Category Archives: Strategic projects

Organising for Success: Project update

Organising for Success brings together work that will ensure we are equipped to deliver our Kent 2025 strategyincluding launching new academic divisions and ensuring our professional services are shaped around the needs of our students

Our six new Academic Divisions will be ‘live’ from 1 August 2020, with senior leadership teams appointed and budgets confirmed. New teams will then mainly be in place by September and will be fully operational by the start of November at the latest. 

Academic Divisions 

We will shortly begin recruiting to the core academic leadership roles within each Division, which were recently discussed at Senate. These key roles will be part of each Division’s Senior Management team, helping develop strategy in areas such as education, research and postgraduate study. 

Alongside this, work is ongoing to confirm framework agreements between Divisions and central professional services, with divisional Directors of Operations and Heads of Profession working closely to agree where resource and responsibility will best sit in the new structure. 

Central professional services 

Recruitment is ongoing to outstanding senior leadership positions in central professional services, with appointments regularly updated on the organisation chart on the HR website.

We are also currently working with Learning & Organisational Development on a second series of engagement events for managers following the ‘Town Halls’ earlier in the year, with invites to follow in the coming weeks. These will again be focussed on making sure managers have the information they need to support their teams in the coming months, including project updates and HR information. 

Transition planning 

A dedicated project team is now working to bring together the different aspects of transition activity already underway as we move to the new divisional structures, including plans for key areas such as appealssystems and support for students at the start of next year. More information on this will follow shortly, including a detailed timeline showing how this will be managed in the interim period before Divisions are fully operational. 

For latest updates, see the Organising for Success staff webpages 

Financial Sustainability and Improvement: Update

The Vice-Chancellor’s February blog outlining the work required to get the University back on a financially sustainable footing, helping ensure we continue to be a great place to work, teach, research and study.  

Since then, the Financial Sustainability and Improvement programme has been approved by Council, with a focus on carefully reducing costs, specifically targeting increase in income in areas that make sense and making the right strategic decisions.  

This work is being coordinated by our Financial Improvement Director Peter Pentecost, who has been employed by the University specifically to develop this and to support its implementation. Peter reports to the Vice-Chancellor, supporting colleagues across the organisation to make sure the plans in the programme are delivered on time and that project milestones are achieved. 

The four main strands of activity to deliver the programme have now been established, with Executive Group leads in each area focussing on how to identify savings and income opportunities with sufficient pace without destabilising our strong teaching and research ethos. There is more information on the different areas of work on our new Financial Sustainability staff webpages, with updates to follow in the coming weeks on recent progress with non-pay savings led by the Cash & Capital Approvals Committee, and new analysis undertaken for the University on student data trends to support our Academic Sustainability and Performance activity. 

Find out more about our Financial Sustainability and Improvement work. Further information, including FAQs, will be available on these pages shortly. 

Organising for Success: Project Updates

Following Tuesday’s email on changes to Organising for Success, we are pleased to confirm all final senior leadership appointments within academic divisions. Kerry Barber will be Director of Operations for the Division of Human and Social Sciences, working with Professor David Wilkinson as Director of Division. Amanda Ollier will be Director of Operations for the updated Division of Arts and Humanities, working with Professor Shane Weller and Professor Simon Kirchin as co-Directors.

This completes all senior leadership appointments within academic divisions, with the full list of divisions and their leadership now on the Organising for Success website.

A number of other areas of the site have also been updated to cover the recent changes, including:

  • Project Timeline: With details of the next steps needed to make changes in professional service areas and launch new divisions by no later than 1 November
  • FAQs: Including more information on the impact of Covid-19, along with explanation of some of the key stages on the timeline such as the ‘staff mapping’ process
Philippe De Wilde

Research and Innovation update

The Government has postponed the submission date for the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF) to allow universities to support research into clinical and health-related fields.  While the new date has yet to be announced, it is likely that this will be in the not too distant future.

As a result, the University has paused all internal REF deadlines and will announce a revised deadline once the situation is clearer. Research Services will continue to support those who wish to continue with their REF preparations.  Work is also underway to adapt the Knowledge Exchange Framework submission.

It is worth remembering that the REF and KEF are only indicators of research and innovation. The main challenge is to keep research and innovation going in these difficult times and I know that many of you are currently juggling childcare and other domestic responsibilities with your work commitments. For those that are able to find the time, I would also remind you that gaining external funding for our research is still of paramount importance for the institution, and again, central support remains available for those wishing to apply for external funding.

I am keen to speak with you to hear how you are coping, and how the University can help. In 2015 I visited 650 academics, researchers and research professional staff for 20 minutes each.

I am keen to speak with all of those who are submitting to the REF and with those who are working to support them on this. From mid-April onwards, I will be setting up 10-minute ‘Teams’ meetings with each of you. It will be good to talk with you although I am fully expecting to also meet many pets, young children and others who are currently at home with you!

Philippe De Wilde | Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation


Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme – Extended Deadline

In light of the disruption caused by Covid-19 and the measures taken to control its spread, the University has agreed to extend the deadline for applications for the current window of KVSS from 22 April to 24 May. This is to ensure that everyone eligible is able to apply and that no-one misses the opportunity. All other dates for the scheme remain as previously advertised and you can find full details of the scheme here.

More widely, we are continuing to review all projects currently underway to establish what the impact of Covid-19 will be and what we may need to pause or adapt in light of our new circumstances. A full update on what this will mean for Organising for Success will follow next week.


Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme – Phase 2

In light of the University’s financial situation and the need to make significant savings in our staffing costs this yearwe will be reopening the Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme from 9 March – 24 April.  

This Phase Two of the scheme will only be open to specific groups of staff, including those in areas where we know that savings will need to be made. The full Scheme details are available on the HR website, including more detailed information and FAQs. Any staff put at risk of redundancy as a result of subsequent changes under Organising for Success in June 2020 will have a further opportunity to apply for KVSS at that stage. 

We recently held a series of briefing sessions with managers so that they can answer any questions you may have regarding the Scheme. There will also be a series of drop-in sessions for staff where you will be able to discuss this directly with an HR representative – these are divided into hourly slots, and you can just turn up to whichever one suits you: 

  • Tuesday 10 March – 14.00, 15.00, and 16.00 in Keynes Seminar Room 2
  • Thursday 12 March – 12.00, 13.00 and 14.00 in Keynes Seminar Room 1 
  • Wednesday 18 March – 14.00, 15.00 and 16.00 in Grimond Seminar Room 1
  • Friday 20 March – 10.30, 11.30 and 12.30 in Kennedy Seminar Room 9
  • Tuesday 24 March – 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30 in Darwin Seminar Room 14
  • Thursday 26 March – 13.00, 14.00 and 15.00 in Keynes Seminar Room 20
  • Wednesday 1 April – 11.00, 12.00 and 13.00, venue TBC
  • Friday 3 April – 10.00, 11.00 and 12.00, venue TBC

More details on both the scheme and support available to staff will follow in further communications ahead of the Scheme opening on Monday. 

Organising for Success – Project Update

Organising for Success brings together work that will empower staff to transform our students lives, helping us meet our Kent 2025 strategy and ensure a future we can be proud of 

As preparations to launch new divisions in September take shape, a number of key proposals will go to the 11 March meeting of Senate – these can be read via the links below, with more information to follow after the meeting itself. 

Other updates across the project: 

Strand 1- Executive Leadership 

Consultation has now finished on the new leadership structure for central professional services, with final changes shared with affected staff shortly. These will also be shared more widely later in the month ahead of the new structure coming into effect in April. 

A well-attended series of ‘Town Hall’ briefing sessions for managers led by Learning & Organisational Development took place throughout February, with personal development programmes continuing for new members of Executive Group as they take ownership of their areas.  

Strand 2 – Establishing academic divisions 

Outlines of academic leadership roles are being presented to Senate for discussion, with the outcomes then shared more broadly across divisions ahead of expressions of interest to key leadership roles.  

Work is also ongoing on division branding and preparation for launch activity ahead of September. 

Strand 3 / 4 – Divisional operations and professional services design 

Follow-up workshops are taking place between Directors of Operations and central professional service leads to support the development of proposed team structures ahead of these being shared with affected staff in June 2020. 

Workshops are also ongoing to map key processes in order to identify and manage potential risk as we transition into the new structure. In doing this, we will also look to identify any areas of improvement we could implement in the short term to help with activity over the summer such as admissions and clearing. 

Strand 5 – Standing down Faculties 

Considerable progress continues, including drafts prepared for a number of key regulations and Codes of Practice to reflect the move from faculties to divisions. These will be refined as necessary following the outcome of Senate.

Latest updates are on the Organising for Success website 

Staff in Registry 4

JSNCC staff elections

Nominations are invited for the election of staff representatives to the Joint Staff Negotiating and Consultation Committee (JSNCC).

The JSNCC is the main forum for consultation between the University of Kent and its staff on matters of mutual interest and is one of the most important and influential committees in the University.

Staff membership of the Committee comprises representatives of each of the trade unions and four representatives of non-union staff: two from the professional services and research support staff in grades 1 to 6; and two from the academic, research and professional services staff in grades 7 and above. The current non-union staff members are as follows:

Professional services and research support staff (grades 1 to 6)

  • Stephen Rowlstone – leaving his position with the University
  • Becky Verlin – elected in December 2017

Academic, research and professional services staff (grades 7+)

  • Jon King – elected in April 2019
  • Denise Twomey – elected in December 2017

Stephen Rowlstone has notified us of his intention to leave the University, and we would like to thank him for his input and commitment to the JSNCC. As a result, nominations are now invited and welcomed for one position to represent staff in grades 1 to 6. Staff members working within Grades 1 to 6 are encouraged to apply.

Acting as a staff representative is interesting and rewarding. It provides the opportunity to discuss and comment on University plans and policies, to meet a wide range of new people and to gain valuable personal development. Training and support will be provided to the successful candidate.

The deadline for completed nominations is 17.00 on Monday 10 February 2020.

Further information about the JSNCC and the nomination and election processes can be found on the JSNCC website at or by contacting HR via

Organising for Success: Directors of Divisions

We have now made two further appointments to our Director of Division roles, with Professor Peter Hydon leading the Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and Professor Toni Williams leading the Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice.

Peter and Toni will join the other Directors of Division on Executive Group with immediate effect. The full list of appointed Directors of Division is as follows:

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

Division of Computing, Engineering, and Mathematical Sciences

School of Engineering and Digital Arts; School of Computing; School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science

Professor Peter Hydon

Division for the Study of Law, Society, and Social Justice

Kent Law School; School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research; Centre for Journalism

Professor Toni Williams


We are continuing to review the process of appointing a Director to the remaining Division.  

KMMS logo

Calling all staff – help wanted for KMMS interviews

Do you have any availability to help the Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) with its Multiple Mini Interviews?

We are seeking support on the following dates at the University of Kent campus:

Tuesday 7 January 2020
Wednesday 8 January 2020
Thursday 9 January 2020

You would be supporting the selection process for the first cohort of medical students, joining KMMS, meeting some of the first students and getting an insight into how the Medical School selects doctors in training.

The sorts of things we need help with are: timekeeping (the multiple mini interview circuit consists of seven different stations with a specific amount of time for each station so good time keeping is crucial!), handing out of information to students, chaperoning students, directing people around the circuits and any general admin responsibilities.

These are three 12-hour days for KMMS staff so we would be incredibly grateful of your time and support!

We have created videos for our students about MMIs on our website (scroll to the bottom of the page) so you might like to watch them too.

Please get approval from your manager as needed.

To find out more, or to offer your time please email Mary Langford: