Here’s what FXU President Exeter, Grace Fisher, has been working on during Dec/Jan…
Effective Learning Analytics
Exeter is currently developing a new project aiming to help you reach your full potential. It is looking to use existing data about your academic progress and collating it in one accessible place so you can visually see how you are doing.
As part of my role I sit on a group to discuss the project and make sure your voice is heard. The University is now looking to do wider student consultation and want to get your opinion to shape the project.
If you want more information check out the website or the postcards dotted around campus.
A Day in the Life of… Lewis Bartlett
On Tuesday 19th January myself and Alice Nicholls, Widening Student Participation Assistant, followed Biosciences PhD student Lewis Bartlett around for a day. We wanted find out more about what it is like to be a PhD student in Cornwall – something neither of us had ever experienced before. It was a big learning curb for us so big thank you to Lewis for having us for the day.
We learnt A LOT! Including…
How differently a Postgraduate Research student interacts with campus; buildings I would always be in as a student such as Peter Lanyon aren’t places Lewis visited during our day together. It was really interesting to see the campus from the view point of the PhD student – it’s definitely very different to what I experienced when I was studying.
Also, one of the big serotypes around PhD students is that they can often be really lonely – working in the lab alone on a really specific project that only you and your supervisor understand in full detail. However, what was really good to see for Lewis was that although he is often working alone there is a really strong sense of community within the Biosciences PhDs with journal clubs, coffee breaks with technicians and most importantly office bake offs! However, Lewis did point out that his experience was perhaps an exceptional one that not all PhDs in Cornwall experience. From what we saw I guess this could be because Biosciences have space in which they can interact and call their own.
Overall, it highlighted the fact there’s lots more that we, as FXU, can be doing to understand and better represent Postgraduate Research (PGR) Students. Day in the life of was just a starting point we’ll be running PGR Forums more regularly so that we can find out exactly what PGR students would like to see us doing.
If you want more information on shadowing opportunities both to follow FXU or University staff, click here.
Myself, Amanda and Fred have been working on your student feedback on study spaces and what you want to see more of –in the library, around campus and off campus.
One of the things we were able to do was book additional study spaces at the start of term within the exchange, something we’ll be looking to be doing more of in the future. We’re also working closely with the universities to make sure there are even more study spaces developed around campus for everything from silent to group study. As soon as these plans are finalised we’ll be making sure you hear about it. In the meantime look out for additional FXU study spaces around campus.
The Future of Higher Education
This last month there have been a lot of changes to what higher education will look like in the future, which although it won’t affect your experience at University it will hugely change future students experiences.
Firstly there’s the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – a new government proposal to more clearly define what a good/ bad University looks like by having a system in which universities are ranked on certain measures. These could then be linked to tuition fees so a top ‘TEF’ university could charge greater than £9,000 for a degree. Whilst at the same time the government want to encourage more people from poorer backgrounds to go to university… take from that what you will.
Then there was last week’s news that the government would be scrapping grants and just making the only financial support from the government to come in the form of loans. So, a student could potentially still get the same amount of money they used to get but instead would have to pay it back as a loan, meaning students from the poorest backgrounds will have the most to pay back. Again, with the government pushing for more students from poorer backgrounds to go to university this all clearly makes a lot of sense.
However, it’s important to remember this doesn’t affect current students but all 4 Presidents will definitely be flagging this to the universities to make sure they have adequate things in place to make sure future students have all the financial support they need.
Finally, on a fun note we now have cardboard cut outs!! Look out for them around the campuses promoting the different things going on in FXU, photobombing and scaring random passers-by.
I’ll be back with another update next month.