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SoBMS School Rep Update

Written by: Katie Thiessen

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Meetings I’ve Attended

General Meetings with Student Voice

- I have been meeting with student voice to ensure issues are brought to the correct people and to ensure I am engaging with course reps in an efficient way.


General Meetings with Associate Head of School (October – December)

- I have been meeting with the associate head of the school throughout the year and making sure I am up to date with school issues as well as keeping the associate head of school updated with student issues.

- Issues raised included clarity on discovery weeks, dissertation selection, graduation, 3rd year module choice, and specific course rep issues.


Final Year Project Selection Pilot

- I attended the new final year SoBMS project selection process pilot to ensure I could answer any questions about it that would come up during the actual process.

- In the pilot I tested the new app that will be used to select dissertation topics and gave feedback on what could benefit the process.


Course Rep Training – October 23rd

- During course rep training I interacted with the course reps present and introduced myself.

- I also allowed course reps to raise any current issues in their courses during this meeting.


Meeting with Student Voice – October 30th

- In this meeting I met with student voice to discuss how to support course reps the best way and to check in on my progress as school rep so far.


Science and Engineering School Rep Meeting – October 30th

- Lucy Hare and Henry Tate were voted in as deputy school reps. The vote was unanimous.

- Strategies for cohort engagement with course reps were as well as increasing engagement with the NSS were discussed

- The usefulness of having 3rd years come into 2nd year classes to discuss modules was discussed as not all courses have this. In 1st year, 2nd years discuss module choices during PALS sessions but in 2nd year only a few courses have 3rd years come in to discuss module choices. I raised to the associate head of school.



Biological and Marine Sciences Teaching Learning and Quality Committee (TQLC) – November 1st

- The lack of engagement with academic feedback was raised by staff so I sent out a survey to all course reps to send out to their cohort. The survey asked questions such as ‘Do you read feedback’, ‘If no, why not?’, ‘What do you like about the feedback given’, and ‘How do you think feedback could be improved’.

- We discussed how we can close the loop with general academic feedback and student engagement with the feedback.


Faculty Teaching Learning Quality Committee (FTLQC) – November 22nd

- In this meeting we discussed how we can get students to engage with emails more and how many emails students are actually receiving a day.

- The lack of engagement with academic feedback and how to engage students more frequently was discussed.

- The SU advice team discussed that they are not there for mental health help, but to give advice to students. Where students should go for help must be clarified, to allow students to be signposted to the correct people.


Student Advisory Committee – November 22nd

- In this meeting issues and questions surrounding field courses were raised. The issues included the costs of field courses as well as issues with accommodations providing sufficient food for those with dietary requirements.

- Regarding the cost of field courses, staff ensured students there is a hybrid choice for the field course that would take place locally.

- Students also raised comments on having longer SSLG meetings to staff.

- Students also raised the issue that some students weren’t elected as course rep before the SU training, so they never received it. I brought this up with student voice and will try to work on a smoother transition on both sides (University and Student Voice)

Second Biological and Marine Sciences Teaching Learning and Quality Committee (TQLC) – November 29th

- The results from the academic feedback survey were presented at the TQLC. The most common responses to the survey were that the feedback they received was too vague, and didn’t provide insight on why something was incorrect, they also mentioned the inconsistency of feedback across different modules.

- A new DLE add-on was discussed called ‘Draft Coach’ which would allow students to check their work for plagiarism and grammar prior to Turnitin submission.

- Information regarding discovery weeks was finally fed down to staff and now to students and is available online.

- The new undergraduate final year project selection was discussed, and I was able to comment on the new program from my experience with the pilot.

- The lack of left-handed desks in lecture theatres was also raised at this meeting and I will be following up with this issue.


What I am working on currently

Smooth Course Rep Transition

- I am working on a that would allow a smooth transition from course reps in one year to the ones elected in the next year.

- The system would allow course reps to see what issues were raised, how they were dealt with, and if they were dealt with and the solution did not work they can raise it again.


Course Rep and School Rep Engagement

- I have been working hard to stay in contact with the SoBMS course reps to collaborate and ensure they know who to go to with what issues

- A course rep group chat has been created where course reps can ask questions and stay connected to each other as well.

- I created an email format that is easy to follow and ensures course reps receive the most important information first.


Campaigns I Intend to Start

Student Wellbeing

- I am hoping to put mental health awareness training back in course rep and school rep training which would be beneficial to student wellbeing.

- I am also hoping this training will be available for all students to partake in, not just course reps and school reps.


Help I would like from Students

Feedback on the following issues

- What is the best way to communicate information back students as well as communicated student information up to the university

- How do students feel about academic feedback and what can be done to improve engagement.

- How students feel about mental health services and if they know where to go with certain issues.


I would also love to hear any ideas, general feedback, and concerns from students.