heard. Visit Report and Support now.

 

Signing a document

Adopting the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Following an extensive consultation with staff, students, members of the Jewish community at Kent, Ethics committee and Council, the University has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism 

Signing up to a definition of antisemitism is an important statement of our solidarity with the Jewish community in recognition of the hurt many are feeling due to rising discrimination. The IHRA definition seeks to build an international consensus around a non-legally binding definition of what antisemitism means to help tackle the rise in anti-Jewish hate.  

There was a strong feeling during consultation that Kent should have a commitment in this area. Alongside this, following some concerns throughout consultation over some aspects of the IHRA definition being open to misinterpretation, the Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism (JDA) has been also approved to support with interpretation after feedback from staff, students, Senate and wider legal advice. 

As a University we are committed to academic freedom and free speech, and to building a diverse, inclusive environment to enable people to reach their potential free from prejudice. The adoption of the IHRA is an important step in ensuring our Jewish community feel safe on campus and we will be sharing more information on implementation as part of our continued work to tackle discrimination and racism.  

International Nonbinary People’s Day – 14 July

14 July is International Nonbinary People’s Day, where we celebrate the contributions and resilience of nonbinary people worldwide. We also join with people around the world raise awareness of the issues faced by nonbinary people. Nonbinary people do not identify with the binary distinctions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’. In the UK, nonbinary people face poor mental health, physical harassment and ongoing discrimination.

To address this at Kent, we encourage you to engage with learning about the experiences of nonbinary people. The Stonewall “10 ways to step up as an Ally” highlights some steps that you can take as an individual to build an increasingly inclusive community at Kent. At Kent, our pronoun guide can help with creating an inclusive culture for everyone in our community. Our LGBT+ Staff network and student network are welcoming to all – the  Kent LGBT+ Staff Network blog has many resources, for both members of the community and allies, including a post wishing you a Happy International Nonbinary People’s Day!

We recognise there is more work to do in creating an inclusive community for nonbinary members of our community at Kent, and we encourage you to report incidents of harassment so that we can address systemic discriminations.

Throughout the day, stories written by nonbinary people will be shared on social media through the hashtags #internationalnonbinaryday and  #ThisIsWhatNonBinaryLooksLike – this is an opportunity to learn of the experience of nonbinary people and to amplify their voices.