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Staff pay tribute to ‘larger than life' enterprise and engineering champion Andrew Self

Posted Friday 17 April 2015

Staff pay tribute to ‘larger than life' enterprise and engineering champion Andrew Self

Messages of condolence have been coming in to Kingston University following the death of Professor Andrew Self OBE who has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Professor Self was the University's pro vice-chancellor (enterprise and innovation) until his retirement in 2006.


Kingston University alumnus Malcolm Brown appointed President of the Geological Society of London

Posted Thursday 16 April 2015

Kingston alumnus Malcolm BrownMembers of the Geological Society of London have voted Kingston alumnus, Malcolm Brown, to be their next President following a consultative ballot.

Founded in 1807, the Geological Society of London is the UK national society for geoscience and is the oldest geological society in the world. Providing support to over 11,500 members worldwide, the Society aims to improve knowledge and understanding of the Earth, promoting Earth science education and awareness, as well as professional excellence and ethical standards in the work of Earth science.

After graduating from Kingston Polytechnic in 1976 with a BSc in Geology, Malcolm worked in Libya and Saudi Arabia before completing an MSc in Petroleum Geology at Imperial College in 1982. He has worked at BG Group (and previously British Gas) for over 30 years, leading its exploration efforts for much of the last two decades. Mr Brown was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University in 2007 and is currently Executive Vice President of Exploration at BG Group.

‘It is a great honour to have been voted President designate by the Society's Fellowship' says Malcolm, who has been a Fellow of the Society since 1982, and a Chartered Geologist since 2013. ‘The Geological Society is admired as both a learned society and a professional body, providing impartial advice to those in government and other decision makers, and is a preeminent forum for industry and academic debate. I am committed to maintaining scientific excellence in all its activities during my Presidency.'

Malcolm will serve for a year as President Designate, before taking over from current President Professor David Manning in June 2016. Malcolm regularly returns to Kingston University to share his knowledge and experience with current students. Read more about Malcolm on Kingston's 'Wall of fame'.

  • Find out more about studying Geology at Kingston University

Kingston University Fashion MA students give the Clifford Chance graduate hoodie a makeover

Posted Wednesday 1 April 2015

A Fashion MA student displays her designInspired by the catwalk show at Kingston University's London Fashion Week show, the graduate recruitment team at law firm Clifford Chance commissioned MA Fashion students to come up with a fresh new look for their ‘graduate hoodie' design.

Thirty students took part in a sponsored project to capture the spirit and essence of the Clifford Chance brand in a new sweatshirt design for their 2015 intake of graduate recruits.

The brief was to produce three ranges of six designs. A ‘concept range', pushing the boundaries of the design process; a ‘diffusion range' distilling ideas into a marketable store ready product and an ‘off the shelf' range that could be manufactured by Clifford Chance for a £25 per unit cost.

Eleven finalists exhibited at a showcase event on the 30th floor of Clifford Chance's Canary Wharf building on Friday - to an audience of over 200 members of the Clifford Chance community, from senior partners through to trainees.

The winning designs were decided via a vote which took place on the Clifford Chance UK graduate Facebook page with Marjade Roniet and Nikki Diep's proposals garnering the highest number of votes. Marjade's designs will be used to create a new line of merchandise that will be available accross the entire Clifford Chance firm and Nikki's design will be used primarily for the 2015/16 Graduate Marketing Campaign.

Kingston Fashion have been working to secure corporate sponsorship for their programmes, exploring the university's alumni links to unlock new funding opportunities. "It's been a great project for the students to work on, they have excelled in many ways," says course director Andrew Ibi. "These kind of creative, professional industry projects are important for our 'sponsorship' portfolio."

The Fashion MA students\' work on display at the Clifford Chance offices

Laura Yeates, a Kingston University Business graduate, and Head of Graduate Talent at Clifford Chance said "We are delighted with the execution of the project and the results exceeded all initial expectations. The students were professional, engaged and understood the commercial brief."

  • Find out more about studying Fashion MA at Kingston University
  • Find out more about studying Fashion BA(Hons) at Kingston University

March 2015

New Kingston Writing School creative writing short courses hope to inspire literary aspirations

Posted Friday 27 March 2015

A fountain pen writing on paperA new suite of short courses from Kingston Writing School aims to give writers, of all levels of experience, the impetus to showcase their skills and hone their ideas within a supportive teaching environment. Have you always wanted to get started on your first novel or book for children? Or are you already writing and want to discover new creative techniques to refine your style?

The Writing School at Kingston University provides an open, vibrant community of outstanding writers, journalists, and publishing experts engaged with talented students and an exciting range of academics, writers in residence and guests.

Find out more about each specific course:

The new short courses aim to get you started in creative writing, perfect your TV or film script or develop your writing for children. Enjoy a ‘transformative life writing' retreat and craft your personal or family story; or even fasten your seatbelt for a kamikaze 30 days, learn on the fly, and write a novel in a month!

Find out more about short writing courses at Kingston University.


Three Kingston University case studies featured in new University Alliance initiative to spotlight real world impact of university research

Posted Monday 23 March 2015

Kingston University\'s Fiona Jones speaks to a patientA report by University Alliance, of which Kingston University is a member, concludes that collaboration and connectivity must be top priorities for universities and funders if the UK is to continue to lead the world in research and innovation.

The report, Evolve. Connect. Succeed. Funding a healthy research and innovation ecosystem was launched at an event attended by vice-chancellors, parliamentarians, businesses and researchers. The accompanying website resource of more than 60 impact case studies was drawn from submitions from Alliance member universities to the REF 2014 exercise.

The case studies were grouped in four categories and the research from Kingston University is:
Bridges for more effective post-stroke care (category: Improving healthcare)
Protecting victims of press abuse (category: Shaping society)
Tracking sports success (category: Shaping society)

Increased global competition means that for Britain's research and innovation ecosystem to continue to flourish it will need greater collaboration with partners within academia and with businesses, charities and governments. In response, Alliance universities are working collaboratively to deliver a new doctoral training scheme. The Doctoral Training Alliance will be built around joint research strengths and embed close relationships with industry from design to delivery.

Find out more about research at Kingston University.


Kingston University takes steps to close the BME attainment gap

Posted Monday 16 March 2015

Students in a group study session at Penrhyn Road campusThe gap in attainment between BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) and other students has been a long-standing concern across the whole higher education sector. However, Kingston University is now about to play a key role in addressing this important national issue.

Following a recommendation by the Vice-Chancellor and, with the endorsement of the University's Board of Governors on 4 March 2015, Kingston University will now continue to build on work undertaken over the past three years. Led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), the University will introduce initiatives that aim to ensure students from BME backgrounds get the very most out of their time at university, achieve their full potential, and leave with great prospects.

Kingston University aims to lead nationally and will focus its efforts to improve institutional processes, enhance knowledge and skills, and better support its diverse range of students.

The decision is based on a several key factors:

• Across the UK, BME students are less likely to achieve their potential when compared to white students even where entry qualifications and subjects studied are identical.
• The University has a majority of BME students and wants to ensure all students realise their full potential.
• There is a need to address a complex range of influences. Only some factors relate to students' circumstances (e.g. many live at home, have caring responsibilities, need to work to support themselves), which distracts from their ability to learn and study. Other factors relate to the way a higher education institution behaves, such as ensuring there is a climate which is welcoming to all students and a curriculum which is relevant to all student experiences.

As a result the University has now adopted:

1. The reduction of the BME attainment gap as an institutional KPI.
2. A value-added score system, as used in the Guardian league tables, as the key metric.
3. An Achievement Plan containing key initiatives that improve the institution, knowledge and skills, and student outcomes.

Students discussing their studies at a seminar at Penrhyn Road campusThe Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University, Professor Julius Weinberg, said: "By adopting this approach, Kingston University is seeking to further identify the main issues and then take steps to ensure all students achieve their full potential. Our initial focus will be on disseminating clear accurate data, supporting those courses with the largest attainment gap, increasing understanding of diversity and cultural differences, as well as offering support to ensure the curriculum is inclusive and relevant."

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Lesley-Jane Eales-Reynolds, said: "We are making it a key priority to ensure that the University offers all students an equal opportunity to succeed. We know from research that BME students often have less self-confidence than white students and so we have introduced some key opportunities that we know make a difference.

"For example our Student Associate Programme has shown that 92.9% of those BME students who engage with it progress in their studies, whilst only 77.9% of those who do not engage, progress. Also, our Student Leadership Project run by student services showed a progression rate of 88% for BME students who engaged, and only 79% for those who did not. All of these opportunities are designed to build self-confidence and develop the skills that are valued by employers and are likely to make students succeed in their assessments."

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at Kingston University


Students from the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment ‘think critically to make a difference' for South African settlement

Posted Thursday 5 March 2015

A student with some of the village children - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingA student with some of the village children - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingKingston University students and academics flew to South Africa for a two-week field course that saw them actively involved in the lives of locals in different locations. This included working with the residents of Village Heights - an impoverished informal settlement on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Working with the community and with landscape architects and representatives from the Cape Town municipality the students cleared land to create a community garden, shifting 250 bags of household waste, concrete blocks, old mattresses and rubber tyres. Village Heights inhabitants often build their homes with corrugated iron, offcuts of wood, polythene and other found materials. They even created benches, chairs and a see-saw from the debris. The organic compost for the garden was funded by the carbon credits the students bought to offset the carbon footprint caused by their trip.

The school of Geography, Geology and the Environment students on their trip to South Africa - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming The school of Geography, Geology and the Environment students on their trip to South Africa - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming

The School of Geography, Geology and the Environment were invited to Village Heights through links Kingston University lecturers had built with the Cape Town municipality over several years. This trip gives students a unique opportunity to work with locals and debate development issues in a real-life context while learning more about the challenges facing residents while outside of a classroom setting.

Making use of found materials to create playground activities - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming Making use of found materials to create playground activities - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingThe students all study the Development Geographies module, which introduces critical issues of development including resource management, poverty, exclusion, inequality, natural hazards, gender and conflict. The ethos behind the trip was think critically to make a difference. Different days focused on different issues such as socio-spatial inequality, legacies of apartheid, rural development and eco-tourism, carbon-neutral agricultural and ecological conservation strategies and land management challenges.

• Find out more about studying Geography at Kingston University
• Find out more about the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment at Kingston University.

February 2015

Obituary: Marking the achievements of Harry Fraser-Mitchell, former School of Engineering lecturer and outstanding aircraft-engineer

Posted Tuesday 17 February 2015

Obituary: Marking the achievements of Harry Fraser-Mitchell, former School of Engineering lecturer and outstanding aircraft-engineer

Harry Fraser-Mitchell became fascinated with aircraft from the age of seven having been shown round an RAF biplane and from that moment decided that his future was to be in aeronautics.

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