Top Ten Background

Your feedback, through the Student Opinion Survey (SOS), Academic Council and Ideas to Action helps us identify ten key issues affecting students at the University.

The “Top Ten” issues will be the focus of our work and campaigning. This year we will work with the University on the following issues:

Campaign for sustainable student recruitment policies in relation to housing availability

  • Improve communications between the University and the SU on student recruitment and communication.
  • Create a clear plan for what emergency provision will be put into place if students are unable to find somewhere to live.
  • Implement a policy that landlords/letting agents are only able to advertise properties for the next academic year after a certain date.

End of year update

  • Established a housing campaign group to allow for the effective gathering of information and opinions for the student body.
  • Have contributed to the Council's consultation on planning for Houses of Multiple Occupation, as well as their review of Purpose Built Student Accommodation Blocks.
  • Have made a set of recommendations to the University.
  • Successfully lobbied the University to introduce a housing guarantor scheme for international students, as well as some of the more vulnerable home students such as care leavers and estranged students.

 

Make it easier for students to locate available study space

End of year update

  • Our paper has been accepted by the CSSU*, with the following results:
  • Improve the interface of the room booking system to make it more effective and user friendly. The SU and the University have been in touch with a company who have demonstrated a new room booking/finding system, which has additional superior functionalities to the existing system in place.

  • Increase the publicity of available study space across campus.

  • Ensure available computers are easy to locate.

  • A group has been set up to look at how best to inform students of the free space on campus.

  • Student Records/Timetabling have agreed to create a webpage where students can see free rooms on campus.

  • A new mobile-compatible student portal system where students will have access to all the information they need at the click of a button is being investigated. We have had in two companies who have demoed their products, which allow students to access Moodle, Samis, emails, calendar, free rooms, free computers and more in one central place.

 

Improve University and Students’ Union provision for students outside of term time

End of year Update

  • Our paper has been accepted by the CSSU*, with the following results:
  • Secure extended opening hours of on campus eateries and shops.
  • Develop a comprehensive programme of events that will take place during the non-teaching weeks.
  • Ensure vital on campus services such as counselling are readily accessible during the non-teaching weeks.
  • The Parade Bar has agreed to extend their opening hours in non-term time on Fridays from 5pm to 10pm.
  • Fresh Grocery Store will open on University holidays from academic year 2018/19.
  • The SU has also been working to improve activities provision, and resultantly the PGA will run a monthly pub quiz over summer, and some student clubs will run non-term events (e.g. Mountaineering). Several SU sports clubs and societies committees have chosen to elect a Postgraduate representative to coordinate postgraduate events.

 

Secure a physical expansion of the gym

  • Secure a physical expansion of the gym.
  • Ensure that student feedback is gathered in the design of the new facility.
  • Ensure student memberships will be prioritised over those of the public to maintain satisfaction.

Update

  • Our paper has been accepted by the CSSU*, and the finances to build the new gym have been confirmed.

  • Since confirmation of the build, student feedback has been sought from the athlete forum and an all student survey with over 1,400 responses. The survey is looking at what students want from the gym. Will Galloway, our Sport Officer, will be sitting on the panel with oversight of the final decision and continue to pressure the University to ensure students’ needs are considered throughout.

End of year update

  • Working closely with broad range of stakeholders to ensure the expansion is fit for purpose and that specific needs are catered for by attending athlete forums. An additional survey has received over 1700 responses.

  • Anticipating opening in Spring/Summer 2018.

 

Ensure that students receive constructive assessment feedback that helps them learn

  • Work with the new Centre for Learning & Teaching to conduct a student led review of current feedback methods.
  • Make recommendations as to how current practice can be improved.
  • Establish minimum standards of detail to be provided to students on their written assessments.

Update

  • Our paper will be taken to the CSSU* on 27 April, which will detail minimum standards of feedback students should receive. In preparation, we have:
  • Undertaken research into what students want from feedback, sourcing examples of good, bad and ideal feedback.
  • The Education Officer led a talk with staff about feedback, to gather information on what staff feel about it and some of the reasons why it doesn't always deliver what students want.

End of year update

  • We have made the following recommendations to the University: the production of a booklet/poster to highlight examples of good feedback and ways to improve; all departments to provide students with a list of assessments and deadlines at the beginning of each semester and departments are to ensure their feedback policies are thoroughly discussed at the end of each year. 
  • This area is to be a high priority for the Centre for Learning & Teaching and the Academic Registry over the next few years, closely monitored through the TraCA* process and the ongoing work of ULTQC* in terms of reviewing curriculum and assessment. 

 

Campaign for the curricula to reflect the diversity of the student body

  • Work with the Centre for Learning & Teaching to examine course content.
  • Work with the Diversity & Support groups at the Students’ Union to determine best practice in this area.
  • Incorporate work into the University bidding for the Race Equality Charter Mark.

End of year update

  • The SU  has undertaken research into the national work and campaigns that have been done so far to learn from best practice and actively sought feedback from its Diversity groups on how they believe the curricula could better reflect their diversity. 
  • The University has agreed to focus on a number of ethnicity-related equality issues so that it will be in a stronger place to apply for the Race Equality Charter Mark in a few years’ time. Race has been included in Statement of University Objectives.
  • Following the establishment of the new Centre for Learning & Teaching, there will be a dedicated staff member to focus on establishing an inclusive curriculum.

 

 Reduce waste across campus

  • Increase the usage of sustainable food containers and increase the education surrounding the recycling opportunities on campus. 
  • Improve publicity of reduced price food in campus outlets and shops.
  • Reduce the amount of food waste that occurs and encourage better redistribution of leftover food.

End of year update

  • Our paper was very well received by the CSSU* meeting in January 2017. Following on from this:
  • Waste Reduction Task and Finish Group has been set up to identifiy measurable targets for waste reduction on campus, carry out a food waste audit across campus and see targets to completion for the 2017/18 academic year.
  • We have also supported Accommodation and Hospitality on their Leave no Trace campaign, as well as published waste reduction hints and tips to encourage students to reduce their waste on campus.
  • One of our student media groups, Campus TV, will also be producing recipe videos aimed at reducing waste from leftover food.
  • Accommodation and Hospitality took their disposables contract out to tender with a significant environmental consideration in order to identify a disposable container with the least environmental impact.

 

Ensure the personal tutoring system is effective for students and staff

End of year update

  • Our paper has been accepted by the CSSU*, and a Task and Finish Group has been set up, chaired by the Education Officer and the Chair of the Senior Tutor Forum. This group is leading a review of the current personal tutoring system   and will produce a proposal for University Learning and Teaching Quality Committee for 6 July. 
  • This proposal will be implemented for the start of the next academic year and will focus on the following:

  • Conduct a review of the current personal tutoring system, highlighting areas of best practice and pinpointing areas for development and improvement.

  • Create a useful agenda of topics to be covered in personal tutor meetings.

  • Ensure the necessary signposting information and FAQs are in place for tutors.

  • Enforcing the frequency of tutoring sessions by using a new Student Notes system to keep track of tutorials.

  • Ensuring the tutorials have a structure and a purpose to them to look at academic performance, skills, signposting etc.

  • The pastoral side of Personal Tutoring will predominantly become signposting.

  • A poster/booklet to be distributed to every personal tutor detailing their responsibilities, good practice, key tasks, signposting guidance and FAQs.

  • Meetings to focus on timely and relevant topics to give them a purpose .

 

Tackle postgraduate isolation

Update

  • Our paper has been accepted by the CSSU*. Our next key actions are:
  • Create more opportunities for postgraduate students to engage with their peers.
  • Review the expectations of postgraduates in terms of joining student groups.
  • Improve the signposting of support services for postgraduates.
  • The re-submission of a staff post application to improve our offer of peer mentoring for postgraduates.
  • Student Services will provide courses on mental health and wellbeing for research postgraduates.
  • The University and SU will be working together to improve the offer to part-time postgraduates.

End of year update

  • We are working on the expansion of peer mentoring to include Postgraduate Taught students, with the School of Management to lead the pilot for this. The SU is also seeking to appoint a dedicated Postgraduate Peer Mentoring Coordinator. Student Research Champions are also being created at Faculty level to lead on the organisation of research-culture based events.
  • Mental Health First Aid Course and Managing Workplace Relations will be incoporated into the PG Skills portfolio
  • There will be increased training for supervisors to be incorporated into new Doctoral College procedures.
  • There will be an increased programme of events from the Students’ Union’s Postgraduate Association including monthly film and quiz nights.
  • The SU will carry out a research project on the specific experiences of part time students.

 

Secure an extension of the Library

  • Campaign for the necessity of a physical expansion of the library.
  • Create more space within the existing building through improved storage efficiency of books and investment in e-journals.

End of year update

  • We are grateful for the investment by the University in the development of 10 West Graduate Commons, 6 East, 6 West South and Norwood House Learning Commons, as well as the off-campus learning facilities in the Virgil Building. However there are still huge daily pressures on the Library building and its infrastructure.
  • Recommended to the CSSU* that an extension should be an immediate priority. Whilst it hasn’t been ruled out, there has been no commitment given. It will remain a key campaign area for the SU.

 

What is the CSSU?

The CSSU is a combined decision-making body, comprising members of the University Council, University Senate and the Students' Union. It is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and includes a range of key senior University staff alongside some members of University Council and University Senate.

TraCA

TraCA stands for Transforming Curricula and Assessment. 

ULTQC

ULTQC stands for University Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee.