Category Archives: Strategic projects

Sign up to Sustainability Webchat – Tuesday 26 October

Article by Catherine Morris, Environmental Adviser

Sign-up now for our webchat to launch the Sustainability Strategy, taking place online on Tuesday 26 October, from 12.00 – 13.00.

As the world prepares for COP26, next month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the University is publishing its ambitious strategy for climate and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), setting out our role in addressing these global challenges.

Focused around our key strategic objectives of climate, campus and the curriculum, the strategy provides a framework for us to embed sustainability across all that we do from our operations to our partnerships and our research & innovation.

To find out more and learn how we will be implementing this strategy over the coming years, staff are invited to join this webchat on Tuesday 26 October, 12.00 – 13.00. Introduced by Professor Richard Reece, EG lead for Sustainability, the webchat will begin with an introduction to the new strategy by Dr Catherine Morris, Environmental Adviser. She will present the strategic objectives and how they will be implemented through four major delivery streams.

There will then be a panel discussion and Q&A, chaired by Dr Anthony Manning, Dean for Internationalisation, on the future of Sustainability at Kent and how the strategy will be implemented across the University. The panel will feature staff and student representation from across Kent including; Eske Eilts, a final-year Environmental Social Science student; Dr Sideeq Mohammed, Associate Dean of Education & UG Student Experience for KBS; and Trevor Pereira, Director of Commercial and Facilities Management. Panelists will be asked to describe how the strategy aligns with their area of work and opportunities for the University.

We will finish the event by announcing a range of exciting follow-up activities and events to celebrate the progress divisions and departments are making to implementing the strategy, including a poster series, showcase event and KMTV film.

The session will take place on teams. Please sign-up to this event by filling out this form.

KentVision: Project update and next steps 

Update by KentVision Project Manager, Martin Carvey 

As the new Project Manager for KentVision, I wanted to give everyone an update on where we are with the project and what our next steps will be. As many will be aware, there are a number of issues with KentVision currently which are having a major impact across the University. While there won’t be any quick fixes to this, we know that solutions are needed urgently and are working as fast as we can to identify and deliver them. 

Project management 

Working with Project Sponsor Richard Reece, we have established a new Project Board with more regular reporting to Executive Group. This includes a more robust approach to risk management and revised timelines that reflect our current status. While also making improvements on an ongoing basis, we are working towards having the key aspects of KentVision fully operational by mid-2022. 

Additional support 

While the KentVision project team has worked tirelessly to get us to this stage, greater resources are essential to the future success of the project. We are currently bringing in additional business analysis, development and user support with this in mind. 

Priorities will include setting up a specifically designed Service Desk by the end of November to better manage emerging issues, while also building in additional time into the planning, testing and delivery cycle so more issues are addressed before they impact students and staff, 

Ongoing communications 

KentVision impacts across a number of areas of the University and both Richard Reece and myself want to make sure everyone is kept fully informed of progress in the coming weeks. Along with dedicated workshops for frontline teams, all staff can join a Staff Webchat in November (date tbc) where we will give a full update on the project and answer any questions you may have. 

In the meantime, you can find out more on the KentVision webpages.

Martin Carvey | KentVision Project Manager

Events to launch our Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme

One of our first Signature Research Themes, Migration and Movement has unveiled an exciting programme of research and public engagement events this Autumn.

Designed to showcase outstanding work across the theme and to stimulate new interdisciplinary conversations, the events are open to all Kent colleagues, as well as members of the public.

Dates for your diary include:

Wednesday 13 OctoberLaunch: Countering Hostile Environments’
From 15.00-17.00, School of Arts, Jarman 1, followed by a drinks reception from 17.00-18.00 in Jarman Foyer – 13 October.

To launch the Migration and Movement SRT, and in preparation for the visit of The Walk, Dr Rachel Gregory Fox, Dr Bahriye Kemal, and Dr Jonathan Rock Rokem will discuss their current research projects, each of which considers hostile asylum and immigration regimes and how they can be countered. Chaired by Professor David Herd, this session will address the implications of the new Nationality and Borders Bill and how a politics of expulsion can be resisted through research.

Following the panel, Dr Sweta Rajan-Rankin will lead an open discussion on the question: ‘What does Migration Mean to You?’ designed to help SRT members start shaping the Theme’s work.

The event is free but please book your place via Eventbrite. It will be live-streamed for those unable to make it in person.

Thursday 21 October – The Walk: Welcoming Amal to the University of Kent
Procession from Canterbury Cathedral to our campus from 12–14.00 and Refugee Tales welcome event from 19.00-20.30 in Gulbenkian Theatre.

In collaboration with Refugee Tales and the Institute for Cultural and Creative Industries, the Migration and Movement SRT is delighted to welcome Amal and The Walk (see image below) to the University of Kent. Find out more about joining the procession and/or our evening welcome event in our Staff News story.

Book your tickets now for our Refugee Tales Welcomes Amal event on the Gulbenkian webpages.

Amal and The Walk

 Various dates in October – Just An Other Crossing

You may have noticed a sea container outside Gulbenkian this week – this is a new instillation by Local Foreigner. In this immersive installation you find yourself on a boat travelling the channel through virtual reality film and the live amplification of your heart beat.

Its free! You can just turn up on specific dates in October – details can be found on the Gulbenkian website.

Friday 12 November – Suppliant Women by The Foreign Office
Pre-show drinks from 18.00-19.30 in Gulbenkian Café and post-show talk from 21.15 in Gulbenkian Theatre.

Centring on a community chorus of women fleeing Egypt and seeking refuge in Argos to escape forced marriage, Suppliant Women is one of the oldest surviving Greek plays. This captivating production by The Foreign Office revives a remarkably contemporary tragedy about migration and the ethical dilemma of hospitality, blending music, dance and drama in a distinctive stage language that will strike audiences as both strange and familiar. It is an opportunity to engage with themes of migration in ancient Greece and its present-day resonances. Book your tickets now on the Gulbenkian webpages.

Wednesday 17 November – Head2Head: Migration and the non-human: Thinking about symbiotic assemblages of movement
From 15.00-17.00 online.

Dr Sweta Rajan-Rankin chairs this dynamic session, which steps away from traditional academic presentation formats and embraces the “Head2Head” approach highlighting the importance of rapid fire, synergies-in-action discussion. Being truly inter-disciplinary can be difficult and using H2H enables blue sky thinking by decoupling ideas from disciplinary confines. Migration has often been linked to human movement, but what about non-human agents such as migration of blood and tissue, knowledge systems and curating of migrant spaces?

Using Joanne Latimer’s concept of post-human assemblages, we pay attention to the migration of objects, bodily and fleshy parts, memories and curated objects, as a way of making sense of the political assemblage of migrant subjectivities. Speakers will include: Dr Matt Whittle (School of English) Dr Jill Shepherd (School of Biosciences) and Dr Sukvinder Bhamra (Medway School of Pharmacy). A registration link will be circulated nearer the time.

Wednesday 8 December – ‘Migration and Creative Practice’
From 15.00-17.00 in the Dockyard Church at Medway campus.

This final Migration and Movement SRT event of the Autumn term explores different ways in which notions of cultural intimacy, hybridity and appropriation are perceived in the fields of poetry, theatre and music. Three practice-based researchers – Minna Jeffery, Drama by Practice as Research PhD candidate in the School of Arts; Winsome Monica Minott, a poet and Creative Practice PHD candidate in the School of English; and Richard Lightman, record producer, composer, musician and Head of the Centre for Music and Audio Technology at Kent – will present and discuss their ongoing creative projects. A booking link will be circulated nearer the time and the event will be live-streamed.

SHARE YOUR VIEWS

We look forward to you joining us to help shape the work of the Migration and Movement SRT. Please feel free to get in touch with us at: srt-mm-lead@kent.ac.uk.

Professor David Herd (School of English), Dr Margherita Laera (School of Arts, Drama), Dr Tom Parkinson (Centre for the Study of Higher Education) and Dr Sweta Rajan-Rankin (School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research)

 

Get involved with The Walk!

The University’s Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi) is excited to be hosting The Walk on 21 October, one of the biggest international community arts projects ever produced. 

The Walk is a travelling outdoor performance consisting of a giant puppet of a Syrian refugee girl named Amal, created by Handspring Puppet Company, walking from Turkey to the UK via Greece, Italy, France and other countries. Amal is a 9-year-old girl who wants to find her mother, travelling across Europe and meeting people along the way to highlight the plight of refugees. Colleagues in our Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme will join iCCi in hosting a series of events to accompany her arrival. 

Kent is the only university in the UK to host little Amal. We will be welcoming her to the University with a procession, walking from the Cathedral to the Canterbury campus, starting at midday on Thursday 21 October. We will be joined by 350 local school-children and a marching band. She will also be welcomed by a giant red fox (see sketch below), a puppet that Kent Drama students will operate under the supervision of Kent alumnus, Peter Morton, of Half a String and Sam Westbury, our Drama Workshop Manager. 

David Sefton, Director of Culture and Creative Projects for iCCi: ‘I am delighted that The Walk is the first major community event to be produced by the University’s Institute of Cultural & Creative Industries. The fact that this is such a significant public art event nationally and internationally based around a crucially important theme, and that it is able to incorporate the activities of multiple university departments as well as our own outreach initiative, makes The Walk the perfect demonstration of what iCCi is uniquely set-up to deliver for the University and the whole of Kent.’ 

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Making the Puppet until 8 October – Sign up asap!

We need you! Can you help us build the giant fox puppet? The puppet-making workshops have started in the Arts Workshop (Marlowe Building) with Sam Westbury and Peter Morton. Visit tinyurl.com/thewalkkent to sign up to a slot.

Coming along to the procession on 21 October

Join us at the Cathedral at 11.30 on 21 October. We will walk via Westgate, St. Dunstans, Forty Acres Rd, and up one of the footpaths on to campus. More details will be announced nearer the time via the Gulbenkian webpages.

Attending the Refugee Tales evening event on 21 October

On 21 October at 19.00, an event hosted by Refugee Tales will feature tales and music by refugees who have experienced indefinite immigration detention. Amal will also be in attendance. Book your tickets now, priced £10 and £5 for students, on the Gulbenkian webpages.

Posting on social media

Our tags are #AmalatKent and #littleAmal – do feel free to share.

Telling your students

Please feel free to highlight The Walk in class to your students by forwarding this email to them. 

FIND OUT MORE 

We’re looking forward to you joining us in our preparations to welcome Amal! Find out more about The Walk with Amal webpages. You can read more about Amal’s journey in The Guardian. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Margherita Laera. 

human hand holding robotic hand

Get involved with our Future Human Signature Research Theme

One of our first three Signature Research Themes – Future Human – is inviting applications from staff for our Vice-Chancellor PhD Studentship selection process, as well as ideas for cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovative research.

The Future Human theme explores the use of science and technology to improve human performance either temporarily or permanently. Its transdisciplinary approach will help us understand the opportunities, limits, challenges and risks of using scientific and technological advancement to restore or improve performance and to overcome current limits of body and mind.

Theme co-lead, Dr Lex Mauger says: ‘Future Human is much more wide-ranging than many might think. By focusing on four sub-themes – Healthy Human, Everyday Human, Working Human and Super Human – our aim is to go much further than just understanding the science and technology. We want to know how enhancing human capability cuts across different fields from business and commercial to ethical and legal.’

You can find out more about Future Human on the Signature Research Theme web page.

PhD Studentships available

As part of its start-up resourcing, the Future Human Signature Research Theme is offering two Vice-Chancellor PhD Studentships for the 2022-23 academic year. The studentships will be allocated to named supervisory teams running a pre-determined project.

To select these supervisory teams and projects, the Future Human leadership team is running a Sandpit event, which will involve 20-30 academics from a range of disciplines and result in up to 15 project proposals. From these project ideas, two supervisory teams will be awarded the PhD studentships, and a further three project teams will be awarded seed-corn funding of £1500 for further development of their idea.

Staff will need to apply for one of the limited places on the Sandpit event, which will be held on 9 and 10 November 2021. More information on the Sandpit sessions, including an application for attendance to be completed by 17.00 on Friday 15 October 2021, is available here.

Share your views

The Future Human leadership team – comprising Dr Lex Mauger, Dr Sarah Hotham and Professor Aylish Wood – is committed to offering opportunities and activities to promote transdisciplinary collaborations and development of innovative research bids. They’re keen to hear from colleagues across the University about current and future plans for providing this. Complete the 10-minute survey to tell the team what you think.

Signature Research Themes

Signature Research Themes are a key part of the University’s strategy to further develop its global research profile. The themes bring together a wide range of ideas and approaches through cross-disciplinary collaboration, and they enhance the excellent practices and activities, highlighting the cutting-edge and innovative research that goes on at Kent.

Life on Campus

From Nikki Hyde, Deputy Director of Human Resources

Celebrating our campuses as more of us come back to Kent

After such a long gap, it’s hard to believe it’s now nearly time for those who’ve been working off-site to return to their desks. When we first started thinking about our roadmap for staff coming back, it still felt a bit like planning with our eyes closed – and let’s face it, none of us thought it would take this long when we first learnt the language of Teams back in March 2020. 

So, while the impact of the pandemic has thankfully lessened, we recognise what a big impact it’s had on us all. That’s why we’ve put together our Life on Campus programme from 23 August – 17 September to help everyone prepare for our 20 September target of everyone being largely campus-based again. 

I’m sure many will have a few mixed feelings about the return, including those of you who’ve been working on campus throughout – it’s about to get a whole lot busier! It’s going to take time for everyone to adjust and we’ll all need support as we come back; plus a reminder of how special our spaces are and what they mean to us all as a community. 

Something for everyone

We hope there’s something for everyone. All staff can bring their family along to a special day for staff at bOing! on Friday 27 August, including a fantastical VR performance of Alice in Wonderland. Teams can get together for a free game of bat and trap or petanque throughout the month or use our tented village on the Registry Lawn for outdoor meetings, while our Sustainability team will be running special tours that showcase our beautiful surroundings. You can even grab a free coffee with a colleague as a good excuse to get chatting in person again. There are also some more practical things to think about – getting up to speed with what we’ll have in place to keep everyone safe or making sure you’ve popped back to reboot your computer in good time. We’re all going to be learning together, which is the main message in the guidance we’ve put together in our new Future of Work Staff Resource Pack. 

All of this will culminate in our first Staff Conference, where we want to start bringing our community back together after so much disruption. Everyone is also invited to either the Medway Summer Fete on 8 September or the Canterbury Summer Fete on the 17th, so we all get a chance to be together in person for a BBQ on our lawns before the next term begins. 

Having been on site recently, our spaces really are looking beautiful and more than ready to welcome you all, bringing life back onto our campuses before our students join us for the next academic year. I look forward to seeing you there. 

Nikki Hyde | Deputy Director of Human Resources

Changing how we work: End of year update 

From Jane Higham, Chief Financial Officer

As we head into the summer after an especially challenging year, I wanted to give everyone an update on the work to embed the new structures put in place over the last 12 months. It’s been a challenging year for everyone and we really do hear what many of you are saying about the impact the changes have had on many people’s workload and wellbeing. As Chair of the Project Strategic Group overseeing implementation, I fully appreciate there is a lot still to do to get this right. In particular, our processes and ways of working are making it hard to realise the benefits of the new structures, and both these and the initial challenges with KentVision are vital issues for us to address to help make things easier.  

Actions are much more important than words with this and we are prioritising a number of immediate changes to start alleviating workload pressure as we head into next year. This is on top of accompanying work to clarify academic governance structures and to identify opportunities for short-term support where its impact would be most felt.

How We Work: Process Improvement

Activity led by the Project Management Office to fast-track process improvement university-wide is pushing ahead, with initial scoping work having identified a number of both quicker wins to work on along with some longer-term change initiatives that need to be prioritised. A number of the more immediate opportunities for improvement are already being addressed, with the PMO supporting teams and process owners to get changes in place quickly – thank you to everyone you sent in suggestions for this via the How We Work pages.

Framework Agreements 

The relationship between Divisions and central Professional Services teams is key to the success of our new structure. Those relationships are defined within framework agreements which cover how the different teams work together, where accountability sits and who leads on which areas of activity. The majority of the frameworks are now in place and are forming the basis of ongoing collaboration between Divisions and central teams – the remainder will be agreed by October at the latest. 

Heads of Profession 

Supporting this will be Heads of Profession who will provide leadership, training and support for colleagues working in their professional areas across the University. It has taken time to develop this role and the expectations for interaction between different areas that come with it – again, these will be in place in line with the final framework agreements by October. 

Ongoing Engagement 

Bringing new communities together while working remotely has been a challenge, and we are currently developing plans for ongoing engagement in different areas to help with this. This is to ensure there are regular opportunities for different key groups to come together, supported by a broader programme of staff engagement activity throughout the year opening with the proposed Staff Conference in September.  

Whilst I can’t promise things will get better quickly, I hope this reassures you that the pressures staff are experiencing are recognised and that actions are being taken to address what we can as quickly as possible. In the meantime, while I know it remains a busy time for many – and particularly those involved in the huge Clearing efforts this week – I hope colleagues can take advantage of reduced email traffic and some time off over the summer and I look forward to continuing to improve how we work together in the year ahead. 

Jane Higham | Chief Financial Officer

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