Vice-President Education Wins 2017-18

Bry Loveless - VP Education 2017/18

1. Guild Education Survey

Bryony's manifesto had a focus on the complex issue of deadline clustering and the academic year. She set out to empower the student voice, at a grassroots level, to transform our institution based on real feedback.

The survey received 2469 total responses, with over 4,000 free text comments. This data has been used to initiate and inform conversations over the VP Education's entire term in office and those to come. The data has been discussed at a number of high-level committees, as well as within SSLCs, Student Partnership Boards and Academic Executive. In particular, it has generated an urgently needed discussion around assessment, feedback, deadline clustering and academic support.

Academic Study Skills Support

Since August, she has worked with the SEAS and the ASSET team to develop a proposal for centralised academic skills support. This was mandated by a clear student desire for more study skills support, from the Guild Education Survey, NSS, and personal conversations. 

The proposal was to provide a “relaxed, centrally located, supported learning space with an academic study skills focus”. Much like the Careers Zone, this would be an area in which students could book appointments with Academic Skills advisors, either individually or in small groups. Following a series of successful drop-ins that took place over Term 1, the proposal is gaining traction and work is underway to transform the SID Waiting Area for September.

There are high hopes that in the future any student on any course will be able to access the Academic Skills Support they need. This includes, for example, tutorials or 1-to-1s, Peer Mentoring sessions, Writing Mentoring sessions, Maths & Statistics Mentoring sessions provided by PGR students and so on. 

2. Academic Representation

One of Bryony's most significant challenges and priorities this year was the Guild’s Academic Representation system which faced several difficulties in the early part of the 2017-18 academic year. Working towards ensuring an efficient, effective Academic Representation system became a defining feature of Bryony's Sabbatical Year, and she has made considerable progress towards a more robust system.

Governance

The Academic Representation Working Group was formed to oversee the governance of Academic Representation. This group has additionally worked towards transforming and simplifying the SSLC Code of Good Practice found in Chapter 11 of the TQA manual.

Training

Students need to feel empowered to raise the student voice and opinions to academics and staff members and, therefore, the Guild, in conjunction with the University, is in the process of organising a Training Conference for October 2018.

This event will aim to build on the training already received by Reps; continuing to enhance their employability and reinforcing the importance and value of their role as part of a bigger picture in the Higher Education sector. It will incorporate training about Quality Assurance, NSS, PTES, PRES, and an overview of the current challenges across the sector. Keynote and professional speakers will be invited to train students with invaluable skills such as how to set agendas, chair meetings, manage conflict and so on.

SEAS Transformation

Bryony has kept the student voice front and centre of the Professional Services Transformation which involves crucial support for the Academic Representation system.

''I am deeply grateful to Education Executive for allowing me to raise concerns regarding this issue, and for ensuring that this challenge will be carefully looked at during the SEAS transformation.''

Capturing Feedback

A generic SSLC email address has been set up for each department to allow students to email in feedback. This will ensure that cohorts will still know how to contact their relevant SSLC, regardless of whether there is a change in Subject Chair.

In September 2018, iExeter will also contain a feedback tile which will redirect any student feedback for Academic Representatives to the relevant SSLC inbox.

3. TEF

Bryony has worked extensively with the University and the Office for Students on the Teaching Excellence Framework consultation. She has ensured that the student voice is heard on every level – both departmentally, institutionally and nationally. She has been in regular contact with the Office for Students to help ensure that the TEF is a framework that works for students and helps inform choice and ensured our reps are equipt to continue this work.

4. Awards Ceremonies

In term 3, Bryony was busy organising two awards ceremonies: the 2018 Teaching Awards, and the Academic Representation and Student Engagement Awards. These awards aim to recognise outstanding contribution to teaching excellence and to award student-led change through academic representation and engagement. 

Teaching Awards 

On 1st May, the Guild, in conjunction with FXU, hosted the 9th annual Teaching Awards. The Teaching Awards received 1,305 nominations (418 more than last year), with winners from a range of Colleges and Campuses. To read more about the winners, please visit: www.exeterguild.org/teachingawards/winners/

The format of the Teaching Awards took place, once again, as a gala dinner for just under 200 people.

Below are some examples of the outstanding nominations received. 

“Every single time I go to a lecture with Matt as the lecturer, I am full of excitement for what he is about to teach us. He lectures in a way that makes any topic, no matter how seemingly dull, an absolute pleasure and privilege to learn.” (Nomination for Matt Campell, Best Lecturer 2018) 

 “Calum is the senior geology technician and is always very helpful and supportive within the geology lab, he always goes out of his way to help students and is highly respected amongst the student cohort within CSM. Whenever anyone requires help, he will always be the first to respond within the lab and never gets frustrated with questions and appears to make time for anyone.” “[Calum] Helps outside of lecture hours and has even organised revision sessions highlighting areas in which students were struggling.” (Nominations for Calum Beeson, Most Supportive Member of Staff 2018)  

“I appreciate everything she has contributed to our growth and study lives. I feel really lucky to be one of her students in Exeter. Her kindness and wisdom has inspired me to become an independent and wise woman in the future.” (Nomination for Joanne Abraham, Most Supportive Personal Tutor 2018)  

 

“This assessment was like no other I have ever heard of. It was so 'real-world' focus that it helped us understand how we can use geographical theory in future life and applied to a wider context.” (Nomination for Catherine Leyshon, Most Innovative Teaching 2018) 

 

 “Miguel shares his passion for the subject and research and is incredibly knowledgeable, which is what makes him an inspiring lecturer and in particular one who encourages further research by showing us how it might improve the lives of other people.” (Nomination for Miguel Fonseca, Research Inspired Teaching 2018) 

 

Academic Representation and Student Engagement Awards 

Bryony hosted the annual Academic Representation and Engagement Awards (AREAs) - previously known as the VP Education Awards - on 31st May. The AREAs received over 200 nominations across 13 categories.

The AREAs in an opportunity to recognise the contributions made by these individuals, and the impact they have had across their department, college or the institution.

To see a list of the winners, please visit: www.exeterguild.org/areas/ 

“[Riadh’s] work in setting up strong communication networks (informal study groups, informal student signposting, email/phone groups and lists) has been essential for the establishment of this community this year” (Nomination for Riadh Ghemmour, Winner of the Guild Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Academic Experience 2018) 

“Barnabas encapsulates everything that Academic Representation is, and should be. I can think of no one who has shown an equivalent level of passion and enthusiasm for their role as Subject Chair, and who has done as much to expand and improve their SSLC”. (Nomination for Barnabas Balint, Outstanding Subject Chair 2018) 

 “Victoria truly cares about her work as Physics subject chair. She always makes our concerns known and passes along messages and feedback.” (Nomination for Victoria Butterworth, Short-listee for Outstanding Subject Chair 2018) 

 

5. Manifesto Progress

 

Bryony is delighted to end the year having successfully completed over 80% of her manifesto.

A number of manifesto points have been completed through ongoing University projects and it is a credit to the institution that they listen to students needs and are often already working on these issues, but this year's progress wouldn't have been possible without our extraordinary officers who push so hard for the greater good of students every day, and have truly transformed the student experience this year.

 

Thank you, Bryony!


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