University restructure - information for students
To help us to keep improving services to students, we are considering making changes to the University structure. The project is called 'Organising for success' and we aim to have a new structure in place by the end of 2020. You can find an introduction to it and some frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.
Why we want to change
We have much to be proud of here at Kent.
- Our staff are committed to delivering outstanding teaching and an excellent student experience, ensuring you have the right abilities, experience and knowledge to succeed after you graduate.
- We were awarded a gold rating in the UK Government's Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and received a Times Higher Education Award for our innovative approach to improving academic outcomes for the least advantaged students.
- The Student Success project was also praised for being guided by the voice of students.
But we know we can do more.
Your feedback helps us identify those areas where students want us to do better. We believe that changing the organisation of the University will enable us to enhance the academic and student experience and address student and staff feedback.
We believe we can make the University more efficient, less bureaucratic and better able to offer a more consistent service to all students - undergraduate and postgraduate.
About the restructure
We are proposing a new model for our organisational structure that builds on our strengths and ensures academic schools remain at the heart of the University.
Under this proposal, schools would be brought together to form 6-8 larger academic groupings and the faculty layer would be removed.
We believe the proposed model will make us more efficient, less bureaucratic and better able to offer a more consistent service to all students - undergraduate and postgraduate.
Throughout this period of change, our aim is to ensure that there will be minimal impact on your studies. There should be no changes at present to your teaching or student support in terms of day-to-day interactions.
Working with you and your union
We will continue to work with Kent Union and meet with students to explain our proposals and listen to any suggestions and concerns as we want to make sure we get things right. Additionally, Kent Union has created a feedback mechanism on their website for students to proactively submit any comments.
Kent Union is working with us as we develop the proposals to ensure student interest remains at the forefront of our plans. The Union President is a member of the project board which oversees the development and implementation of the proposed restructure and will ensure any feedback received from students is heard and that your views are represented.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are the proposals for the new academic structure?
We are proposing a structure that recognises the importance of our current school-based model and which will deliver the maximum benefits with a minimum of disruption.
The proposals are to bring schools together into 6-8 groups to allow for greater financial autonomy and more local decision making. It is proposed that schools will be able to retain their identities and that the faculty layer be removed. Discussions have been held with schools over groupings and a proposal has been drawn up.
Why are you planning to change how the University is organised?
We believe that changing the organisation of the University will enable us to enhance the academic and student experience and address student and staff feedback.
The proposed model plays to Kent’s strengths in school-based provision, encourages agility and removes a layer of interaction to allow direct communications and fewer decision stages. This is all designed to enhance how we operate in order to enhance services to students and academic colleagues.
In practice, there should be no changes from a student perspective in terms of your day-to-day interactions. You will still be part of the same subject community with your fellow students, an academic advisor and teaching and professional service staff to guide and support your studies.
Would I still go to my school about any questions or concerns I might have about my studies?
You will still go to your academic adviser for individual advice and guidance to help you make the most of your academic and personal development.
Will I find myself part of a different or new school?
You will continue to be part of an academic community based around your subject with your fellow students and the staff who teach you. It is proposed that the new school groupings will be made up of current academic schools, with a number of subjects grouped together.
What is happening to the school administrative structures?
Students tell us that while staff in academic schools work hard to support them, the different size and scale of our current schools can make it difficult to deliver a consistent service. We are looking at school administrative structures to address this and will be developing a set of proposals to be ready for sharing with staff in Spring 2020. Key components of this are:
- to ensure greater consistency in terms of processes, services and support provided to student regardless of subject area.
- to devolve key professional service functions into school groupings so that they are properly resourced to deliver on their ambitions and plans.
Will you be making staff redundant?
There are no plans at present to make compulsory staff redundancies, though ultimately, as with any similar project within large organisations, this cannot be ruled out.
We will work hard to minimise this however. The University already has an established redeployment policy for staff whose roles are no longer required as a result of reorganisation. In addition, staff whose roles are at risk will be offered the chance to leave the University under a voluntary severance scheme which would allow them to pursue other career or personal interests in return for a financial incentive.
What is the timeline for the proposed restructure?
It is anticipated that the new structure will be in place by the end of 2020.
Are you talking to staff about the proposals?
We want to hear staff views on our plans and have held meetings for staff across the University to give them the chance to feedback on the various aspects of the proposed restructure. More meetings are planned and we are also asking staff to feedback through their line managers or send in comments to a dedicated email address.
In line with our usual practices, we will engage and consult with trades unions and staff representatives throughout this process and staff will be entitled to support and representation where appropriate.
There is more information on the staff information site for the Organising for Success project.
Are you engaging with students to get their feedback on the proposals?
We believe our proposals will enable us to continue improving our student experience and also ensure we have an academic offer that students want. We are working with Kent Union to ensure our students have the chance to engage with the process as their input is key.
We will also meet with students as we move through the process of restructuring to ensure their views and concerns are both heard and acted on.