Person using laptop

Withdrawal of GOEsend service on 10 March: use OneDrive instead

The GOEsend service, which lets you send large files by email, will be retired on 10 March.

If you use GOEsend, note that any files you’ve shared won’t be available to the recipient from 10 March.

To share large files, you can use OneDrive instead: save the file to your OneDrive and share it from there. Files can be shared with students, staff or external contacts.

Sensitive files

You can also use OneDrive to share sensitive files securely within the University and with external contacts.

We don’t currently offer encryption for files containing sensitive data. Be aware that if you share a file of this nature with an external contact, they can download it and forward it, so make sure you have a written agreement with them that they won’t share the document further.

Encryption of files for confidentiality is under development. This will enable you to share files with only specific contacts and prevent any onward forwarding.

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Care first webinars w/c 22 February 2021

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 22 February – Friday 26 February webinars are as follows:

Monday 22 February 2021 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link.

Tuesday 23 February 2021 -‘Updates to Care first Lifestyle’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 24 February 2021 – ‘How making small changes to your diet & exercise can have a positive impact on your wellbeing’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 25 February 2021 – ‘How the pandemic could affect the way organisations do business’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 26 February 2021 – ‘Keeping optimistic during the Pandemic’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

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Student update ahead of Monday’s government announcement

From From Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience 

Many of you will know that the Government is scheduled to make an announcement on Monday 22 February outlining how the national lockdown restrictions are to be eased. We expect that this announcement will include specific guidance for education providers and anticipate that it will outline the Government’s plans for university students’ phased return to face-to-face teaching on campus. 

After next week’s announcement, we will contact you as soon as possible to let you know how the Government’s latest guidance may influence your teaching arrangements, travel plans and the Covid-19 testing programme. Until then please stay where you are and continue to study online. Please do not make any plans to return to campus until we contact you confirming that it is safe and permitted for you to do so. 

Our priority now, as it has been throughout the pandemic, is the safety and wellbeing of our entire university community. We have audited all our teaching and social spaces to ensure we can accommodate 2m social distancing across campus. This has significant impacts on the capacity of our academic and social spaces for teaching and studying (eg library). 

Therefore, we have started to prioritise the return of students to campus for activities that are essential to academic progression which may include access to specialist facilities. With these exceptions, we anticipate that significant amounts of our teaching will need to remain online for the remainder of this term. However, working with Divisions we will continue to ensure that your stage and programme learning outcomes are met.   

For those of you who are already living back on campus or if you are accessing any campus facilities, please can I remind you it is vital you are tested regularly for Covid-19. Providing you don’t have symptoms, please ensure you get tested twice each week at our campus testing facilities at both Canterbury and Medway. You can also get tested at your nearest community facility. 

I will be in touch with you next week once we have assessed the impact of Monday’s Government announcement.  

Please also sign up to our next Student Web Chat on 3 March 2021 where we will discuss these issues in more detail 

With best wishes,

Richard

From Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience 

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Study Plus opportunities this week (22-26 February)

Our Study Plus scheme provides a range of free short-term courses and workshops which can enhance your graduate employability skills alongside your main subject specialism. Here are some of the upcoming events you can sign up for:

Study Plus Can I say that? An introduction to inclusive language and reclaimed words by Sal Pearman, Monday 22 February 14.30-16.30 

The focus of this session the focus will be around language, phrasing, championing and challenging. We will share best practice models, research and advice to ensure attendees feel confident to talk about Equality and Identity in an inclusive and thoughtful way. In the workshop we will explore:

  • Can I say that? Looking at current news stories and challenges
  • Exploring what we mean by ‘tone of voice’ in organisations
  • Guiding principles and best practice
  • Weaponised language and reclaimed words
  • Surgery session

Study Plus – LGBT What does it mean? by Sal Pearman, Tuesday 23 February 13.00-15.00

This two-hour webinar will create an opportunity to better understand it’s context in championing and supporting people’s rights, it’s context within the law, and what positive steps we can take. We will cover

  • What does LGBT+ mean?
  • What are the separate identities and communities that make up the LGBT banner?
  • How homophobia, biphobia and transphobia can creep into our everyday language and behaviours
  • What we can all do to be better LGBT+ allies
  • Space for questions and storytelling

Study Plus – Developing a Growth Mindset by Ali Whelan, Wednesday 24 February 11.00-12.30

Overall objective = To promote the concept of continuous personal development, positive curiosity and resilience to succeed.

  • What is a growth mindset
  • Fixed mindset v Growth Mindset – 5 key areas
  • The power of ‘yet’
  • The role of feedback

Study Plus – ASPIRE Workshop 11 – What do investors want? Wednesday 24 February 15.00-17.00

Have you got what it takes to walk into the dragons’ den? Find out what investors are looking for in a start-up and how to build an investible business.

Study Plus – Presentation Skills Part 1 By Leanne Davies, Thursday 25 February 13.00-16.00

The aim of this learning experience is to assist you to plan and practice your next presentation (whether it be Virtual or Face-to-Face) so that you can deliver it with confidence, keep your audience engaged and make your message memorable.

Study Plus – Goal setting and Action Planning by Jeffrey Wotherspoon, Friday 26 February 14.00-15.30

  • Learn the benefits of goal setting and why you should set them
  • Explore a perspective that makes goal setting motivational and encouraging rather than a pressured activity that causes disappointment
  • Learn a framework to use to set goals and tips on how to make it work for you
  • Set goals and develop an action plan

Learn more about Study Plus.

Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 18 February 2021

This week’s staff web chat focused on the financial impact of Covid-19 on the University as well as the ongoing work to deliver our Financial Improvement Programme.

As I have previously mentioned, we have made significant progress in addressing our underlying deficit. My thanks go to you all for the hard work that has been done in support of this.

As a result, we have now secured funding from our lenders through until 2024 which will provide greater stability into the future, enabling us to manage cash flow volatility and move to a sustainable financial position over this period. However, this is contingent on the continued delivery of our financial improvements and move away from a deficit operating position.

You will be aware that Covid-19 has had a considerable impact on our commercial income. Combined with Brexit and associated changes to the fee status of EU students, this creates uncertainty with regard to overall student recruitment as well. Despite improvements to our marketing activity, we are at risk of falling behind our revised targets, especially overseas and postgraduate taught. This means that, in the short term, we continue to face considerable financial risks.

While we have made allowances for Covid-related income loss in our financial forecasts, the situation remains highly volatile. If any income drop is greater than we have contingency planned for, we may have to make additional savings.

We will do everything we can to avoid further losses. Over the coming months, we will continue to monitor our income risks so that we can respond quickly if looks like we won’t be able to meet our financial forecasts. We will continue to keep you updated and in touch as the situation develops. We are committed to being as open and transparent as possible about our financial position.

Our priority is still to deliver our improvement plan, increase our income and provide the stability we need to deliver the best possible teaching, research & innovation and student experience and continue to deliver regional, national and international impact through our work.

I am convinced that, if we continue to work together to overcome the short-term challenges presented by Covid-19, we have a very promising future here at Kent.

Thank you again for your continued work to support this. If you were unable to attend the web chat, please do view the recording which is now available online,

With my very best wishes to you and your families,

Karen

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

 

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Sustainability consultation – have your say!

The Sustainability Team has opened up a number of key strategies for consultation to get student and staff’s say on sustainability at the University.

The University has a number of operational strategies that support our transition to a more sustainable institution which are due for renewal this summer. The Sustainability Team are running an open consultation on some of these strategies as they go through the process of being refreshed over this academic year. The strategies are owned by a number of departments across the University including the Estates Department, the Safety, Health and Environment and Kent Hospitality.

The strategies include our Carbon Management Plan; Sustainable Food; Landscape and Biodiversity; and Waste and Recycling strategies.

The Sustainability Team have put together a consultation form for each strategy asking for students and staff to input their thoughts and ideas on a number of sustainability issues across our operational work. Collaboration is key to the work that we do in the Sustainability team and we need to hear from staff and students across the organisation to help us navigate the complex road to sustainability.

Reponses from these forms will be collated by the Sustainability Team and fed back to the strategy owner where they will be reviewed. Not all responses and ideas will make it in to the final strategies as decisions around affordability, timescales and achievability will have to be made. However, we are hopeful that we can get a real insight into your priorities that we can then reflect in our short and longer term targets, as well as integrate ideas that we would not have come up with ourselves.

The initial consultation will be open for 4 weeks closing on 19 March . Full details of the timeline and links to the consultation forms can be found on our website.

LGBT+ History Month – This is Not My First PANDEMIC

The University of Kent LGBT+ Staff Network is pleased to invite you to the final event in our series to mark LGBT+ History Month 2021. ‘This Is Not My First PANDEMIC – The LGBT+ Community Response to AIDS & Covid: then & now’ will take place on Thursday 25 February from 18.00-20.00.

The Programme

During the Teams event, we will hear from three speakers about the impact of the AIDS and Covid-19 pandemics on our community, drawing parallels between the two:

  • Jose C. Mejia, HIV Peer Support Manager, METRO Charity – ‘Insight on the experiences of people living with HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic: activism, triggers and vaccines’
  • Dr Ken Levine, Faculty Member, Department of Communication at Michigan State University – ‘From AIDS to COVID-19: examining the impact of messaging on the two pandemics’
  • Hilary Cooke, CEO of Medway Gender & Sexual Identity Centre, Chair of Medway Pride, founding member of Medway Pride Radio – ‘Trans realities 2021: health care, support, discrimination and hate crime’

This will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

Attendance is free and open to all. Please register your intention to attend via Eventbrite.

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No detriment measures update

From Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience 

Please note – this guidance is intended for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students only. If you are on an apprenticeship programme, please wait for further guidance from your department. 

Dear Students 

Following my email to you last week concerning our No Detriment measures, I wanted to provide more details on the approaches that have been developed to support the different circumstances you are facing in 2020/21.  

In keeping with guidance from our regulator, the Office for Students, and in line with many other universities, we are adapting our approaches this year to suit the specific impacts that Covid-19 has had on the whole of this academic year.  

Please find below answers to some of the key questions you have raised in recent days. 

What no detriment measures will be used this year? 

To ensure no student is disadvantaged because of Covid-19, our package of measures includes: 

  • More flexibility for coursework submissions and deadlines. 
  • No requirement for supporting evidence to prove the impact of Covid-19. 
  • An assurance that Boards of Examiners will offset the impact of the pandemic on your academic performance. 

This year’s measures reflect how the pandemic has affected students’ entire academic year rather than needing to mitigate for the sudden, unexpected changes to teaching from March 2020 onwards.  

Why is there no Safety Net calculation this year? 

Applying a University-wide Safety Net Calculation this year would not present a fair reflection of your academic abilities or your progress for the following reasons: 

  • The 2019-20 Safety Net Calculation, implemented in March 2020, was undertaken during a time of a sudden and unexpected disruption due to the pandemic and the need to move to remote learning.  
  • By March 2020, a significant proportion of you had completed sufficient assessments to calculate a fair and robust weighted average on which the Safety Net Calculation could be based.  
  • With national lockdowns taking place in November 2020 and January 2021 this year, there are insufficient marks already achieved to make the same calculation.  
  • Finally, academic staff planned this year’s modules and assessments to be suited for online delivery rather than needing to make unexpected changes to teaching partway through the year.  

What are the mitigations available to Boards of Examiners? 

Boards of Examiners already have powers to act to ensure there is no disadvantage to either individuals or groups of students. Boards consider individual performance as well as reviewing the performance of this year’s students against previous years.  

If Boards find evidence of an individual or group of students at a disadvantage, they already have several measures available to them. Last year, these measures were enhanced in response to the pandemic and these enhanced measures will be used once again this academic year. The full range of mitigation measures for Boards of Examiners will be published later in the term.  

In the meantime, please make sure that you complete any work that has been set to the best of your ability given your personal circumstances. 

I hope this has helped reassure you of our commitment to protecting your academic progress. Later in the term we will be revisiting this in our Student WebChat series. Please contact your student support team or our CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk mailbox if you have any urgent enquiries. 

Best wishes 

Richard 

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience 

  

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Covid-19 update – 18 February 2021

Students’ return to campus

The Government is expected to publish its latest guidance on 22 February 2021 concerning students’ return to face-to-face teaching. We anticipate that the guidance will cover how institutions should prioritise particular students’ return and how the regular testing programme should be managed on campus. At this stage, we know that the Government is likely to recommend a phased return which may centre on those subjects needing access to specialist equipment and final year students.

We know that many of our students are keen to return to campus. However, it is important that we manage expectations and ensure they do not make firm travel plans until all information is available to them. This is particularly important for any students needing to travel from other countries as the Government has announced strict new regulations concerning travel into the UK.

Our priority has been, and will continue to be, the safety of our community and ensuring we can adhere to social distancing regulations on campus. Divisions are currently working on their plans for teaching for the remainder of the academic year; these plans include requesting timetabled events where students require access to specialist equipment or spaces. Further information will be available once the Government guidance has been published.

Update on the Covid-19 Hardship Fund

The University has received £588,000 of hardship funding from the Office for Students to support students disadvantaged through the effects of Covid-19. Most of the funding is to be prioritised for “rent related hardship” and must be dispersed to students by the end of March 2021. Working in partnership with Kent Union, we have launched a scheme to support disadvantaged students who can apply to the Covid-19 Hardship Fund for a one-off payment. In phase 1, students can apply for a £500 award using a simple online form and, if successful, will receive their money in 10 working days. As of 17 February, over 1,000 students have applied to the scheme, a large percentage of the 1,200 applications that it will be possible to fund. Once that funding has been allocated, a second phase will open later in the term.

The University continues to support students in hardship in a variety of different ways, with 271 laptops distributed and 41 currently on loan to students needing technical support to study effectively. Any students needing financial support can contact the Financial Aid team, or Kent Union’s Advice Service (Canterbury) or GKSU’s Advice Centre (Medway) for more information.

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Top 10 ways to be kind to yourself and others

Being kind to yourself and others is something we should all practise and a message that’s even more important during the current pandemic and lockdown.

This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week (14-20 February). Here are some suggestions on how you can show kindness during lockdown:

1.Organise a virtual get-together for someone who’s going through a rough time.

2.Follow some positive accounts on social media, for example @kindness.news, @wholesome_planet and @the_happy_broadcast on Instagram. If a post brightens your day, share it with others.

3.Drop a note to an elderly neighbour to ask them if they need anything. Help someone feel less isolated.

4.Allow yourself breaks from study and work. A screen break can also be beneficial.

5.Take time to check in with a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while.

6. Ask for help. If you’re struggling don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling mentally, check in with our Student Support and Wellbeing Team.

7.Invite your friends list to ‘like’ the page of a local business to help it grow.

8.Offer to make your housemate a cup of tea or a meal.

9.Always say thank you. You could take the time to thank a teacher or lecturer who has helped you.

10.Take some time for yourself! Be sure to set some time aside in the week to do something you enjoy.