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KVSS

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 

A group of college age students are working on a mechanical drone project for a university class. They are working on the electrical aspect of the drone.

Kent launches Mechanical Engineering including a Foundation Year

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts at Kent is pleased to announce the launch of a new undergraduate course, Mechanical Engineering including a Foundation Year.

If you don’t have the right grades to enrol directly on to our BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree, you could opt to start your studies with our Foundation year. The extra year is intended to give you the best possible preparation for success on the degree pathway.

On successful completion of your Foundation Year, you can go to the Mechanical Engineering degree or the Mechanical Engineering with a Year in Industry degree.

Mechanical Engineering is a fundamental discipline that is responsible for the design and the development of mechanical systems and it is vital in many tech industries. At the University of Kent, we focus in the modern applications of Mechanical Engineering, e.g. robotics, assistive technology, smart materials and autonomous vehicles.

Our research led degrees mean our graduates can work at the forefront of the major areas of mechanical engineering, combining theory with practical and project work, turning ideas into real systems.

We have strong links with the Royal Academy of Engineering and with institutions that provide accreditation to university degrees (Institution of Engineering and Technology and Institution of Mechanical Engineers). Our engineering students’ work has won international prizes and our visiting industrial professors contribute to a strong industrial relevance of our courses. For further details, visit the undergraduate courses webpage.

 

CWEL

Mandarin Chinese language and culture exchange visit

CEWL recently welcomed two students from Xi’an KeDaGaoXin University, China for a short-term exchange visit.

Yuan Xueru and Mei Yixiao,  undergraduates studying International Chinese Teaching at Xi’an KeDaGaoXin University (KDGX), recently spent  two weeks at Kent through an exchange programme between the Centre for English and World Languages and KDGX, which was established last academic year.

During their stay, the students observed our World Languages classes including Mandarin, Arabic and Japanese and led  speaking and writing workshops to help students to improve their Mandarin language skills.They also attended various English Language and Academic Skills  classes to improve their English.  Above all, they worked  hard to design and deliver some workshops in Chinese culture – which included music and singing –  and calligraphy. Both workshops went down very well with the students who took part. Thank you to all of our teachers who made them welcome while they were here.

As they were here during Chinese New Year, they participated and performed in the Chinese New Year Gala organised by the Chinese Society on 27th January. They really appreciated this invaluable opportunity  to immerse themselves in both British culture and university life, and they undoubtedly gained first-hand experience of British university culture by talking to and making friends with students at the University.

Kent student, Jason went to KDGX last spring holiday and Safron is planning to go for four weeks during the Easter holidays. They both became buddies with Yuan Xueru and Mei Yixiao and gave them great help during their stay. Well done and thank you to both Jason and Safron!

Clara, another Mandarin learner at Kent,  will be also be going to KDGX at Easter.  We have no doubt that she and Safron will enjoy everything KDGX and the historical city of Xi’an have to offer.

We hope to give more of our Mandarin learners the chance to improve their Mandarin language skills and enhance their Graduate Attributes by participating in the exchange programme in the future.

If you have questions related to learning Mandarin  at Kent, or the Mandarin Exchange Programme, please contact World Language Tutor, Mrs Ru Su, directly.

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 part of this, we are currently consulting with affected staff on a proposed new central professional services leadership structure. During the consultation period, we will both agree the final leadership structure and discuss with individual affected staff what this will mean for their roles. Teams affected at this stage have been directly contacted by their relevant Executive Group member – the proposed University-wide leadership structure is also now available for information on the HR website. The final confirmed structure will be shared once consultation is complete.

Other updates across the project:

Directors of Operations

We are delighted to announce that Amanda Ollier has been appointed as Director of Operations for the Division of Arts, Culture and Design – see the Transitional Arrangements section of the website for more information.

Strand 3 / 4 – Divisional operations and professional services design

These two areas of work have now ‘formally’ come together, to reflect the amount of overlap between them. There is more information on the Implementation section of the website. Alongside this:

– Workshops are ongoing between Directors of Operations and central professional service leads to begin establishing where accountability and resource should sit in the new structure

– Workshops will also start shortly to begin mapping processes in key areas so we can agree how they could be reflected – and simplified wherever possible – when divisions launch in September. The Project Management Office (formerly known as BIPU) will contact relevant professional service leads shortly to arrange these, and assistance with providing initial details on any existing processes in advance would be greatly appreciated

Strand 5 – Standing down Faculties

Considerable progress has also been made to transfer essential activity currently taking place within Faculties to divisions. Recent highlights include:

– Protocols agreed for managing the final faculty committees, which will take place this summer – IS are also working on ensuring key website information is retained and transferred appropriately

– A vision for Quality Assurance in the new structure has been drawn up and will go to Senate in March, ensuring we have a have common framework and a consistent approach

– A team drawn from the Faculty Support Office, QA, the Graduate School, Student Services and Kent Union are also beginning to rewrite our codes of practice and regulations, with support from an external adviser to ensure everything is aligned in our new organisational structures

For latest information on Organising for Success, see the Updates section of the website. There is also supporting information under Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Following changes to Executive Group and appointments to key senior roles, next week (w/c 20 January) we will begin consulting with senior leaders in central professional service directorates on a revised leadership structure to support the new divisions. We have recently updated the FAQs section of the website to cover feedback around this following our update in December.

Other activity underway across the project includes:

Professional Service / Division Workshops

We are currently organising a series of workshops with senior central professional service managers and our new Directors of Operations, which will begin the process of establishing a new operating model for divisions and professional services, along with defining the relationship between the two. These ‘kick off’ workshops will incorporate the work of Strand 3 and Strand 4 of Organising for Success, focusing on which activities and decisions fall where, along with capturing the processes we need to consider ahead of launching our new academic divisions.

Alongside this, we are currently making changes to the governance structure of the project to reflect the overlap between the two strands and recent staff changes, which will be shared more widely once they have been agreed with the Oversight Group.

Directors of Operations

The latest allocation of Directors of Operations to academic divisions is as follows:

Division of Humanities: Kerry Barber

Division of Natural Sciences: James Redmond

Kent Business School: Paul Verrion

Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences: John Crook

Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice: Rachel MacPhee

Recruitment to the remaining posts is ongoing. There is more information on the Transitional Arrangements section of the Organising for Success website.

‘Town Hall’ events for managers

We will shortly be holding a series of ‘Town Hall’ meetings for managers on the changes underway at the University through both Organising for Success and our wider financial recovery plans. These are designed to give those with significant line-management responsibilities a full understanding of the planned changes and their context, along with tips and resources to help with communicating with their teams. Learning and Organisational Development will be coordinating the sessions with support from the Organising for Success project team and will be communicating the details shortly.

Postgrad Welcome Back image

Welcome back Postgrad students!

Welcome back to all Postgrad students! Getting back in to the swing of juggling studies and exercise can be hard after the Christmas vacation, so here’s a few incentives to help you stay active.

From Monday 13 to Friday 17 January 2020, we are offering all University of Kent Postgraduate students free access to special fitness and dance classes:

• Monday 13 January – Zumba Toning, 15.00 – 15.30 – book now
• Wednesday 15 January – BoxFit, 11.00 – 12.00 – book now
• Friday 17 January – Stretch, tone and relax, 14.15 – 15.00 – book now
• The Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic are also offering an exclusive massage offer: enjoy a relaxing 30-minute massage at the Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic for only £15!

To take advantage of the massage offer and free classes, please supply proof of your year of study when visiting the Sports Centre reception. Visit the Physiotherapy Clinic website for more information about our services.

BAG week logo final

BAG week – save the date

Belong and Grow – it’s your BAG week, or #BAG week took place in May 2019. The aim of the week was to celebrate diversity, promote wellbeing and encourage learning for all staff and students. The week encompassed Learning at Work Week, EDI, Mental Health awareness, Deaf awareness week, IDAHOT and the staff networks. Every event was under the umbrella of one of the aims of the week. Our ethos was that there should be something for everyone – find your ‘BAG’. What’s one person’s bag, may not be another’s.  

The week involved over 40 bookable events at Canterbury and Medway – a complete variety of events facilitated by Kent staff: 

  • Wellbeing events, such as Mindfulness, Yoga, Tai Chi, a guided walk around the Labyrinth and Reflexology.  
  • Digital training, such as Mind Mapping, MOOCS, and the digital future. 
  • EDI/Protected Characteristics sessions, such as LGBT allies, Non-Binary, You don’t look your age, Unconscious Bias, Deaf awareness.  
  • New skills and hobbies, such as writing, crochet, knitting, Park Run.  
  • Drop in sessions about Apprenticeships, Careers, a #MeToo Harassment session and our Uni Kent Boob team ran CoppaFeel information sessions.  

Kent Sport also put on special events, such as Japanese Swordsmanship, lifting and many more; making the overall total more than 50 events, all open to staff and students.

Over 400 people enjoyed events during BAG week 2019. Every event was about learning; whether a new skill, developing existing knowledge, participating in discussion, or just relaxing as part of learning how to look after your wellbeing at work.  

AND we are doing it all again in May 2020, so save the date – w/c 18th May 2020.

If you have an interest or speciality and would like to facilitate a BAG week session for us in 2020, please email LDev@kent.ac.uk

Tiernan Douieb

Alumnus Tiernan Douieb on Money Box

Comedian and alumnus Tiernan Douieb, who completed his BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre in 1999, featured on BBC Radio 4’s Money Box earlier this week, in an edition entitled ‘How to Maximize Money from Mirth’, broadcast 23 October 2019.

You might think of comedians as up on a stage in a pub, but that’s just one part of what the job entails today. Social media, streaming services and stadium tours have changed the comedy game. Instead of doing gigs to get on TV, you do TV to get people to your gig.

In the programme, Tiernan explains how he got into stand-up comedy: ‘I’ve always wanted to do performing, and the first time I did a comedy gig instead of acting it was like a compulsion – you suddenly realise that’s what you need to do.’

Tiernan’s has contributed to the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive in the Templeman Library, including material relating to the many projects he has organised as well as solo performances.

The episode can be heard here (with Tiernan first featuring at about 3’30” into the programme).

Sport, community and Christianity through a feminist lens

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series Chris Deacy, Head of the Department of Religious Studies, interviews Dr Dawn Llewellyn, Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies at the University of Chester.

Chris and Dawn also discuss the importance of sport in her family and Dawn talks about the importance in her life of open water swimming which has led her to swimming the English Channel. They talk about the importance of having a counterpoint to our ‘day jobs’, and the different forms that they can take, and the importance of community. For example, Dawn talks about how her PhD looked at the way women use literature to reinforce their sense of self, and of forming communities and how a book can be a friend.