Blog: An Opportunity for Change

As frequently documented this year, I am sure you have heard the word ‘restructure’ more than Brexit, the College is undergoing an academic restructure to be in place for the 2019/20 academic year.

Throughout last term, we spent time listening to the opinions of all students across various departments in order to facilitate a conversation so that College takes into account the priorities of students. This has involved holding focus groups to bring current experiences to the attention of the College, holding an open meeting for students concerned about the restructure, inviting Deputy Principal Professor Katie Normington to our Education Council, and by representing the student opinion in reference groups.

In constructively engaging in these discussions with College, direct dialogue has been enabled between students and those responsible for implementing the restructure. Indeed, following on from the organised focus groups, information and thoughts gathered from them “have been logged and reviewed by those responsible for the Academic Administration Transformation, and will be used to inform decisions going forward.”

Throughout the last term, we as your elected Officers, have heard from lots of students regarding the restructure. It has been exciting to hear how some students view this as an opportunity for their experience to be enhanced – primarily through better communication between departments, efficient processes and greater consistency – and I hope that this can come to fruition. However, there are also students who have concerns and worries about this change, and this term I am keen to continue to voice such concerns to College in order for all students to experience the benefits. Therefore, if anyone does have any concerns then please do contact me and I can ensure it is involved in my lobbying to College.

Changes for the better

As your representative, the work on the restructure has involved gaining key wins for students as discussions continue within the College. For example, whilst our progress with key contacts within academic representation has elevated student voice, there are difficulties with this structure. Currently, we have 50 contacts amongst the College; this means 50 people we have to constantly be in touch with as ‘points of call’.

With the introduction of schools instead of faculties, where the departments will sit, academic representation will be able to ensure efficient, effective and excellent representation. Contact with the academic units will also be easier with a more cohesive school in comparison to the confusing structure of a faculty.

Over the coming weeks, I will be part of discussions with the newly appointed Heads of School, the College Executive and relevant members of staff in formulating the new policy, procedures and processes. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only interact with the new Heads of School on a regular basis, but also make sure that the College are seeing through their promises for the restructure.

Moreover, as the restructure process moves forwards, I recognise that students will likely have more questions that they wish to directly ask to the College members of staff responsible for the restructure. Therefore, I have organised another open meeting, providing an opportunity for you to come and ask questions and seek assurance if need be. This open meeting will be held on Friday 1 March at Medicine from 12:00 - 13:00.

I am looking forward to continuing to represent you on this matter and look forward to the exciting and positive changes that can emerge from this change!

Jack O'Neill // Vice President Education