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Nasra: Undergraduate Education Officer

Hello! My name is Nasra Ayub, and I am your Undergraduate Education Officer for this academic year. I'll be working on improving the education experience of undergraduate students, in everything from assessment methods to cutting hidden course costs. All the while I'll be championing your voice on key educational issues, at the university and beyond.

As a student, I studied Politics and Philosophy, and was very engaged with feminism as the former Co-President of the Feminist Society. I am also heavily involved with activism as an outreach worker for Integrate UK. I felt that there were many aspects of my educational experience that could have been better, and now I have the opportunity to improve things for other students at Bristol. I will be doing this by making sure that students know who their Education Officer is, not just through social media, but also on the ground!

I am excited to see what this year brings, and to meet all the new students coming to the University. I am particularly passionate about continuing work around diversifying the curriculum, and creating a better assessment and feedback process.

Got a question? Want to know more? Just want a chat or a friendly ear? Feel free to email me here. You can also see me about on campus from 2-3pm on Monday during my officer open hours.

Here's what I'm working on this year:

1. Address academic stress by improving reading weeks

  • Meet with UoB staff to develop an action-plan for a university-wide reading week
  • Engage with Faculty and Course Reps (particularly those from Joint Honours courses, courses without reading weeks and courses with different term structures) to find out more about their experiences and involve them in the campaign
  • Bring student voices to the campaign with letter & petition writing, and a student media drive

2. Make assessment and feedback practices faster, more meaningful, and more consistent

  • Consult with students and Faculty Reps
  • Establish what process are currently in place to prevent exam script errors
  • Collect evidence from students and the university about exam script errors and the impact they have had
  • Work with Research and Policy Staff to analyse student satisfaction with assessment within each faculty
  • Discuss students' issues with assessment and feedback with university staff, to agree on how these will be addressed

3. Reduce hidden course costs

  • Working with faculty reps and relevant networks at looking at what areas of student costs can be eradicated
  • Assessing the printing system and how each faculty could be reducing costs of printing for their students
  • Working to make graduation more affordable for students by pushing for removal of gown hire costs (or paid by the University for students who cannot afford it at all)
  • Assessing how travel placement costs create barriers for placement students and lobbying University to cover the costs

4. Continue the efforts of decolonising the curricula by working with the University

  • Working to ensure that the University continues to decolonise the courses available to students through the ‘Why is My curriculum so white’ campaign
  • Improve the diversity of the staff within the University by lobbying the University to review their recruiting and training of current staff
  • Empower BME students to consider career in academia through career in academia events
  • Work with students on initiatives they have in regards to decolonising their courses

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