Presidents Blog 07/01/2022

TMA's, Illness and Conference


Hello Everyone, 

Welcome to 2022!! And finally, the Association’s 50th birthday year!!! I hope that you and your families have had a peaceful and restful holiday period. I ended up spending all of Christmas with an ear and sinus infection which although incredibly annoying for me proved hilarious for Dave and the boys as they could talk about me and I couldn’t hear anything! I also have found out the hilarity that is trying to understand subtitles. Sometimes you just know the words are wrong. I am looking forward to getting to a point I don’t need them. 

The boys received an Xbox for Christmas, I have been resisting any type of games console for as long as I can remember. The day after boxing day everyone discovered exactly why I can’t play computer games!!! I am terrible at them! At least it provided everyone with a much-needed giggle.

Due to being ill all my plans of studying and having my TMA ready before Christmas went out of the window BUT I did rest and sometimes you really do have to accept that rest is vitally important. So, this weekend I will be studying and trying to get my TMA done. I have asked for an extension from my lovely tutor, which has taken the pressure off, but I intend to get it done as soon as I can. 

Meanwhile, back to work!!!

Monday

Although not officially a workday I took part in preparations for a debate that was filmed on Wednesday around the Resolutions going to the Association Conference in a couple of weeks. It was good to get a practice under our belts and be ready. There are a number of resolutions going to the Conference in January around the Governance of the Association and there is a ‘For’ team and an ‘Against’ team. I am in the ‘For’ team. If you want to find out more check out the FAQ’s on our website. 

Tuesday

Officially Annual Leave

Wednesday 

I met with Reiss Millar, 50th and Conference Project manager, for a quick catch-up with what had been happening whilst I was on Annual Leave and to discuss a few ideas I had whilst I was off. Me, Rob Avann, Chief Executive of the Association, and Haf Merrifield, Director of Strategy for the OU, met to discuss where the latest iteration of the OU’s Strategy was at. It recently got agreed at Council, so it was really good to hear that it is being launched imminently. This Strategy has had plenty of student input and it will be interesting to see how it goes now it is in the implementation phase. The ‘For’ team in the debates then had a catch-up before the actual debate to make sure any last-minute nerves were settled with the new students taking part. It was then time to actually film the debate. I was really nervous but on the whole, it went well with each side portraying their views in a fair and dignified way. There has been a lot of emails and papers to read this week, just catching up after being on Annual Leave; thankfully taking leave over the OU shut down period means that the numbers of papers and emails were reduced!

Thursday

I met with Sue MacCabe, head of strategy and insights for the Association. We meet regularly to discuss various bits of our strategy implementation and reporting that we do but if I am honest today was mostly just catching up after Annual Leave! I then had an exciting quick catch-up with Reiss Millar. She showed me some of the mock-ups of merchandise for Conference and the 50th. It’s so exciting to see what were ‘just ideas’, almost become reality. My next meeting was around academic implementations of decisions taken at the start of the pandemic that are being phased out and the effect on tutors, academic staff, and students. Also, around students needing extensions and special circumstances. Thankfully there is a really helpful page on the Help Centre that explains all the changes. 

So, although we are only just into January it looks like it is going to be busy! Make sure you check out our new website, it’s had an upgrade!! Keep an eye on there for anything Conference related, 50th related, and if there are any volunteer opportunities that you can get involved with. 

I hope that you all have a fantastic weekend, and I am hoping the weather improves significantly!! Catch you all soon and Go Well!! 


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Sarah P Jones

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