Association Elections: Meet your Faculty Rep candidates

We asked students what they wanted to ask candidates to get a better idea of who they might vote for during this year's Association Elections.


We had a record number of nominations this year and want to thank each and every person who has been involved. During the inital nomination process, we asked students what they wanted to ask candidates to get a better idea of who they might vote for during this year’s Association Elections. 

This article introduces all candidates running for Faculty Rep roles, so keep your eyes peeled for more information on Area Reps, Trustees, President and Deputy President candidates. You can check out the Vice President role questions here. 

Below are the answers candidates have given. You can see the
candidates’ full manifestoes on the election website

How would you propose to keep in regular contact with students during your term to stay up to date on their needs and issues in relation to your Faculty?

Business and Law Rep

Benjamen David Mansell

I propose to regularly communicate with students by participating in OU forums and student events and via a range of social media platforms. By actively requesting feedback and asking for student suggestions and issues to be shared with me I will maintain a current understanding and awareness throughout my term. It will be very important to me to make all communications as inclusive as possible and therefore all opportunities for student contact will be exploited to achieve as broad a representation of views as possible.

Helen Sarah Russell

During my term as Business & Law Faculty Representative, I propose two solutions for keeping in regular contact with students. 

1. I will open a forum discussion where students from this faculty can freely leave their concerns and suggestions for improvement to me and where I would also like to post regular updates related to the progress of their concerns and suggestions for improvement. 

2. I would like to host a Microsoft Teams or Zoom drop-in session once a month for students to again raise any concerns or suggestions for improvement to me and to ensure students are heard.

Katrina Joanne Velez

In order to keep in contact with other students in my faculty, I would apply current technology, I would create a blog on which I would keep everyone up to date on any discussions/decisions involving the faculty and students. My approach will be both reactive and proactive. I will ensure that all students are aware that I will be offering an open-door policy so that they can connect with me by email, phone. I will offer weekly coffee events, as I recently found this an effective vehicle. I would be present in student group forums and any faculty meetings.

Arts and Social Sciences Rep

Claire Elizabeth Pettyfer

During my term I will be happy to engage with fellow students regarding general issues and conversation on social media, namely Twitter and Facebook. For more personal engagement I would be happy to converse via WhatsApp or by phone, or email. 

Whilst I work office hours, I will always endeavour to respond as soon as possible to anybody reaching out and will always be approachable. I am available weekday evenings and weekends, and my phone is never switched off!

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) Rep

Mahdee Goolamallee

I believe that the best way to communicate to students is via email . Ideally, I would prefer a WhatsApp group, where everyone can communicate, thus we can discuss what is the best way to approach an issue . Henceforth with all this information, I shall contact the respective department and take it to the board when necessary.  

Sometimes if chat and email are not enough and students rather talk and describe, you are very welcome and I shall do my best to make everyone happy , I am flexible and anyhow, anytime, anywhere…. You decide.

Melissa Taylor

I would keep in regular contact with students by using socila media such as Facebook, Discord and Whatsapp because I could interact with others by talking to them and helping them with issues they may have. I think the issues in my faculty are the computer side and to get more students involved with the Association. I would also doevents like Freshers so people know what I do and keep in contact with others by talking to them on a regular basis to keep them updated. 

Yasmin Fay Fitzpatrick

I am able to keep contact via all platforms whether it be email, telephone or teams. I will make time to answer any questions or issues that they may be facing and redirect to the correct person or department if needs be. If I am unable to answer their question or issue, I will speak to other members and colleagues to see if they are able to provide me with any guidance/feedback.

Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELs) Rep

Jack Watson Warr

I will explore and expand WELS’ existing social media presence, as well as establishing ‘two-way’ channels of communication with myself as faculty representative on all major platforms – Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Discord. I will also request dedicated, accessible spaces on faculty websites and forums, and seek advice from students as to their preferences and/or accessibility requirements. Finally, I will propose fortnightly, faculty-wide surgery sessions, inviting student groups and faculty members to present on topics of relevance, the contents of which will be shared via newsletter to those unable to attend.

Nichola Connolly

I would propose staying in regular contact with students by utilising all social media platforms at my disposal such as, Facebook, Twitter and messenger to stay up to date on their needs and issues in relation to my Faculty. I would also arrange a regular drop in to stay up to date with what is happening with students within my Faculty, as well as being accessible via Email and Forums. I will be a conduit between the students, Students Association and the University to keep in regular contact with students in my Faculty to stay up to date with their needs and issues.

What would your initial priority be if you were to be elected?

Business and Law Rep

Benjamen David Mansell

My first priority if elected will be to encourage the development of better platforms for communication and collaboration between peers and OU staff. A regular and recurring theme expressed by students that I speak with is that the OU platforms are outdated and discourage people from becoming more involved within the OU community. It is very important to me that as many students as possible engage with their peers and the OU in a safe and productive way as I believe this improves outcomes and wellbeing.

Helen Sarah Russell

My initial priority is to ensure the welfare of my fellow students. Every student at The Open University should feel that they have had a fantastic experience during their studies. However, having looked at student satisfaction rates, it appears this is not the case. Therefore, it is imperative for me to understand the issues at play that are affecting students’ welfare. If elements of the study journey are impacting the welfare of students, then it is my duty to raise these with the faculty.

Katrina Joanne Velez

In order to keep in contact with other students in my faculty, I would apply current technology, I would create a blog on which I would keep everyone up to date on any discussions/decisions involving the faculty and students. My approach will be both reactive and proactive. I will ensure that all students are aware that I will be offering an open-door policy so that they can connect with me by email, phone. I will offer weekly coffee events, as I recently found this an effective vehicle. I would be present in student group forums and any faculty meetings.

Arts and Social Sciences Rep

Boris Habric

Claire Elizabeth Pettyfer

My initial priority would be to ensure that students know that I will listen to them without judgement, especially regarding making social media space used by FASS students less negative. It is vital for students to know that they have someone to turn to who is in a non-academic role.  

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) Rep

Mahdee Goolamallee

My initial priority would be to ask everyone to outline any questions or issue and reassure all that I am here to deal with it in the best possible way .

Because tutorials happen once in a while and students always seem to struggle with maths , I want all the students in my family to be above par and despite the fact that we do have a maths group , I believe its an issue , I want to make sure time and resources are being injected to solve this. 

My priority would be to find out where there is a lack or a struggle with respect to our lessons, and request extra so that you , students, find this road to success , easier to walk on and therefore be more confident with exams.

Melissa Taylor

My priorty would be to try and get more people involved in the Student Association events and let people know about them. I would also look at all the social media pages to ensure nobody is being picked on. I would help people make friends. I would help people with any problems they may have with STEM and make sure all the social media sites are working as they should. I will also advertise events and attend all meetings so I can help people more. 

Yasmin Fay Fitzpatrick

My initial priority would be to make sure students are settled in to their course and happy with how their courses/module are going. I would do this by answering any queries or questions they may have and redirecting to correct persons/departments where possible. I would love to get to know all of the students individually within the STEM background but I know this is not possible. However, I will take my time to get to know a lot of them and any issues or anything they are unhappy with.

Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELs) Rep

Jack Watson Warr

My initial priority would be to really get to know our faculty, to open these channels of communication and listen to what our students say the agenda should look like going forward!

Nichola Connolly

Initial priority if I was elected would be to establish positive working relationships with other members of the newly elected CEC team to work collaboratively to enhance the student experience. I would establish a regular drop in whereby the student voice can be heard about the concerns and issues that matter most to them. I would envisage getting as many students engaged and involved in the work that the Association and Faculty do as possible to enable the student voice to be heard at all levels.

You can see the
candidates’ full manifestoes on the election website


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The Open University Students Association exists to serve the interests of #OUstudents and ensure that the student voice is heard throughout the University. Find out more about what we do at oustudents.com

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