Steph's Students’ Council Report

Steph

Your Students' Union VP Education has been working hard on her manifesto and COVID response throughout term. This report details her recent update to the Students' Council. Check out her recent focus points below:


Student Voice:


• Leading the Workstream on Course Rep Roles and Responsibilities supported by Sarah and a cross section of staff and students to look at the following;
1. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the Reps and staff in relation to academic representation
2. Develop supporting processes for the election of Course Reps
3. Develop guidance for staff on how to work with Course Reps as partners
4. Develop a support and recognition package for Course Reps and School Presidents distinctive from the Students’ Union’s provision
5. Clearly define a process of how the system should work and communicate to wider audiences
6. Ensure that the Academic Representation system captures and empowers a diversity of voices
• Attending the SSLC workstream meetings to use my experience as a rep to help shape the future of the meetings
• Meeting with Post Grad Research Faculty monthly on issues around PGR – We have created PGR rep roles (2 per School) and highlighted the need for better wellbeing comms.
• Academic WINdow – Due to move online has become Academic WInstagram – hope with a course rep group online we can further celebrate the wins of reps. https://bit.ly/39Y7iPY
• Spoken about Student Success at a WonkHE webinar with my top of the pops for student success becoming a successful article - https://bit.ly/2MOccGD
• Working with Course Reps to escalate issues alongside work on raising awareness of Complaints Process - https://bit.ly/3oWGm7H
• I have also responded on behalf of the Union to the Office for Students Consultation on Quality in which myself and Sarah (Advice and Representation Manager) pushed back on behalf of widening participation students to ensure their voice was amplified.
• Continued discussions regarding No Detriment, then on the comms and process with Academic Registry. If any students are concerned, please speak with course leads or if they feel it has not been used appropriately APMQuery@uclan.ac.uk.


Spill The T:


• Working with the University to ensure all staff are fully trained in terms of NSS Undue Influence.
• Secured a question around wellbeing on the NSS Survey (not usually asked)
• Working on our Spill the T campaign, we will be asking students of all years and modes of studies to give us their ‘t’ on their experience at UCLan. This will be launched at the Course Rep Conference – Voices 2021


Communications Policy:


• Fed back issue around student outlook emails being in the ‘Other’ inbox meaning crucial information not seen by students after being alerted to the issue by UCLan Take Action – this will not come directly to students ‘focused’ inbox.
Disabled Students and Reasonable Adjustments
Reasonable Adjustments:
• Working with the University on how we can better ensure reasonable adjustments are adhered to by teaching staff. Alongside moving a number of reasonable adjustments (including lecture capture) to inclusive teaching practice meaning that every teaching event must follow suit. This is currently in consultation with staff.


Lanyards:


• After feedback from Disabled Students around mask exemption, we have worked with the University to move away from utilising the hidden disabilities lanyard for mask exemption.


Working with Disabled Students Rep


• Worked with Nikkita, Disabled Students Rep on a International Day of People with Disabilities Social Media Campaign that raised awareness of differing celebrities with hidden disabilities and how to be allies with the disabled community. https://bit.ly/3juoH5U
• Again, worked with Nikkita to formulate a big idea regarding Quickscan and SPLD support for students prior to freshers. Please support this big idea when live!


Decolonisation
Inclusive Curriculum Working Group:


• Working with the University on their strategy in terms of a curriculum which supports the intersectional community of marginalised people.
Decolonise UCLan:
• Working with Odette, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students’ Representative on a campaign to educate students and staff about the need to decolonise the education system which will launch at Course Rep Conference – Voices 2021. We plan to do this by;
1. Information on issues such as the Awarding Gap and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students’ Experience at UCLan Report
2. Launching our Decolonisation Resources Library on the SU Website which seeks to inform students and staff on the basics of Decolonisation and Racial Issues with resources to further expand their knowledge.
3. An open letter to Graham and VCG alongside a template which students can use to engage staff as it is important to give students agency.
• From this we hope to create a foundation of resources that can be expanded upon to open the discussion to all marginalised communities and utilise the intersectional benefits of decolonisation for all.


The Kitchen Sink
Academic Integrity:

• UCLan Level -As you will know I am consistently discussing academic integrity on social media as to alert students to issues, in particular around essay mills. If you receive emails to your UCLan Account re essay mills, please report to LISCustomerSupport@uclan.ac.uk. If on social media, please report to sueducation@uclan.ac.uk.
Thursday 11th February 2021
• National Level – Myself and the Vice President Education at Worcester SU started the academic integrity collective, which is a group of Academic Reps wanting to make change at institutional and national level. We are working on a campaign called #BetterByU to inform students about the dangers surrounding essay mills, to call upon universities to provide fit for purpose academic support services and education on academic integrity alongside speaking with MPs and Internet Providers on the criminalisation of essay mills and ethical advertising. Two weeks ago, we spoke with Chris Skidmore who is presenting a ten minute bill on this and we hope this will move forward in law alongside the bill presently in the Lords by Lord Storey. I have also spoken at a global conference on Academic Integrity with the Quality Assurance Agency. I can also confirm that I have now accepted a voluntary role on their Academic Integrity Panel and will also be speaking with Policymakers at an upcoming Westminster Forum on academic integrity.
Study Skills Support:
• Wiser- With the amazing support of the SU team, I compiled the ‘Why Wiser?’ response to the consultation around the closure of the Wiser Service, I continue to push and will ensure that moving forward the SU is in the rooms around the discussion of academic support. Please see the attached for the report - https://bit.ly/36TF1bg
• Study with Steph – I provided a ‘Study with Steph’ session for the Study Good campaign alongside a number of ‘Steph-made’ resources. These are not yet available on the new website but I am happy to send links to those who wish to utilise them.


In Addition


• Course Rep Conference planning – ready for next week.
• Ones to Ones offered to All School Presidents and Liberation Officers
• Working with the University on a graduate support package.
• Issues re lectures feedback to Deputy Heads of School.
• Community Celebration Videos - https://bit.ly/2N6Om8K
• Attending meetings around issues such as timetabling etc.
• Both academic community scrutiny reports recorded for those who couldn’t attend - https://bit.ly/3a16vOw


What I am working on in the next few months in line with my manifesto and COVID response:


• Finding a successor and creating a handover for them!
• Enjoy the Course Rep Conference next week in which we focus on the voices of underrepresented students in education, academic allyship and creating a blizzard of change. (Happy to provide more information). Currently finishing the digital goodie bag for this.
• Presenting my Activism 101 workshop for Volunteer Development Programme.
• Continue the Decolonisation, Academic Integrity and Spill the T campaigns alongside creating a handover and feeding back issues to the university.
• Also continue my campaign to promote self-care everywhere!
• Resting – rest is a form of activism!


Steph says "I would like to thank every single student who has worked with me, messaged or emailed me about their experience, alongside phenomenal staff in the Students’ Union (in particular the Rep and Officer Team) and University who support the work surrounding education."

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