President’s Blog: 23/07/21

Hot in Bristol... Have a look at what I have been up to this week in my Presidents Blog


Hello everyone,

I hope that your week has been a good one. I know many of you have received module results this week and some of you have received your degree classifications. Whatever the outcome of your results I just want you to know that we are all very proud of you. Studying this year has not been easy for anyone! 

It has been a really really hot week in Bristol and not much sleep has been had, we have been under an amber heat warning all week which has been fun!! My biggest monster has now ended his last days year 6 in isolation almost missing his zoom leavers assembly due to a power cut!! It has been nice this week as I had a few days Annual Leave and I spent them with him catching Pokeman and watching Avengers films with him.

Monday, I met with one of the PhD students to discuss some fascinating research that they have done into PhD’s right from the beginning of the OU. It was a real pleasure to hear about the project and make some connections with the Association’s 50th next year. It was so interesting that I ended up meeting with them again at the end of the day to continue the conversation! I then caught up with Gareth, who is the representative for the faculty of business and law. I really enjoy catching up on a regular basis with the other members of the Student Leadership team to find out what they have been up to and see where I can help. I also had a great conversation with Reiss who is a staff member in our volunteer team. We discussed my LinkedIn profile, the upcoming Volunteer Recognition event, and the 50th project. I co-chair the Student Voice Steering Group with Liz Marr, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Students, and this group met today. Amongst the things discussed were the National Student Survey results, the Student Voice Action Plan, and how people can get involved with Student Voice Week. There will be more information coming up in the coming months about this but please save the date – STUDENT VOICE WEEK 13-21 NOVEMBER 2021! I also had a meeting with the Graduate School around student representation.

Tuesday and Wednesday were days of Annual Leave – amongst other things that I did I spent hours grappling with a new phone!! I hate that new phone feeling where nothing is in the same place and although most things have transferred over you still need to remember your logins!! 

Thursday I was on a course all day. I am currently doing a leadership course that is over 4 months, a day at a time. It is really interesting learning from other leaders across different organisations and finding the commonalities. I am enjoying putting into practice some of the skills they are teaching. Some of the skills are harder – like making sure that I am not always in meetings and that I am giving myself time for planning and doing! I also had catch up’s with Beth Metcalf, Director of membership services, and Matt, Vice President Admin, around a complaint. And I also met with Gabby, head of executive support and staff welfare, to discuss some training that we are doing for the new Student Leadership Team.

Talking about our new team members, I am very happy to welcome Hanna as our Wales rep, Leanne as the England rep, Kate as our Europe rep, and Nicola as our Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies rep. I am so pleased to have them on board and you will be seeing more about them once they officially start on August 1st.

Across the team, there has been training of the new central committee reps and a drop-in for those of you who got your results. During June Katie, our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths rep, hosted a Big Blether – where students and staff get together to have conversations, she was also part of the co-option panel that appointed the new reps. Fanni, Vice President Engagement, worked on the comms strategy with Dan, Director of Engagement, and Kate, Head of Digicomms. They are working on pulling together a working group to take this forward. She also had the opportunity to present at JISC Change Agents’ Network conference. This was a great opportunity to raise the profile of OU students. Rachel Garnham (PVC-S) and Fanni presented around the success of Student Voice week to colleagues from across the HE sector.

If you want to find out some more about what our Student Leadership Team has been up to please follow this like and have a look!

https://www.oustudents.com/central-executive-committee-meeting-agendas-papers-and-minutes

I hope that you all have had a fab week and like me are looking forward to some slightly cooler weather, I need sleep!!! 😊


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Sarah P Jones

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