Congratulations to Megan & Will have been amazing advocates for their courses in fighting for changes to their exams.
Reps continued their hard work throughout semester 2 in advocating for change to exams both around the communication of scaling and around exam timetables. We held a great Academic Council where we discussed with reps their views about being Academic Reps and what they would like to see changed or improved. Additionally, we saw feedback from reps on exams being listened to with the University now offering new online 1:1 Exams Skills tutorials from 12 April to 7 May 2021.
We are happy to announce that this month we are spotlighting two incredible Reps from the Mathematics Departments Megan Bourne and Will Caley. These two reps worked hard with the rest of the Maths rep team to push for changes to their exams.
For pushing the department of mathematical sciences to release mock exams for its semester 2 exams. Mock exams have been an important part of the revision process for many students taking MA units. This is especially harmful given the fact that last year's exams were originally written with a 2 hour in-person format in mind and then adjusted to a 24 hour remote exam format - a three hour remote format (which is what we now have) is very different. If you took units from a different branch then you wouldn't get the feeling from semester 1 (which was the department's rebuttal) about what each branch's units involve in a remote format. The lack of a policy in this area would have been extremely harmful and Megan was highly successful in getting this policy changed.
Will has been making sure decolonising is happening in both the physics and maths departments by asking questions in SSLCs. ‘ been involving his cohort in all decisions and letting them know what is happening, raising issues from the minority that is people on dual degrees and he tried to make faculty forums a forum by making it more of a conversation and collaboration between reps which is great.
You can read more about what the rep of the month Scheme is and how you can nominate someone or yourself for Rep of the Month here.
We asked Megan and Will some questions about their experiences as reps to find out what makes them so fab at what they do! Read below.
Why did you want to be a rep?
Megan: Having been on placement last year and returning to the university during a pandemic, I wanted a way to reconnect with the university. I thought that being an academic rep would be a great way to do this whilst representing students amongst the uncertainty and change that the pandemic has brought.
Will: I became an academic rep in a by-election in my first year because I hadn’t been confident enough to put myself forward in the first place! Since then I have been a rep in 3 of my 4 years at university, this year getting to sit on both the Physics and Maths SSLCs and being part of the Science Student Council too.
How have you brought about positive change?
Megan:I have been able to work with DOS to make sure that changes made this year have been with students in mind. For example, I was able to push for the provision of mock exams for semester 2 using student opinions I had collected via a cross-year group survey to emphasise the positive impact the mocks had in semester 1.
Will: I’ve been bringing change by acting as an opinion pipeline between students and those in the department that can impact the student experience. I have, when needed, campaigned unapologetically for student interests. I have informed the faculty on learning and assessment, the Bath Blend and the means by which we can decolonise. This journey has set me on a path to be amongst the first members of the emerging Decolonise Science Society for which I have been recruiting and otherwise supporting in any way I can.
How do you see being a rep impact on your future?
Megan: Being a rep has enabled me to have meaningful conversations with senior staff to discuss important and sometimes sensitive topics whilst considering the impacts for students. I feel that I’ll be able to carry this forward into future jobs and be able to confidently talk to senior staff about my ideas and their potential impact.
Will: Being an Academic Rep has been monumental in my becoming a more conscientious person. I have the immense privilege of engaging regularly with upstanding members of the university community with whom I may not have a lot in common. As an academic rep, I have seen fit to attend SU trainings that I now display proudly on my CV. I have learned skills and been challenged in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise have had in my time at university if not for my role as an academic rep.
What is the best thing about being a rep?
Megan: Working to make a difference for the student body and getting to meet (albeit virtually) a variety of students that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet.
Will: The best thing about being a rep is that you get to network with people from all over the university and make some otherwise unlikely friendships. A close second is the feeling of satisfaction in doing a good job for your peers.
Thinking of someone you’d like to nominate as a rep of the month? Or want to put yourself forward?
Find out more and nominate someone here