William Bowkett



Bill is the Website News Editor for InQuire. He’s currently doing a BA in politics, and therein lies his interest. If you’re looking to break regular news online, both locally and nationally, drop him an email at website.news@inquiremedia.co.uk

The University of Kent is to partake in a formal review of the college system, alongside senior members of staff and students, following an open letter submitted on behalf of the college committees.

Vice Chancellor Professor Karen Cox has asked the Director of Student Services and Senior Master Dr Wayne Campbell to lead the review of the role of colleges at the University.

Dr Campbell has appointed an external consultant who will be conducting focus groups, with College Committees being one of the first groups of students who will be approached during the review process, as well as any students who would like to input into this review.

What is the college system?

When students join the University, they automatically become part of a college community that provides a support network; offering a range of support services and social activities.

The six colleges at Kent are each named after distinguished British figures – Darwin, Eliot, Keynes, Rutherford, Turing and Woolf (the postgraduate college).

Each college consist of a Student Committee made up of students who are nominated by fellow college students each year. They are responsible for arranging social events, like Keynestock and the Darwin Summer Fete, and they play a key role in student welfare.

As well as a Student Committee each college has a Master’s Office, who is the first port of call for questions students have about University life. They are also responsible for ensuring safe student conduct and enforcing University regulations.

Students living on-campus may also get advice and support from your Residents’ Support Officer (RSO).

Kent Union claim that “The college system is a valued part of the student experience at Kent; whilst College Committees are an integral part of Kent Union and an example of partnership working between elected students, Kent Union and College Masters.”

Kent Union Response to Open Letter on Colleges

Responding to the open letter on colleges online, Kent Union said that they will be taking steps to address the issue alongside the formal review with a detailed action plan that outlines the following:

  • Kent Union have said that they will conduct separate exit interviews with all members of the College Committees, that will be conducted by both a member of Kent Union staff and a full-time officer. These interviews will ask committee members about their experience in their respective roles, as well as capturing their views on how support and future improvements for college committees can be made.
  • Newly elected committee members of the college committees will be provided training where the expectations of their roles will be outlined, which will include a handover event between the old and new committees, giving new members the opportunity to meet their respective College Master and the Director of Student Services. Kent Union go on to say that this event will be replicated later on in the year for when the Kent Graduate Student Association (KGSA) holds their elections.
  • The duality of the committees working with Kent Union and their College Masters will mean that these relationships will be defined in the future. Kent Union say that they have already engaged with the College Masters who are aware of these issues; they have received the details of the new college committees and they look forward to working with them in the forthcoming year.

Kent Union finish their response by writing: “When the review has been completed and recommendations have been made, we will ensure that Kent Union will be involved, working alongside the college committees, to see through these changes and enhancing the student experience.”