Posted on Tue 15 May 2018 at 16:39 by Rowan South
It's been a great year, one I have enjoyed immensley! I have learned so much and met so many wonderful people throught my time here at NUSU and Newcastle University and it is with a heavy heart I will leaving. But rest assured, I will be passing the role on to a safe pair of hands and I wish Jonny all the best for the year to come! But now onto my final update of the year:
What have you done this term?
This term has been focused predominantly on the Teaching Excellence Awards. This year’s awards were the most successful yet with 403 nominations received; the most in TEAs history! Myself and Joe Barton alongside several student volunteers shortlisted the categories before representatives from SAgE, HaSS, FMS, INTO, London, Malaysia and Singapore selected the eventual winners. The award ceremony was then held on the 3rd May and was a huge success.
Another success has come in the form of my week off after January exams proposal, although not quite how I had envisioned. After further discussions it was decided that the University would undertake a full review of the structure Academic year which will involve extensive staff and student consultation and will take place in the upcoming year with the view for changes to be implemented for Academic Year 2021/22.
Joe Barton and I have been investigating what training PGR supervisors receive in preparation for them taking on research students. While current University training was found to not be particularly effective at the moment we were reassured to find that much work was going on to improve this and the University had infact been awarded a grant for a project entitled; “Wellbeing for All: An Equality and Inclusion Approach to Supporting PGR Mental Health”.
Myself, Ronnie, George and Joe have also undertaken significant work in gathering reports of the impact of the strikes on students. We have asked all course reps to fill in a ‘Strike Mitigation Form’ to let us know where they feel they have been affected by the industrial action. We received over 100 forms over the Easter break, we then collated the data and summarised it before passing it onto heads of Academic units to use when assessing the impact of the strikes. This work was widely appreciated by the University and we received personal thanks from both the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching.
What has been your biggest achievement?
It has to be the TEAs, such a phenomenal amount of work goes into the TEAs, from the planning and promoting of the nomination process and awards ceremony to the anonymisation, shortlisting and selection of winning nominations. The amount of work put in by so many students and NUSU staff has been fantastic to see, Kay pulled off an absolute blinder with the awards ceremony and I’m sure everyone who went will agree that it was a fantastic evening (if I do say so myself).
What could you have improved on?
Feeding back to the student body. I’ve mentioned this before but it is something that has been quite difficult to do, so much of the work I do is small ideas, changes, interventions, all done in the background and it can be quite hard to shout about them!
What piece of advice would you pass on to your successor?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! George, Joe and Kay have been amazing all year, any question I’ve had they’ve answered and they’ve always given me great advice throughout the year, I mean it when I say that I would not have been able to do this job without their guidance!
Also, make sure you become friends with everyone in the SAC, they’re all fab and you’ll get invited to their nights out which are class!