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.
What do you feel is the Trustees role in creating a positive culture at the Association?
Trustees have a very important role in creating a positive culture at the Association, and I would like to be part of a board of trustees that strives to, and achieves to make volunteers and office staff feel valued and supported in their roles, so they can be effective and model Association’s values and culture. Our common aim is to work together to make a positive difference for all OU students. Only by listening to all the voices, celebrating our differences, and working together as a team, we have a fair chance of succeeding.
Charles Chao Rong
Trustee (agent) should strive to be a strategic advisor and resource person to Association's elected officers and permanent staff to create a positive culture. However, the keyword should be co-create because it is the process of collaboratively creating the positive culture with Association members (principal) that matters. There is no perfectly right or wrong 'answer' to culture, as such any top down effort from either Association's elected officers or staff will likely be sub-optimal. Trustee is entrusted to ensure collaboration exists in substance. As Trustee (agent), I hope to be at the virtual forefront to engage our members (principal) from different parts of UK and world to co-create the ideal vision, strategies and policies for world's earliest adult learning university that optimise work-life-learn balance, future employability and holistic wellbeing support for our learners regardless of age, income and backgrounds.
The Board of Trustees have ultimate responsibility for the running and wellbeing of the Association. They safeguard the organisation, its reputation the staff and members. Trustees need to be aware and listen to everyone in the organisation to set and create a positive and motivated environment. Every individual view is important and if members and staff are not listed to this can create a negative environment. Openness, honesty, transparency, and positivity are a great way to create a positive culture but listening to and making colleagues part of the organisation is equally important to create a positive culture.
The Trustees of any charity have a responsibility to lead by example and decide what kind of culture they promote and accept in their organisation. Trustees at the Association have to actively support and set initiatives that create a positive working culture – such as staff resource, finances and time allocated. These can be used to tackle negative culture, put sessions in place for teams to work together, training for individuals and other ways that will improve the culture.
As those with the overall responsibility for the organisation’s management, the Board of Trustees have a very important role to play in creating a positive culture at OUSA. Leading with kindness, respect, good humour, and understanding promotes those important qualities in the working relationships throughout OUSA as a whole. As a Trustee, I will respect the contributions of all staff and volunteers who are working to make the organisation of a success, and work hard to support them in doing so.
As a Trustee, how would you look to set a good example as a representative of the Association?
The personal example is the most powerful way of creating change. I can’t expect things to be better, processes followed and rules abided if I don’t do that myself. Treating everyone fairly and with respect, showing kindness, acknowledging differences of opinion, encouraging openness and debate, learning from each other, and valuing others’ ideas and contributions are a few of the most important ways of leading by personal example. The Board of Trustees is part of the Students Leadership Team, so it should lead by example.
Charles Chao Rong
As Trustee (agent), I hope to be at the virtual forefront to engage our members (principal) from different parts of UK and world to co-create the ideal vision, strategies and policies for world's earliest adult learning university that optimise work-life-learn balance, future employability and holistic wellbeing support for our learners regardless of age, income and backgrounds. After envisioning with the members, Trustees then work to support elected officers and staff to strategise and implement, hence translating ideal to reality. Trustees are agents to the members who are the principal; the relationship must be this way and never the other way around. Upholding primacy of members is a duty of Trustee too. Doing internal affairs well is the critical enabler of any external representation. For external representation, deep understanding of members' aspirations, expertise in accounting, law, policy is necessary to be a worthy representative of members, so that whatever is said externally is truthful, representative, realistic yet inspiring.
As a returning Trustee I hope my previous time and commitment has shown I am fair, honest, and always aim to do my best. I lead by example and would never ask or expect anyone to do something I would not do myself. Being a Trustee is an honour and I will always be grateful for others in allowing me to represent them and use my knowledge, skills and experience I have learned over the years to support and guide the Students Association.
In short, carrying on as I have been since becoming a student rep 5 years ago. I will be approachable, kind and honest with students and make sure I am available to contact. I will also keep in mind my role in representing the Association at any events external, OU or within the Association. I will not tolerate and challenge inappropriate behaviour, to ensure everyone understands the type of environment the Association thrives to be.
As I have previously served on a student union executive, I’m very aware that the conduct of senior leadership (including trustees) is highly relevant to the perception. Having previously been employed in medical research and the further/higher education sectors, I pride myself on my professionalism and ability to advocate for my views in a friendly, diplomatic manner. I will keep the values of OUSA close to mind as a Trustee of the organisation and seek to be an engaged, passionate contributor to its goals.
You can see the candidates’ full manifestoes on the election website.