As promised at the AGM on the 3rd of February 2020, here are my updates on the actions that I was assigned in previous meetings:
- The Promotion of Interdisciplinary Learning (TL;DR - we’re working on it!)
- Allowing Students to make modifications to their HEAR records (TL;DR - not gonna happen unless we give all students the same approach)
The promotion of interdisciplinary learning - we're working on it:
At the AGM on the 10th of December, the Students’ Union were mandated to lobby the university to improve the marketing and student awareness of interdisciplinary learning.
Building on the discussion held at the UGM, students mandated the Students' Union to:
- "Increase the promotion of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences degrees to Foundation Year students.
- Increase the promotion of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences degrees to prospective HE students
- and Encourage the university to encourage students to do blog posts and social media on what their course is about"?
To explore this, back in February I met with the Director of KIITE Rafe Hallett, the Associate Director Academic and Curriculum Development Filippo Nereo, and the Libral Arts programme director Robert Stannard. They informed me that the university is in agreement with the students that the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences programmes are in need of a rebrand and work is currently ongoing to do this. Promotional videos which include students and ex-students talking about their experiences of the course are on their way, and the webpages will also be reviewed and revamped. The course itself has recently gone through a lot of review and improvements and the university is keen to improve students' understanding of this.
In terms of promoting the course to prospective HE students and Foundation Year students this is also an area the university is already working on. Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences programmes will now be promoted during the Foundation Year course, and the university is constantly reviewing its approach to the recruitment of HE students. I will remain in contact with the schools of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences to see this mandate through to completion though my next update may be some ways away.
Allowing students to make modifications to their HEAR records - basically? It’s not a good idea:
At the AGM on the 10th of December, we were also mandated to lobby the university for the ability for students (under specific circumstances) to be able to modify their HEAR records upon request.
At the meeting it was argued that some students resitting a year may not wish to have the repeat year appear on their HEAR record for fear of this negatively affecting their future employment prospects. To the contrary, however, it was also argued that not all students would want their repeat year automatically removed from their HEAR record as they may still have held society committee positions or other things of merit in their year away from study.
The conclusion was therefore reached that the Students' Union should:
- "Lobby to have the HEAR Record resit policy to be down to personal choice - students can choose whether or not to have their resat year removed from their HEAR, with the default to be that it appears unless students request to change this"
On the 7th of February I met with the Head of Student Records and Examinations to discuss the plausibility of this. It transpired during the meeting that what this mandate is asking for is technically impossible to deliver on and would also bring the HEAR records' validity into disrepute. The algorithms that generate HEAR records every year can only be modified in certain ways. This mandate essentially asks for Section 4.1 (“Information on the contends and results gained”) to be removed - as repeat years would show up here, and even if the university individually edits a given student's record, it would be obvious that a year of study is missing so removing the section entirely would be the only way to ‘hide’ this.
Removing section 4.1 enitirely however, would look incredibly dubious in comparison to other students' HEAR record which would include this section. Overall we came to the conclusion that allowing students to modify their HEAR records would likely have a more negative effect than positive on both the student in question (with section 4.1 missing) and more widely, Keele as an institution as HEAR records that appear modified without explanation could bring Keele’s overall (and all other graduates) trustworthiness into disrepute. For this reason, we have decided not to change university policy on the matter, and I have no further updates planned for this motion.
If you think I should reconsider either of these, please get in touch :)