Category Archives: Strategic projects

KentVision launching on 19 April

KentVision, a new, simpler way of supporting the student journey, will be available to staff from 19 April.

KentVision brings together a number of different administrative processes to help us work better together. It includes a new Student Record System to replace the Student Data System (SDS) and introduce easier, more consistent ways to input, manage and process our student data

A Staff Webchat on KentVision, led by Richard Reece, William Collier, Paul Sales and Antony Brenton will take place on Wednesday 7 April, from 12.00-13.00.  Ahead of the session, it would be helpful to have as many questions as possible so we can do our best to cover everything in the time. To do this, please sign-up via the form where you can include your question when prompted.

An initial communication will be sent to all students on Tuesday 6 April informing them of the closure of SDS and introduction of the KentVision system.

Training and support

KentVision is due to go live on Monday 19 April. A range of options for seeking guidance and raising issues is available now on the KentVision webpages.

To help staff move to the new student management system, the KentVision webpages also include information on the impact on other IT systems during the transition week (w/b 12 April) and overall changes relating to timetabling, with specific reference to week numbers, module codes and a view of the new KentVision student portal.

Find out more about KentVision

University sets new zero carbon target

The University has set a target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040 but is already planning how to engage students, staff and other stakeholders to achieve this target earlier – by 2035.

Our Executive Group has agreed the new target following a review of our current emissions, building performance, financial resources and available technologies.

The target applies to scope 1 and 2 emissions (gas, electricity and University-owned vehicles) by 2040 at the latest, with scope 3 emissions (including business travel, emissions from waste and water) targeted for net zero by 2050.

The new target will be a key objective in the University Sustainability Strategy currently being developed by our Sustainability Steering Group. It builds on a carbon emissions reduction target set in 2010, which aimed to reduce emissions by 23% by 2020 and was achieved a year early.

Next steps

A Carbon Management Plan will set out the roadmap for achieving the new target, stating how we will reduce carbon emission across the whole institution, from buildings and operations to teaching and research. Progress will be monitored by our Sustainability Steering Group, chaired by Richard Reece, DVC Education and Student Experience.

Catherine Morris, Environmental Adviser at Kent, comments: While technologies such as renewable energy generation and decarbonised heating systems will play a large part in achieving the target, ultimately, it is people’s behaviours’ and activities that drive the demand for energy. By adopting a whole-institution approach to carbon management, we hope to reduce demand alongside supporting our staff and students to adopt low-carbon lifestyles and to contribute to local, national and global sustainability efforts.’

Getting involved

The Sustainability Team is keen to hear what you think about its sustainability plans. Have your say now via our sustainability consultation, which is open until the end of April.

Staff can also get involved by becoming Futureproof sustainability champions and students have the option to become sustainability ambassadors.

Further information is available on our Sustainability webpages.

Picture shows: John Kingsland, Energy Engineer, Estates Department.

KentVision launching on 19 April

KentVision, a new, simpler way of supporting the student journey, will be available to staff from 19 April.

KentVision brings together a number of different administrative processes to help us work better together. It includes a new Student Record System to replace the Student Data System (SDS) and introduce easier, more consistent ways to input, manage and process our student data

Launch timetable

To prepare for the University-wide launch of KentVision on 19 April, staff should make note of the following key dates:

  • Friday 9 April – Student Data System, Cressida and Admissions System close at 17.00
  • Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 April – KentVision data migration
  • Monday 19 April – KentVision will open to all staff

Regular updates and reminders will be shared with affected staff as we get closer to launch, including detailed information and support on managing the transition between the two systems.

We are also planning a Staff Webchat on KentVision, led by Richard Reece, William Collier, Paul Sales and Anthony Brenton, on Wednesday 7 April, from 12.00-13.00. More details and sign-up information for this webchat will be circulated shortly.

Training and support

A series of online and face-to-face support has been available to staff in the run-up to the KentVision launch. This will continue throughout 2021 as users get used to the system, and we identify further ways to improve it. The KentVision team will also be on hand, with their dedicated trainer Paul Sales leading on ensuring that colleagues are equipped to make the most of the new simplified system.

A number of resources and video guides are available on the KentVision staff webpages to help staff familiarise themselves with the new system at their own pace ahead of more in-depth support and guidance provided throughout the year. Further staff and student communications will be scheduled in the run-up to launch.

Find out more about KentVision

How We Work: Process Improvement

With our new Divisions and team structures now largely in place, our ongoing focus in the months ahead will be on how we work together across the University so that each team has the tools they need to thrive. 

Alongside major projects like KentVision and the continued rollout of Microsoft 365 online collaboration tools, we want to hear from you on what we could be doing differently to simplify and improve the way we work. With help from staff across the University, the Project Management Office is working to map our processes and see if there are new or simpler ways we could be doing things so we all have more time to focus on the best of what we do. 

Everybody at Kent can have a part to play in this work, and we want to gather your thoughts, big or small, on what changes we need to make our day-to-day jobs more straightforward. If you’ve got an idea, let us know via the form on the How We Work staff webpages. 

The Project Management Office will collate these suggestions before updating on what we will prioritise in the weeks and months ahead. We will shortly also be launching an online tool which will highlight all of the suggestions that have come in from staff, along with what is being done about them – whether it is a quick fix, part of a longer-term project or something we can tackle another way. 

We will also provide regular updates over the coming months and hold ongoing engagement events so that all teams across Kent have the chance to feed in their thoughts. 

Ray Short, Head of the Project Management Office, said: “Nobody knows better than all of you what the little headaches are that stop us all working as well as we can. With our new structures in place this is the perfect time to focus on what we could be doing better – whether they are improvements, changes, or even whole new processes that could benefit you, your colleagues, your students or the wider University as a whole. Let us know your thoughts and we look forward to working with you on the things we need to fix!’. 

Submit your suggestion for how we could do things differently 

Find out more about our focus on How We Work 

KentVision: project update

KentVision is a major project underway at the University to bring together a number of different administrative processes and to simplify how we support the student journey.

A new Student Record System will replace the expiring Student Data System (SDS) and introduce simpler, more consistent ways to input, manage and process student data. This is one of a number of projects in 2021 focused on how we work together, intended to simplify processes and activity as new structures and teams take shape.

Launch Plans

The functional build of KentVision is complete, with the Student Record System performing as expected and an extended period of development and testing now underway. Data migration has proven more challenging and is now scheduled for February with preparation for the live environment taking place across March prior to KentVision launch in April 2021 following completion of the Spring Term. This revised launch date supports set-up and completion of Online Module Registration (OMR) as for previous years, and extends the time available for staff to familiarise themselves with the new system and to engage with the extensive range of training opportunities and user engagement sessions which are already underway. It also strengthens opportunities to incorporate user feedback within planned enhancements to KentVision later in the year.

Alongside current training, we will run a series of workshops early in the new year to talk through the new system and outline key changes with staff prior to launch in April. These sessions will include activities on getting started with the system, enrolment and registration, attendance recording, module assessment entries, and student support engagement. Workshops will take place remotely, with dedicated Microsoft Teams channels enabled to support users working across different areas of the University. Relevant groups of staff will be contacted directly in the coming weeks with further information regarding this support.

Training and Support

In addition to the dedicated sessions to be rolled out across the new year, online and face-to-face support will continue throughout 2021 as users get used to the system and we identify further ways to improve it. The KentVision project team will continue to be available throughout the run-up to launch, with their dedicated trainer Paul Sales leading on ensuring that people are equipped to make the most of the new simplified system.

A number of resources and video guides are now available on the KentVision staff webpages to help staff familiarise themselves with the new system at their own pace ahead of more in-depth support and guidance provided throughout the year.

Transitional Arrangements

The final stages of implementing KentVision may lead to known outage of specific systems at various points across the Spring Term. We will do everything we can to minimise this disruption, and are working closely with IS colleagues to ensure students and staff are provided with timely updates.

Find out more about KentVision

New Strategic Lead for Medway

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

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

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

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

Warp-it logo

Warp-it recycling scheme proves a sustainable success

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

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

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

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

Warp-it furniture at Dane Court Grammar School

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

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

The Warp-it team

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

Peter Hayes and Jenny Martine

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

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

Emma Dimond

Why Warp-it?

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

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

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

Find out more

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

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

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

KentVision: Project Update

KentVision is a major project underway at the University to bring together a number of different administrative processes and simplify how we support the student journey. 

With the key features of the new software system now built and testing in full swing, the focus will turn to ongoing training for staff ahead of the new system launching across the University in January 2021. This will also form part of our wider focus on improving how we work together as new structures and teams take shape. 

KentVision aims 

KentVision is designed to introduce simpler and more consistent ways to input, manage and process student data across the University. As well as replacing the expiring Student Data System (SDS), key outputs include a seamless admin journey for students and applicants; united academic administration across Divisions and Central Services; and integrated mobile-enabled services for students and staff.  

Training and support 

A full package of training and support is currently being developed to help staff who will be using the system when it launches in January. This will take place over late November and December, using a blended approach with both online ‘face to face’ training sessions and a series of bitesize videos to explain how the new system works. A full timeline for this, including the detailing plan for closing SDS and launching KentVision, will be shared by mid-November, with a dedicated trainer then working with staff throughout the initial rollout and into next year as staff adapt to the new system. 

Project sponsor update 

“Introducing a large-scale software system to bring together our student admin processes is an enormous undertaking, but I know from having used similar in other institutions that the effort and challenges involved will be worth it. I hope that as staff begin to explore KentVision more they will quickly get a sense of its benefits, both with more straightforward processes for staff and – crucially – a better user experience for applicants and students throughout their time at Kent.” 

Richard Reece, DVC Education & Student Experience 

Find out more about KentVision  

Organising for Success: Project Update

Organising for Success brings together work to ensure we are equipped to deliver our Kent 2025 strategy, driven by our six new academic Divisions which will launch on 1 November 2020.

Following the recent consultation on proposed professional services structures across the University, recruitment and appointment to roles is ongoing, with a full organisational structure due to be shared later in the month. We will also share a series of guides to the new university structure alongside this, ahead of ongoing work throughout the year to introduce new teams and focus on how we work together as the new Divisions take shape. 

Divisional Leadership Roles 

Appointments continue to be made to academic leadership roles within Divisions, with latest list available on the Organising for Success staff webpages. New mailing lists have also been set up to bring together role holders in the different portfolio areas, including: 

Heads of Profession 

Work is ongoing to finalise the full list of Heads of Profession, who will be matched with the new structure to ensure all professional service staff in Divisions have a clear alignment with their wider professional service area. New role holders include Paul Sinnock, following his recent appointment as Head of Technical Services.  

Heads of Profession will play a key role in ensuring that each professional community is supported and empowered to work to the same high standard across the University. A further update including the final list of Heads of Profession will follow later in the month. 

GovernanceProcesses and Communications 

Alongside new appointments, work is continuing to support the transition to the new structures and refine the processes that underpin them wherever possible. As part of this, a new online-only Finance authorisation process will launch later in the month, while a number of the updates to the University’s governance, regulations and quality framework reflecting the transfer of responsibilities to Divisions have also been published.

Detailed work is also ongoing to introduce new mailing lists and Teams channels to help people across the University communicate with new stakeholder groups formed through the divisional structure. This will also support work to simplify how we communicate at Kent, reducing duplication and out-of-date email lists where relevantAn update on official University-wide lists and channels to use will be included in the wider guides to the new structures later this month. 

Find out more about Organising for Success 

Financial Sustainability: New ‘No PO, No Pay’ Policy

As part of continued work to identify non-pay savings across the University and ensure our spending is closely controlled, the University will be introducing a ‘No Purchase Order, No Pay’ policy from 14 September 2020. 

The University’s Procurement Team supports Divisions and Departments with getting the best possible value from the goods and services they use, while also keeping track of how much we spend on key suppliers. Introducing the new ‘No PO, No Pay’ policy is key to this, ensuring we have better oversight of what we are spending when while also increasing efficiency by reducing the number of invoice queries. 

Under the new system, invoices will only be paid if they include a valid Purchase Order (PO) number which has been agreed with the supplier prior to the delivery of goods, services or works. This will set out likely cost and delivery dates, along with an agreed payment process for suppliers, bringing us in line with what is increasingly standard practice across the sector. 

Once fully introduced, the move to ‘No PO, No Pay’ will help reduce our overall spend through better management of suppliers, ensuring as much support as possible can be put towards our core teaching and research activity. Detailed guidance will be sent to Finance Managers later this week, ahead of ongoing support with adapting to the new way of working ahead of the change and from September onwards. 

Find out more about our Procurement Team 

Find out more about our Financial Sustainability work