Hi guys! This is my first ever UGM update, as always if you have any questions about the things I’m working on – or more importantly if you want to get involved in what I’m doing, please do send me an email!
It has been a hectic few months of: training, scrutinising policy, attending one or two protests, as well as a few hundred hours in committee meetings on teams! Here is a snapshot of the most important things I’ve been working on:
Timetabling this year was a disaster, students did not receive their timetable in adequate time to prepare, which severely impacted most students – especially those with caring responsibilities, as well as those with jobs. I raised this at Education Committee (see below!) and was ensured that going forward there would be a significant project to improve the timeline of timetabling
I’ll be working with you to produce a report outlining the impact of the late release of timetables has on students – from added stress to the financial costs of finding last minute carers.
Personal tutoring review:
The Academic Mentoring group has been reconvened, and as a member of this group, I will directly feed into the rework of the Personal Tutoring system. I aim to ensure there is consistency between tutors, that there is appropriate training for them, and that they play a role from day one until graduation.
On my first week in July, I was thrown head-first into scrutinising the proposal for a new EC system which would take effect from August 1st.
This new system offers flexibility first – ensuring all students can get a five working day extension under self-certification, whilst aiming to better support students under DDS. The process has also moved under Student Services, which in turn should increase consistency between programmes, and allow for better support to be offered to individuals submitting ECs.
I’ll be working with students this year to identify if this model is working, if the automatic extension length needs to be lengthened, and if there are any gaps in which students’ may be falling through.
Fees and Funding:
At the end of the last academic year, my predecessor was able to acquire sustained funding for our AcED bursary! The Academic Enhancement and Development (AcED) Bursary has provided funding for hundreds of undergraduate students to attend numerous events, conferences and workshops since 2014.
We are hoping to be able to relaunch the bursary within the year (we’ve been unable to so far due to staffing!) as well as reviewing how the bursary has been accessed historically to make continued improvements.
There are also some exciting plans within the university, which unfortunately I cannot speak about, which would see opportunities for greater funding for extracurricular development.
I’ll be doing a series of work this year around assessments – focusing on how we assess students, how frequently we do this, and how students benefit from assessments e.g., how we receive feedback!
I’ve had good introductory conversations with the Pro Vice Chancellor (Education) around this and we hope to do it in partnership.
Team strategic aims
(Only updating where I have an update!)
Fighting the Marketisation of Education
I have already been involved in conversations around how this funding model has had severe impacts on students for the past decade. From cramp classrooms, to seeing new buildings being built whilst services are not adequately funded. We’ll be working with UCU (the union for staff) to lobby the university to be more outspoken on this national issue.
Dan and I have been feeding into the Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team (RECSAT) as well as having met with the new Academic Lead for Decolonisation, Lisa Lau. We will both sit on the newly formed DTC working group and will feed into a 3-year plan on how to drive decolonisation forward at Keele.
Outstanding UGM motions:
The only outstanding UGM motions are regarding the Computing for All courses (read Mari’s old blogs for more information!) and the Data Charter.
I’ll be aiming to build discussions around the computing courses into the action points for the Study Skills submission we had for this UGM.
As for the Data Charter, the university has its hands a draft! I’ll be hoping to get eyes of it soon, and work with the team to ensure it protects students in the way we have always championed.