Message from the Vice-Chancellor and President

The University recognises the strength of feeling on the issues raised as part of the industrial action by members of the University and College Union that relate to equality, casual employment and workload.

It is important to stress that Kent already has a programme of work underway designed to have a positive impact in these areas for both academic and professional services staff.

This work has enabled us to make significant improvements including a 50% reduction in the reliance on hourly paid lecturer contracts and an increase in substantive academic positions. However, we know we need to do more. In particular, we want to ensure there are more BME staff in senior posts and will shortly undertake a full exploration of BME promotion success rates.

We also recognise that workload is a concern for many of our staff and that this can impact on their health and wellbeing. Through Organising for Success, we will simplify our processes so that staff will have more time to do their jobs. If staff do need support, we have a wellbeing strategy in place and our Occupational Health Service is among the best in the sector. We are currently working to adopt the government’s Core Standard for Mental Health.

At a national level, we believe that further work could be done to support the sector in tackling issues of equality, casualisation and workload and have written to the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (Letter – UCEA 03 December 2019) to offer our help in taking this forward.

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President