Category Archives: Uncategorized

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. 

Clearing 2021 – get involved

Help us to make Clearing 2021 a success! We need help and support from everyone; particularly around offer-making, staffing the hotline and making calls to prospective students.

The 2021 Clearing campaign was soft-launched in May, raising awareness and collecting leads from students who were thinking about using Clearing for back-up,  because they haven’t yet applied or want to change their subject or university.

Clearing ‘proper’ opened on 5 July and applications are already being processed for those who have their results. The extensive campaign is phased across awareness, consideration and decision and uses a wide range of media, targeted to specific audiences. Digital platforms TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Google are a major part of the advertising but also included are Spotify, mobile phone in-app, YouTube and Snapchat.  More traditionally, and important for both students and their influencers, there will be adverts on billboards and at bus stops, radio, SkyAdsmart, in the local press, and email campaigns through 3rd party specialists, all driven by data showing where Kent’s potential students are living and studying.

All the leads we generate, either as enquirers or applicants, will become part of our nurture and conversion email campaigns which are designed to build a relationship between the student (or supporter) and the University, focusing on the supportive and diverse student community, academic and personal support and highlighting the accommodation guarantee and free sports membership offers.

Get involved

If you’re able to help, particularly on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 August, and you’re not already on a Clearing rota, please get in touch with Laetitia Gullett via schoolsliaison@kent.ac.uk.

Full training will be given and, for anyone who hasn’t done it before, it is a really rewarding experience. Clearing will be run remotely so we can guarantee we have the staff cover we need, with full support for everyone taking part and supervisors on hand to help at all times.

Thank you for all your help and support.

Kent People: International Partnerships team

Can you tell us about International Partnerships’ role at Kent?

We’re here to enhance the University’s global profile through a range of activities, including managing student and staff exchange programmes, virtual exchange projects and supporting visiting faculties.

We strengthen partnerships by engaging with international education and funding organisations, identifying which ones lead to direct income generation and collaborating with high-calibre institutions.

As well as supporting partnership activity across the Divisions, we are responsible for:

  • identifying appropriate models for collaboration
  • negotiating agreements and assessing each partnership.
  • designing institutional strategies and policies for different agreement types
  • leading on legal factors taking account of business risk and academic requirements
  • auditing existing partnerships, ensuring they’re consistent with institutional standards.

Who’s who within your team?

Our experienced study abroad team, Janet Wilson-Sharp, Françoise McKee and Katie Rowberry, look after our student and staff exchange programmes, with around 1,000 incoming and outgoing students each year.

International Partnership Officers, Jan Lowe, Emma Marku and Katy Thompson, play a key role in partnership development, agreement negotiation and strategic planning. Primrose Paskins, our Senior International Partnerships Officer, oversees institutional approval and due diligence processes, while Head of International Partnerships, Hannah McNorton manages our partnership activity, taking the lead on developing institutional strategy.

From top left: Françoise McKee, Emma Marku, Janet Wilson-Sharp, middle left: Katie Rowberry, Hannah McNorton, bottom left: Katy Thompson, Primrose Paskins, Jan Lowe

Who does the University have partnerships with and how do you work with them?

We work with many prestigious European and international HE institutions on student and staff exchanges, dual awards, research collaboration and enterprise links.

For incoming and outgoing students, we work closely with our partnered colleagues, helping with their enrolment on our programmes, accommodation, study visas, insurance and other practical matters. The University of Ghent and Hong Kong Baptist University are two of our multilateral partners and, together, we develop Master’s programmes, doctoral training, jointly supervised PhDs (Ghent), and other collaborative projects.

Our membership in the 3i University Network: Interregional Internationalisation Initiative is an example of the far-reaching impact of international networks, bringing together higher education, local and regional businesses and governmental organisations to identify strategies and address shared challenges. The network is hosting a series of workshops in June, with us leading on Energy & Climate change.

Additionally, our membership of the SGroup Universities in Europe, has provided a number of mobility opportunities for both students and staff.

How have Brexit and Covid impacted your area of work, and what’s been your response?

Brexit has brought a host of challenges and we’ve had to find new pathways to work with our European partners; legally, academically, and economically. We have developed new models of agreements for our existing university partners and adapted the way we enter into networks and collaborations. It’s given us the opportunity to future-proof our processes and enhance our creativity, innovation and sustainability, while pushing us to new areas of research.  

The Covid pandemic has cast unforeseen challenges, most notably suspending our international student exchange programme for the academic year 2020-21. But our approach for 2021-22 is to honour students’ wishes to study or work overseas when it is safe and practicable. Our wider planning has also been affected as we look ahead to international partnership development in a post-Covid era.

Yet, there’s also been some positive impact. For example, we now have an effective digital method for collaboration, which means we’re able to communicate more frequently with our partners. Our co-curricular virtual exchange initiative GLO (Global Learning Online) has also strengthened, with hundreds of students embracing online opportunities over the past year.

Can you tell us what you’re currently working on, as well as your longer-term goals?

Following Brexit, the UK is no longer a member of the Erasmus+ student exchange programme. However, any funding secured pre-Brexit can be used until the project end date, so we will continue to support staff and students under Erasmus until 31 May 2023. Beyond that, we’re currently working with universities across Europe to establish bilateral agreements, allowing us to continue our European exchange activities.

We’ve recently submitted the University’s first funding bid to the UK government’s new Turing Scheme, which will allow us to support students on placements throughout the world. Subject to a successful bid, we aim to create new international opportunities such as summer schools and internships.

Our longer-term goals are to design a flexible international mobility experience, fit for a changing student demographic and to work with high-calibre institutions who share our values. We’ll be prioritising international relationships that lead to multi-lateral partnerships, ensuring our approach remains agile in an ever-changing environment.

How can staff find out more and get involved with your work?

We encourage colleagues to talk to the international contacts in their Division. You can also talk to us directly at internationalpartnerships@kent.ac.uk

Kent Cyber-Security Spin-Out Acquired By Crossword Cybersecurity

Verifiable Credentials Ltd (VCL), a University of Kent spin-out, has recently been purchased by technology commercialisation company, Crossword Cybersecurity Plc, following CEO and Professor David Chadwick’s work to prove the commercial viability of the cyber security technology developed at Kent.

Crossword Cybersecurity was first introduced to VCL when David Chadwick, as Professor of Information Systems Security at the University of Kent, brought his academic team to participate in the InnovateUK / UKRI CyberASAP programme in 2019. The programme aims to help academics commercialise their cyber security ideas, and includes support and training from Crossword. This helped David Chadwick to convert the new technology resulting from his academic research into a commercial product.

The technology, known as Identiproof, is central to the issuing of digital certificates and documents that cannot be forged or transferred, and that respect the privacy of the holders of those certificates. It does this through the process of selective disclosure, whereby the recipient requests the minimum of information in conformance with GDPR. It is currently being used in a UK Government funded trial of COVID-19 certificates for East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT), and has applications including digital ticketing, certificates, licenses, memberships, passports, proof of ownerships, and more.

Having agreed to pay up to £2.75 million to acquire VCL, Crossword will not only gain this innovative technology, but also access to David Chadwick’s expertise in the field of digital identity and verifiable credentials, when he takes on the role of Product Director at the company. He will be joined at Crossword by VCL’s specialist development team.

David Chadwick said of the relationship, “Identiproof is unique in the market and with Crossword’s great structure, connections and sales team – we’re expecting to achieve excellent revenue growth.”

Tom Ilube, CEO of Crossword Cybersecurity plc, added, ‘VCL has unique knowledge and a fantastic product in the new era of W3C verifiable credentials – which can and should power COVID certificates as well as all manner of digital, secure and privacy-respecting credentials, certificates, tickets and proofs of ownership. We know Professor Chadwick and his start-up team well from CyberASAP and believe Identiproof is a perfect fit for Crossword as our third product. This acquisition comes at a time when we are experiencing great success from strategies to increase Rizikon market penetration, particularly the launch of Rizikon Pro. In the last 6 months this has increased 10 fold, with the number of Rizikon users exceeding 250.’

Shane Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation at Kent, commented, ‘The acquisition of Verifiable Credentials Ltd by Crossword Cybersecurity is a fantastic opportunity for both parties. Since first engaging with David and his team at Innovate UK’s Cyber ASAP programme two years ago, Crossword have shown enthusiasm and support for the start-up, driving a strong collaborative relationship between the two. This acquisition further confirms Crossword’s recognition of the value that academic knowledge fostered at Kent can bring to the process of innovation.’

Professor David Chadwick has an ongoing association as an Honorary member of the Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS), at the University of Kent. iCSS represent the University as one of only 19 universities in the UK recognised as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR).