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Testing out a theory

Corridor of servers

Free Webinar on ChatGPT

We are pleased to invite you to our upcoming webinar Teaching with ChatGPT: Examples of Practice which will take place today (15th March) from 14:00-16:30 GMT. During this webinar, you will hear from academics across the UK and abroad, who have successfully incorporated ChatGPT and other large language models into their teaching practices or plan to in the near future. In addition, we will hear from Zaid Mahmood (Kent Union President) who will give a student’s perspective on the use of ChatGPT in education.

There is no need to register for the webinar, simply click on the joining link below at 14:00 this afternoon.

Click here to join the webinar 

JSNCC elections – New Staff Representative for Grade 7

The Chairs of the Joint Staff Negotiating and Consultative Committee, Martin Atkinson and Roger Giner-Sorolla are pleased to announce the election of Paul Cornwall-French as the new staff representative for non-union colleagues in grades 7 and above.

Paul has served as a representative previously for staff in grades 1-6 and brings a significant wealth of experience at the university to the committee.

Both Martin and Roger extend a warm welcome to Paul and are looking forward to working with him over the next three years.  The chairs would like to extend their thanks to the other nominees for coming forward and to all staff who took the time to vote.

They would also like to thank Charlotte Ransom, the outgoing representative, for her hard work in representing staff views on the committee and would like to wish her well in her new role.

The vote percentage was 48% for Paul Cornwall-French, 25% for Alastair Bailey, 20% for David Bird and 7% abstain.

Trustee and Governor Opportunities

Have you ever considered fulfilling an Education Trustee and Governance role?

We sponsor the University of Kent Academies Trust (UKAT), which is an established multi-academy trust that has two Secondary Schools in Medway:

  1. Chatham Grammar School (CG) – a selective 11 – 19 girls school with a mixed sixth form
  2. Brompton Academy (BA) – a mixed comprehensive school, with a joint sixth form across the two schools.

The Trust focuses on developing the life experience and opportunities of its students, parents, carers, staff and wider community.

If you would like further details on a UKAT Trustee role, or if you’re interested in finding out what Education Trustee and Governance role opportunities we have at our colleges and schools at Kent, please get in touch with Sam Dorey.

“Being a school governor or trustee is a fantastic opportunity to have a positive impact in our local community, build networks within our region and to develop personal skills and experience. In my time as a trustee, I have found the diverse perspectives from parents, industry leaders and educational professionals to be invaluable in broadening and deepening my understanding of the issues facing young people and our local community. I encourage anyone who is considering this to give it a go!”

Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance

Complete our Right to Food Staff Survey

The University of Kent wants to become a Right to Food University.

What does this mean?

it commits itself to promote food justice, to tackle food poverty, and transform our food system so that it operates to advance human health and an environmentally sustainable society.

The University has four missions to achieve this:

1) Putting the Right to Food on the World Stage, including inspiring and supporting other universities to establish the right to food.

2) Transforming food systems through teaching and research

3) Tackling food insecurity, while promoting a healthy and sustainable food community for staff and students.

4) Addressing food inequality throughout Kent and the Medway

Complete our Right to Food Staff Survey

This Right to Food Staff survey aims to look at the factors involved in food insecurity, including availability and accessibility of healthy food, cost and marketing; whether staff are currently utilising existing cost-of-living support from the University and elsewhere; and the impact food insecurity is having on staff wellbeing, including on physical and mental health.

The issues uncovered will form part of an action plan to improve the University’s food environment. This falls under our Mission 3 of the Right to Food project, which is: Tackling food insecurity, while promoting a healthy and sustainable food community for staff and students.  The University’s aim to “provide a healthy, happy and purposeful environment that promotes the physical and mental wellbeing of all our staff”.

Following this survey, we will share the results and work with you on the actions we need to take to make improvements with some open sessions – Medway Session 19 June 10.00-12.00 and Canterbury Session 20 June 13.00-15.00 – More details to follow.

The survey is anonymous and is open from the 6 to 31 March, paper copies are also available if needed. Complete the Right to Food Staff Survey form.

Got a question email Claire Chapman, HR Manager- Strategic Delivery.

Walking to victory: VC Cup Walking Netball highlights

As we enter the 5th event of the VC’s Cup series, teams were primed to play walking netball, a game designed for anyone, regardless of their level of fitness or age.

Initially, it was mayhem on the court! Players were running, jumping, and going offside left, right and centre, which kept the umpires on their toes. Even experienced netball players and Kent’s very own Unicorns struggled to grasp the pace of the game, launching themselves across court and throwing themselves into each game as they would any other. However, as the games progressed, teams and players grasped the rules and became more comfortable and strategic.

Read our blog to find out which teams came out on top! You’ll also find an entertaining and creative rap, written in collaboration with some of the competing teams.

Want to find out more about the Vice Chancellor’s Cup, head over to the VC Cup webpage, where you can see which events are coming up, past event summaries and current leader board positions.

Inclusive Language Think-in: you’re invited

Have you ever read an article, and event description, a social media post about disability, accessibility, neurodiversity or inclusion and thought ‘oh goodness, what a choice of words! Did it make you feel unwelcome because of the way it talked about disability, chronic illness, neurodivergence, race, gender, age, etc?

Or, have you tried to write about one of these topics, or about adjustments for an event or society meet up, and felt out of your depth and worried about what language to use to get your point across clearly and inclusively?

Language matters

Whatever form it’s written or spoken in, the right language can make a world of difference to inclusion. As we try to communicate more openly, honestly and succinctly in the new Kent brand, we need to be able to reach for some good phrases to discuss potentially sensitive issues and make sure we’re consulting all of our audiences for their input.

Let’s think it through together: Monday 27 March 10:30 – 11:30 online/ in DG02 (opposite Nexus) in Templeman Library

Students and staff are warmly invited to an informal hybrid session to think through the terms you’d like to see less of and the terms you’d like to see more of in our University of Kent copy – bring your lived experience, your expertise, or just an open mind and willingness to learn and discuss it together. We’ll try to come up with some practical notes we can use and share with others.

Book now so we know who to expect and can send you joining details for online participation, and share the details with others who you think might be interested!

Questions? Email WellbeingEvents@kent.ac.uk

Fruiting trees

Diamond Anniversary Orchard planting, 15 March

This academic year we have launched the Diamond Anniversary Orchard project and planned the planting of an orchard of over 300 fruit and nut trees. This project was designed to celebrate that most undergraduates starting this year will graduate in 2025 which is the University’s 60th birthday and it is hoped that our students can watch the orchard grow and be part of its transformation from grassland to a complete and flourishing space.

Help us plant more trees

We managed to plant some trees last week in the snow (!) but need your help to plant more. Our next planting session is Wednesday 15 March between 10:00-13:00. You can come for as long or as little as you like. There will be a full briefing at the beginning of the session and newcomers throughout will be paired up with someone that has been trained.

Why an orchard? 

The Southern Slopes provides an ideal setting for a semi-natural orchard and meadow that will not only be a beautiful space for students, staff and community members to enjoy, but also provides a complex habitat that will boost biodiversity in the area 

Step one is planting the fruiting trees, which once mature, will provide future students with fruit and nuts that they can harvest and enjoy. Later this year we will be seeding wildflower seeds to create an understory meadow that we will cut swathes through proving a peaceful space to walk through and enjoy.  

Because this orchard will be a mosaic of trees, grasses, shrubs, wildflowers, and a pond, it will support a wide range of wildlife. As fruit trees age quickly, they create the perfect habitats for invertebrates and birds, such as the lesser spotted woodpecker and the rare noble chafer beetle.  

This unique habitat will also feature key elements for our human community bring people and nature together. Accessible pathing so everyone can enjoy the space; seating with a view for meditation, rest or socialising; an outdoor teaching area; and a bird hide to spot nature from a quiet vantage point.  

All the elements will be tied together with a central point that marks the six academic divisions that make up our learning community, celebrating all the students that will be our class of 2025 and beyond. 


The Global Challenges Doctoral Centre poster exhibition

Come and see The Global Challenges Doctoral Centre (GCDC)’s poster exhibition in the Colyer Ferguson lobby by the 15 March 2023.

The exhibition shares and celebrates the doctoral work being undertaken by 29 PhD students whose research is focused on tackling one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals. The students, who come from 17 different countries and are based in every Division, are working on projects that include climate change adaptation strategies, increasing global food security, reducing deaths from snake bites, and developing low cost and environmentally sustainable rapid tests for infectious diseases.

The exhibition was opened by Vice Chancellor and President Karen Cox at an evening reception on 8 March, attended by many of the GCDC supervisors, supporters and friends. The university’s Sustainability team, led by Catherine Morris, also had a display to share the work they are doing across campus to embed sustainability and minimise environmental impact.

Dr Beth Breeze, director of GCDC, says “We are so proud of our talented doctoral students and are confident that, with the help of their supervisors who are also deeply committed to challenge-led research, they will make a meaningful difference to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals”

Come to our KMMS evening events 22 – 23 March 2023

You are warmly invited to our two Kent and Medway Medical School events on the 22 and 23 March 2023, find out more about each event below:

Interdisciplinary Global Health Research

Wednesday 22 March 2023, 16:00 to 17:30 at Pears Lecture Theatre 1, Kent and Medway Medical School.

This event will include presentations from key members of the global health research group, led by Professor Lisa Dikomitis. The talks and screenings will cover several interdisciplinary global health studies been undertaken at the Kent and Medway Medical School. Researchers will share findings and outputs from several interdisciplinary global health research studies, which are all strongly underpinned by community involvement and engagement.

The event will include screenings of community-produced films as well as presentations of collaborative projects with artists and global health researchers from Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines and the UK.

To book your place visit the Eventbrite site.

Kent and Medway Medical School host Kaleidoscope Live!

Thursday 23 March 2023, 17:00 to 18:15 a hybrid event at Sibson Lecture Theatre 2 at Kent and Medway Medical School. You will find a link to join online in your order confirmation

Each month Dr Dawn AlbertsonProfessor Sukhi ShergillDr Derek Tracy and Professor Dan Joyce write an update and commentary in The British Journal of Psychiatry (BJPsych). Their Kaleidoscope column focuses on developments in mental health and neuroscience from around the world.

In this Kaleidoscope Live, hosted by the Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS), the four researchers will discuss several papers on global and mental health research with a live audience. They will be joined by Professor Kara Hanson who is a professor of health system economics and dean, faculty of public health and policy.

Book your tickets by visiting the Eventbrite site.  You will find a link to join online in your order confirmation.

International Women’s Day – Challenges faced for female leadership positions

For International Women’s Day (8 March) we hear from two of our female Executive Group members about the challenges they faced in their academic careers and getting to their leadership positions:

“Balancing family and work has been one of the biggest challenges in progressing my academic career. Maternity leave and family responsibilities impacted my research productivity and advancement while mentoring and career counselling are often absent in academia and female academics would benefit from supporting institutional policies. There is also still a gender issue in the leadership of Business Schools as the Dean’s role is male dominated, and worldwide only 25%-30% of Business Schools have a female Dean. Mentoring and strong role models can send clear messages to aspiring women of the future who wish to embrace academic leadership.”

From Professor Marian Garcia, Dean of the Business School 

“Role-modelling is really important in supporting women into leadership positions – creating a culture where women are ‘seen’ to be in leadership positions at all stages from leading a discipline to having a female Vice Chancellor dispels the myth about what a leader should look like; there are after all many different leadership styles. Providing support and training as appropriate, such as LASR and Aurora, and also Stellar, is also key, along with appointing a mentor.”

From Prof Juliette Pattinson, Director of Division Arts and Humanities

“As a young female academic working in STEM I never questioned being in a minority group. For me this was my norm and I simply sought to find my place and navigate a pathway that was right for me at that time. Often this was very challenging and I did experience set backs, some of which undoubtably caused me to question my credibility or aspirations. The most beneficial and impactful thing that has supported my progress has been building a critical network of champions and supporters, at work and at home. This has been instrumental in enabling me to be authentically successful in achieving my ambitions, to be confident and feel credible in my roles.  

It’s important to understand everyone’s journey is unique and to celebrate what diversity brings to leadership. To encourage people to carve out a pathway to leadership that works for the and share your experiences to inspire others.” 

Prof Claire Peppiatt-Wildman, Director of Division Natural Sciences