officer blog

blog

jenna chapman

undergraduate education
j.chapman@uea.ac.uk

What is it like to be the Undergraduate Education Officer at uea(su)?

In my eighth month as Undergraduate Education Officer at uea(su) I thought I would reflect on my role: what I’ve learned, what the highlights have been, and what you might want to know if you're considering running in the forthcoming elections. 

Every day has been different. As an officer team we're constantly responding and reacting to decisions made in the University and on a national level, working to represent students and make sure their voices are heard. I’ve learned a lot about students, the Higher Education sector and the way decisions are made.  

The main role : 

The main role of the UG Education Officer is to work with the PG Education Officer to represent the academic interests of students in meetings across the university. There are a wide range of meetings every week; from meetings with individual students, to working at school level, to meetings with the Vice Chancellor and Executive Team.  

There are more than 11,000 Undergraduate students at UEA and so it can be a challenge to know what students need and want. My role involves a lot of reading, interpreting data, meeting with students, talking with staff and attending national events in order to develop knowledge of a wide range of topics that affect Undergraduates at UEA. I often find myself in meeting being considered the expert on students in the room, which can be quite daunting when you’ve only been in the role a few months, but gets easier as you learn more and get more comfortable with university structures. 

Overall, my job is to work across the university to find ways to improve the experience of Undergraduate students.  

Supporting roles: 

In addition to this, the Full time Officers are Trustees of the Students' Union and Directors of the subsidiary multi-million-turnover social enterprises. We also work with Senior Management to make day-to-day management decisions for the Union and this I've found to be a very interesting part of the job.  

What I’ve enjoyed: 

During my time as UG Education officer I have really enjoyed the colourful and lively office that is the SU, the passionate and expert staff and, of course, the fantastic students with great ideas about how UEA could be even better. 

One of my favorite aspects of the year so far has been working with education committee. This is a group of students who chair Student Staff Liaison Committees (SSLC's) for their schools, attend faculty meetings and meet with myself and the PG ED Officer every quarter to feed into our work - bringing experience and knowledge from each of their unique academic backgrounds.  

What Challenges me: 

No two days are the same as an officer and it can feel quite chaotic at times; juggling so many meetings and areas of knowledge. Organisation is key when you're dealing with so many different things and it's an area I've really worked to develop through this role.  

Who this role would  suit: 

This is my 6th year at UEA and I feel that its time for me to move on at the end of this year. I am keen to see someone passionate about improving the student experience at UEA take my place. If you're thinking of running the most important thing to have is a passion for helping your fellow students. You must also love learning (because there’s a lot to do) and be committed to improving things at UEA. It’s a fantastic opportunity to push yourself and have a really positive impact on the lives and learning of other students at UEA. You’ll be able to work autonomously within a fantastic team of staff who will support you every step of the way. 

If you are interested in applying, and have any questions please get in contact with me at m.leishman@uea.ac.uk. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the role and what it involves. To nominate yourself or a friend for election, visit https://www.uea.su/ueavotes/ 

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