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Head of Colleges talking to student

Hello from your Head of Colleges

Hello, how are you doing? 

Things may not have gotten off to the start you expected this term. It is okay to feel a bit wrong-footed, I know I doMaking and keeping connections with each other seems vitally important and I really want to help with that. 

If you are in your College accommodation on campus, in private accommodation in Canterbury or staying back at homethe College and Community Life team is still here. We are on the campuses, on the phone and on Teams, and if we can offer you support or advice on any worries you might have, small or large, you would be really welcome to our helpWoffer events, mediation and advice to support you. No matter where you are now, wwant to stay connected with you. 

Walso understand the challenges around making connections with other students and we have student volunteers hosting regular informal games, chats, craft activities on Zoom. We have noticed that student volunteers and guests have a better experience if you join in and say hello (and have your camera on, at least for some of the time) but you are welcome to engage as works best for you. These are sessions for students hosted by students so, no pressure.   

We really want to make stronger College connections first, so College Committeeswhere students like you can share ideas and plan your own College events, will be meeting very soon. The Residential Life Assistants will invite you to be a volunteer and join your College’s Committee, so look out for their email and go to see them at the Kent Union Fresher’s Fair on 4 February 

Do let us know if we can help you further at all.  

Best wishes, 

Jacqui Double

Head of Colleges 

Time to Talk

Time to Talk Day: Thursday 4 February

Next week on 4 February it is Time to Talk day, with this year’s theme being the Power of Small’. 

Time to Talk is an initiative run by mental health charity Time to Change. The national awareness-raising day aims to show how small conversations about mental health have the power to make a big difference. 

Although it may be a little different this year, times like this that open conversations about mental health are more important than ever, and there are a number of ways you can get involved at Kent. 

Get involved with Time to Talk 

  • Time to Change are holding a virtual festival 3-4 Feb, a day of online activities that anyone can join – there are also have links to many other things that you can do to help stay in contact with others and support your mental health 
  • On the 4 and 12 February, Talent and Organisational Development have organised sessions on Mental Health for Managers, which are bookable via staff connect   
  • A new online module on Mental Health Awareness will be released to all staff on 4 February via staff training Moodle 

Coming soon 

We want everybody to feel they have the support they need at Kent to feel heathy and well at work, as part of an open culture that recognises and respects the impact work can have on our wellbeing.  

Our Occupational Health team has a number of ways they can help staff with looking after their mental health, with out new ‘One Stop Shop’ bringing together all of our mental health awareness resources in one place so they are easier for staff to access. This includes our Employee Assistance Programme, which offers free, confidential advice to staff whenever they need it 

A project team including staff from across the University are also currently working on putting in place the recommendations from the Stevenson / Farmer Thriving at Work review, which focuses on mental health in the workplace standards. Over the coming months, the team will be raising awareness of resources already in place to support staff across the University, along with establishing networks, training and support so that we create environments where staff feel healthy, safe and supported. 

Using technology to develop inclusive learning experiences

The E-Learning Team are pleased to announce that the next event in our series of ‘Digitally Enhanced Education webinars’ will take place on Friday 5 February, 10.00 – 12.10 with a theme of ‘Technology to Develop Inclusive Learning Experiences’.

Please find the agenda for the event below.

10.00 – 10.05 – Dr Phil Anthony: Introduction

10.05 – 10.20 – Ben Watson: Digital accessibility as the fundamental building block for good user experience

10.20 – 10.35 – Paul-Georg (Postgraduate research student in Kent Law School): What technology for inclusion means to me

10.35 – 10.50 – Dr Stefano Biagini: Strategies to improve Accessibility and Inclusivity in Higher Education

10.50 – 11.05 – Matthew Deeprose (University of Southampton): Making it simple to ensure the use of colour is both on brand and accessible.

11.05 – 11.20 – George Rhodes (Accessibility Consultant): Mapping public sector accessibility legislation compliance

11.20 – 11.35 – Daniel Clark (University of Kent): Catalyst or Distraction: The Global Pandemic and its Impact on Digital Accessibility in Higher Education

11.35 – 11.50 – Claire Gardener (University of Derby): Digital Accessibility at Derby

11.50 – 12.05 – Ian Woolner (Microsoft): Accessibility tools in Microsoft 365

If you would like to join the webinar series, please express your interest by enrolling on the Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars Moodle module, or by requesting access to the Team Digitally Enhanced Education webinars linked to the webinar series.

Colleagues from outside the University of Kent are very welcome to join and so feel free to circulate. Please register your interest via the link here if you haven’t already. We will send you an invitation to join the Microsoft Teams site.

We hope to see you there.

The E-Learning team

Support at Canterbury

We understand that this year is going to be different and you may feel like you need additional support when it comes to studying online and looking after your wellbeing. But please don’t worry, there are loads of people on hand at the University to help. This blog outlines the support on offer and how to get in contact.

First points of contact

The Colleges that make up the Canterbury and Medway campuses are made up of the friendly Colleges and Community Life Team, who are a first point of contact for any kind of assistance, advice and support.

You can also get in touch with your School if you have a query. Your School should be able to help you or point you in the right direction for further support.

Support with your studies

Studying for a degree is very different to studying at school. You have a lot more control over your learning and greater independence.

You will also be asked to do things you’ve never had to do before (eg referencing in a certain way or writing a dissertation). This is where the Student Learning and Advisory Service (SLAS for short) steps in. SLAS can help you with everything from perfecting your essay writing to learning how to reference properly.

As part of our blended learning approach, you may want to take our Online Learning at Kent: A Guide to Successful Study moodle module to help familiarise yourself with online study. You can also find more help with your studies on the coronavirus studying webpage.

Don’t forget your School is also there to help you with your studies and offer a range of study support.

Have you checked in with Student Support and Wellbeing?

If you have a disability, chronic condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or autism, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing to see how they can help you make the most of your university journey.

We have a team of expert staff who can help you face the challenges of studying, socialising and living independently, whatever else you might be going through, whether it’s something you’re experiencing for the first time at university or something you have dealt with for a while.

There is also a free confidential counselling service which offers you a safe space to address issues concerning you and can help get thoughts, feelings, behaviour and perspective on life back in balance again.

Kent Union

Kent Union are your Students’ Union at Canterbury. From money worries to housing issues, academic problems to visa support, Kent Union’s Student Advice Centre is available to help through their free, impartial and confidential advice service.

You can also get in touch with your Kent Union full-time officers who are each responsible for specific areas within the Union.

Medical advice

Kent has its own NHS general practice on campus called the University Medical Centre. There’s also an independent pharmacy next door, so you don’t have to go far when you’re feeling under the weather.

Our University Nursing Service is available 24/7 during term-time. Currently you need to call the Nursing Service on 01227 469333 before visiting them.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms or have been asked to self-isolate, please see our coronavirus health and wellbeing page.

Chaplaincy

University Chaplains run a wide range of religious and social events. They are also a good contact for advice and support. You can also see their guidance around socially distanced faith and worship.

 

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. 

Things to do on and off campus – Week starting 28th September

We have put together a selection of activities that you can get stuck in this week.

On Campus

We have a few in-person activities that you can attend.

Pleasure in Painting Exhibition – Keynes College

By a Kent Alumnus, ‘Pleasure in Painting’, is on display in Keynes College on two levels in the Atrium for the Autumn term.

College Life Photo Competition – Everywhere!

Submit a photo a day for the next 2 weeks themed around your College and University Life! Prizes to be won… did someone say a cash prize!?

Walking College Trail

Explore the campus, discover your college, and get some fresh air on our self-guided tour around the University!

Social RunMonday and Thursday 5 – 6pm

Sign-in, meet your running partners, and set-off.

Joker: Free Outdoor Screening – Wednesday 8 – 10:30 pm

Another chance to see Joaquin Phoenix’s sensational performance as Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society and his journey that led to the Joker. To support social distancing, you can book a ‘zone’ for up to 3 members of the same household/bubble.

Bohemian Rhapsody: Free Outdoor Screening – Saturday 8 – 10:30 pm

Rami Malek shines as Freddie Mercury in this foot-stomping celebration of Queen leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985). To support social distancing, you can book a ‘zone’ for up to 3 people from the same household/bubble.

Gulbenkian Cafe

You can also pop into the Gulbenkian Café for lunch, they are open between Monday to Friday from 12:00 to-2.30.

Off Campus

While you have a bit of spare time on your hands why don’t you get to know your student town? Whether you are at Canterbury or Medway, you will find that both towns have a lot to offer.

Student Canterbury Shopping Week

Students – welcome (back) to Canterbury! We are delighted that you will be studying in our beautiful city and look forward to seeing you in Whitefriars soon. Enjoy some exclusive discounts that are available to you over the next two weeks within Whitefriars and the rest of the City!

Canterbury’s Pride – The Story of Pride Canterbury

With Pride Canterbury delayed until 2021, this exhibition allows you to experience a little bit of Canterbury’s Pride, through photography and film, giving you the background to Pride’s origins.

City Feast 2020

A new weekly Street Food Market will take place in central Canterbury on Guildhall street (just off the high street), creating a unique environment and vibe for enjoying some of the best street food Kent has to offer. The Market will run from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.

Cathedral to Coast Cycle Ride – Canterbury to Dover

Undertake your own Pilgrim’s Progress on this 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.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham

This is Chatham’s holy grail and steeped in history. The Crown and Call the Midwife have been filmed here along with many films. A visit here will ensure you return to the ‘Age of Sail’ when the Dockyard built mighty ships that mastered the world’s oceans. Test your sea legs as you peer through the periscope of HMS Ocelot, a Cold War Submarine; take charge on the bridge of HMS Cavalier, a Second World War Destroyer; and ring the ship’s bell on the deck of HMS Gannet, our Victorian Sloop.  Watch our Master Ropemakers at work using centuries-old techniques on in our Victorian Ropery.

Brogdale Farm Orchard Walks

For anyone seeking to escape the house or office for some fresh air and gorgeous countryside, the Orchard Walks at Brogdale Collections are an ideal option. Brogdale Collections, based near Faversham, hosts the country’s National Fruit Collections and is home to the largest collection of temperate fruit in the world.  The charity has opened its beautiful orchards and operating self-guided walks so visitors can enjoy the hundreds of fruit trees.

Walking on the White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover are perhaps most famous as an iconic landmark, the white chalk face a symbol of home and wartime defence, but they have so much more to offer; stunning views, a serene walk, a wealth of wildlife, an abundance of history and, most importantly, two tea rooms offering delicious treats. It’s a short train or bus journey away.

The Beaney Collection

The Beaney has completed a ground-breaking 18-month long volunteer project, designed specifically for students affected by anxiety. It was funded by the Museums Association Esmée Fairbairn Collections.

Heritage Walk Treasure Hunt

Take a quirky, self-guided heritage walks with a treasure hunt theme – looping around the better-known sights, as well as some of the more unusual and quirky ones, which combined make Canterbury an amazing place to explore! You’ll get detailed directions, a map, clues (with answers in the back!), pictures to march, and some interesting snippets about the history of Canterbury and the people that have shaped it.

At Home

Bond with your housemates by chilling out with a DVD boxset or binge-watching a great TV series or film. Netflix, Amazon, and Apple TV have some great options.

 

Movie Monday

GKSU are hosting Movie Monday today where they will screen a film of your choice. The event will take place at the Deep End between 17.00 to 23.00 and will offer you a big screen movie experience.

The film will be decided via Facebook Poll so keep an eye out on our Facebook Page.

We recommend booking for this event to avoid disappointment.

If you have any questions, please email hello@gksu.co.uk.

coffee

Join us at our virtual Wellbeing Cafes

We are hosting a series of virtual Wellbeing Cafes for our students. The aim is for you to meet and network with other students and gain emotional support. We will explore general mental health themes such as dealing with anxiety and managing your mood. There will also be time for you to unwind and have fun by taking part in games and creative pursuits. This will take part in a friendly and informal setting.

The Wellbeing Cafes take place on the following dates:

Monday 14 September

Monday 21 September

Monday 28 September

Monday 5 October

Please email wellbeingevents@kent.ac.uk to request the link for the meeting at least 2 hours before.

The cafes are manned by a member of staff but they are happy to hear from students who wish to take the lead.

Virtual Student Services Welcome Fair

The Virtual Student Services Welcome Fair takes place on Tuesday 22 September between 10::00 to 12.30. This event is an opportunity for students to find out about all the different support services the university offers. You will be able to talk to our support teams, and discover more about how we can help and support you while you’re here. Also on hand will be staff from The Gulbenkian, Kent Sport, Kent Union and GKSU explaining what they offer.

Read all about the Virtual Student Services Welcome Fair.

 

Chat to our International Team

Drop in to our live chat starting this week until 25 September, we will be available Monday – Friday, 06.00 – 17.00, via instant messenger on our Getting Started pages for international students.

We will be available to answer any questions you may have about your arrival to Kent and help support your through your first weeks at Kent. We are looking forward to welcoming you to Kent and hopefully can chat with you soon.