Hi guys! I have been *insanely* busy since the last UGM, unfortunately, I’m unable to share most of it as it’s still confidential at this stage.
The list of things I can’t share with you yet includes: a lot of behind the scenes work on Music, hiring a new PVC Education, report writing, student data discussions, Keele Excellence Awards awarding, one-to-one student support and algorithm reviews. But the stuff I can tell you includes Safety nets, bursaries and what I’m working on next, so please keep reading!
Nothing major to report here, without Helen Galbraith I’m without a contact in this department, so as things begin to settle down a bit I’ll get back onto this!
Again, nothing major to report here, there have been a few incidents of lecturers forgetting to update module guidebooks, but other than this it’s been smooth sailing on this one (or at the very least, it’s been noones biggest concern compared with everything else we’ve been through over the past month).
This week I’ll be attending all three Faculty Education Committees and collecting data on lecture delivery styles with the intention of creating a short report summarizing the different approaches being taken across the university. I’ll then be sharing best practices with schools who aren’t currently offering you what they should be, to ensure more consistency for next academic year.
Personal tutoring review:
Unfortunately this stopped much quicker than it started. The ASI - Phase 2 project group meetings have now paused until the new Pro-VC for Education is in place. It is likely that I will have no further updates on this and my successor will continue this as I won’t get another opportunity to input on this before the end of my term June.
Amplifying your Student Voice:
This has undeniably been the main thing I’ve focussed on this past month. On Wednesday the 17th a paper is going to University Senate which will decide on the future of the Music programme which we were actioned in the previous UGM to fight against the closure of. More details of this can be found in the “outstanding UGM motions” section below!
Covid communications support
As you would imagine, this is ongoing. The Safety Net has definitely been the largest part of this lately and I’m sorry that the past few communications have gone out on a Friday afternoon (trust me it frustrates me too and is something I have repeatedly addressed internally!) I’m still pushing for updates from the university as soon as they are able to give them in relation to the return to campus after Easter.
We’ve continued to push for research into the awarding gap of last academic year which is now finally taking place. We’ve also attended numerous EDIs across the university from Physiotherapy to Life Sciences and Law to share best practices.
I’ve also worked alongside Hinna Sheikh to develop the university’s new Hate Crime reporting tool and hope to see this officially launch soon. I’ve also worked with Hinna Sheikh to produce the Staff Decolonisation guidance, which can be found here.
Access to funding
We submitted a KeyFund application for a top up on the AcED bursary account. For those of you who need a refresher on what this is and does, here’s an excerpt from the application:
The Academic Enhancement and Development (AcED) Bursary has provided funding for hundreds of undergraduate students to attend numerous events, conferences and workshops since 2014. Students are invited to submit an application detailing what the bursary will be used for, for example, entrance to a Medical Conference in Manchester and provide a full budget to cover costs. In the past, students were eligible to apply for up to £500 worth of funding. Students must also detail how the event will benefit their work as an undergraduate, benefit their personal or professional development and benefit their School/University and/or Students’ Union. Applications were then assessed by a panel comprising of students and staff. Usually, 75% of applications have a strong enough application to receive some form of funding. With the top 3 applications receiving the full amount that they applied for.
Team strategic aims
Our February monthly update can be found here, and our March update will be posted here on March 15th. I also wrote some more mythbusters you can expect to see soon!
I’m currently working on bringing differing school approaches to personalised exam arrangements. Currently, when a student puts in a personalised exam arrangement request, school approaches to these vary significantly due to the variance in their exam submission windows (which also makes it very difficult for our ASK service to advise and support students who are unhappy with their arrangements).
This is also going to be an issue for students observing Ramadan, as this year our exam season (10th May - 28th May 2021) falls during Ramadan (12th April - 12th May).
I’ll be challenging these differing approaches at upcoming Education Committee meetings this week and hopefully I’ll have more to share with you in my next UGM update :)
Nothing major to report here sorry Holly!
Value for money
Sadly, we have no major updates on the rent rebate front. We’re still pushing for these and will continue to do so when post Easter plans are announced.
Safety Net! I got all Keele students another Safety Net for this year, but to avoid repeating myself see the “outstanding UGM motions” section below!
Outstanding UGM motions:
I have no updates on the “Computing for all courses” or the “Covid communications” motions since the last UGM on the 1st of February. My previous update on these can be found here.
Final year students, you might have noticed, you got one! I worked by butt off to make this happen, so please read my blog post about it if you want to find out how I did it!
Library use and opening hours:
Small update on this, you may have noticed last time I said a proposal was going forward to reopen group study spaces, unfortunately this proposal was rejected by the Covid secure group due to the Library being unable to identify bubbles and therefore not being able to set up appropriate social distancing. I have been chasing this up with them and I hope we can put forward a new proposal ASAP.
They’ve also asked me to remind you that:
- Face masks must be worn at all times in the library building unless in a closed individual study room.
- The one-way routes must be followed
- Social distancing guidelines must be observed
They’re seeing a lot of students breaching these rules and it doesn’t help the university feel confident that group study can be reopened safely.
Opposing Keele Music closure:
There are updates, but I’m not allowed to give you them. We have a University Senate meeting this Wednesday where a paper will be voted on. I can’t say any more than that at this stage, but we’ll share future updates on this as soon as we can.
Hidden costs bursaries:
Reporting now on an active motion from back in October, you asked us to:
- Support the eradication of hidden course costs
- Launch a campaign on hidden course costs
- Lobby the university to list all hidden course costs
- Lobby the university to provide a funding pot for hidden course costs
Whilst I haven’t been able to get a campaign together on hidden course costs yet (or completely eradicated all course costs), I can confirm that we have applied for continued Keyfunding of the AcED bursary, which will be able to cover many of these hidden costs and all course costs should already be publicly listed.