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Testing out a theory

Hello Kent 2019 – what we have planned

In October 2018, the Student Experience Board commissioned a review of student welcome, induction and transition activities and communications.

The review aims to better co-ordinate all our welcome activities and communications to ensure our activities are accessible and fully support our diverse student population.

We have worked closely with the Union throughout this project.

For 2019, we are implementing the following quick wins:

  • A joint ‘Hello Kent’ campaign with the Union to welcome new students to campus.
  • This campaign includes a shared ‘Hello Kent’ campaign webpage, which pulls together all events and information for new students in one place. The Hello Kent webpage will be available in early July at – www.kent.ac.uk/hello
  • Improvements to our current maps on the Kent website. The new maps will work well on a mobile device and have geo-location.
  • A more co-ordinated approach to arrivals communications.

For September 2020, we hope to build on this work and improve the support we offer to both new and continuing students.


Globalising Philosophy at Kent

If philosophy is the love of wisdom, why is there so little discussion of non-western thinkers and ideas in modern philosophical debates? What would a truly global and multicultural vision of philosophy look like?

The Department of Religious Studies and the Royal Institute of Philosophy recently organised an academic symposium, followed by a panel discussion which was open to the public, on the topic of ‘Globalising Philosophy’. Both events were arranged to celebrate the founding of the unique new undergraduate degree in Global Philosophies which welcomes its first students in September 2019. Speakers focused on the contribution and opportunities of including African, Indian and Chinese Philosophy in a multicultural and global conception of the love of wisdom (Greek: philosophia).

These events were organised by Head of Department, Professor Richard King – who was recently featured alongside Professor Jeremy Carrette, also from the Department of Religious Studies, in a Guardian article entitled ‘The mindfulness conspiracy‘ – and the Department of Philosophy, and set out to explore the issue of decolonising and internationalising the curriculum and ways to consider philosophy as a global rather than an exclusively western enterprise, reflecting the unique new BA Global Philosophies undergraduate programme.

Richard King commented: “There are very few places in the country where you can study philosophy in a multicultural and global context. The University of Kent is an international innovator in developing a programme that meets the changing nature of UK and global society. The conference and public event were both a great success.”

Patty Baker

Dr Patty Baker awarded funding for EDI conference

Dr Patty Baker, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classical and Archaeological studies, has been awarded TESSA funding to host an online conference/workshop entitled ‘Overcoming Challenges in the Development of Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity Initiatives in Higher Education’ on 8 July 2019.

TESSAs (Teaching Enhancement Small Support Awards) are grants to support the enhancement of teaching, learning and the student experience, and Patty’s event brings together American and UK deans and chief diversity officers to discuss the problems and solutions they faced when setting up their EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity) programmes.

The project is specifically about sharing knowledge with various groups at the University of Kent, such as the Decolonising the Curriculum Committee and Student Success Project, working towards the development of a cohesive EDI plan. Patty commented: “This is a significant workshop that will help to build the University’s EDI training and plans.”

This workshop developed out of an INSIGHTS (Senior Women’s Leadership Training Group) project Patty developed when asked to suggest an area for University development. She recognised the need for staff training to encourage difficult classroom discussions, inclusive seminars, and microaggressions, for example. She researched how EDI training is undertaken elsewhere, and contacted EDI Deans/Chief Diversity Officers in universities and liberal arts colleges in the United States to discuss their programmes. July’s event is building on this network.

To reserve your place for this conference, visit the Eventbrite page.

Broadcast Digital Awards 2019

Congratulations to Drama alumna Zoë Carey-Williams

Congratulations to alumna Zoë Carey-Williams, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Drama and French in 2017, who worked on the comedy TV movie Death on the Tyne (2018), which has been nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the Broadcast Digital Awards 2019.

Death of the Tyne was produced by UKTV, and saw Zoë starring alongside comedy legends Johnny Vegas and Sue Johnston. The film is a follow up to Murder on the Blackpool Express (2017), and follows a mystery on an Amsterdam cruise ship crossing the Tyne.

Explaining her background, Zoë said: ‘I studied Drama and French at Kent and the teaching on the acting modules I chose for second and third year were outstanding. We were really pushed and taught so many tools to apply to the craft.’

Following her study, she wanted to pursue acting professionally – which swifty led to her getting the role of Hen in Death on the Tyne: ‘I got the role from a self-tape audition. It was only a couple of lines but it was my first professional speaking role on-screen and I was ecstatic – and very nervous – because the cast featured many brilliant and hilarious actors who I’d grown up watching, and the director Ed Bye had directed my favourite comedy show as a kid, After You’ve Gone.’

Has Zoë any advice to current students? ‘Sometimes we take our time at university for granted – the access we have to brilliant minds ready to impart their wisdom. I still go back to the notes from my courses. I will always be grateful for my time at Kent!’

To see the full list of nominations, please see the page here.


Creative writing, video games and ‘Slender man’: Podcast with Chris Deacy

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Dr Chris Deacy, Reader in Theology and Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, speaks to Vivian Asimos.

Vivian recently achieved her PhD on theology and virtual storytelling at Durham with Douglas Davies (next week’s guest), with ‘Slender Man’ (a fictional monster created on an internet forum) as her main case study. The pair discuss blurring the line in horror between fiction and reality.

She and Chris go on to discuss video games; Florida; wanting to be a creative writer; ‘stumbling into’ Religious Studies; playing the piano; funk; listening to the charts on the way to church; ‘Lord of the Rings’; working in a food bank and on President Obama’s re-election campaign; the comfort of not belonging; what her childhood version of herself would expect she would be doing now; and using the past as a learning experience for future situations.

International students

Help us celebrate our students’ successes

We are looking for great student stories which showcase our students’ successes and achievements, many of which have been acknowledged and celebrated via a range of awards, initiatives and publications while others may have gone on to have great jobs.

If you know of such a student, please get in touch with the Press Office as soon as possible. We would like to hear about those in any year of study or who may be about to graduate. They could be an entrepreneur or have overcome particular challenges to get to where they are now. They may have made an impact on the community, or have been an inspiration to others. They may have landed the job of their dreams.

Whatever their story, if you think it’s worth telling please drop us a line at pressoffice@kent.ac.uk.


winning photo of pink pool table with friends and colourful wall in background

‘Life in Keynes’ 50th anniversary photography competition winner

A big congratulations for the First prize winner goes to Harry Ghosh, a final year student in Politics and International Relations for his atmospheric photo taken in the ever-popular K Bar, having fun with his friends. Harry won £80 worth of Amazon vouchers…well done!

The competition was open to all University students and staff past and present as part of Keynes College 50th Anniversary celebrations and participants were encouraged to submit photos that capture the essence of life in Keynes.

We thoroughly enjoyed viewing the wide array of entries including some golden oldies from a past Keynestock festival in the 70s to the tranquil pond area that all students and staff love to relax by. We thank everyone for participating!

Second prize went to Alumni Claire Dowling and third prize went to staff member Natalia Crisanti. Well done!

Why not take a look at the winning three and all of the shortlisted photos next to our ‘We are Keynes’ exhibition in Keynes Atrium, both on until the end of July.

The winning photo by Harry Ghosh (click to enlarge).

overhead view of laptop with person typing and plant on desk

Updates to Staff Connect menu

With the launch of the expenses module some changes have been made to the menu in Staff Connect.

These changes include:

  • Access to your personal absence record and related documents is now under My Absence Details. If you have delegated responsibility for the absence module you can access these details via this screen
  • The Form History button has been removed from the main menu and placed under each menu section.

Absence details button

  • A button called My Pending Authorisations has been added. This page will display any items requiring your authorisation and works with your Authorisation widget

pending authorisation screen of Staff Connect

  • In Progress widget can be added to your Dashboard page.  This will enable you quick access to any forms you have saved and are pending your submission.

in progress button

If you have any queries about locating any items in Staff Connect please contact the HR Systems team via hrsysplan@kent.ac.uk

Study Plus - Journalism

Study Plus – new course ideas wanted

Study Plus and the Centre for Journalism ran a free journalism course for Kent students from 10-14 June. It was the perfect opportunity for students thinking of journalism as a career, adding a Year in Journalism to their degree, or considering doing Kent’s Master’s in Multimedia Journalism, to have a go at being a journalist for a week.

The course offered an intensive immersion in the basic principles and practices of journalism in the multimedia age. Philosophy and Literature student, Iona, says: “Not only did I develop skills directly in line with my passions, but I expanded my skill set by taking on new skills I wouldn’t have considered if it weren’t for this course.” You can read her blog post on the CEWL (Centre for English and World Languages) webpages.

Study Plus is a range of short, non credit bearing courses which can improve students’ employability skills, develop their personal creativity or expand their cultural and academic knowledge. They are free to all students registered on an existing Kent programme. They range in duration from single one-hour workshops to a 30 hour, five-day course.

We are always looking to add new courses to the Study Plus portfolio and welcome suggestions from any member of staff. If you have an idea for a new course or one-off workshop for 2019/20, please read the information for staff on the Study Plus website

If you have any questions about Study Plus, email studyplus@kent.ac.uk or contact Ruth Newman on 01227 823790 for an informal chat before submitting a course proposal.

We are Keynes exhibition

‘We are Keynes – 50 years on’ exhibition now open

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, Keynes College has commissioned a series of photographic portraits showcasing the diversity of staff and students comprising the Keynes community during 2018-2019. The portraits are on display in Keynes Atrium throughout June and July.

Photographer Daniel Denise and artist Rémi Malingrëy conceived the portraits. Each sitter talked about something that defined them or was important to them and Rémi captured this in the emblematic cartoon that each of them is holding for the camera.

Why not pop down to the Atrium and see if you can spot a few familiar faces?

The ‘We are Keynes’ exhibition will be on in the Atrium until the end of July, followed by a permanent display in the corridor upstairs next to the Teaching Foyer.

This exhibition is alongside a display of the shortlisted entries to our ‘Life in Keynes’ photo competition which is also part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Keynes College opened its doors to its first cohort of students in September 1968, the third
college to do so.

Fifty years later, the college welcomes over 600 students living in college accommodation and
a further 500 in the additional student residences built in the Parkwood development. It has
also become home to the School of Psychology, the School of Economics and most of Student
Services and houses the popular Dolche Vitae and KBar venues.

Chloé Gallien, Master of Keynes and Bethany Chater, Master’s Office and College Support Coordinator