As Undergraduate Education Officer I work to represent the academic interests of students across the university and try to make sure that all student voices are heard. I respond and react to decisions made at UEA and my aim is to find ways to improve the university experience for all undergraduate students. The beginning of term is approaching fast, and I wanted to write this blog post to give you all an idea of what my top three priorities for the year are.
Being able to have our lectures recorded would mean that students can use the recordings as a useful revision tool, can still access lectures if they are unable to attend, and can be more selective with their learning by re-visiting parts of the lecture that they found confusing or hard to understand. This is common practice at many universities nationally and allows students to have that extra flexibility with their learning. Instead of being pre-occupied with the pressure to write down or remember everything your lecturer has said, you are able to fully engage with the lecture and have access to it anywhere any time. I look forward to working with the university to enhance the student learning experience. Let’s make this a normality at UEA.
It is no secret that being at university can be expensive, and that students must often maintain tight budgets to be able to cope with the costs of student life, especially when living away from home. Therefore, any additional costs associated with your course should be made as transparent as possible to students before the year starts. Some examples of these might include DBS checks, placement costs, compulsory field trips and books. I want to work with the university not only to make students more aware of hidden course costs, but to try and reduce these hidden compulsory costs.
Looking into academic staff and advisor training
Previous undergraduate officers have done great work to try and ensure that academic staff and advisors are trained appropriately. For those who are new to UEA, every undergraduate student gets assigned an academic advisor who they can go to with any issues or questions. All academic staff and advisors must now complete an online training course before being equipped to advise, which is a great step up from no training at all. However, having seen the online training program I do not believe it is an adequate way to properly train advisors and academic staff. At UEA, reports suggest that students either have a very good or very bad academic advisor experience. I would love to make this a consistently great experience. I want to work with the university to implement a proper commitment to training to ensure that students get the right support, and that advisors and academic staff have the correct tools to help students.
I really believe that these three priorities would lead to a better student experience and I can’t wait to start working with the university to get closer to achieving these goals. However, there are more than eleven thousand undergraduate students here at UEA, so it is often challenging to know what students need and want. If you are particularly passionate about the above or about anything else, then I want to hear from you. I want to work with you to Lead Change. Please do feel free to contact me at email@example.com with any ideas or thoughts about improving the undergraduate academic experience.
Remember, change must start somewhere, and a great place to start is with your course. Click here to find out about becoming a representative for your course, nominations are open now!