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Testing out a theory

Latest edition of Kent Magazine: Winter 2021/22 now available

Kent Magazine returns this winter 2021/22 to bring you all the latest news, research, and stories from the Kent community. It’s available a few different ways:

  • In print – we’ve posted copies to our alumni who have recently updated their postal address with us. If you haven’t received a copy but would like one, please email us with your current address and we’ll add you to the mailing list.
  • On our campuses, at college receptions and in magazine stands at select locations (available from Monday 24 January).
  • Online and to download as a PDF file on Issuu.com.

From graduate and staff profiles to news articles, find out what the latest edition of Kent Magazine has in store

Here are just some of the features included in the issue for you to enjoy:

Passing it forward – with Mike Wilkins MBE 

The alumni team caught up with Mike Wilkins MBE, who transformed sports at Kent, to hear about his life, career in football, and time at our university.

Using research to clean up our acts

In this article read about the research that a team of Kent psychologists undertook, which found that using carefully worded road signage can decrease the number of drivers leaving engines idling during queues at crossing barriers.

Abulrazak Gurnah

Home Office computer desk display

Care first webinars w/c 24 January 2022

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 24 January –  Friday 28 January) webinars are as follows:

Monday 24 January 2022 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please go to webinar link 

Tuesday 25 January 2022 – ‘Trying something new by stepping out of you comfort zone’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please go to webinar link

Wednesday 26 January 2022 – ‘Stress awareness’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please go to this webinar link

Thursday 27 January 2022 – ‘Parents mental health awareness‘
Time 12.00-12.30 – to register please go to this webinar link

Friday 28 January 2022 – ‘Coping with COVID uncertainty’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please go to this webinar link

Covid-19 Update: Changes from next week

From Martin Atkinson, Director of HR & Organisational Development 

Following the Government announcements on changes to Covid-19 restrictions earlier this week, there are a number of things for us to consider at Kent. While the national guidance has changed, our focus throughout the pandemic has been on keeping our entire community safe and, at this stage, that means making gradual changes so that we continue to limit the risk of infection while we return to our usual working practices.  

With that in mind, our intention is that we all treat February as a transition month where we can start to relax some of our existing measures at a pace that suits individuals in different areas while continuing to keep an eye on the situation locally.  

Returning to campus  

Any staff currently based at home are welcome to start coming back to work on campus from next week, with hybrid working arrangements back in place where relevant. Do discuss this with your line manager ahead of your return, and bear in mind when you do come back that we’ll need to keep safety at the front of our minds in busy areas in particular.   In-person meetings can also be booked where it makes sense – however, do consider what the appropriate format is for these, with a continued recommendation that we think ‘virtual-first’ given people will be working in different locations.  

Face Coverings  

We’ll also all need to recognise and respect the different situations both staff and students may be in and that some, particularly those who are more vulnerable, will be concerned about the changing picture nationally. With that in mind, our expectation is that everyone should continue to wear face coverings in teaching spaces, communal areas of our buildings and other areas where there are lots of people around. As before, in most cases those teaching classes won’t need to wear a face covering as they will have sufficient space at the front of the class.  

Face coverings can make a real difference to infection rates, along with reassuring those who are most at risk – we are also writing to students today to confirm that our current approach remains in place.  

Testing  

Everyone coming onto campus should also continue to test twice a week and register their results with the NHS – free lateral flow test kits are available on the Canterbury campus from College receptions, Campus Security, the Registry, Estates and the Templeman Library, plus at the Old Sports Hall at Medway.  

There is a lot to take in with a number of national changes happening in a short period of time – do talk this through with a manager if you have any concerns or via our Employee Assistance Scheme if you want to do this anonymously. Thank you also to all of you for your continued support with keeping each other safe throughout this period.  

Martin  

Martin Atkinson | Director of HR & Organisational Development

Weekly Engagement and Impact Surgery launched

The Research Excellence Team are organising a weekly drop-in surgery offering help and support with anything related to public & community engagement and impact.

Are you an academic wanting to find out more about sharing your research with the wider community and identifying different pathways to impact? Are you a business leader looking to find an academic partnership? Do you need help with events management, audience or stakeholder identification, event evaluation, impact evidencing, funding and grants? Then do come along.

Our surgeries take place every Wednesday from 14.00 – 16.00 during term time except in weeks when there is a Kent Public Engagement Network (KPEN) meeting. Surgeries are open to anyone including staff, students and members of the public including community and business groups.

For more information contact Jill Hurst at j.hurst-853@kent.ac.uk.

Help make this year’s Celebration Ceremonies and Congregations extra special  

Graduation is a key moment in the lives of all our students and, following the impact of the pandemic over the last couple of years, we’re keen to ensure this year’s ceremonies, from March onwards, are extra special for everyone involved.

To do this, we need the support of colleagues from right across the University. We need help with roles such as ticket collection, graduate registration, ushering and handing out certificates.

These are wonderful occasions to share with our graduates and help celebrate their success, but there’s plenty of other benefits including a free lunch/dinner, if you work two or more ceremonies. If you’re on grades 1-6, you can claim for TOIL (time off in lieu) or overtime payments. You may also be able to claim time back if you’re on a higher grade, subject to agreement with your manager.

Watch our video on how you can help make our ceremonies extra special!

Find out more

Further information on what’s involved is available in our Congregations Factsheet and you can find out more about ceremony dates here. You can also email us at congregations@kent.ac.uk if you have any questions.

If you’re ready to sign-up, please complete this form asap.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Liberty Chambers and Chloe Cooper, Congregations team.

covid test kit

Covid-19 Update: Latest Government Announcement

From Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Education & Student Experience

As some of you may have seen, earlier today the Government announced that a number of the current Covid-19 ‘Plan B’ measures will be ending on Thursday 26 January (next week). This includes ending the current guidance for people to work from home when they can, along with an immediate end to children wearing facemasks in classrooms.

We are currently working through what this will mean for us at Kent, including seeking HE-specific guidance on what the position is on face coverings in a university setting. For the time being, the current guidance around face coverings for students in teaching spaces remains in place – we will follow up with an update later this week to clarify what safety measures and working practices will be updated at Kent alongside the wider national changes.

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education & Student Experience

KentVision Project Update: January 2022

From Martin Carvey, Project Manager

As we all get back up to speed with the start of the new term, work continues at pace to address the ongoing challenges with KentVision. As I previously updated, we have been working within a more robust project management structure which has helped us more effectively identify the areas where we can make progress quickly. 

Project timelines & resource 

We are focusing our work concurrently on several workstreams, with timelines linked to both business specific priorities and the academic calendar. These are currently being finalised through individual discussions with different stakeholders, filling in any gaps in knowledge and adding their on-the-ground experience so we can show a realistic delivery roadmap for each area during February. We are also continuously assessing resource levels for the project to ensure we have the right people in the right areas, having recently brought on board four additional KentVision team members to support this. 

Stakeholder engagement 

Bringing the right people into the project has been a key priority since we reformed the project structure, with stakeholder group meetings being set up with each functional area alongside the more detailed consultations taking place. This feeds directly into the design of the delivery roadmap, and the expertise we are drawing from across the organisation is proving hugely helpful – thank you for your continued engagement with this at a time when I know many of the challenges involved with using the system remain. 

We have also now introduced our new KentVision service desk workflow to help us better triage and prioritise ongoing issues. Tickets are being assessed and prioritised before being passed onto business analysts and developers so we can maintain a tighter focus on the key deliverables now, while also better managing expectations around work still to deliver. 

KentVision continued delivery 

One area where we have been able to move things forward in some areas is around Extenuating Circumstances. While in some areas there is still work to do to fully support deployment, a list of change requests for features and functionality relating to Extenuating Circumstances are being delivered with agreed Divisions this month.  

Attendance reports are undergoing user acceptance testing ready for delivery. 

A specific KentVision training environment is also being developed as a priority to ensure future deliveries are fortified by an additional focus on training prior to launch. 

This continues to be a complex project with multiple deliverables – however, we are now making clear progress and finalising tangible plans for the remaining deliverables across the University. Thanks to you all of you for your ongoing support with the project and I will provide a further update next month. 

Martin Carvey | Project Manager

Ben Cosh on guitar

Professor Ben Cosh’s Christmas single raises money for homeless charity

Professor Ben Cosh has written and performed a Christmas song Christmas is Coming, which has raised over £400 for Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

Ben is the Director of the Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and has been at the University and in his role leading CEMS since September 2021.

He said: ‘I write, play and record music in my spare time and this was a fun project including online collaboration with some friends. The song is about Christmas having two meanings; on the one hand family, gifts and wintertime, and on the other a celebration of the birth of Jesus, which means a lot to some of us.’

The song gathered some attention in his local area and was featured in the Henley Standard. Ben said: ‘I’m a little embarrassed really. The initial reason for doing it was just to enjoy creating the song and make some music with friends. The money raised so far has been a splendid bonus. I certainly wasn’t expecting my local newspaper to pick up on it. However, I’m glad they did as it has helped raise further funds for a cause that is worthy all year round.’

To donate to Shelter, click on Ben’s Just Giving link.

Dame Dash charity run in aid of St Joseph’s Hospice and Hackney Empire. Hackney, London. Sunday 27 October 2013

Sign up to the Panto Horse and Dame Fun Run

Kent retiree, Ruth Newman, has organised a fun run in memory of her friend, Jacqi Woolf with Pilgrims Hospices.  

From the theatre to the seafront, some Panto favourites will be coming to the coast on Sunday 20 February 2022 with the inaugural Herne Bay Panto Horse and Dame Fun Run.  

Ruth has been working with the Pilgrims’ Community Fundraising  Manager to organise the fun- run from scratch and promote it locally. Ruth’s husband, Tony Williams, who works in Central Student Administration at Kent, is helping to organise the race and will be one of the official photographers on the day.  

The panto-themed fun run will raise funds for Pilgrims Hospices in memory of her friend, who was very fit and active, and loved dressing up for a fun run. As her father and brother had both been cared for in a Pilgrims hospice, Jacqi became a very active fundraiser for Pilgrims. Very sadly, she became ill herself and passed away in the Thanet hospice.  

The run takes place along Herne Bay seafront, starting and finishing at the King’s Hall, on Sunday 20 February. Registration is from 9.30 – the run starts at 11.00.  

Students and staff can sign up to take part in the run and raise money to support the hospices. You can dress up as a panto horse, dame or any panto character you like. You can also help by spreading the word on social media and encouraging friends and family to join in.  

You can also support Pilgrims Hospices by donating to the dedicated fundraising page. If you would like to help on the day with registration, marshalling, taking photos or videos, please contact leila.ilkhan@pilgrimshospices.org  or call her on 01227 812621.    

You can find more details on the event and information on signing up on the Pilgrims website.

Header photo credit – Andrew Smith – taken of the Dame Dash charity run in aid of St Joseph’s Hospice and Hackney Empire. 

Students taking part in Professional Practice MSc

Developing yourself with our Professional Practice MSc

The Professional Practice MSc, offers academic and professional service colleagues the opportunity to make your work your study and your study your work.

The course is a standard 180 Credit Master’s degree but spread over three years (two 30 credit modules a year-with a 60-credit dissertation module in the final year). Over the duration of the programme,  the focus of all the modules is your professional role within the University.  Modules are taught over two extended weekends (Friday-Sunday). There are no exams as all the modules have final assessment which involves a short presentation followed by a written work-based assignment.

As a member of staff doing a part time Kent course, you are entitled to 50% fee remission – this means you get a Master’s qualification for half the price. In addition, if you currently hold level 7 credits and/or experience, you may be able to gain accreditation for prior learning (APECL).

Delivery

After a couple of induction days, you will start the Evidence Based Practice module. This module explores the nature of information used to answer work-based/practice-led questions and develops critical thinking.

The second module is the Learning and Development module. Here, you will explore the way we learn as professionals,  which as you know is totally different from learning at school or college.

Successfully passing the first year means you have a PgCert in Professional Practice and then commence on the 2nd year, which starts with an optional module and continues with a module to develop skills and prepare your research proposal for the final year.

You can find out more about the Professional Practice MSc on our Postgraduate course pages.

If you would like to find out more about this programme, please drop-in to our informal Teams meeting on Tuesday 5 April from 12 – 2pm.  Sign-up now via this link.