Presidents Blog 18/02/2022

Dudley, Eunice and Sustainability


Hi Everyone,

Hello from a blustery Bristol, the red warning of wind is just hitting now! We looked at the weather forecast earlier in the week and took the very wise decision to take the gazebo down before it landed in the neighbour’s garden. The monsters are both home-schooling as their schools are closed because of the weather warning, they aren’t happy because before covid times it would’ve been an extra day off! The small monster had completed a whole days work before 8am so it could be a long day!! 

I had a lovely weekend off with the family and even managed to go out for food with my great friend, it was amazing!! Thankfully Monday was an easy day as Dave had the day off for Valentines. I even got a bottle of my favourite perfume! 

I hope that you have managed to keep up with The Hoot articles showing Love at the Association. Don’t forget to use the #LoveOuStudents. If you have any stories you would like to share, either use the # or email us mailto:oustudents-50@open.ac.uk

If you have had an email asking you to take part in the National Student Survey, please can you take the opportunity to fill it in. If you want to find out more, have a read here for the reasons why it is important to do. 

As many of you are aware, some of the OU staff are an strike or taking action short of a strike – if you want to find out more details, we have a statement and some FAQs here

Even though Conference and Freshers are now over, we still have lots of events for students, so don’t forget to check them out and see if one of them might be for you! 

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Monday

I started my day with a quick catch-up with my sister – we need to put Teams calls into the diary now just so that we can talk because of how busy we both are! 

Monday evening, after plenty of admin, it was the Student Leadership Team Huddle. We had some in-depth discussion about the future of Conference and the upcoming elections. 

Tuesday

I met with Dan Moloney, Director of Engagement, and we had a discussion around some consultation work that is going on in the Higher Education sector, and some of our comms work that is ongoing. 

I then met with Lucy Gilbert, Internal Comms Manager working on Sustainability. We discussed how The Association can get involved in the work that the OU is doing in this area and how we can involve the wider student population. 

Sue MacCabe, Head of Strategy and Insights, and I, met next for our regular 1-2-1. The 50th, Graduations and Elections were on the agenda. 

Next up was Digital Inclusion Management Group, it was my turn to chair. We discussed how we might share some of the work we are doing more widely. We also talked about how we could engage with the Digital Poverty Alliance. It really is good to hear that we are moving on several projects that will really benefit students. 

I then met with Rob, Chief Executive of the Association, and Allan Blake, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Association. We had a productive discussion and agreement on a number of issues.

Wednesday

My morning started with the Association Culture Change Working Group. We considered the work that we are doing on accessibility standards, elections and Conference. I love being part of this group as I want to see our culture change for the better within the Association. 

Next up was the regular Association meeting with Nick Braithwaite, Executive Dean of STEM, and his team to discuss sustainability. We came out with an action to write 300 words by 5pm for OU Life. I then met with Steph Stubbins, STEM faculty representative, to discuss the 300 words and plan how we were going to do it! We managed it with minutes to spare!!

There are two consultations being done by the Office for Students and they both have student submissions. One is called B3 and the other is called the TEF. Both are around student outcomes and teaching excellence. Me and Dan had a meeting with Paul Hollins and Julie Gowan from PVC-Students to discuss these consultations, and how the OU are doing with their submissions. We are taking this work forward in the Association's Position Statements Working Group. 

I also had a really uplifting meeting with Joanne Glenfield, Employee Engagement Manager for Scotland. We discussed the student groups that we have, including clubs and societies, and how she could write an article for The Hoot. 

I then had my regular 1-2-1 with Rob and then I had another catch-up with Steph.

Thursday

I had a quick meeting with a student and then after some admin, was straight into a full day of training. It was called LoMo Training. It was about how to do better meetings and engage with people in a much better, more inclusive way, making sure that meetings are not just for the sake of it but how much each participant and the chair could get out of it. I took pages of copious notes and will hopefully be able to implement some of it in upcoming meetings that I am running. So, if you are in a meeting with me, look out!!

I hope that you are all managing to stay safe, and that the weather is not adversely affecting you. These two storms coming so close together isn’t good. I do wish they would find some better names for them though. My smallest monster wanted to change the name of Storm Dudley to Storm Daniel, and Eunice would be called Storm Evan! But my husband wants all storms to be called Brian or Bernard! The things you end up discussing!! I hope all your studies are going well and that you manage to get some downtime. See you on the other side – Go Well!! 😊


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