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Education Officer

Blog: Sian Dickie, Education Officer

End of Term / End of Year Report (14/05/21)

Hi everyone, 

Well, what a rollercoaster it has been, but here is my end of year report with some highlights from this term. 

What have you done this term?

Myself and the Activities Officer, ran Shaping Futures this term. We were so happy with the campaign and with how many people turned out to events. It really shows to the University how high up climate justice is on the student agenda. Thank you to all who came along. As a result, the University hopes to continue collaborating with us on Climate Action work in line with their Climate Action agenda.

I wrote a chapter in our Decolonising NCL report alongside our Decolonising Ambassadors. I particularly focused on the section of Pedagogy which is so important to consider within my Education remit. The report is designed to give recommendations to teaching staff and University on best practice for decolonising educational techniques. Report chapter covers, students’ academic transitions, widening participation students and the biases within our University. The Decolonising Pedagogy chapter further aims to cement some of the reasoning behind the example pledge given as part of the Decolonising NCL campaign.

I also chaired 2 Education Executive’s this term, the first of which, we received feedback on the Rep Forum with Chris Day which the Postgraduate Officer Chaired. The University are keen to continue more open forums with students, but the reps felt that it was difficult to find the ‘right’ structure without either a) answers feeling too rehearsed and b) finding out the right information for difficult and specific issues. Other discussions in Education Executive have been around personal tutoring, wellbeing advisors and further PGR funding. 

In more exciting news I also had the amazing opportunity to present two lots of awards this term, the TEA’s and the Student Rep Awards. It was so fun presenting these alongside Charlotte our Postgraduate Officer who I have worked with so much this year. It was also so lovely to read through all of the lovely nominations, and hear the speeches that staff and students gave each other at each respective awards ceremony. In such a turbulent year, it was lovely to hear of all the positives.  

Finally, I have wrote my magnum opus in the form of a council motion on student representation. The Vision for Student Representation will be coming to the final Student Council of the year on May 20th. It outlines how representation would look without individual Liberation Officers and instead moving towards Liberation Executive Committees which are more inclusive, equitable and require less emotional labour on an individual student. This has come about due to the University wanting more access than ever to marginalised groups to receive feedback on important and nuanced issues but further due to the success of the BAME Union created our current BAME Officer and WEO. After consulting on this with the rest of the Sabbatical Officer’s we truly feel that this is the way forward for representation in NUSU. So I hope it passes, fingers crossed! 

What has been your biggest achievement?

I really think presenting the awards was a huge achievement for me. I was quite nervous to present live, so it was a big thing for me to do it. However, I’m so pleased I did, it was such a lovely end to the academic year. 

What could you have improved on?

Timing is everything. I’m still saying yes to too much but I really enjoy trying to take things on, even if it is a lot. 

What piece of advice would you pass on to your successor?

Guess this is ironic given my answer above. However, I’m going to say it anyway. Livia, I am so certain that you will do an amazing job, but do not say yes to everything. It’s really important in this role to see what is in front of you, because there is a lot of responsibility that you end up picking up a long the way. As Education Officer you sit on so many committees. So, just keep what you’re doing in check and you should be grand! I can’t wait to see what you do with everything, you’re going to be great. Northern lasses are the best Education Officer’s if you ask me! 

Sian Dickie 

NUSU Education Officer 20/21

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