Over the last month I cannot count the amount of times that I have been asked whether I’m settling in nicely to my position as VP Education. I am very glad to announce that I am very well settled and keen to progress with everything that I want to achieve in my position. I want to assure all of our members that my late start has not hindered me in my ability to perform as your officer.
Having spoken to all of the SU directors, I now feel confident in my implementation plan for my manifesto.
I will be involved in talks about the SU exam campaign to help deliver on my promise to provide more relaxation events for students on all of our campuses which will hopefully make this one of our most successful years yet. I am also keen to up our efforts for the exam campaign towards the end of the spring term to have more relaxing opportunities for students with heavy coursework loads at that time.
Spreading out deadlines
I have decided that it is important to gain some student feedback on the issue of spreading out deadlines to see how much appetite there is about potentially moving more coursework deadlines into holiday time. Although no student wants to do any work during this time, it may be an opportunity to give students a little extra time to complete the work that they have to do. Any student that has any initial thoughts on this issue is free to come and let me know in person or by email although I will be consulting a wider body before long.
I have also had talks with the university and I am keen, when I get an opportunity, to see if the exam period can be spread out more evenly for students to avoid them clumping up.
I have been working on plans to implement a union council to replace some of our existing democratic meetings. I have outlined most of the changes that will need to be made to make it possible to hold as well as looking into ways of making it as worthwhile an experience for any student that goes along to it.
Hopefully, the referendum for the union council will take place in February on the ballot paper for our normal elections; this will hopefully raise awareness of the referendum and enable a thorough discussion of the issues at hand.
I am in constant discussions with the university on how to continually improve the listen again students. This month, I have had assurances from the IT department that new microphones were installed in a number of lecture buildings which will hopefully improve the quality of recordings in those rooms. As always, there will be other improvements and issues with listen again that I will continue to address.
I am in discussions with the library to improve the access to digital copies of books, especially core readings. The library has assured me that they will be pushing academics to give them all of the reading lists for their modules and the sizes of the classes that they have. When this becomes common practice, this will almost eliminate any issues with students accessing any of their core materials.
I am part of an ongoing discussion with the university about the improvements of extenuating circumstances. I think some really good progress has been made for next academic year but there is still a lot of work to do and a lot of challenges to face.
Support for students with additional needs
I have been speaking to the mature students’ officer and with student-parents about the possibility of improving facilities for student with children. The library has agreed to revise their current policy and with my input, will come up with a more accommodating policy than currently exists.
I attended my first Education committee in December and I was glad that the university remained supportive of student experience whilst at university and providing them with adequate skills when entering the world of work. Tensions were very low and it clearly proved that the SU is now at the stage where it has a strong, working relationship with the university which I am very happy to report.
I have accepted that the spring term will be my busiest of my whole term in office due to the work that I have set out for myself to do but I am eager to step up the challenge and make sure I keep up my strong work so far.