The Interview UK
The University of Kent
Reader in Forensic Science and Student Engagement Coordinator

Bob Green

In today's globalised world, it is essential to prepare students to be culturally competent and responsive to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But students are busier than ever, and it can be challenging to keep them engaged in these efforts. No one understands this better than Bob Green, Reader in Forensic Science and Student Engagement Coordinator at the University of Kent, who has worked tirelessly to tackle the challenge of sustaining student engagement. 

Bob sat down with Charles Sin, Co-Host of The Interview, to discuss his background in forensic science, his efforts to foster a sense of inclusion and belonging on campus and preparing students to succeed in the world beyond Higher Education (HE). 

Bob's Journey

Charles: Let’s start with a quick introduction to your current role and institution. 

I’m a Reader in Forensic Science at the University of Kent. I’m also the Director of Student Engagement for our School of Chemistry and Forensic Science. I’ve worked here full-time for 12 years, and I’ve been involved with the institution for almost 20 years now. 

Charles: You have quite a unique professional background. What attracted you to student engagement work?

There wasn’t a masterplan — I kind of stumbled into it. My career started in practical forensic science, not academia. I first arrived in higher education to teach students the practical aspects of forensic science, and it took off from there. I think students are our biggest asset, and my philosophy is to put them at the heart of everything we do. 

Charles: I’m interested in knowing how you get students involved. How do you encourage their input?

Sure! Every year, we carry out a questionnaire called the Audit of Continuous Improvement. That asks students to provide feedback, and we do our best to implement their recommendations. If there is something we can’t put into action, we always make sure to explain why. We carry out that audit at the end of the academic year, so we can assess it over the summer and make its recommendations the first priority of the new year. 

But we’re also prioritising continual input — we evaluate each course at the middle and end of each term. During Covid, I found it difficult to ensure students’ interaction. So I started to use digital chat facilities to create an “electronic digest” — bringing together everything we discussed in class and identifying areas of further study. So we’ve kept that going after the pandemic, introducing QR codes in classrooms to allow students to give feedback and implementing an online form that lets them ask questions anonymously. 

Charles: It seems you have a highly proactive approach. Many of our recent guests have been discussing the need to foster a sense of inclusion and belonging on campus. What initiatives have you been working on to this end?

When I first arrived at Kent, I started a newsletter that I sent out to students every week. It started as a series of forensic science articles, but they didn’t get much engagement; so over time, it evolved into a community newsletter, updating students with news about societies, extra-curriculars, and campus life. It had to be written with students in mind and with their interests at heart. We also have an active social media presence, posting every day to engage with students. Consistency is key. It’s not enough to reach out once a term: you need to be interacting with students all the time. Feedback isn’t just one way — you need a 360-degree perspective. 

Charles: Student safety has become a key concern on campuses. How can we help to protect students against inappropriate behaviour?

On an institutional level, we have a student charter with clear anti-harassment policies. You only need to walk around our campus to see signs and video boards which target unacceptable behaviour. In practical terms, we provide students with links to resources to find confidential support. Another great initiative is our student safety app: if students feel unsafe, they can push a button to alert security. Safety isn’t about a single policy — it’s about building a culture. 

Charles: It can be challenging to get students engaged with inclusion. Where do you see the most engagement?

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that one size doesn’t fit all. Students are interested in different things: some are focused on their academic disciplines, whereas others are more involved with societies or sports teams. So we must respect the diversity of interests and provide opportunities for students to engage on their terms. At Kent, we hold reflection events which often involve field trips. I’ve taken students to the King’s College Medical School in London, and the Interpol Headquarters in Lyon. We’re now getting ready to attend a conference in Italy next week! These events aren’t compulsory, but they can serve as a flagship to build other events around. 

Charles: Technology is causing profound changes for HE. How can we prepare students to enter the new digital economy?
It’s not enough anymore to just see students through to graduation: we need to prepare them for the world of employment and equip them with the skills they need to excel in a changing world. 

Digital technology has made communication easier than ever: students have high expectations, so we need to be responsible and adaptable. We’re trying to keep students up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of science and technology — recently, we’ve been doing a lot of work promoting Black British students in STEM. It’s not enough anymore to just see students through to graduation: we need to prepare them for the world of employment and equip them with the skills they need to excel in a changing world. 

Quick-fire Question

Charles: What’s your top tip for engaging students with DEI work?

There are no silver bullets. Students don’t want special treatment: they just need people who care about them. You must break down barriers to get on the same level as students. Only then can you make a difference. 

Curious to see what the future of training looks like?
Charles Sin
Charles works hand-in-hand with leaders and changemakers in higher education. If you want to join the next series of The Interview, or just learn more about GoodCourse, then get in touch at

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