PG Officer Blog - Where has my summer been?


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PG Officer Blog

Where has my summer been?

Hello everyone! As a second year Officer, I have spent three months in office now! If you are interested, read on to find out what I have been up to over the summer:

 

Top 10 Planning

Every year the Officer Team will pick ten priority issues based on what we have heard from students, and then call on the University for actions. During the planning process, many issues that affect both Masters (postgraduate taught/PGT) and doctoral students were on the long list and there were two doctoral specific issues that are on this year’s Top 10:
-    Ensure that students aren’t financially disadvantaged by the University’s business travel provider
-    Create a culture where students feel confident to raise supervisory issues
Although there are not PGT specific issues on the final Top 10, we have made sure that issues affect them, like personal tutoring and loneliness, are included.

 

Trainings and A Conference

NUS Lead and Change
I have been fortunate enough to attend the Lead and Change training from National Union of Students two years in a row, this time at Bath! It was great meeting SU Officers from across the country and sharing thoughts. I find the Action Learning Sets particularly useful, where we brought up one issue each, then discussed possible solutions together as a group and shared best practices.


National Postgraduate Conference
I attended the first ever National Postgraduate Conference hosted by York Graduate Student Association (GSA, essentially a separate SU for postgraduates; another example is Keele GSA). It was amazing meeting Postgraduate Officers (some old faces, some new), as well as Officers and SU Staff who care about postgraduate engagement.
Several bits to share:
At the Q & A session, I asked the panel whether or not they thought GSAs were the future of postgraduate engagement - I know it has worked well in York. In short, the overall opinion from the panel was that it depends on the situation of the institution we were in. Collaboration is very important - even GSAs have to collaborate with their main SUs in terms of activities and sport offer. (I would also like to quietly point out that I was the first one to ask questions as this was something I was so so curious about.)
There were some good workshops and talks, among which a very interesting project, Social Transition Research into International Doctoral Experiences, was shared by Dr Jenna Mittelmeier, who carried out the research.


safeTALK Suicide Prevention Training
I signed up to this Suicide Prevention Training because I care about student wellbeing. I would like to help as much as I can, using appropriate methods. I think this was a good training with some useful tips.
Just to share with you all what TALK stands for:
T – Tell
A – Ask
L – Listen
K – KeepSafe
Together let’s try our best to create a suicide free community :)

 

Curriculum Transformation

Over the summer, I have continued to be the student voice for postgraduates on Curriculum Transformation, which is a University project to re-shape the portfolios of different degree programmes through three phases and make them more suitable for students. A lot of positive progress has been made regarding phase 2 and 3, and departments have done some student engagement activities. Students starting in 2020 will be on the transformed programmes.

 

Academic Integrity Project

The University has planned to introduce some external resources for students to learn how to reference and to avoid accidental plagiarism. Things I have been involved in includes choosing the provider and packages of resources and advising on how to gather student feedback (through surveys, focus groups, etc.).

 

Cause

This is to do with The SU’s strategy. Working with a consulting company, we re-defined our values:
Why?
Students can and want to shape the community they are part of for the better.
How?
Creating opportunities to work together and create change.
What?
Student-led groups, voice, support and personal development.
We had a workshop in summer to do some strategic planning and the doctoral representation review has been influenced greatly by Cause.

 

Doctoral Representation Review

We came up with the idea of having a Doctoral Exec to replace the Postgraduate Association (PGA) model, which means that doctoral students will form an independent executive committee and won’t be mixed with PGTs.
We proposed this to doctoral students at our “Doctoral is Different” Engagement Event, asked who representatives should represent, when the elections should take place (at a time that suits them). We were also asking them what changes they wanted to see from The SU. A number of them mentioned the Bath Active Postgraduate Timetable and that they really enjoyed the sessions, which has made me super happy!

 

Continuing Projects

Apart from attending meetings, both internal and external, I have also been working on projects that are ongoing, examples including Doctoral Mental Health, Postgraduates Who Teach (PGWT), Loneliness, etc.

 

Events and Freshers’ Week 2019

A series of events for international and postgraduate students took place over the summer, such as quizzes, board games, walks, SU Trips, etc. Overall, these have been very popular among students.
I had a meeting with Freshers’ Week Event Managers (FWEMs) discussing the events for Postgraduate Freshers’ Week 2019 and the programme looks really good! Tickets are on sale online on 16 September. I also participated in the livestream organized by the FWEMs and answered questions from new postgraduate and international students. This year we are offering Halls T-shirts to postgraduates too! I can’t wait to meet our newbies and hand out shiny postgraduate-exclusive navy blue T-shirts!

 

Best wishes,

Jiani x

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