Category Archives: Strategic projects

Organising for Success: Director Operations appointments

Following the recent announcement on our new Directors of Division, we have also now made the following appointments to our divisional Director of Operations roles:

Division of Humanities

School of European Culture and Languages; School of History

Kerry Barber

Division of Natural Sciences

School of Biosciences; School of Physical Sciences; School of Sport and Exercise Sciences; Medway School of Pharmacy (affiliate); Kent and Medway Medical School (affiliate)

James Redmond

Kent Business School

Paul Verrion

John Crook and Rachel MacPhee have also been appointed as Directors of Operations, with an announcement on the division they will be deployed to follow.

We are currently in the process of recruiting all final Director of Division and Director of Operations roles. In the meantime, all those appointed will now be brought into discussions around the transition to the changes under Organising for Success, and the decisions we need to make, both in the short and longer term, to make the new arrangements a success.

Industrial action

Industrial action update

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced its intention to launch industrial action in the form of a strike and action short of a strike (ASOS) as a part of its dispute relating to the national pay award.

The strike action is scheduled to begin on 25 November and last eight days, ending on 4 December. The ASOS is to begin on the same day and continue until April.

The Executive Group (EG) recognises the strength of feeling surrounding the dispute and is aware that this is unsettling for many staff and students. Although this is a national dispute, and cannot be resolved at a local level, work is already underway at the University to address many of the issues raised as part of the pay claim.

To ensure all staff have the information they need, the University has launched dedicated industrial action web pages for staff, including links to the industrial action pay policy, FAQs, information about the background to the dispute and what Kent is doing. Web pages for students are also now available to help answer students’ questions and ensure they have the support and information they need. Both websites will be updated routinely in coming days and weeks.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and Universities UK (UUK) have issued a joint open letter to staff affected by the disputes confirming that UCU have been formally invited to discuss what the employers’ association can do at sector-level to support individual institutions on issues around workloads, equality and casualisation.

In the meantime, EG will continue to do all it can at a local and national level to find a way forward.

The University is also doing everything it can to minimise disruption and to mitigate against the impact on students whose experience remains the utmost priority during this time.


Organising for Success: Director of Division appointments

At Kent, we transform lives through opportunity, discovery and community. Organising for Success brings together work that will empower staff to do this, helping us meet out Kent 2025 strategy and ensure a future we can be proud of. This includes introducing seven new academic divisions with greater freedom to meet the needs of our students, simplifying or removing processes so that we have more time to do our jobs, and embracing new ways of working that mean we will be free to focus on the best of what we do.

We have now made the following appointments to our new Director of Division roles:

Division of Arts, Culture & Design

Kent School of Architecture and Planning; School of Arts; School of English; Centre for Music and Audio Technology

Professor Simon Kirchin (who will take up the post on a two-year basis to see through the transition and begin succession planning)

Division of Humanities

School of European Culture and Languages; School of History

Professor Shane Weller

Division of Natural Sciences

School of Biosciences; School of Physical Sciences; School of Sport and Exercise Sciences; Medway School of Pharmacy (affiliate); Kent and Medway Medical School (affiliate)

Professor Claire Peppiatt-Wildman

Kent Business School

Professor Marian Garcia

We are continuing the process of appointing Directors to the remaining divisions and will communicate outcomes as soon as possible. In the meantime, the new Directors of Division will begin in their roles from 1 December and join Executive Group from that date. Announcements relating to our Directors of Operations for the Divisions will be made shortly.

Organising for Success: recruitment update

We are currently going through a selection process to appoint our seven new divisional Directors of Operations. The Directors of Operations will join the leadership team of the University’s academic divisions; working with the relevant Director of Division and other members of the divisional leadership team. These are key appointments for the University – we therefore need make sure we do all we can to recruit and appoint the right candidates for the role.

For a number of reasons, we have been unable to make all seven appointments and will therefore be re-advertising for two of them. This will again be open to internal candidates only, so that we can make sure we have fully explored the potential for internal staff to take on the positions before we potentially widen our search externally.

The job advert is now open and available here, with a closing date of 23.59 Tuesday 19 November.

We encourage anyone interested in these roles to apply, and do please contact our Chief Operating Officer Denise Everitt for a confidential discussion if you want to discuss further.

Industrial action update

On Tuesday 5 November, the Kent branch of the University and College Union (UCU) announced its intention to take part in strike action over an eight-day period, from 25 November until 4 December, and action short of a strike (ASOS) to last beyond that date.

The planned action comes off the back of a national UCU ballot asking members to indicate whether they would be prepared to strike or take action short of strike (ASOS) on issues around pay and working conditions. Kent is one of 55 institutions where UCU secured a mandate for industrial action on the issue of pay and conditions.

The University’s Executive Group (EG) has recognised the strength of feeling expressed and the frustration that many staff feel on key issues around pay and conditions. EG is also aware that the potential for industrial action is unsettling for many of our staff and students.

This outcome is within a context of challenging circumstances at Kent and the sector as a whole. The higher education sector is facing unprecedented financial, regulatory and political challenges and the competitive recruitment environment has had a particular and unhelpful impact on Kent’s finances.

EG will continue to reflect on what all this means for Kent, and the options open to them. EG has also indicated to UCU that they are positive about an ongoing dialogue and hope that, through discussion with them and other stakeholders, a way forward may be found.

In the event that strike action goes ahead, EG will do all it can to minimise disruption and more information will be published to help staff navigate this difficult time and mitigate against the impact on students, whose experience remains the utmost priority.

Have your say

2019 Staff Survey – have your say now!

Just to remind you the staff survey will remain open to all staff until 13 November. You can take part in the survey now via this link.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to provide confidential feedback on your perception of Kent as a place to work and help us understand some of the issues that affect your working life – what we do well and what we can do better. We want to know how we measure up against our values and Kent 2025 ambitions during this time of organisational change.

Unlike the previous survey, the main purpose is to gauge feelings across the University during this time of change, enabling us to benchmark engagement levels during and after the Organising for Success project. Obtaining a measure of how well (or not) the University is navigating through change will provide valuable feedback on how and where to act. The results will be used for high-level action planning which will feed into the strategy for effectively delivering Organising for Success.

The Staff Survey is just one method of obtaining staff feedback during this time of change. Organising for Success was developed following extensive feedback from staff, with a number of staff engagement sessions as the proposals were developed. The focus is now on implementing the agreed proposals to ensure we can deliver the project by the end of 2020.

Staff will continue to have a voice as the plans are implemented – each implementation strand for Organising for Success will form stakeholder groups as needed to implement part of the project, with Strand Leads responsible for ensuring appropriate levels of engagement with all stakeholders.

Additionally, as announced in a  recent VC blog, EG members and colleagues will be holding further Open Forums later in the year which will allow feedback on what is working, what is not working as well as we would like, and how we can do things differently. Please visit the dedicated Organising for Success webpage for more detail.

For more information on the survey, please see our Staff Survey webpages.  If your question has not been answered here, please speak to your line manager or email:



Organising for Success – project update

At Kent, we transform lives through opportunity, discovery and community. Organising for Success brings together work that will empower staff to do this, helping us meet out Kent 2025 strategy and ensure a future we can be proud of. This includes introducing seven new academic divisions with greater freedom to meet the needs of our students, simplifying or removing processes so that we have more time to do our jobs, and embracing new ways of working that mean we will be free to focus on the best of what we do.

The Project Operational Group for Organising for Success is now meeting regularly, with five core strands of activity identified to deliver the project. Read more on the implementation of Organising for Success.

Directors of Division and divisional Directors of Operations

Interviews for the directors of our new academic divisions are currently in progress, with a second internal round to be held before Christmas for the three divisions where no candidates were shortlisted.

The first round of interviews for divisional Directors of Operations has also been concluded, with a second round to follow in December for any remaining vacancies.

All appointed candidates for both roles will join a workshop with Organising for Success Strand Leads to manage their transition into the role and agree short-term objectives.

Central professional service structures

Following recent changes to the makeup of our Executive Group, design work has continued on the revised management structure for our central professional services. Formal consultation with affected leadership and management staff (Tiers 3+4) will begin in the coming weeks and will finish in the New Year, with exact timings to be confirmed.

Read the latest updates on Organising for Success


Extension to the Brexit deadline

The granting of another extension to the Brexit deadline means that the UK will not leave the EU on 31 October.  The University’s Brexit Working Group, led by Professor Jeremy Carrette, Dean for Europe, will continue to monitor the situation.

Professor Carrette said: ‘As Parliamentary discussions continue, we will ensure that the interests of students and staff remain at the forefront of any planning. While much of our immediate activity has been contingency planning in case of a no-deal scenario, we have also been looking to the longer-term impact of Brexit and continue to seek clarification on areas of pressing concern such as mobility, fees, travel arrangements and access to research funding.

‘Whatever the final outcome, Kent will remain an outward-looking university, proud of its European centres and its  European collaborations. We will also continue to support staff and students during this uncertain time.’

The Brexit webpages will be kept updated with new information as soon as it is available.

Calculator, calendar and pen image

USS pensions update

Universities and trade union representatives have been in negotiations over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme since March 2017.  This is a difficult and complex situation and the University and College Union (UCU) are now balloting its members for industrial action

The Executive Group (EG) regret this situation and the impact it has on staff, particularly at such a challenging time.

Because the USS scheme is a national one, the situation cannot be resolved at a local level. As a result, the University is doing all it can to support efforts to reach a national agreement and the Vice-Chancellor and other members of EG members recently met with Universities UK (UUK), the national body which is representing employers like Kent in this dispute.

EG is clear that members of USS need to have in place a long-term and sustainable agreement on both benefits and contributions. At the meeting, they presented the case for a review of the regulatory environment, arguing that the current framework makes it harder for the sector to reach such an agreement. The Vice-Chancellor and colleagues stressed that the current framework does not recognise the unique nature of the university sector, which they said needs a more bespoke approach to pension valuations, and urged UUK to open direct line of communication with the pensions regulator, involving the University and College Union (UCU).

They also asked that all efforts to be made to expedite the delivery a second phase report from the Joint Expert Panel (JEP), the recommendations from which could also move the negotiations towards a resolution that is acceptable to all.

Further background and information about the issues facing members of the USS pension scheme is available on the dedicated USS pensions website.

Staff who are members of the SAUL pension scheme should be reassured that at the last valuation the scheme was confirmed as fully funded and is therefore not impacted by the issues currently facing USS.

Sustainable Food Strategy – one year on!

1 October 2018 saw the launch of the University’s first ever sustainable food strategy, which provides a road map for increasing the sustainability of our food offering from field to fork and beyond. The strategy supports the University’s overall response to the climate crisis and meets ever increasing demand for more sustainable options across our campuses’ menus.

Now a year on into improving the sustainability of the food served across campus, the Sustainable Food Steering Group would like to share some of the key achievements that have been accomplished in the strategy’s first year. The combined efforts of all those involved were highlighted in the People and Planet University League table with the points received in the sustainable food section, alongside engagement and education, giving Kent a boost up league from 101 to 40th.

Rutherford Kitchen has changed it produce supplier meaning fruit and vegetables are now being sourced from local growers. This mean that the menu in Rutherford can be adapted by the chefs regularly to reflect the seasons and share the best of southern produce.

Kent Union have been working hard to support the Sustainable Food Strategy and were instrumental in pushing for reusable water bottles and coffee cups to be made more available and visible. All staff members can claim a water bottle at any Kent Hospitality outlet, and students that moved into accommodation on campus received a free water bottle and coffee cup. Bed and board students also received a reusable food container that can be traded in for a clean one each time they use it at bed and board outlets.

Kent Hospitality released new menus across their Canterbury and Medway outlets, increasing their vegan options available. Their efforts have been recognised by PETA, who have included the University of Kent on their list of 20 Most Vegan-Friendly Universities. In addition to this, many of the new vegan and vegetation items replaced red meat items that were previously on the menus as part of an effort to reduce carbon and water intensive food items from our offering.

All fish served in meals across our outlets is now Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified. This ensures that no fish we serve is on the ‘fish to avoid list’ for species of conservation concern, and that we have full traceability on where that fish came from.

K Bar have gone disposable coffee cup free, meaning all customers are encouraged to drink in or have their reusable cup at the ready.

The Gulbenkian are taking part in FutureProof and their project, ‘Project Zero,’ aims to eliminate as much waste as possible from their operations. So far they have:

  • removed all single use plastic bottles in the café, saving over 30000 plastic bottles since August 2018,
  • switched to re-usable plastic pint and half pint cups which significantly reduced their single use plastic cup buying,
  • partnered with ‘Too Good To Go’ and each month sell around 70 bags of food, which would normally be thrown away,
  • sent their milk bottle caps (around 300 caps a week) to a company that reuse the plastic

The waste team have begun a food waste trial with six outlets across the University with the waste being sent to an anaerobic digestion facility in Essex, where they produce bio fertilisers for farmers and other growers.

The sustainable food steering group will continue to share our progress against the strategy so please keep an eye on updates in each of the outlets and on campus online.

For more information please email