Chair of School Blogs 2019 - Semester 1
Published: 28th November 2019, 4:00pm
Evie Clowes - York Business School
Being the Chair of York Business School is great fun, I’ve been busy ensuring that semester one has ran smoothly for all business students. Behind the scenes, I’ve been running my own rep elections and finding/electing candidates interested in working with me to make the student representative team as strong and efficient as possible. I have a great team of reps from a mixture of years and courses, and I have been regularly working with them. Together we have had chats, attended meetings and gather valuable feedback that I have then sent or discussed with the relevant people to ensure something has happened or was put in place.
I’ve been busy introducing myself to the Business School staff to ensure a face was put to a name. With a few members of staff, we have been working to boost student engagement and improve key areas that will benefit students such as career notices, workshops or visits. I have met and been having meetings with Bob, Dean of the Business School, and Alan, who oversees undergraduates in the Business School. These meetings ensure that any key areas that need to be discussed are dealt with and that students are happy being part of York Business School.
I also have regular meetings and email conversations with key people in the Students’ Union, such as Jenny, who is the President of Education, and Zaki. This helps me ensure I am doing the correct things in my role, but also talk through any ideas that students or myself might have. I’ve also been attending Student Education Zones and Executive Council. These work to make student voices heard and that the important things are assessed, talked about and then procedures are put in place then accordingly. Recently, I have taken part in Jenny’s Hidden Course Costs campaign here at the University which involved the collecting the views and thoughts of all students.
I'm going to continue working closely with staff, reps and students in semester two!
Holly Hinchley - School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy
It’s been a super busy semester, right from September to now! Even before Freshers Week, I sat on the University's Learning and Teaching Committee panel with Kirsten, President of Wellbeing and Diversity, to look over and discuss some of the changes happening to assessments and re-evaluating the best way to gain student feedback. During Freshers Week, I was volunteering at Welcome Weekend and I got to meet so many new students and help them settle into York St John!
At the beginning of the semester, I began the process of electing Academic Representatives by popping into lots of lectures in my School! It was lovely to see so many people want to engage and be a rep.
On 5 November, I ran an all-day drop in with reps for all Humanities, Religion and Philosophy students. This was so that they could feedback to me and their respective reps ahead of that week’s Student Education Zone. It was also a great opportunity for reps to speak to me between classes if they couldn’t make the Zone to ensure their feedback was noted. A good number of reps as well as students came to discuss course worries and assessment stress, but also the great work their departments are doing to help them as students! Meeting a lot of the reps which were elected was a great time to chill out (with cake, of course) and see how this semester has been so far for different people.
The Zone was a huge success, with a great turnout from my school! Discussions were flowing the whole time which gave me ample feedback to discuss in my next meeting with Jenny!
I’ve had several meetings with the Head of School to catch up on all the changes being made within the school, as well as general student feeling, how to best communicate with students and the effectiveness of student surveys. Off the back of this, I created my own Facebook page for myself so students in the school have a way of contacting me other than by email. I’ve used it to share all things relevant to the school’s students, such as study spaces and wellbeing cafes!
I’ve also attended School Quality Panel where we viewed the Annual Monitoring Reports for most subjects and helped edit the BA History revalidation papers. From that, I have been invited to sit on another panel to represent the student voice and input on how to improve systems between Academics and Student Reps.
Overall, it’s been a jam-packed semester and a great start to the year for the School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy! I am also planning more meetings with the Head of School, Student Education Zones, and helping with campaigns running within the Students’ Union. Additionally, I am planning to coordinate with my Academic Reps to create chilled discussion groups where students can chat to other year groups about what’s in store for them next year, module choices and more!
Katie Goodacre - School of Education
I’ve been the Chair of School for Education since the start of the academic year and I wanted to update you on what I’ve been working on.
Firstly, I want to thank all the people who have volunteered to become an academic rep. And thank you to all the fabulous education reps who attended the first rep meeting, your feedback was very useful and I think you’re all brilliant.
One of my manifesto points was to create an online dyslexia support forum. Over the past couple of weeks, I have talked to tutors and students and have decided to set up a generic study forum, rather than purely focus on dyslexia. This is because I feel like all study techniques may be beneficial to anyone and everyone and, therefore, I don’t want to limit who accesses the support. The forum has been set up using Padlet. You can access the forum by following this link. If possible, please share your study techniques!
Another of my manifesto points was create a whole school news bulletin. Each news bulletin will update you on my progress as Chair and alert you to key events. I’m delighted to hear that these news bulletins have been well received so far! I’ll be making an addition to the new bulletins which will recommend children’s books. I hope that the promotion of these books will encourage Education students to develop their love of reading and help when sharing books in educational settings.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been collaborating with one of the senior lectures in Education and we’ve been working together to develop a journal group that will help improve student critical writing and the profile of research within the school. The journal group is called Journal Jabber. This is project aimed at third year Primary Education students, if you are interested in attending this pilot project then please sign up.
To further improve the profile of research within the school, I aim to host a research event in semester two and create a group where students discuss research articles. Please contact me if you are interested in this and if you can think of a name – the best one will get a prize!
A few people within the School of Education, myself included, have come together to create an education podcast called The Education Debate. You can find it here – please give it a listen, like and share!
Lastly, I have represented students at several meetings, including Quality Panel, Academic Board and Executive Council.
Raana Jefferson - School of Art, Design and Computer Science Since
I started in my role, I’ve been busy working on a number of activities! My first job took place over summer, where I had to complete my training at the Students’ Union. This involved being aware of the regulations at the University and what my role as Chair of School involves. I also needed to know what I would be required to do throughout the year, as well as have a set of plans which I want to complete before the end of the year. This was pretty scary at some points because it felt like a lot of information had just been thrown at me unexpectedly. After that day I needed a chocolate fix, that's for sure!
When the semester started, I worked to elect Academic Representatives for each year group and each course. This could be slightly tricky at times because it depended on when you’re free to pop into classes and when the tutors have enough free time for you to come in. They way Reps are elected this year is new and gives students the right to vote for who they want based on who wants to put themselves forward. After weeks of gathering these lovely people, I now have a full team across my whole school which is fantastic! We all went to the first Student Education Zone of the year which was a great time for my School to give verbal feedback on any issues that we’ve received.
I also had the opportunity to join with the other Chairs of Schools at our first Executive Council meeting. We were given the meeting notes and had some debates on topics concerning the University and its students. This also allowed me to pass my School’s feedback to Jenny and get the ball rolling on their issues.
As well as the day-to-day activities I attend, I’ve also been doing some exciting out-of-hours work. On 26 and 27 November, I was asked to take part in the annual UCAS convention. This involved speaking to students in Years 12 and 13 about what they’re thinking of doing after they finish college and why coming to York St John could be the right decision for them. It was an absolutely amazing event, having the opportunity to share my experiences and enlighten the students on how the University has shaped me as a person, easing some of the fears that I knew they were feeling while looking around the convention.
There are lots of plans which I’ll be working to complete throughout the rest of the year, but for now, that’s what I’ve been up to!
Ella Langston - School of Science, Technology and Health
As we come to the end of the semester, and the first term in our new roles, I wanted to give an overview of what I have been up to as a Chair of School.
It’s been a busy semester running elections, meeting Academic Reps, attending Student Education Zones, sitting on the Executive Council, attending Quality Panels with academics, gathering feedback and much, much more. A lot of this happens behind the scenes, but our aim is to make everything as smooth and easy for you all as possible.
The most important part of my role has been merging the two schools together, School of Health Sciences and School of Sport. This has been a crucial part of my role, as my main aim is to ensure that both schools are heard and that I’m visible to both. I want to say a special thank you to my Reps who have been amazing at supporting me though this!
I’ve also been busy meeting both Heads of Schools and looking at how the quality of courses are reviewed and updated. This is an interesting opportunity to meet academics to look at the differences between courses and how student feedback is taken on board when reviewing and making changes.
Attending meetings with the team from the Students’ Union has been important in helping me settle into the role. This is a great way for both myself and my Reps to pass on information, as well as working on ideas I have for Science, Technology and Health. Looking ahead, I aim to regularly meet with my Academic Reps to make changes and increase the engagement within both schools.
Overall, this has been a successful and positive term with lots more of exciting things ahead!
Laura Grove - School of Languages and Linguistics
As the semester comes to an end it can be easy to almost have forgotten everything that's gone on! I've been really pleased to come into my second year as Chair of School because I've been able to continue working with some amazing Reps, both old and new!
Throughout the semester I've continued to run the Lush Wellbeing Event's that started last year. These events offer students the opportunity to come make some lovely Lush products, find out how to manage stress at University and share their own top tips. They can also find out about the support available to them in York!
These events have been entirely free, and I've been able to start offering them to Education and Psychology Students. The feedback from the four that have ran has been really positive so I'm hoping to be able to continue running these next semester as student mental health is something that is so important and these events have allowed students to feel as though they aren't alone. Yes, University is great, but not when you have more money in printing credits than you do in your bank account and you've cried in the lab because you've read the same page 7 times and NOTHING’S GOING IN.
Additionally, in week 6 we had our Programme Panel, which gave us the opportunity to feedback to the Academics things that are going well and what students are enjoying about their modules. These also allowed us to highlight any concerns or student issues. Overall it was really positive – a massive thank you to all the lovely Reps who helped collect the feedback!
Moving forward into the New Year and semester I'm hoping to continue to expand and work on current projects, as well as begin to plan the End of Year Ball. I’ll also be working alongside Mind on an upcoming campaign!
If anyone ever needs me, has any issues, or just needs a chat please get in contact!