Yet MORE Goals for the Year!

This time it’s not just me! I’ve outlined my goals for the year already, but a part of my role is to also have the very important responsibility of chairing SUSU’s Education Committee – and we’ve set out some aims for the year ourselves!

The committee meets once a month, and consists of myself, the eight Faculty Officers, the Postgraduate Taught and Research Officers, the International Officer, and Union Councillor reps – as well as anyone else who wants to attend (it’s an open committee for all) – and together, we discuss the major issues affecting students currently with regards to their education experience.

We pool together issues from within each Faculty, within each study type (UG/ PGT/ PGR), and experiences from different cohort groups to try and ensure that issues are discussed and actions decided on how to deal with them, and that the best ideas from other Faculties are spread across the University. It also helps dictate what I say on those issues and shapes the work I do for the following month!

As a committee, then, we decided to focus 3 core goals this year to try and ensure that, as a group, we try and maximise the student voice:

1) Improving Feedback – this is a major issue across the University, so we want to pool together opinions on what students think constitutes good feedback, and really push for better standards. With that in mind – I’m currently collecting examples of feedback, so if you have any examples (good or bad!), then please bring them to the Sabbatical Office on Level 2 (or email), I’ll make sure they’re anonymous – and I’ll present them to the University at the end of the month.

2) Communicating with Students (Feeding back on Feedback) – we felt that there was a big issue to deal with as a whole regarding making students aware of not just the work the University is doing, but what representatives are doing too. We’re going to make sure we share best practice across Faculties, whether reps send monthly newsletters to students or if they have a noticeboard, so that students are aware, as well as me writing blogs about the issues students are reporting (although please do excuse the lack of blog lately!)

3) Visibility to Students – last year I introduced the new method for electing reps via an online process – which did have a fair few issues at first. This year ran a lot more smoothly, with now over 400 reps in place (100 more than the whole of last year) and growing, so we want to make sure that students know who they all are! That way, it becomes easier for students to know who to go to when they have a problem, as well as how to contact them. We already have a Find a Rep page on the SUSU website (which needs updating following the recent set of elections) – but we also want to be more creative with informing you about who’s there representing you!

Of course, this won’t replace the work the Faculty Officers do in supporting their Academic Presidents or dealing with issues directly affecting students – but we felt that as a committee it was important to stay on top these areas so we hear about more issues and are able to showcase the work being done to improve them.

In December, we’ll start to properly flesh out some ideas about these goals and set some plans in motion, but if you’ve got any ideas on how we can best do this, then just comment below! All ideas welcome!

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8 Comments on "Yet MORE Goals for the Year!"

  1. Sasha
    07/11/2012 at 9:04 pm Permalink

    An “online website” you say?

    Please show me any other sort of website!

  2. Sasha
    13/11/2012 at 2:18 pm Permalink

    … fair comment. ammended!

  3. Sasha
    Josh Cox
    08/11/2012 at 1:38 pm Permalink

    I personally think there is a bit of an issue with course reps..some faculties don’t use them..I know last year I was only invited to one SSLC meeting and I don’t feel that course reps really know what their full role is. It is great we have 100 more reps than last year but is it mearly just a title for a CV or are these people truly engaged in making change to their degree courses/is their job done by someone higher up the chain?

  4. Sasha
    13/11/2012 at 2:25 pm Permalink

    Hi Josh, thanks for the comment – last year was a very odd year with the University restructure, and not many people really knowing what was going on… That said, the overall reputation has massively improved across academics apparently, and reps are more valued by the University than ever – there are pockets where we know there are still problems, but we’ll get there!

    On the CV aspect, I know that’s been a problem (although the work they do is completely worthy of being on a CV) – but this year we’ve introduced more training sessions, greater monitoring of their attendance, and have stricter guidelines of what we expect from reps. We also have more staff within SUSU to support reps than we did before, so that job is shared too!

    Again, I think if this still exists, the problem is in the minority – this year, over 270 reps will have attended the intro training session (which we reduced the max size of so it was more personal and useful), on top of the reps who had attended last year (still not everyone – but a big improvement), plus we have recorded the sessions and made the information available online – so there is generally a greater understanding of what reps do, or at least where they can go to find out.

  5. Sasha
    09/11/2012 at 6:26 pm Permalink

    Great to see you blogging about this kind of thing!

    Any idea of when the ‘find a rep’ page will be updated and will it include the details of the academic presidents and faculty officers?

  6. Sasha
    13/11/2012 at 2:26 pm Permalink

    Hi Jade, it’s getting there… I was watching the IT wizzos playing with it the other day – hopefully asap (read: this week or next), as I know it’s a disaster at the moment!

  7. Sasha
    14/11/2012 at 9:05 pm Permalink

    You mention the method of electing reps online- Leeds interview for their reps and apparently it has worked really well and I was wondering what your thoughts are on this?

    This method could help with some of the issues that Josh raises.

  8. Sasha
    22/11/2012 at 4:23 pm Permalink

    I spoke to Josh from Leeds about this – I was very thrown! I believe that all voluntary positions should be democratically elected, and at the very least follow precedent elsewhere in the Union. As we dont interview for any other positions, I would be inclined to not do the same here.

    Also, they interview their Academic President equivalents – not Course Reps, who they elect in class. I’d think that the Academic Presidents have been fantastic generally, and that a democratic process not only empowers them, but also helps highlight to their course mates who they are and what they are there to do

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