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Stanford - Union Affairs Officer

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Hillary: Undergraduate Education Officer

Hi, I’m Hillary and I’m your Undergraduate Education Officer. My role involves representing, protecting and enhancing your academic life. From how you’re taught, to what you’re taught and how you’re assessed, I’m here for you!

I was a Social Policy student whilst at the University of Bristol and spent a lot of my time getting involved in wider university activities. Most notably, I really enjoyed being the Chair of the Widening Participation Network where I got to work with the SU and university in promoting a more inclusive and diverse student body and student experience. I was also a part of the African Caribbean Society where I got to connect with people from my background and share my culture with fellow members and the wider university. 
The highlight of my time as a student was being one of the SU’s NUS Delegates, where I was able to engage with other unions and national campaigns advocating for students, like the People’s Vote campaign!

I’m super excited to be able to represent students full time and continue to fight for a better educational experience for all students. The areas I’m determined to address include: continuing the efforts to decolonise the curriculum, making assessments more suited to student development and making sure pastoral support is the best that it can be.

If you ever want to have a chat about anything, whether it’s an issue with your university work, or you just want someone to listen and have a laugh with, feel free to email me here. You can also find me during my officer open hours on campus.

See everything your SU has been up to here.

My big plan:

Reform university assessments

  • Ensure that the review of assessment reduces the bunching of assessments and promotes use of authentic and inclusive assessment methods
  • Work with the University to provide more timely and consistent study skills support that more effectively prepares students for assessments 
  • Reform extenuating circumstances procedure to make them simpler and tailored to common student issues e.g. mental health 

A more diverse learning environment

  • Ensure the curriculum enhancement project decolonises Bristol’s curricula by introducing more diverse content and practices 
  • Work with University to review their hiring practices and develop strategies to increase the proportion of academic staff for BME or WP backgrounds 

Improve support from personal tutors

  • Clarify role of Personal Tutors and ensure that there is mandatory and adequate training on mental health, identity issues, etc. 
  • Establish and enforce clear standards for how often PTs should be in contact with students and what they should cover with them 

Cutting study costs

  • Reducing hidden course costs (placements, books, printing, etc.), mainly through using more eBooks 
  • Improving promotion of the FAF and other study support provision  

Improve careers and employability support

  • Garner and build strong relationships with alumni for mentorship 
  • Promote a greater range of careers at major events, most significantly careers fairs. 
  • Employability/personal development building through expanding careers sessions to include skills building session (ie. Public speaking workshops etc) 

University and SU working together

  • Greater student involvement in curriculum enhancement projects from end-to end 
  • Improving comms about the SU and student impact (shared achievements shown on university main website, campus-based comms – tv screens, posters etc.) 

Here's what I've done so far:

+ Policy

 


Bristol SU to Support University Strike Action - 27/02/2018

Needs Ratification

  • Wrote to VC with demands. Publicly supported and promoted strikes. Spoke on behalf of PGRs in Union stance. SU ran campaign using materials and supported the teach out sessions. Assigned £350 to the campaign which the student campaigners claimed.

Support Refugee and Asylum Seeker Access to Higher Education - 27/02/2018

Needs Ratification


Increasing inter-faculty open units - 27/02/2018

Needs Ratification


New Year, New Tactic - 16/11/2017

Needs Ratification

  • June 18 - Paper will be released this month. Was presented at Education committee for feedback. Meeting with Kit Leighton Harris, to discuss how to proceed.
  • April 18 – Held six focus groups with students and a focus group with staff. Now building / finalising report to be taken to education committee in May.

Better careers support for Arts Faculty students - 21/03/2017

Active

  • June 18 - Supported careers service with the organisation and planning of the week.

Fight the HE reforms: Continue to boycott the National Student Survey! - 23/02/2017

Active

  • This policy has been overridden by the policy 'New Year, New Tactic' implemented in November 2017.

Reform 100% assessed modules - 23/02/2017

Active

  • April 18 – Held assessment workshops at education network democratic forum with course reps and Alvin Birdi. Also held assessment workshops at October course rep conference and April course rep conference.
  • Jan 18 – Undergraduate Education Officer has been working with Education Network and Alvin Birdi (BILT) to organise focus groups with students regarding assessments. Part of the wider assessment reforms at the University.

Lobby the University to open up space on campus during periods of low demand for refugees and asylum seekers - 27/10/2016

Active

  • Feb 17 - ZB met with Lynn Robinson and Amy Finch (a student activist from Student Action for Refugees). Lynn followed up our enquiries with colleagues at SEH and the Library Services who she has put us in touch with.

Sabotage the NSS! - 06/06/2016

Inactive

  • This policy has been overridden by the policy 'New Year, New Tactic' implemented in November 2017.
  • Oct 16 - Following UoB Trustee Board decision to participate in the Teaching Excellence Framework, we launched our campaign to boycott the National Student Survey. So far we have:
    • Released a video and multiple blogs about the boycott
    • Attended NUS workshop organising with other Officers for coordinated national action
    • Launched physical campaign by dropping banners, speaking to students on campus, giving out free cakes, and attending lecture shoutouts
    • Followed all promotion emails with an email encouraging students to boycott, and directing them to our website to find more information about the campaign, read FAQs, and submit their pledge (bristolsu.org.uk/nssboycott)
    • Launched social media campaign across platforms supported UCU colleagues in agreeing coordinated statement, working with Press and supporting them to pass local policy to support the boycott
    • Engaged with student media through interview with Her Campus, two with Epigram, and supporting other students with articles for Epigram
    • Developed replica NSS for course reps to use following concerns that feedback would be lost
    • SU Officers fed into the NUS consultation on how to deliver the national campaign
    • NUS have now confirmed that this will be a boycott of NSS rather than a sabotage. 

Red Card to the Green Paper - 01/12/2015

Inactive

  • This policy has been overridden by the policy 'New Year, New Tactic' implemented in November 2017.

  • Responded to national consultations: one on the Green Paper detailing our concerns with the HE Bill and another on how NUS should lead an NSS Boycott.

  • Attended APPG roundtable in Parliament in July to address our concerns with the HE Bill directly to Jo Johnson, the Universities Minister.

  • Lobbied senior management at Bristol and asked them not to participate in the TEF.

  • Voiced concerns at Education Committee, Undergraduate Studies Committee, Academic Quality and Standards Committee and Senate.

  • Met with the PVC Education to explain our opposition to the TEF and the implications of the TEF Off campaign on how able we are to collaborate on projects where the end goal is to raise fees.

  • Wrote to Thangam Debbonaire MP and met with Kerry McCarthy MP to lobby them to oppose the HE Bill in Parliament.

  • Mobilised students and raised awareness through: holding a student activist meet-up in Welcome Week, speaking to and signing up 100 students at Welcome Fair, theming the Tea Tent on the TEF, training course reps and faculty reps, publishing blogs, regularly emailing the campaign mailing list with updates, running a social media campaign, holding a panel event, running a session on TEF at the Regional Network we hosted and helping to have Bristol SU staff trained on the TEF.

  • Wrote open letter with UCU to Hugh Brady asking that they do not participate in TEF and for full transparency to students about where the decision will be made.

  • At our Course Rep Conference and Student Council, I asked reps to think about what excellent teaching is in order to make an ‘alternative vision of teaching excellence’. Trained Course Reps on the TEF.

  • Organised coach to National Demo (Nov 19) with Bristol UCU, UWE UCU and the SU at UWE.

  • Jan 17 - Feb 17

    • Launched NSS Boycott action after TEF decision was announced. See NSS policy for updates.

    • ZB will be participating in a panel event on the TEF alongside the VC, PVC Education and Students and a UCU colleague

  • Bristol SU have produced a response to the government’s Green Paper which calls for fees not to be increased further and denouncing graduate earnings as a metric to measure teaching quality.

  • Have lobbied the university and the Russell Group on their response to these proposals.

  • Contacted all MPs in Bristol lobbying against cuts to maintenance grants. Charlotte Leslie is only MP to have voted to scrap maintenance grants.

  • Worked to mobilise students and raise awareness about the TEF through: holding a student activist meet up in Welcome Week, speaking to and signing up 100 students at Welcome Fair, theming the Tea Tent on the TEF, training course reps and faculty reps, publishing blogs, regularly emailing the campaign mailing list with updates, running a social media campaign, holding a panel event, running a session on TEF at the Regional Network we hosted and helping to have Bristol SU staff trained on the TEF. 

  • In conjunction with Bristol UCU, Officers have written an open letter to Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady asking that the University does not participate in TEF and for full transparency to students about where the decision will be made. 

  • ZB attended an APPG roundtable in Parliament in July to address our concerns with the HE Bill directly to Jo Johnson, the Universities Minister


Lobby to change the open units policy to enable all students at the university of bristol to  study a language if they choose - 10/03/2015

Inactive

  • The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) has recently announed a series of changes to the Bristol curriculum known as Bristol Futures. Part of this will allow students to choose a pathway that allows them to study a language.

Conflict of interest in Pastoral and Disciplinary roles of Professional Programme Staff Members - 02/12/2014

Inactive

  • 11/05/15 Issues were raised at relevant committees and some wording was changed in Regulations and Codes of Practice

Abolish Grade Distinctions at Graduation Ceremonies - 30/10/2014

Inactive

  • I have been on the panel reviewing Graduation ceremonies at the University. I have taken this policy to the review and the panel has agreed that to get rid of grade distinctions
    The recommendations of the review are due to come into effect for June 2016

Greater Promotion of Just Ask - 29/10/2014

Inactive

  • 11/05/15 Have worked with Graduate Deans to promote the service in their faculties
  • 26/5/16 both UG and PG Education Officers flagged the Just Ask service in their newsletter to academic representatives - asking them to signpost any students to Just Ask where relevant 

  • 26/5/16 - during exams period Sumemr 2016, Bristol SU has put up posters advertising the service to students 

  • 26/5/16 - Just Ask has been promoted through Mind Your Head month