How to make the university do something:
A painfully long explanation of why it takes so long to get stuff done around here.
A.k.a. I moved your 10am deadlines to 1pm!!
This has been a long time coming, but in these dreary times I *finally* have some good news to share with you all!
When I came into this role on July 1st 2019, I had no idea what to expect, but I definitely didn’t expect to find out a standardised assessment submission deadline of 10am was being rolled out across the university and would come into full effect from the start of my first academic year in office (2019/2020).
What the hell?
I queried this with the university and was informed that the decision was made to standardise assessment deadlines to reduce confusion around submission times for dual-honours students who often had differing submission times, and with the intention of bringing down student stress and the number of last minute EC submissions due to technical difficulties around submission deadlines outside of office hours.This rationale made enough sense, but I knew 10am was never going to be popular with students.
As I had suspected, on October 30th I was proved right at our first UGM when the SU received the motion to:
When this passed I felt able to challenge the university on this issue once again (as now I had the official backing of the student body rather than just a gut feeling which had previously been politely ignored when I raised it the first time).
On November the 12th I took the motion to Education Leadership Group (which met every 2 weeks so this was the quickest and first opportunity I had to raise it) where it was agreed that the 10am deadline itself could be reviewed, though the standardised time would have to be agreed by all 3 faculties and could not be changed mid-semester as this would cause too much confusion. The issue was also raised again at Senate (the biggest meeting the university hosts) on the 4th of December and commitment to the investigation and willingness to move the deadline was restated.
At the request of Education Leadership Group, I consulted with the 3 Faculties myself. I sit on ‘Faculty Education Committees’ (FECs) that take place almost every month, so for the January meetings, I brought up the 10am submission deadlines for discussion. These discussions were minuted as follows:
Medicine and Health Sciences:
Humanities and Social Sciences:
So after I’d made it through all three Faculty Education Committees in January, I reported back to Education Leadership Group that all three faculties were willing to move the deadline! Success right?
Wrong. Now we needed a new time. F.
We knew it couldn’t be outside of office hours for schools with physical hand ins (or the technical difficulty ECs we had been trying to avoid in the first place!), I didn’t want it to be before 12pm to better suit students, but this was an uphill battle against some schools who were against it being “too late” in the day as students often skipped classes to make deadlines… After much, *much* more discussion we finally decided on 1pm, and I was sent back to the next round of FECs to confirm this.
However, the observant among you may notice that it is now June, and I am only just now announcing this thing I’ve been working on *literally* all year.
Well, because January’s Faculty Education Committees were in the last week of the month, the next round weren’t due to take place until the UCU strikes were in full swing and so February's FECs did not take place and I patiently waited for the chance to raise this in late March (you can see where this is going…)
The first FEC was due to take place the week beginning the 16th of March, which I now anecdotally refer to as ‘the beginning of the end’ of the year. Thanks to Covid-19, everything was cancelled as we scrambled to salvage what remained of the rest of the academic year and the normal FECs did not take place. [If you want to find out more about what I was up to at this time, check out this report I did for Union Council!]
After Easter the FECs originally scheduled for March took place online in May, where I *finally* got all three Faculties to agree on the new standardised deadline of 1pm! Frankly after everything else that had happened in the past few weeks, 1pm deadlines were the least of everyone's concerns, so these conversations were comparatively brief (I’ll attach the minutes here when I have them but I don’t have them yet!)
I then reported this back to Education Committee (which in light of the pandemic had started meeting every week) where it was *finally* agreed to forward the proposed change to Senate. where regulation D1.3.4. would be amended to read 1pm as follows:
- “3.4 The deadline for the submission of assessed work for taught students is standard across the University. It is set at 1pm on the date of submission. Students are normally required to submit their coursework electronically only. Where this is impossible or impracticable for a particular assessment task, students will be informed in the relevant handbook of the alternative submission format.” (See the regulations - which at the time of writing have not yet been updated - online here: https://www.keele.ac.uk/regulations/regulationd1/#set)
Now, as all major changes do, it just needed to pass at Senate, where the much abridged rationale was explained to Senators as follows:
I held my breath as Senate voted as the amendment was finally, *officially* approved!
And there you have it! The regulation was passed yesterday at Senate on the 24th of June 2020 (with just one week to spare at the end of the Officer working year) and now, next year, all of your deadlines will be at 1pm instead of 10am!
So if you’ve ever wondered why it takes so long to get anything done around here, I hope this whole year’s worth of work for just 3 extra hours on your assignments explains why.
I hope you think of me in those Redbull and panic infused hours after an all nighter, and I hope they’re worth it!
(And I’m warning you now, If any of you ask me to push the new 1pm deadline it to later in the day still - I *will* cry)
- Mari x