December has been a shorter, but nonetheless busy month for the leadership team, with members writing CEC leadership weekend reports and papers for January, but most people taking some down time for the holiday season.
We continue to work with the university on a wide range of projects and ongoing committees and working groups. This month, members had the opportuntiy to participate in a workshop looking at the level 2 pathway for law students, to give students better opportunities to succeed and gain the academic knowledge they need. We have also been involved in the development of an FAQ page for students studying multiple modules. Other meetings have been around sharing of best pracatise around communications targeted at black, asian and minor ethnics group students, tutorial accessibility and students learning adjustment strategy just to mention a few areas we managed to have an impact on.
At the Association, the plans for February 2021 Freshers have been finalised, with a timetable ready for students to see soon! We have also set up an election review group, following the main spring and autumn by-elections to thorougly look at our elections processes and rules. With an increased amount of online events now being permanent, we have worked on having a better process for events advertising, to make sure students don’t miss out on opportunities to engage with each other.
A lot of the longer-term projects we have been working on will be coming to January leadership weekend for discussion and information, the papers for which can be found here. During the holiday period, we also ran many online events from quizzes to drop-ins for students to make sure nobody was on their own for the end of the year (and for all those looking to get some break from the family!).
Externally we have had the opportunity to represent ourselves at the Higher Education Funding Council Wales annual meeting and at an All Party Parliamentary Group with the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan MP to raise the issues of distance learners. Having these opportunities is vital to raising the profile for part-time distance learners across the nations.
We hope everyone managed to have some well-deserved time off over the holiday period and we would like to wish you a happy new year from all of us at the Association!
Vice President Engagement
(posted on behalf of the Central Executive Committee)
The students community came together during the festive period to support each other and make the holidays a little less lonely and isolating. We had lots of events happening! Let’s hope 2021 brings good health, face to face events and lots of kindness to ourselves and to each other.
Getting the Fresher’s Event Organised, and Staff agreeing to attend. Should be fun and informative to welcome New and returning students to the Faculty.
Increasing Student Voice input at all levels of the university is paying off. Appointing a group of new reps means we have more feedback in areas that have gone without representation recently. And our reps are bonding really well via monthly drop-ins which has massive knock-on benefits for students.
I’ve joined the Elections Review Working Group which will review the election processes and how candidates are supported throughout the election. I’ve also joined the Student Consultation Management Group, who organise and deliver all of the OU’s student consultation - being involved in the group means we ensure that student perspectives and needs are at the forefront of consultations.
Discussing aims and asks with the policy team in hope that we put forward some useful policy changes to the Scottish Government for those within Scotland. Ideally, we want clarification of study-hours for seamless local Government council tax policies.
Throughout December I worked on creating our virtual Advent calendar to help make the final month of 2020 a bit more cheerful to all our students. From Quizzes, to discounts to playlists there was all sorts! I also enjoyed running a Christmas Day Quiz for students.
For me, getting to take part in the Head of Law school recruitment process has been a real highlight, with more work due to continue next month. Having student involvement in these processes show a real dedication to the inclusion of the student voice.
Have been continuing to settle into my role and meeting faculty staff and students. Have been discussing ways to improve communication between the faculty and the student body. I am also working on setting up regular STEM online meet-ups as we progress into 2021.
Lorena Fontan Grana
Christmas Jumper Competition on Facebook. It was fun, it got students involved and it was a cheerful way to get everyone into the Christmas mood.
I attended my first Law board of Studies meeting as a CCR which proved to be interesting, filling in gaps in my knowledge as I have only seen the final minutes previously. Holding a pre-meeting get-together with the other CCRs on this committee means the student voice is presented effectively.
It was a positive to see students’ Mental Health and Well-being being targeted and supported (over holiday period) on the Help Centre, especially in these unprecedented times. Simple proactive initiatives like this really go a long way for students; and it was helpful to be able to signpost to these informative and engaging resources.
Attending the All Party Parliamentary Group with the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan MP, and having our question regarding maintenance loans for part-time distance learners answered. It is good to know the Government is listening to OU student concerns and is committed to reviewing this.
This month I have been working on making sure student voice is continued to be acted on and heard across the faculty. I have made sure that student voice is an important factor in WELS to consider and I have enjoyed co-chairing a student voice and wellbeing group and getting a huge thank you from said group.