We recently sat down to talk with OU Students Association Deputy President Steph Stubbins to find out more about her, her current projects, studying tips, and more! Here’s what she had to say:
1 Tell us about yourself!
My name is Stephanie Stubbins, I am 52 and live in Kent, England. I have 5 children, 17 grandchildren, and a very supportive husband. We have 2 Chihuahua's called Tinkerbelle and Merlin.
I am currently studying Business Management (Leadership route) and have just finished my level 2 towards a BA Honours Degree. I will be starting my level 3 modules 'B628 - Managing 1 - Organisations and People' in October 2019, and 'B629 - Managing 2 - Marketing and Finance in April 2020, leaving me to finish with 'B302 - Strategic Management' in October 2020!
I am the Deputy President of the OU Students Association and sit on various committees (e.g. Inclusion Meeting, Senate Reference Group, Equality and Diversity Reference Group, Senate Reference Group etc). I have 'volunteering' and 'representing Postgraduate Research Students' within my remit, plus I stand in for the President when needed. I work along with other student representatives on the Central Executive Committee, who are the elected Student Leadership Team.
2 What projects and activities are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the following projects:
'Representation Review' - (specifically ‘Central Committee Representatives’) from governance level to grassroots representation; working together with all stakeholders including the University, for a joint understanding of best practice for student representation.
'Mapping the OU Student Journey of Post Graduate Research (PGR) students' - to help identify the gaps in University provision; to understand the PGR student experience and the pinch points that impact on their studies. We hosted a workshop around the OU Student Journey of PGR students, followed by a themed event on ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’ around wellbeing and mental health in October.
'Culture Change Review' - a piece of work around bringing change to our existing culture to ensure that we can provide a ‘safe welcoming inclusive environment that exudes a positive forward-looking and professional image’.
Student Experience Discussions - this is current work around improving student experience, with the opportunity to feed collective student issues into the University’s SEC (Student Experience Committee). We are listening to the 'student voice' at our dedicated monthly ‘Student Experience Discussions’ on the first evening of every month; hosted by our student representatives to provide a platform for fellow students to raise topics that impact on their student journey. We collect the feedback and collate it into a student paper to take to the Student Experience Committee.
3 You are nearly halfway through your term as Deputy President - what’s been the highlight so far?
One of the recent highlights of my term has been hosting a volunteer event on campus. This was an opportunity for over 50 volunteers to celebrate the volunteering work OU Students do for the wider student community. It was great to meet volunteers face-to-face for the first time (having only spoken online previously) and hear about their experiences in their role. It is clear that volunteers make such a difference to individual students, giving their time freely. I can't thank them enough!
4 What are you most looking forward to working on over the next few months?
I am looking forward to working alongside my colleagues in the Central Executive Committee in implementing our new strategy; while embedding some of my current work into my role remit to hand over to the next Deputy president in 2020 (e.g. student experience and PGR work).
5 Have you got any tips for students over the summer to help keep motivated?
It is summer break for many OU Students, who now have some free time until our studies start again in October. To keep motivated and ready for the new academic year you could:-
- Read around the subject or try some open learn courses to help prepare you for your next module/s.
- Plan out your study area, replenish your stationery or get your computer file folders or bookshelves ready for the new module material to arrive.
- Reflect on how far you have come and be proud of yourself!
- Do something different? (e.g. something creative and rewarding)
- Catch up with family and friends.
- Rest and recuperate (looking after yourself is key to a positive study experience).
- Or take time out and just enjoy some time away from your studies.
Thank you Steph Stubbins for agreeing to this interview!