SU WINS SO FAR
- Reduced the Printing Cost – Colour printing is now cheaper on campus! (September 2016, SU Idea)
- No Library Overdue Fees – The rules regarding maximum library borrowing has been scrapped, along with the fees for books that are overdue (unless it is recalled by another user)! (October 2016)
- More Jobs in the Library – The library has promised that if they need any staff, they will look at recruiting students before reaching out to professionals. There will be a meeting looking at the idea of Library Ambassadors at the end of this term! Also, the Library Advisory Group is now open to all students! (September 2016, SU Idea)
Internationalising our Curriculum
As part of my work on internationalising our curriculum, both myself and Saffy (VP International) have spoken at department away days about how individual departments can be pro-active in making their curriculums more diverse and inclusive for our student body! I have also (along with our President) attended the first Achieving Potential Steering Group, a group of senior leadership and senior academics specifically set up to address attainment gaps at Essex, and work together with the SU to reduce these as soon as possible!
A massive part of this work has come from last week, when each faculty held a two hour Curriculum Review Workshop. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to speak at each of these workshops, reaching out to over 50 academics on different ways that they can internationalise and diversify their curriculum. It was also amazing to have our new Faculty Convenors attend, and we also had Course Reps and non-staff students attend, which was amazing to see! Our focus now is working with departments through our Course Reps and convenors to ensure departments set actual actions that have a real impact on students’ education here!
The university communications for this project is going to start this term, so myself and the Deputy Director Student Activities have been working really hard with the university to ensure transparency and full disclosure in every part of the project. I have also been asked by the University to chair a student forum of both senior university leadership and students. If any students would like to be involved with this, email me!
I made a pledge to myself, and you as students to be the most student-facing VP Education that Essex has ever seen. Arrivals Fortnight was the first test of that, with all of our students arriving at Essex for the year. Over the course of Arrivals Fortnight, I attended liberation and sectional mixers (Commuting, LGBT*, Disabled), I went to Southend for the EBS students Induction Day, as well as working half a day giving out Heirlooms to our new students and throwing loads of paint at you all at the Just Play Colour Dash! As part of our Black History Month project, I spoke at an event on the intersection of being BAME and LGBT*, as well as attending Freshers’ Fair and talking to loads of societies about their plans for the year!
Another way of speaking to students is through your lecture events, which is why I gave a talk at the LW111 lecture to the entire first year cohort of the School of Law. I hope to attend more lectures over the coming months to talk to you all about taking control of your education and how to get the most from your experience at Essex!
As part of the feedback from students, I have now pledged that as part of my student engagement, I will attend an event for each of the 17 departmental societies that we have on campus! I have been to two so far, attending an event by the Law Society and the Sociology Society, and will be working with our Departmental Convenor to arrange the rest of the events! If there is an event in particular that you want me to attend, email me and I will try my hardest!
Employability Skills Workshops
An update on these, these will be starting for vTeam Project Leaders in December, and will be open to Soc/Sport Execs, SU Advice student staff, and venues and retail student staff from February. A bit of a growth from my initial manifesto pledge of ‘Society and Sports Execs’ but a good one!
Following the referendum result on our NUS membership in June, I am mandated to engage with the National Union to ensure that the voice of Essex is heard and that our concerns are listened to. That is why I am attending the Higher Education Zones conference, to question members of the NUS Exec on the work they are doing to appease the concerns of a significant number of Essex students! Accountability for Essex!
Democracy at Essex
With the introduction of platforms such as SU Ideas and SU React, and the referendum to remove SRF, it has been noticed that there has been a decline in students engaging with us on a political level, and students holding us accountable for our work. At any stage, we are answerable to you as students on the work we are doing, and I am particularly looking for students to work with me on our projects! If you want to get involved in any of the work I am doing, email me. Also, if you have any ideas on how to improve our democracy as officers, email me!
SU IDEAS I’M WORKING ON
- Keep our Essex Email after Graduation – Other University research suggests that this is expensive and underused, so we are looking at extending the period beyond 3 months.
- Get rid of Exam Resit Fees – As this is not relevant until later in the year, I will be working on this closer to the time.
- Student Accessible Plagiarism Checker – This will be considered as part of the University’s work into Making Electronic Feedback Effective, and revamping Assessment and Feedback.