Written by Simeon.
My first trimester as President of Education, working on behalf of University of Hull students, has been a great privilege and has really stretched me as both a student representative and in my own, personal development. I have met so many different students and gained insight into a variety of different versions of student life that I previously didn’t have privy to. I have thoroughly enjoyed making positive change to student life – it’s great that this is something we do day in, day out. Of course, not every day is the same and I will continue to work hard in Trimester Two on projects that I feel passionately and deeply about.
So far, the outcomes from Trimester One include:
As President of Education I sit on a lot of committees and meeting groups (over 14 of them so far) to ensure that decisions made at university level prioritise student interest. One group is the MEQ Working Group (Module and Teaching Quality Questionnaires). Module evaluations make up a key part of student feedback, given to the university, and includes their experience of particular modules on their course. When I first started the role, module feedback could only be given at the end of the module – this meant that it would only be implemented for future students and no changes would be made to help the current students, it could also be potentially irrelevant for the future cohort.
After highlighting the issue, and with further discussions, Mid-Module Evaluations were created! Now students can give feedback about their course during the Trimester and changes will be made while they are still studying that particular module. The first round of Mid-Module Evaluations should begin during Trimester Two (2019/20).
Foundations Students’ Eligibility for Scholarships & Merits
I’ve worked closely with the Foundation Students’ Officer, Casper Leigh Nicholas (Cas), who has done their best to ensure that Foundation students are well represented. They read through the information provided by the university and found that Foundation students were ineligible for any of the university scholarships. They spoke to me about it and we began to work on it – spoiler, we succeeded! It has been agreed that Foundation Year students will be eligible for the same scholarships as Year One new entrants, with their award given in Foundation Year in order to ensure equality for all students. This will begin from September 2020. Well done Cas!
AST Working Groups
The experience students have with ASTs is quite inconsistent across our university - some have great stories of the appropriate help & support from their ASTs when they needed it, while other students have experienced a feeling of lack of help from their ASTs.
When I first started the role, I began to have a conversation about ASTs with the PVC Education, Becky Huxley-Binns. The AST Working Group was established on the 18th of September 2019, during the Education Committee, and the first meeting was held on the 6thof November 2019. Since then the group has been looking at how the current AST system works and what could be done to improve it.
Part of my manifesto this year was to get students more involved with the AST system. I asked that the Foundations’ Students Officer (Cas) and Post-Graduate Research Students’ Officer (Emily Birch) be made part of the working group, providing representation for students at varied levels.
I know that there are still immediate issues - which we continually work to address and take feedback about. The Working Group will hopefully lead to long-term solutions – ensuring students are represented and that the AST works to support all students.
Enquiry into International Student Fees
At the last Senate Meeting, held on the 9th of October 2019, (attended by Abi Morris, Isobel Hall, Sanaa Sabir, Katherine Coates and I) we raised several queries with regards to admission fees – particularly for Foundation and International students in comparison to home/EU students, as international students currently pay 50% of their tuition fees (50% of £14,500 on average) for full year placements/study abroad.
I have since raised this at the Fees & Scholarships Group Meetings (FSG Meetings) and set up a meeting with the Head of Careers to discuss the cost incurred by International students on placements. My ultimate aim is that there is a reduction in tuition fees for International students. I will continue to think creatively and strategically about how I can work to achieve this.