19/20 ACHIEVEMENTS FROM SIMEON, PRESIDENT OF EDUCATION
Written by Simeon, views are Simeon's.
This week, my first term as your President of Education ends as my second term begins. It is important to look back at the journey I have been on with you all behind me inspiring me, pushing and stretching my productivity in ways I could have only imagined.
Waking up knowing I have got a job to fairly represent student views and do what I can to ensure that you get the best out of your University experience has brought a great sense of responsibility for me, one that I do not take lightly. For that, I am grateful. I have been fortunate to work with a highly effective and innovative President team this year. When you are surrounded with people who have got such drive and passion for what they do representing students, it only serves to help you strive all the more to do the same.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me so much for all you do and are. You are absolutely lovely; your constant support in whatever way, shape and form has been highly instrumental in keeping me going on some of my most challenging days. I will continue to work to leave positive marks on everyone at our campus – students first and the University community as a whole.
In no particular order, here are some of my achievements so far:
PARTNERSHIPS WITH STUDENTS
- Foundation Students’ Eligibility for Scholarships and Merits:
I worked closely with our first ever Foundation Students’ Officer of the Students’ Union, Casper Leigh Nicholas (Cas). Cas supported me in ensuring that from the start of the next academic year, Foundation students were eligible for scholarships and merits where eligible for the same scholarships as Year One new entrants!
- AST Working Group
Ensured that student voice was more widely captured within this group. I was able to get Emily Birch (Postgraduate Research Students’ Officer) and Cas to sit on this group when possible with the hopes of capturing the experience of students from lower levels of study to high level-research students.
- Postgraduate Research Students Forum:
Together with Emily Birch, we hosted a Postgraduate Research Students Forum (PGR Students Forum) in partnership with the Doctoral College on the 21st February 2020. This gave room for students to raise their concerns around redundancies and how it impacted research students, the need for spaces & breakout areas for researchers, content for induction lectures and updates from the Doctoral College to PGR students. The concerns were taken away to be dealt with by the Doctoral College and a meeting to ensure actions were being taken to resolve this about two weeks after on the 10th March.
- Talk show with Kofi Smiles @ No Filter:
I was privileged (courtesy of Afro-Caribbean Society Hull) to be part of the Radio Talk show "No Filter: The Forgotten Black History" with our host, Kofi Smiles, Anotidaishe Manjanja (BAME Rep), Arielle Kiara Neely and Rumbie (Women Empowered Society Hull). It was really special that we were on air, yet it felt like a safe place to talk about some of the things that ail the Black Community worldwide. This was done as part of Black History Month.
- Guidance for PGRs on research progress, extensions and intercalations in the context of Covid-19 pandemic response measures:
This was in response to COVID-19 and was another project with Emily Birch. One thing we quickly noticed was that the No Detriment Policy did not apply to PGR students in any way, shape or form due to the nature of Postgraduate Research studies. Therefore, we worked together with the Doctoral College and they produced a guidance to PGR students to help researchers whose research had been hampered by COVID-19. This provided guidance on how the Doctoral College intended to help students mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 for researchers who may need extensions to continue research beyond the time that would normally be allowed, as well as how to deal with intercalations.
- Reduction of Tuition Fees for International Students on a Full-year placement or a study abroad:
This is something I began to push in the 1st Trimester at my first Senate meeting. International students will be required to pay 15% of their annual tuition fees for the next academic year when they were previously required to pay 50%! This is massive for international students looking to go on placements for a full year or a full year of study abroad.
- No Detriment Policy:
This also was in response to COVID-19. Worked with the University on this alongside Isobel Hall in order to ensure that all students were captured in this, ensuring that students had a safety net that prevents COVID-19 from negatively impacting the academic performance of students.
- Mid Module Evaluations:
I was part of conversations that led to Mid Module evaluations. Although module evaluations towards the end of semester is still useful, it is unable to allow for changes to be made that could lead to a more positive experience for students. Introducing this means that students are now able to give feedback about their experiences on modules that could lead to changes during the semester/trimester that could lead to better academic performances and student experience.
- BAME Work:
- Great Debates HE (hosted by Teaching Excellence Academy):
I was invited to help co-chair some Teaching Excellence Academy events that spoke about some topics such as “Unconscious bias” and “Decolonising the Curriculum” as part of my work around this. I believe these debates are a step in the right direction in addressing some of the most crucial issues plaguing higher education. Every little helps.
- BAME survey: I also put out a survey at the start of my time here to help gauge what the experience of BAME students was here on campus; this informed some of my convictions as I articulated the problems with the curriculum to various members of the University.
- Black lives Matter: Supported Abi Morris in coming up with an appropriate response to this. Have also been part of conversations with the rest of the President team, staffs within the organisation and board of Trustees on steps forward.
There is still a lot of work to be done if we are to see institutional change on these issues that impact our University community and the world we live in; I will continue to work and provide support where appropriate on these.
- Course Rep Drop-in sessions and SSFs (Student-Staff Forums):
This also was in response to COVID-19. Both of these were achieved with the help of the Education Coordinators, Benedict Greenwood and Ellis McGlone, who support me.
I began course rep drop-ins just after the lockdown to ensure that I was able to communicate to course reps; keep them up-to-date with how their Students’ Union was representing them, what was happening within the University and how both of these affected them and the students they represent. It was really engaging as well; conversations were always lively and everyone present got involved.
I was also able to get in touch with relevant staff within the Faculties to ensure that most of the Faculties held SSFs online for course reps during the lockdown to ensure that student voice was captured and well represented in decision-making across levels and within Academic units.
TEAM PROJECTS and WINS
- Held Chocolate and Chat sessions all year to increase communication with students and the team’s visibility.
- Ran an exam tea and toast campaign.
- Had a successful Part-time officer elections this year and ended up with the most positions filled in at least 3yrs.
- Supported Isobel Hall with the Additional Cost campaign.
- Had Facebook live sessions during COVID-19 to keep in touch with students.
- Went on climate strike.
- Ran a successful referendum gave us permission to update our Articles of Association.
- Wrote President Monthly Blogs.
- Ran a President Team Survey to review how we can best represent students going forward with over 600 survey responses.