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Two students talking over a desk

Become more employable – add a Year In

Gain new skills to stand out when you graduate.

The need for well-rounded graduates from employers is increasing; in 2023 the demand for workers who can bring a range of skills to the table is larger than ever before. The opportunity is here for you to become that graduate as applications for Kent’s Year-In courses have opened.

The Year In courses give undergraduates students in Years 2 and 3 the opportunity to take an extra year in another course subject. This can be between your 2nd and 3rd year, or after your 3rd year is complete.  Courses on offer for the 2023/24 academic year include:

If you take a Year-In, it will appear on your degree certificate, letting employers know what you are capable of.

What does a Year In give you?

A Year-In will help combine your existing knowledge and experience with practical skills and experiences valued by employers. The graduate labour market is competitive, and the Year-In could be the very thing that makes you the obvious choice for an employer. You’ll spend a year immersing yourself in a new subject, with courses designed for beginners, that will deliver engaging, high level learning opportunities.

Get an insight into each Year In subject

Watch the videos to find out more about each Year In involves:

Got questions? Contact careerhelp@kent.ac.uk for guidance

 

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KentVision Latest Features and Functionality

The KentVision Project has successfully delivered enhanced features and functionality. This will improve the student and staff experience when working on activities such as board of examiners, compliance and student finance.

These upgrades and new features will help improve a variety of processes – reducing administration burdens on staff, removing unnecessary communications, and delivering a better experience for students. It also includes improvements to existing technology released, following feedback from staff.

What has been delivered?

  • Improved usability of the right to study screen in enrolment ensuring that students are able to progress through enrolment and re-registration in a timely manner, helping us comply with Home Office rules.
  • Improvements to the results release process and result letters ensuring they are clear and meet the needs of our students for the re-sit period.
  • Enhanced functionality including changes to improve progression/award rules and exam board reporting particularly for the re-sit period. Post-exam board functionality will allow chairs actions to be recorded and CSAO will be automatically notified – removing administration burden and preventing unnecessary communications.
  • Full support for the clearing processes, ensuring permissions are allocated, known issues are resolved, and underlying processes for the new telephone offers initiatives are enabled.
  • A new process to roll forward scholarship fund reference data to the next academic year.
  • Improvements to the student financial registration processes – ensuring facilitation of student engagement and timely addition of payment information.

This release is the culmination of hard work, and we commend everyone involved for their work – including the KentVision Project Team, IS colleagues, and the users of the system dedicating time to ensure improvements are realised.

Next Steps

  • Technology and process improvements to continue over throughout October including Change of Circumstances and also the development of the integration between KentVision and the new CRM.
  • New automated communications for student immigration compliance will help us stay in touch with the relevant students and ensure we comply with government regulations.
  • We continue to make minor technology and process enhancements for the new admissions cycle – creating a better user experience for staff.
  • Technology and process improvements to the end-to-end UKVI reporting process to ensure they are fit for purpose and meet our compliance requirements.
  • Business readiness activities, including transition plans and training and communications.

Our new brand toolkit is coming!

At this year’s Staff Conference we introduced the new brand identity for Kent, centred around the theme of Ambition. Since then we’ve been working on rolling this out across the University, with our new website homepage live at the end of September, updated social media pages in place and recruitment campaigns being built in the new brand. If you’ve been walking round our campuses you may have also spotted changes to signage and some of our Open Day materials too! 

The next stage of this is to support you, wherever you work, in how you can make use of the new brand too. It may be you just want to update your email signature or pull together a quick presentation, or you may be planning an event that needs wider promotion. Whatever level of support you need, we will be providing templates and guidance to help make your comms look right and sound right – making ambition count! 

We’re aiming to have the new Brand Book available online next week, which will have comprehensive guidance on the new brand. This will be supported by key templates including: 

  • PowerPoint template 
  • Social Media templates 
  • Email signature 
  • Email headers, footers and templates 
  • Poster template 
  • Video start and end frames 
  • Stationery 

Alongside this will be tone of voice guidance, top tips on using images and advice on what to do yourself and when the Design team are there to help.  

Watch our brand video and look out for more updates next week! 

Westgate gardens

Things to do in Canterbury

Welcome to Canterbury! If you’re new to the area take a look at some ideas below on some places you can visit and activities you can do. 

Canterbury Cathedral

One of the most iconic buildings of Canterbury is the Cathedral. Dating back to 597 AD, it is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. If you bring your KentOne card along you’ll get in free. Find out about current exhibitions and what’s on offer for students

Canterbury cathedral

Westgate Gardens

The Gardens are part of Westgate Park which includes lots of outdoor open spaces including Toddlers Cove and Bingley Island. It’s a lovely area for walking and cycling. In the Spring and Summer months, there are hundreds of bright tulips in full bloom on the flowerbeds alongside the river where you can watch passing boats, ducks and moorhens. Just take a right when you are at Westgate Towers (you won’t be able to miss the entrance) for a peaceful escape!

You can also have a go at punting, with many punting tours taking you through the river in Westgate Gardens and offering a beautiful view of Canterbury. 

Westgate gardens

Canterbury Nightlife

We know that students often love a night out, and Canterbury offers lots of choice for those looking for a fun night with friends! 

Here at Kent we have our own campus club, Venue, which offers a great night out (especially on a Wednesday or Friday) and cheap drinks, often paired with some interesting student social costumes. We also have plenty of bars on campus which are perfect for group ‘pres’ before heading to Venue, or can make a great evening out for those not looking to go clubbing.

In Canterbury city centre there are also lots of other options for a night out. Some of our students’ favourites include Club Chemistry, The Cuban, and Tokyo Tea Rooms. There are also lots of cheap pubs and bars around the city that are ideal for students, so make sure you explore all the nightlife Canterbury has to offer!

Students on night out

Local Restaurants and Cafes

For our foodie students, there are also lots of options around Canterbury to try amazing food and drink. Explore the city whilst trying some of our local independent food spots and supporting the community!

Some student favourites include: Tiny Tim’s Tearoom, The Lady Luck, The Refectory Kitchen, and The Chocolate Cafe.

Cycle Ride

If you’re looking for a challenge you can undertake your own Pilgrim’s Progress on a 50-mile circular ride that links Canterbury, Dover, and Folkestone. The route passes along leafy lanes and bridleways amid rolling hills, wide skies, woodland, country villages, and hamlets.

For those who are looking for a more casual cycle route take a look at the Crab and Winkle Way which links Canterbury to Whitstable. It’s suitable for beginners and families. The route goes from Canterbury West, but you can easily join the route if you’re on campus. It takes you all the way into Whitstable, which in itself is a great day out. Enjoy some fish and chips on the beach and explore the restaurants and shops along the Harbour.

Crab and Winkle Way sign

Three people talking in a learning environment

Welcome to our Postgraduate Research (PGR) students

The Graduate and Researcher College want to wish you a warm welcome to Kent!

Kickstart your PhD workshop

PhD students embarking upon their first year as a PhD Researcher will need to attend a compulsory Kickstart your PhD workshop. This workshop explores the PhD journey and focuses on what researchers need to make the most of their doctoral programme. At this session, students will be introduced to the RDA form, which they will need to complete before their first year Probationary Review meeting. Kickstart your PhD sessions running in the Spring term are now available to book via the Graduate and Researcher College training portal Target Connect.

Researcher Developer Program

You may also be interested in our Researcher Developer Program (RDP) which is open to all postgraduate research students. The RDP is designed to equip postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers with a full range of skills. It improves your effectiveness as a researcher and ensures that by the end of your research project, you are both highly qualified and employable in a variety of careers.

New PhD mentoring scheme

Do you want to learn new skills and meet other postgraduate researchers? The Graduate and Researcher College is delighted to announce the launch of its mentoring scheme for PhD students. The scheme is designed to help support the personal development of both mentors and mentees. Applications for the scheme can be made, until 29 January 2021. Contact skills@kent.ac.uk to show your interest.

Postgraduate study areas

We have a wide range of study spaces at our campuses, including some study areas specifically for postgrad students.

Postgraduate representation in your students’ union

Your students’ unions have networks which are student-led spaces for students who share an interest or identity. You can join the Kent Union postgraduate student network to connect with other postgraduate students.

Kent Union also have full-time elected student officers who you can get in touch with if you have concerns or ideas. Ben Bradley is the Vice-President for Postgraduate Experience.

Join us for Medway Pride 2022!

Saturday 20 August is Medway Pride and we are excited to announce that we are sponsoring the event alongside the University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University, under the Universities at Medway banner.

The parade will pass through Rochester High Street at 10:45, and is followed by a star-studded event in the Rochester Castle Gardens from 12:00.  Find out more about the schedule and line-up.

Take Part in the Parade

University of Kent LGBTQ+ staff, students, and allies are all warmly welcomed to take part in the parade. We will be walking as a group ‘Universities at Medway’ and you can register through the main Eventbrite page. Please register, choose to get tickets as an organisation member, type ‘Universities at Medway’ into the text box, click it in the drop-down menu and you will be able to register for your tickets. Instructions of where to meet to get wristbands on the day are part of the ticket registration. 

We look foward to seeing you there!

National Student Survey Results 2022

This year’s NSS results were published yesterday and, while we are still looking into the subject level data for the complete picture, it is clear they present a challenging set of results for Kent, with our overall satisfaction score for Full-Time First Degree being 73%. Our students’ views and – more fundamentally – the experience they have with us is of huge importance, so I wanted to update you on the work we are doing to ensure we see steady improvement in this area.

A challenging year for many  

As many have acknowledged across the sector, last year was yet again unusual for a number of reasons as we all adapted to the relaxation of Covid restrictions and the return of face-to-face teaching. Both student behaviour and the campus experience itself have undoubtedly changed through the move to more hybrid models of both work and delivery. Our own student surveys present a mixed picture of what aspects of this students have and haven’t liked, and it will take time to work out which shifts are permanent and which are unique to this cohort.

We also cannot avoid the fact that the NSS survey itself ran during a period of industrial action at Kent with an inevitable impact on student sentiment at the time. Notions of student satisfaction are complex, relying on a wide array of individual factors and interactions with staff from across the University and with our facilities and services. However, what is clear is that we have more to do to ensure the effort we put in to support students is felt by them and comes through in what they report back to us.

Improving students’ experience of Kent  

There are a number of initiatives already underway to make sure students have the best possible time with us, all of which will be a key priority throughout next year:

  • Student Voice and Student Participation will be major areas of focus, with our Head of Student Experience Mica Rose leading work to better embed them in our work. This will include developing our Your Uni, Your Say campaign to ensure we give students quicker feedback on how their views shape our work and exploring the use of Listening Rooms so we get a deeper understanding of what they are looking for
  • Our Assessment and Feedback Steering Group will work to put in place a more systemic approach to ensuring all students get timely and supportive feedback from their lecturers – this will be done in conjunction with ongoing work to review the shape of the Academic Year so that we can bring teaching and assessment closer together
  • After a very difficult initial rollout, enhanced KentVision functionality is now being added at pace which will help address the initial issues many faced
  • We have a number of EDI initiatives with a focus on student experience, including our work on both the Race Equality Charter and the University Mental Health Charter  
  • We will also focus on building a better sense of belonging for students through a more joined up approach to our communications, following an extensive university-wide review

This work will need to be backed up by robust action plans in specific areas highlighted through the NSS and I will be working with Divisions to ensure these are in place going into next year. We will also set up an NSS Working Group in the Autumn Term led by Mica Rose, our Head of Student Experience and Louise Naylor, our Director of Education, to make sure we get positive engagement from students in the 2023 survey from the start.

Student Experience is a key strand of our University strategy and it is critical that we continually evolve what we do to meet the needs of those who study with us. While yesterday’s results make for difficult reading, I know just how much this matters to all of us across the University and look forward to working with many of you to build on activity underway to get things moving in the right direction.

With all good wishes,

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education & Student Experience

4 different coloured dustbins

Moving out campaign

Article from Josh Turner, Community Life Officer:

This year we are working to communicate with our students early to ensure when they leave their privately rented homes, they have as little negative impact on the local community as possible.

We are working with local charitable partners including British Heart Foundation, to encourage our students to donate and avoid unnecessary waste.

Furthermore, Kent Union provide fantastic services including Freecycle and Student Food Bank, supporting the current and future students studying at Kent.

Canterbury City Council is also running a two week Bin Amnesty, where additional black bags of general waste will be collected with the usual collections. To communicate this we will be holding two Neighbourhood Days where we door-knock in areas which are highly populated by students to ensure students and residents are ready, as well as communicating through blogs and social media.

We appreciate that when moving out, extra rubbish can be generated but we want to work to reduce any impact on the local community.

Working in partnerships, we are helping making it easy to get rid of unwanted items through:

  • Bin Amnesty: In central Canterbury, thanks to the Canterbury City Council and Canenco, there will be a bin amnesty from Monday the 20 June to Friday 1 July where all rubbish left out in key areas will be picked up as part of a weekly collection.
  • We are teaming up with the British Heart Foundation to make it easy for students to donate unwanted possessions to this fantastic cause.
  • Promoting the central donation services provided by Kent Union, including the Foodbank and Freecycle service.
  • Promoting local removal and disposal services in Kent.
  • Planning local litter picking volunteering opportunities for students on Monday 6 June and Monday 13 June.

If you have any concerns throughout this busy move-out period, you can get in touch with our Community Life Officer for support.

For more information email Josh on communityliaison@kent.ac.uk

Sign up to the leadership development programme

Get involved with the leadership development programme

T&OD are pleased to share with you details of a new leadership development programme and invite you to identify proposed participant to take place in the first cohort, starting in April 2022.

The leadership development offer has been reviewed and a gap for operational and first-line managers developing into a leadership role was identified.

The programme ‘Stepping up’ is proposed to address this gap.

The Stepping Up programme has been designed for members of staff with general people management experience over and above basic procedural knowledge and skills. These individuals will either be new staff or have been identified as having the potential to progress to a more senior management/leadership role. 

The brochure outlines the programme, including session dates and programme content. This is aligned with current and future organisational requirements, contemporary leadership and management practice. 

The programme is open to academic and professional services colleagues.

There will be a maximum of 15 people on the first intake, with plans to run further cohorts starting in both September and January. 

Within the brochure you will find a nomination form which needs to be filled out by the applicant and a statement of support will be required by their manager (Word version here). 

Please complete and return the form to the T&OD team (Ldev@kent.ac.uk) by 1st April 2022. They will confirm the cohort by the 8 April 2022. 

Dr Mahmood Shafiee ranked in top 2% of most influential researchers worldwide

Dr Mahmood Shafiee, Reader in Mechanical Engineering at the School of Engineering, has been ranked amongst top 2% of the most influential researchers in the world in a study by Elsevier and Stanford University.

The Elsevier created a publicly available database of over 100,000 top-scientists that provides standardized information on citations, h-index, co-authorship adjusted hm-index, citations to papers in different authorship positions and a composite indicator. The list has placed Dr Shafiee first in the Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and third at the University of Kent.

Dr Shafiee has gained a national and international reputation for his excellent research in different areas of Mechanical Engineering. As of November 2021, he has authored 1 book and 10 book chapters, co-invented 3 patents, and published over 200 articles in the most prestigious journals. He has also a very strong track record of research funding from different National and European bodies, and has been plenary speaker and program committee member of over 100 International Conferences.

Dr Shafiee said “I’m proud of being ranked among Top 2% researchers in the world. It will certainty attract research community’s attention to the research we are doing in Mechanical Engineering Research Group at the University of Kent”.

Further information and the full data set can be found on the publisher’s website.

Thank you to the Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences for this article.