April was probably the quietest month for me as I was lucky to have a week and a half off during the Easter vacation. I also had a couple of days off due to sickness, and there were plenty of bank holidays to go around.
During the times I was in the office, I made some progress on my projects.
I was lucky to be able to attend the UK Advising and Tutoring conference and present on one of their panels discussing how personal tutoring had impacted my academic journey. It seemed to go down well, and I was able to make a few networking connections.
I finalised my internship with the Digital Learning Team at the university, and from the 11th of July, I’ll be focusing on improving the digital capabilities of staff at the university. This is incredibly exciting, not only because it’s something I very much enjoy, but also because it makes progress towards my manifesto – though, unfortunately, I won’t have a manifesto to work towards anymore.
I met with the Partnership of Educational Reform, the Head of Representation at SUSU and various university staff and students to discuss decolonising and diversifying the curriculum. We also said goodbye to our Chief Executive of SUSU, and I attended a Teams meeting regarding challenging men’s behaviour when it comes to sexual violence, hosted by a Sabbatical Officer at UEA.
My meeting with the Library Team went well and I was able to update on a lot of my requests, student requests, and the work the Library Team are currently doing as we come up to the semester two assessment period. There were a good few things to note, such as:
- Gender-neutral toilets
- Vending machine stock review
- Construction updates
- Neurodiverse bookable space in Hartley Library
- New thick toilet paper!
- New improved furniture added to Hartley Library and Winchester School of Art
I met the university’s new Vice President of Education and Student Experience where we discussed assessment and how she could support me in further progressing my projects for this year. I am very excited to work with her over the next couple of months, and I am confident she will be a SUSU ally.
I completed the Student Engagement Training I was taking part in with the Quality Assurance Agency which allowed me to network with other student-facing staff in different higher and further education institutions. It is great that more work is being developed around improving student engagement.
I was able to progress on special considerations in which I’m preparing an email with the support from students, and I chased the Wellbeing Team on text counselling and requested a social media campaign from the Student Communications Team to support the promotion of personal academic tutors.
I am delighted to announce that the Counselling Team will be offering a text service for counselling which will support our neurodiverse and disabled students. Unfortunately, this will not be available this academic year, but I’m confident it will be available from September 2022.
Lastly, I was able to attend the Westminster Higher Education Forum’s Keynote Seminar ‘Next steps for supporting disabled students in Higher Education’ in which I will be posting a detailed version of events in an upcoming post. It was really helpful for me, as I’m working closely with disabled and neurodiverse students, to see how I could provide further support in various areas, as well as what I can lobby the university for in terms of making university life more accessible and inclusive.