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August: Ups and downs

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Hi guys! It’s been an unusual month and the Uni is starting to feel very lonely without the students so I’m supper looking forward to freshers!  

 

I learnt a lot more about my job this month and became more aware about the two separate strands of my role. By two strands I mean the academic representation campaigning - i.e. working on the things I proposed in my manifesto, and then there is the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Union. The realization of having to do both whilst lacking team members (in the absence of a President and VP Services) has been extremely stressful for me. I have been struggling with the reality that if I neglect my duty as a Union Executive member the Students’ Union will not run by those with a mandate from the students to be an Exec member, however if that responsibility distracts me from my role as a student-advocate in the wider University I am not fulfilling on the promises I made to students. In recent times trying to do both has exhausted me. I hope going forward I will know how to find the right balance and deliver on both responsibilities efficiently.  

 

As mentioned, since there is no President this year the team decided it was pointless to refer to ourselves as Vice Presidents. So, we decided to drop the Vice and I’m now considered President Education. 

 

Anyway, here is my monthly progress on my manifesto promises: 

 

I visited the Head of LCS (Library service) and discussed these three points and why they would be beneficial to students: 

  • £10 printing credit annually  
  • A clearer study room booking process 
  • A 3-hour cap policy on timetables 

The outcomes of that meeting were very positive. The Head of LCS said he would propose for the money to fund an increase in student printing credit from the Vice Chancellor. He also informed that the page where we make a room booking is not easily changed since it comes from an external provider, however the page just before going into the actual room-booking page can include information on the space and facilities provided in each room. If this information is included, we can have a swifter booking experience. Reducing timetable gaps is looking really difficult. The impression I am getting from the university is that they really struggle with timetables. I was told that the function which allocates students into a timetable already is supposed to avoid long gaps. I don’t consider this answer satisfactory however since a computer does not realize that each and every student is a real person who doesn’t want to wake up at 7am to go to a Lecture and then wait around till 4pm to go to a tutorial. So they must find a better timetabling system/ more available lecturers/ more rooms/ or do something to reduce timetable-related complaints. Your timetable has a significant impact to your learning so the more student-friendly it is the better. 

 

Transparency on degree grading:  

I have met with a few Associate Deans to tell them the degree grading system can and should be made more understandable to students. I have presented to them an example of how modules get considered into an overall degree grade and recommended they add a model like this to their program sec/module guide. 

 

PhD student opportunities at UH:  

In meetings with Associate Deans I have asked them if they would be interested in partnering up with me on an event I proposed called The Secret Life of a PhD Student which would be a networking and Q&A opportunity between PhD students and masters students (available to undergrads too). It went down really well with them – now I just need to start working on it! I believe February is a good time for the event. 

 

I also had the amazing opportunity of attending the Muslim Leadership Retreat hosted by the Muslim Leadership Foundation and it was such an eye-opening fun weekend and I made some great friends there :)

 

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