PG Forums

The SU runs regular forums throughout the year to listen to postgraduate opinion, to highlight issues that matter to postgrads and to shape the SU's focus.

PGT Late Lunch

18 November 2019 | PGT academic and wider student life

Over 60 taught postgrads gave us insights into the best and worst of their university experience, from accommodation and campus recycling to timetabling and the availability (or lack of) of Wednesday afternoons for sport and valuable extra-curricular activities.

Where does it go? It's response that will go directly into SU campaigns and priorities for PGTs, including PGA events.

GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant) Forum

15 October 2019 | doctoral students in casual teaching roles

The SU has been pushing for real change for doctoral students in casual teaching, demonstrating, marking and related roles. Doctoral students have complained of issues with the fairness of recruitment, unsuitable training, poor development and recognition, low pay and precarious contracts. With new approaches now underway in many departments, the forum looked at the experience of current GTAs, and whether developments have led to improvements.

Where does it go? Anonymised comments were shared with the Doctoral College and feed directly into the Postgraduates Who Teach Working Group. 

Doctoral is Different

9 September 2019 | doctoral representation and SU 

The SU is changing its approach to doctoral students. How doctoral researchers are represented and the way The SU works is taking account of what's distinctive about doctoral life. Doctoral is Diferent asked doctoral students what mattered about their voice being heard. Doctoral students said they wanted an Exec that worked just for research students, a rep system that recognised the differences of doctoral study and SU events, communications and approaches that worked specifically for the doctoral experience.

Where does it go? Helps shape doctoral representation and the SU's work in many areas. Changes are just beginning!

Doctoral Mental Health Forum: After Awareness, What Next?

29 May 2019 | doctoral mental health

With the challenges and pressures of doctoral study impact on mental health increasingly accepted, more than awareness of issues was needed. Doctoral students highlighted isolation, the "power imbalance" of the supervisory relationship and poor communication of mental health services.

"my mental health problems hold me back from achieving my best, only in more subtle ways... many of the skills and activities required to thrive as a PhD student - feel extremely difficult for me." - PhD student

The anonymised discussions in the forum can be seen here.

Where does it go? Directly to the University's Doctoral Mental Health Working Group and helping to make the supervisory culture a priority issue which SU Officers lobby the University.

Doctoral Sushi  (April 2019)

12 April 2019 | doctoral social events

Feedback on doctoral social events, including whether it's OK to have them jointly with PGTs (61% thought it was), and whether 'development activities' that teach skills should be run by the PGA as well as social events (28% thought they should).

The PG Tango, PG Quiz and Doctoral Sushi were popular, with more expert advice suggested for wine-tasting.

Where does it go? To new and developing PG and doctoral social events from the PGA

PGT Breakfast

29 March 2019 | PGT student experience

Breakfast on the go while sharing a few of the hopes and concerns about PGT life.

Where does it go? Issues raised featured in the SU's Student Voice Report, which is presented in senior University committees for attention, as well as feeding into the SU's priority issues for lobbying and achieving change throughout the year.