Thursday's sessions

Thursday 15 September is the start of the Staff Conference 2022. All of the sessions are separated into four strands, A,B,C and D. Take a look at all the sessions we have running on the first day of the conference.

How to attend Thursday's sessions

  • All sessions at the staff conference will be in person, with two exceptions which will be available only on Teams – details are given in the session summaries
  • Most sessions will be held in the Templeman Block A complex (Lecture Theatre and rooms TS1 – 4) except for tours, wellbeing and fitness-related activities – please see programmes and summaries for venue information
  • Some sessions will need to be booked via this form, links and details are available in session summaries
  • There is no need to book for all other in-person activities – simply turn up at the venue indicated. 

At the opening of the Conference, we'll be holding a minute’s silence to mark the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.   

Strand A

All sessions in Strand A are hybrid – face to face in the Templeman Lecture Theatre and on Teams – links below

 09.30 – 10.15 - Welcome and introduction – Looking forward to the year ahead - from Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor

 Join our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Cox, either in person or online, and hear about the priorities, challenges and opportunities for the upcoming academic year.  There will also be an opportunity to ask questions at the end.

10.15 – 11.00 - The research and innovation strategy - with Professor Shane Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation

How do we intend to build on our excellent REF results of a few months ago? What are our plans around knowledge exchange and business partnerships? And what of the University’s regional agenda? Come along and find out the answers to these and many other questions.

11.15 – 12.00 - Learning, teaching and the student experience - with Kathleen Quinlan and Mica Rose

As a strategic pillar of the University’s 2025 strategy, learning and teaching and the student experience are critical to our work. Find out how we intend to enhance the student voice, ensuring that they are heard and that our decisions are made with their interests in mind.

12.00 – 13.00 - Kent meets Kherson – a conversation with our twin university in Ukraine - led by Professor Ben Cosh and Alla Tsapiv

All are warmly invited to (virtually) meet our counterparts in Kherson State University, our ‘twin’ institution in the Russian-occupied territory of southern Ukraine. Through UUK’s twinning initiative, we are developing a growing partnership with Kherson that will see equipment provided, research contacts developed and scholarships and placements provided, among many other activities. Come along and find out how Kherson has relocated to the western part of the country, how they are continuing their work through the immense challenges they are currently facing and how we as a University can help and support them both in the short and in the long term.      

13.50 – 14.30 - Launch session – the People and Culture Strategy - with Martin Atkinson

The new People and Culture Strategy, launched at this session, outlines how the University will listen to its staff, promote health and wellbeing, improve how we work and enable talent to truly flourish. It will impact on the working lives of all of us - so do come along and find out more.

14.30 – 15.15 - The civic engagement strategy - with Dr Philip Pothen

How we engage with our local and regional communities and serve the people of our county is critical to the University’s work and the success of our region. Our emerging civic engagement strategy sets out an ambitious plan for how we will develop our approach in this important area and become a leading civic university. If you want to find out more and perhaps become involved, then this will be the session for you.

15.30 – 16.15 - Becoming a University of Sanctuary - with Dr Thomas Parkinson

With the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers high on the political agenda, how do we as a University respond and become a place that is truly welcoming and inclusive for all displaced people. As we develop our application to be a University of Sanctuary, come along to this session to find out more about our current work, our emerging plans and how you can help too.

16.15 – 17.00 - What is the Right to Food and what does it mean for Kent? with Professor Iain Wilkinson

The University of Kent is aiming to become the world’s first Right to Food University to help promote food justice, to tackle food poverty and to transform our food system so that it operates to advance human health and environmentally sustainable society. What does this mean in practice for our work across research, learning and teaching, the student experience and civic mission? This session will outline all this and more and suggest that we all have an important role to play in making the Right to Food a reality for our University and beyond.

Strand B

All sessions in Strand B will take place in Room TS1 in Templeman

10.15 – 11.00 - My Commonwealth Games experience - with Vicky Annis

Vicky is a physiotherapist at Kent Sport with considerable experience of working with elite sport. This summer she was selected to work at the Commonwealth Games, one of 13,000 volunteers supporting the running of the international event. She was part of the medical team at the Birmingham athletes’ village and also worked at the Team England Head Quarters at the NEC in Birmingham delivering treatment to Team England athletes.

Last September, the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences (SSES) moved to the Canterbury Campus, merging two clinics to become the Kent Sports Clinic which provides a physiotherapy service for our Occupational Health team. The clinic provides a variety of qualified and student led appointments to staff, students and the public also.

Come along to hear about Vicky’s experience at the Commonwealth Games and about her work at the Kent Sports Clinic.

11.15 – 13.00 - Research Forum – three presentations on research at Kent

1.  11.15 – 11.50 - E-scooters in the life of the Future Human - with Dr Katrina Taylor and Dr Sam Smith

E-scooters are being introduced globally to help provide a shift to sustainable modes of travel. Despite their perceived benefits, it is questionable whether such devices are replacing walking or cycling, rather than traditional vehicle use. As such their possible impact on physical inactivity and health is not yet clear.

The School of Sport and Exercise Science has conducted research into the role of E-scooters in the life of the future human, part of a seedcorn project funded by the Future Human Signature research theme. Initial laboratory trials have sought to establish the energetic cost of E-scooter riding, the impact it may have on balance, reaction time and wellbeing associated, in comparison for example to walking.

Come along to find out what the team’s findings are so far and the proposed next steps to their research and help them explore ways in which their research could links with other disciplines across the University.  

2.  11.50 – 12.25 - Improving research culture through knowledge Discovery and Information access tools - with Nick Mavity

The Government’s recently published R&D People and Culture Strategy sets out a vision for ensuring the research system is made up of talented and diverse people with the right skills, working in an environment that nurtures and gets the best out of everyone. Kent was fortunate to receive funding from Research England to support the development of research culture at the University and to develop and pilot new tools around knowledge discovery and information access that will support students and the research community.

These tools will help everyone to find quality Open Access material online, help staff and students build up a research question and a search strategy, support inter-disciplinary research through the discovery of previously unseen connections across disciplines, and much more.

This session will cover some of these tools in more detail and provide hands-on demonstrations highlighting their value to staff, students and researchers.  

3.  12.25 – 13.00 - Developing a vibrant research culture at Kent - with Kate Ludlow

A positive, inclusive, collaborative and creative research culture supports the production of high-quality publications and impact as well as broader forms of public engagement, underpinning our work as educators.

Funders, research organisations and the government are increasingly raising concerns about the toxic, competitive and destructive forms of research culture that have taken hold in some UK institutions. To address these concerns, Kent is promoting a new people-centred emphasis to develop a vibrant and sustainable research culture. But what does a vibrant and sustainable research culture look like?’ How can Professional Services colleagues contribute to a thriving and supportive research culture? And what inhibits a positive and inclusive research culture?

This session will use the World Café method to explore these and other questions to explore how we can develop a culture which enables all colleagues to thrive.

13.50 – 14.30 - How to deliver great and sustainable events - with Emily Collins, Emma Marku, Kelda McCabe

As we emerge from the pandemic, how do we bring people together again through events that are sustainable? Join us for the launch of our Sustainable Events Guide, compiled by Sustainability Champions at Kent, which, whether you’re well-versed in event planning or if it’s new to your role, will give you top tips to help you deliver successful events that are sustainable as well.

14.30 – 15.15 - The challenges of staff engagement following COVID - with Professor Nicholas Clarke, Dr Samantha Evans and Kerry Bowra (KBS)

The aftermath of the pandemic has seen changes in employment patterns and concerns about levels of staff engagement across all sectors. This session will reflect on the challenges that this has brought to KBS during the past year and how academic and PS staff are working together to attempt to address these. The seminar also offers an opportunity for participants to share their perspectives on staff engagement and how other areas of the university are grappling with similar challenges.  

15.30 – 16.15 - Everything you always wanted to know about Data Protection - with Laura Pullin and colleagues

Data Protection impacts on the work of every one of us. But what is data protection, and how does it apply in a university setting? What is a ‘data breach’ and what should I do if I cause or am involved in one? How do I know if I am compliant with the law? All this and much more will be covered in short, practical bite-sized pieces in this session.

16.15 – 17.00 - with Communications at Kent: Sharing your stories - Katherine Moss

Discover communications at Kent and find out how you can be part of our story.  Meet the professionals from across the University who are working together to promote Kent and share your news. We will explain the different comms functions at Kent – from working with the media, to communicating with our students – explaining how the central and divisional teams work together to promote the University to internal and external audiences.

Strand C

All sessions in Strand C will take place in Room TS2 in Templeman


10.15 – 11.00 - The experiences of our trans students - with Lynne Regan

This session will present Lynne’s recent research which looks at how improvements to university processes and facilities can provide a more inclusive environment where trans students feel validated and supported. It considers how trans-inclusive curricula can help to address the power imbalance of learning within a privileged cisnormative environment. The session will include group discussions with scenarios about we can better support our trans students.

11.15 – 12.00 - StellarHE – promoting diversity in leadership - with Sarah Dustagheer

Authenticity, inclusive emotional intelligence, cultural competence and inclusive leadership are some of the attributes that Black, Asian and ethnically diverse leaders bring to Higher Education. And yet they continue to be under-represented in senior roles and their lived experiences continue to be impacted by micro-aggressions through to outright discrimination.

StellarHE supports the achievement of Race Equality Charter Mark goal to "inspire a strategic approach to making cultural and systemic changes that will make a real difference to minority ethnic staff and students". It is a tried and tested development experience for Diverse Leaders in HE.

In this session the first ever cohort of StellarHE colleagues from Kent share their experience of the course. 

12.00 – 13.00 - What are they saying about faith in universities? - with Revd Dr Stephen Laird

Recent research has revealed that students at UK universities are now generally more attuned to religious faith than lecturers, supervisors and service providers. Our own student demographic has moved decisively towards greater ethnic and cultural diversity - something which is not reflected to the same extent across the staff body - and this observation certainly applies at Kent. This session will involve the sharing and discussion of data and our local insights followed by a discussion.

13.50 – 14.30 - Why do we bother with EDI initiatives? with Martin Michaelis

 Is the purpose of EDI to make sure we adhere to legal requirements and remain in line with the law? Or do we want to go beyond the minimal requirements set by the law? And if so, why?

Drawing on his experience as EDI Lead in the Division of Natural Sciences, Martin will outline the importance of understanding why we undertake EDI initiatives and how the University and all staff and students can benefit from doing so. What is needed, he argues, is an inclusive, participatory leadership approach across the University that gives everybody the opportunity to make meaningful contributions and to receive the recognition for them.

14.30 – 15.15 - Get involved – the Staff disability network - with Dr Jennifer Leigh, Josie Caplehorne, Hannah Greer and Dr Jolie Keemink

What does it mean to be disabled, chronically ill or neurodivergent? What is it like to work with or manage a disabled or neurodivergent person? What are we too afraid to ask or say?

Delivered by the Staff Disability Network, this session will create more openness and understanding around these topics, introduce the Network’s activities, explain how you can get involved and what the network can do to support you. An open discussion will follow, using an approach that harnesses creative research methods to bring about conversations on topics that can be hard to put into words and to co-create a tangible output.

15.30 – 16.15 - Making information and learning accessible for all - with Kasia Senyszyn

How do we make our content and our teaching more inclusive? How do we gain confidence in creating accessible content to support all our students?

This session is for all staff who want to improve their support for students and staff with additional accessibility needs, as well as develop creative ways to embed ‘reasonable adjustments’ into their work and processes. Come along to learn interactively and to play some games!

If you have any access requirements for the session please do get in touch.

16.15 – 17.00 - Bridging the gap: How the University is breaking barriers to adult education and doing 6th form differently - with Donna Coyte and Lucy Frost

Diversifying our teaching provision is an important objective for the University as it enhances opportunity for students, breaking down barriers to progress and achievement. Find out about the University’s responsive and flexible approach to adult education and 6th form provision, why we do this, what we’ve learnt and why it matters.

Listen to our students on the 6th form programme on the Medway campus as they explain why they love our University Entrance Diploma course, how it has helped them to progress to undergraduate study and why we decided to develop and invest in this innovative programme. Adult students on the University’s Access to HE Diploma programme will also share their experiences of getting back to education. This session will focus on how and why this information can be of use to staff with some key ‘take-aways’, with a brief Q&A at the end.

Strand D

For all sessions in Strand D – check below for venue information

ALL DAY - How to engage the public in our work – open surgery drop-in  session with Jill Hurst - in Room TS3 in Templeman

Whether you’re involved in research and teaching, or you’re an early career researcher, or professional and support staff, you are warmly invited to come along and discuss how you can engage with a world inside and  outside of academia.

At this open surgery available throughout the conference, staff will get the chance to sign-up to the Kent Public Engagement Network – a friendly and informal community of practice sharing news, events, expertise and support for engagement activities taking place on and off campus.  

You’re encouraged to bring along any ideas for engagement along with barriers or challenges you’re facing and the team will help them to find solutions. This might include help with funding applications, skills and training, event planning, working with the media or partnership building -- no challenge is too big or engagement project too small  And, don’t worry if you want to get involved but don’t know how. We can help with that too.

11.15 – 12.15 - A more joyful working life through Compassionate Communication - with - Natalia Crisanti and Stephen Morris - in Room TS4 in Templeman

 All humans are hardwired to be compassionate and collaborate, but at times like ours, this isn't always so apparent in large organisations. This practical session aims to empower people to discover the health, wellbeing and happiness benefits of practising compassionate communication, which will help you to develop and maintain relationships inside and outside work. We will explore techniques and scientific evidence and think through how we can work together to be aware of one another's needs, avoid burnout and be part of a positive culture shift at Kent and in our communities.

12.45 – 14.15 - Trees are culture - an arboricultural ramble over the University’s southern slopes - with William Rowlandson - Meet in K-Bar courtyard in Keynes College

Trees are not just part of culture - they are culture. The University campus is blessed with a rich variety of trees. It is a dynamic and ecologically rich landscape, culturally rich, with features such as grown-out hedgerows indicating old farmland field boundaries, signs of historical coppice and pollard, ancient hedge-bound trackways, boundary oaks, memorial trees, single exotics and recent mitigation planting.

Join members of the Signature Research Theme of Positive Environmental Futures for a guided tour of the Southern Slopes, following the southern route of the Kent Tree Ogham Project, including the Bluebell Woods to greet the silver birch, down to the willow at the Lower Eliot Pond, to the Oak in Chaucer Field, back to the ash near the Eliot footpath, and end at the holly behind Marlowe. Along the way you will visit cork oak, hornbeam grove, Norway maple, lime, field maple, and eucalyptus. Our guides will consider the cultural importance of the trees and the woodland, their history and value, their ecological importance, and their integral relationship with all of us who study and work at the University.

The walk will take 1.5 hours. The terrain is footpath. Meet at the rowan in  K-Bar courtyard in Keynes College.

14.30 -15.15 - How KMMS’ values impact my approach to building positive relationships with Emily Rivers - in Room TS4 in Templeman

KMMS’s values are intrinsic to what we do, informing and enhancing our work and transforming our working relationships.

Be brave, be kind, be respectful, be passionate, be collaborative, be innovative, and be curious… During my practical and interactive presentation, I will give each of our values its own section, introducing its place in our work and discussing the importance of each with the audience.

To end the session I will invite colleagues to discuss in groups the place of these values in their work and what they might take away from our discussion and use in their workplace.

15.30 - 16.30 - Project Management - Change, for the better with Ray Short in Room TS4 in Templeman

This session will introduce our project framework for how we are delivering change at the University.

 Using tools, techniques and a bit of gamification we’ll open up conversation about change; challenging some of your assumptions and ideas to enable better outcomes for the changes you are experiencing and those you are a part of. We’ll explore how we talk about change, how we experience it and how we transition through it. And we’ll do so with a bit of a laugh, with tangible takeaways for you to use in your teams and maybe a few things to help you on your own change journey.

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