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Testing out a theory

A laptop, with a notebook, glasses and cup of tea.

Care first webinars w/c 3 August 2020

As our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services, including helpline support and face-to-face counselling. During the pandemic, Care first has also provided weekly webinars to offer further support and advice.

Webinars taking place this week (Monday 3 – Friday 7 August) are as follows:

Monday 3 August 2020 –  ‘How Care first can support you and an update on our services’
Time: 14.00-15.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Tuesday 4 August 2020 – ‘Activities you can still do this Summer’
Time: 15.00-15.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 5 August 2020 – ‘A users guide to wearing a face mask’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 6 August 2020 – ‘What are the benefits of Cycling?’
Time: 11.00-11.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 7 August 2020 – ‘Ways gratitude can boost happiness’
Time: 11.00-11.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link


Changes to our Canterbury campus cleaning team

Kent Hospitality and Estates Cleaning teams are merging under one management structure within Kent Hospitality from 1 August 2020.

This one larger team will be providing cleaning services across the entirety of the Canterbury campus moving forward.

Gary Sayles, Executive Manager: Housekeeping, Kent Hospitality is pleased to make the announcement, stating: ‘Leveraging Estates Cleaning extensive knowledge and experience with Hospitality’s award-winning Housekeeping team will ensure a consistent delivery of cleaning standards across the Canterbury campus.

‘Having a continuity in frequencies and style of service across all teaching and office spaces will provide a footprint for a consistent customer-centric service. Kent Hospitality’s aim is to provide an exceptional customer service experience to our students, staff and visitors with an underlying philosophy of delivering with Pride, Passion and Professionalism.’

Kevin Stuckey, Director of Commercial Services added: ‘By combining the cleaning resources of the two departments we expect to, over time, achieve economies of scale and flexibilities in staff deployment.’

Any queries or requirements relating to cleaning on the Canterbury campus can be directed to Hospitality Enquiries.

The cleaning arrangements at the Medway campus, which are carried out by an outside contractor, will continue to be managed by Estates.

Project to make historical Peruvian newspapers available online

Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, Professor of Latin American History in the Department of Modern Languages, has recently finished a project with the British Library that has made nearly 180 newspapers available online.

The aim of the project was to protect and archive valuable cultural materials which have important stories to tell about Peru and nearby provinces that would be lost if they not digitised and conserved. Despite the country’s long history of centralism, these newspapers hold the memory of regions outside the largest cities and showcase the thriving intellectual communities they fostered.

Natalia says: “This was a great, but very challenging project. It took an extremely long time to come to fruition and at every turn it seemed like the difficulties were insurmountable. But after much work and determination, we can now see the results online and the response has been overwhelming. To provide an online source at the time of the pandemic has been a compensation for all the delays faced.”

Below is a two page spread about the project that came out in the Peruvian press on Sunday 26 July:

Kent Sport Centre building

Kent Sport is reopening soon

At Kent Sport we are working hard to get the Sports Centre ready for reopening.

From Monday 17 August, the Sports Centre facilities including the gym, fitness classes, sports halls and Physiotherapy Clinic will reopen. While we’re excited to welcome you back, we have put in additional safety measures including pre-booking for all activities. We will be updating our website and social media channels over the next few days with more details on the reopening.

The Sports Centre facilities will reopen on Monday 17 August.

The Pavilion facilities will reopen on Monday 24 August.

For more information on opening hours, rules and FAQs please read the Kent Sport blog.

We’ve missed you and can’t wait to welcome you back!!

The Gulbenkian with red flowers at the forefront of the image.

Return to Campus series – Spotlight on Estates

In the second instalment of our ‘Return to Campus’ series, Richard Cottam, Head of Facilities Management tells us about the multitude of services and functions the Facilities Management (FM) team (within Estates) has been covering throughout the lockdown period, both on and off campus.

Richard explains: ‘The majority of FM staff are unable to do their job remotely, so most have been working a reduced number of days each week to a roster. They have been busy supporting essential services and, more recently, preparing the campus for occupancy in September.’

Examples include:

Postal Services – This team has maintained a minimal presence on campus throughout, ensuring all incoming mail is managed and sending out any business essential post. The team has also been supporting colleagues in Recruitment & Marketing with the creation and supply of several student offer packs.

Waste and Cleaning – With a small team initially supporting ongoing essential services such as Security, most cleaning staff are now back at work preparing buildings for re-occupancy and developing an effective Covid-19 cleaning programme.

Stores – A small team of two has been working remotely throughout lockdown and has been incredibly busy sourcing best value supply chains for the multitude of Covid-19 related products, needed to maintain a secure environment. The team has also purchased and is rolling out hand sanitiser dispensers across campus.

Administration – The whole team has been working remotely and has quickly adapted to the new technology supporting meetings using M365 Teams. Some admin staff have also been on campus and helped with the huge task of installing the social isolation and one-way signage across the campus.

Medway FM – The team supporting Medway has also been on campus, in limited numbers, preparing the campus for re-occupancy.

Landscape and Grounds Management – Have you ever not cut your grass for four months? No, we couldn’t wait that long either! So that we don’t return to a partial jungle in September, the team has been working to a roster with half of the workforce on campus, keeping on top of the spring and summer growth.

Find out more about the services the Estates department provide.

In our next Return to Campus feature, we’ll look at the work of the Planning and Space Management team.


Gold Programme Gloabal Officers 2020

Kent students achieve GOLD!

The Global Officers Leadership Development (GOLD) Programme has celebrated another successful year which ended with our celebration event and certificate presentation taking place online.

The programme, led by Kent’s Dean for Internationalisation Dr Anthony Manning and International Partnerships, is a co-curricular venture which provides a framework of activities for globally minded undergraduate students at Kent to develop their leadership skills, global citizenship and cultural awareness.

This year’s cohort made an impact through their role in leading the various Global Hangouts that took place, leading the way with a green marketing strategy for Worldfest, introducing a speed-friending event for new international students and participating in our first Erasmus+ virtual exchange programme. Participants also took part in various workshops including Talking Cultures, event management, explored the concept of curriculum internationalisation and looked at their own cultural intelligence (CQ). Other activities they supported included orientation for new exchange students, the S Group Conference and provided campus tours for some of our international partners and visitors.

Students who have completed the programme have said that it has helped to increase their own cultural awareness, enhance their employability and given them the opportunity to meet a range of people from diverse backgrounds.

The Gold Programme was a highlight of my time at Kent. The team leading the programme listened to all of our ideas and supported us throughout the year. I developed many transferable skills, gave back to the student community, and made many new friends.
Melissa Couvet, LLB English and French Law

I thoroughly enjoyed my participation in the GOLD programme, not only do I think that it has allowed me to develop skills that have strengthened my employability, I also found the programme to be an important avenue for expression during an intense final year of study. I would recommend the GOLD programme to any student that is interested in further developing themselves personally and professionally.
Leo Harris, BA History and Spanish

Many of this year’s cohort were final year students and we wish them all the best for the future after their graduation.

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 28 July 2020

We have reached the time of year when most of us normally have the chance to draw breath. However, this has been an extraordinary time for the University and I wanted to acknowledge that I am aware of the impact that all the change we are going through is having on you as individuals. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done this year, particularly in recent months as we navigate our way back to some form of normality as lockdown eases. Your support in this, and in the measures we have taken to mitigate against the financial impact of Covid-19, has been invaluable.

Now that the consultation process has begun in areas going through changes under Organising for Success this summer, I also wanted to acknowledge the impact that this will be having on many colleagues both centrally and across our new academic divisions. There is no doubt that this is a challenging time and, more than ever, we need to support each other and work together through this period.

I end with my very best wishes for the summer, I do hope that you manage to have something of a break with family and friends and are able to re-charge your batteries for the new year.


Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Laptop, Coffee, Notebook, Pen & Glasses

Care First webinars w/c 27 July

The Covid-19 webinars from Care First continue the week commencing Monday 27 July. Please see below for the schedule and where you need to register.

Monday 27 July 2020 –  ‘The Emotional Impact of feeling hopeless during the COVID-19 pandemic’

Time: 14.00 – 15.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Tuesday 28 July 2020 – ‘COVID Fatigue’

Time: 12.00 – 12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 29 July 2020 – ‘Financial Wellbeing this Summer’

Time: 12.00 – 12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 30 July 2020 – ‘COVID-19: How the pandemic has changed our relationships’

Time: 14.00 – 14.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 31 July 2020 – ‘Lockdown Belly: how to lose weight and shrink your waistline’

Time: 12.00 – 12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

overhead view of laptop with person typing and plant on desk

Making virtual meetings work for you

Most of us are becoming more familiar with virtual meetings on platforms such as M365 Teams. While it’s great to be able to continue to connect with colleagues in this way, lengthy remote meetings can be intense and some people find them more tiring than in-person discussions.

Our COPE Framework is designed to help you work remotely and includes some useful hints and tips on virtual meetings, including:

  • Apply the same good practices as for face-to-face meetings – eg good agenda management and ensuring everyone can contribute.
  • Try to minimise the number of meetings where participants ‘round the table’ simply report and update on what they’ve done since the group last met.
  • To support staff wellbeing, it is strongly recommended to take a short break in any meeting lasting 60 minutes or more. We also recommend that no virtual meetings take place between 12.30 and 13.30 to ensure we all have time to eat!
  • Agree whether you have cameras on or off as part of the ‘ground rules’ for the meeting. It’s preferable to switch your camera on when you’re speaking or asking a question.
  • Recording a meeting could be helpful for those who could not attend, but only do this with the agreement of all participants.
  • When chairing a remote meeting, allow for longer pauses and silence after asking a question or inviting contributions. This gives people time to think as well as switch their microphone/camera back on.
  • Bear in mind two key principles for all meetings – remote or otherwise: BE RESPECTFUL of others’ time and contribution and BE PRESENT, focusing on the meeting rather than eg checking emails and completing other work.

You can find out more about adapting to our new ways of working in the updated COPE Framework.


Covid-19 update – 21 July 2020

Planning for our return to working on campus

The Government recently announced changes to its “work at home if you can” guidance with effect from 1 August,  but for the majority of University staff this will mean no immediate change in where you are working.

Our Covid-19 Programme Board, led by Professor Christina Hughes, is continuing its detailed planning for our safe, phased return to campus.

Key principles of these plans are:

  • We will put the safety of our people first
  • We will only proceed once risk assessments have been agreed and necessary changes to workplaces have been made
  • We will be open and inclusive, ensuring everyone is given confidence that they will be returning to a supportive environment

Staff who are eligible to return will contacted directly. You should not return to working from campus until you have been advised to do so by your line manager. Our initial priority will be those who need to undertake critical or essential work and those unable to work at home due to exceptional circumstances.

If you need to access the campus, for example to collect essential equipment, you can find out how to do this on the Estates website.

Working from home

Most staff will continue to work remotely for as long as it is practical, safe and realistic to do so. Our COPE Framework is designed to support you with this, including tips on identifying ways of working remotely that best suit you. You will find the COPE framework, together with guidance on how to set up a work station, help using Kent IT services remotely and support with mental health on our updated Covid-19 staff webpages.

Wherever you are based, the University has committed that no member of staff is subjected to detrimental treatment in relation to their employment as a result of the impact of Covid-19. You can find out more in our Covid policy statement for staff.

Staff webchats

Latest information on the Covid-19 Programme Board’s plans is being shared via a series of staff webchats. Two webchats took place last week – the first on Opening Our Campus outlined the different workstreams to ensure our campuses are safe and ready to welcome back staff and students, while the other on Student Experience gave an overview of plans for student experience this autumn, in line with Covid-19 guidance and regulations.

You can listen to recordings of both webchats here:

A webchat on Student Recruitment and Clearing takes place on Wednesday (22 July) from 10.00-11.30. To sign-up, click on this Microsoft Forms link.

Find out more

Further information on plans for our return to campus, as well as working from home, health and wellbeing, annual leave and pay, is available on our regularly updated Covid-19 staff webpages.

You can also find out latest information for students on our Covid-19 student webpages, which include detailed FAQs.