Category Archives: Uncategorized

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).

Students on grass at Canterbury campus

What Covid-19 rules are changing from 29 March?

On Monday 29 March we move into the next stage of the Government’s easing of lockdown – but was does that mean for you?

Here is a quick summary of the changes:

  • The rule of 6 returns
    You may meet outdoors, including in private gardens, with 5 other people not in your household (the ‘Rule of 6’) or as 2 households. Indoor socialising is still not permitted.
  • Kent Sport will start to reopen for outdoor sport
    You may take part in outdoor sporting activities including team sports. The planned reopening of our sports facilities is outlined on our Kent Sport website.
  • ‘Stay at home’ rule ends
    The ‘stay at home’ rule ends on 29 March however please continue to minimise travel where you can.

Please see our recent student email for full details.

Get tested for Covid-19 and get a free coffee

If you’re using University facilities, please continue to get regular asymptomatic Covid-19 tests. And to say thanks, we are giving students on our Canterbury campus a free hot drink.

Find out more and book a test.

Wooden map of the world with pins

Turing global mobility scheme launched

The Turing Scheme is the UK government’s scheme to provide funding for international opportunities in education and training across the world. It supports Global Britain by providing an opportunity for UK organisations from the higher education, further education, vocational education and training and schools sectors to offer their students, learners and pupils life-changing experiences to study or work abroad.

Launched earlier this year, following the UK’s departure from the EU, the Turing scheme is a replacement for the UK’s participation in the EU Erasmus Programme, which will cease as current Erasmus projects reach an end, by May 2023.

The Turing Scheme will provide grants for students from UK institutions to study or work abroad for periods of four weeks to 12 months, starting in September 2021. There is a focus on widening access with additional funding for less advantaged students.

Applications from UK institutions to the Turing Scheme are now open and International Partnerships is leading Kent’s submission, in consultation with Divisions and other relevant parties across the University.

Subject to the outcome of our application and the levels of funding available, Kent students due to carry out an international study or work placement in 2021-22, who are not already covered by the Erasmus funding we have secured until 31 May 2023, will be supported by the Turing Scheme.

In addition, we hope to provide funding to encourage other Kent students to participate in shorter-term international placements (eg summer schools).

We will be working closely with colleagues in academic schools to provide more information about the opportunities available to students and further details of how the scheme will be implemented.

For more details, please contact internationalpartnerships@kent.ac.uk

Or visit the Turing website

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.