Category Archives: Uncategorized

Finance

New Finance Authorisation Process

A working group in Finance have been working on a new solution for requesting financial approvals as part of the ongoing focus on simplifying how we work through Organising for Success.   

In the next couple of weeks, all financial approval requests will move to a SharePointbased Financial Authority form under a new process developed with input from the Directors of DivisionThe form includes all areas needing financial approval and reporting access, and is automatically passed on the appropriate approver once it is submitted. Once approved, the form routes to UBW Help for processing and for creating and updating workflows. 

This move away from the existing paper-based process is designed to make applications easier to complete and approve. The new form will be visible and editable by the applicant, with reports to Finance Managers detailing financial approvers in their areas made available shortly. 

Due to the scale of the changes for both Divisions and PSDs, all existing approvers will also need to complete the forms to enable us to close the existing workflows held in UBW. Support will be provided with this, with new workflows based on the SharePoint forms then be in place from 2 November. 

More detailed information will be provided to relevant finance staff across the University next week ahead of the launch. In the meantime, please contact Vicky Gatward-Warner in Finance directly if you have any further questions. 

KentVision: Progress Update

KentVision is a major project underway at the University intended to bring together a number of different administrative processes and simplify how we support the student journey. 

As a complex programme impacting on numerous areas of our work, getting the final scope for this right has been crucial and has required detailed work over recent months. With this now in place, the project is now nearing the testing and approval stage ahead of launching in January 2021. 

KentVision aims 

As well as replacing the expiring Student Data System (SDS), KentVision is designed to introduce simpler and more consistent ways to input, manage and process student data across the University. This will in turn support wider work to reduce bureaucracy and improve the ways we work at Kent. Its objectives are to: 

  • Provide an administrative journey that is clear, informative and seamless to all applicants and students. 
  • Create a united academic administration across Central Services and Divisions, giving us a single source of highquality authoritative data. 
  • Refine student administration, reducing administrative effort for staff across the University 
  • Improve processes and deliver full IT enablement, using standard SITS capability to maximum advantage and enabling fully integrated mobile-enabled services for students and staff. 

Next steps 

After a lengthy and at times challenging initial development phase, the KentVision project is now fully on track against an agreed timeline to launch in January 2021. Key staff will be invited to take part in detailed testing work throughout the coming monthsahead of a broader training programme for wider staff later in the autumn awe prepare for full data migration. After launching in January, the project will move towards ongoing support for staff as they adapt to new system, while also working together with users to identify improvements and ensure we make the most of the multiple benefits KentVision will offer.  

Find out more about KentVision 

Financial Sustainability: May Update

Following last month’s update on the programme of activity required to return the University to a financially sustainable footing, work is continuing to carefully reduce costs while specifically targeting increase in income in areas that make sense. 

Staff Cost Savings 

Work has continued with the JSNCC on proposals to mitigate the need for redundancies in order to deliver the staff savings required this year, with a number of proposals either in effect or under consultationThis includes suggested changes to the University’s Reward Strategy, which staff are invited to give feedback on before 5 June, alongside specific proposals regarding promotions and discretionary payments for some senior staff.  

Cash & Capital Approvals 

A number of measures have been introduced to reduce our day-to-day costs, building on the good work already underway in a number of areas to reduce staff costs. This includes restrictions on both credit cards and travel use, work with budget holders to reduce end-of-year spend and tighter control on the use of external providers. 

Business Improvement & Value for Money 

Recent changes to our European strategy are now being implemented, centred around a strong hub in Brussels supported by an increased focus on partnerships with universities across Europe. Alongside this, progress has been made in a number of areas in exploring online opportunities through Future Learn as part of ways to complement on-campus teaching in the future. 

Find out more on the Financial Sustainability and Improvement programme. 

KVSS

Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme: Application deadline

Following the extension to the scheme due to the disruption caused by Covid-19, the current window for KVSS applications will close on 24 May.

This additional window of the scheme was introduced in light of the University’s financial situation and the need to make significant savings in staffing costs this year. It is open to specific groups of staff, including those in areas where we know that savings will need to be made. Full details, including information on how to apply, are available on the HR staff webpages.

There will be a final window of KVSS only for those staff who are formally put at risk of redundancy as a result of changes under Organising for Success. Unless you are formally put at risk of redundancy under Organising for Success then the 24 May deadline will be the final opportunity to apply. If we are in a position where we need to make further staff savings next year, we will unfortunately not be able to provide terms as generous as KVSS.

All staff interested in applying are encouraged to discuss with either HR or their line manager for further details about how the scheme works. If you would like to discuss this confidentially or would like impartial advice, please remember that the Employee Assistance Programme is available 24/7, with more information on the Occupational Health staff webpages.

Find out more about the Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme

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.