Blog: Equality in Higher Education

Academic Rep Conference is just around the corner – but what is it and why should you attend?

Well, it is undeniable to say that current external factors in the Higher Education sector are going to impact on you as a student, even those that are about to graduate.

Throughout the year, I work alongside our academic reps, who in turn work alongside as many students as possible and, often I spend my time finding compromise and lobbying for your academic interests with the College. This may sometimes feel like there is no time to take a step back and consider the wider picture affecting your academic experience. Well, this is exactly what Conference is for.

This year, our theme is ‘equality in Higher Education’ and I hope to see you there to join in the debate!

There will be various focuses at alternative workshops during the Conference such as how we can work to address the BAME attainment gap, which stands at 16% nationally, how we can improve the experience of commuting students, a student demographic that continues to grow, and ultimately how we can recognise varying needs of students in order for them to reach their potential. We will also be hosting a workshop on personal tutors, situating this discussion into a wider debate around the role of a university and its relationship with students.

What makes a good learning environment?

As is often the case, local changes are pressured and influenced by the wider, external factors that are constantly impacting on Higher Education. Even without considering the uncertain path of Brexit, Higher Education is set to undergo drastic changes in the coming years with the Augar Review considering changes that some have suggested will mean alterations in tuition fees, and with an enlarging debate around student debt within public finance.

Some may argue that the heightened discussions of such topics is a result of the changes in the sector that have already taken place this century, and we will also be considering this debate: student expectations and ultimately, what makes a good learning environment for students, and how do we maximise this?

I hope that this conference is able to provide a platform for considerations both on the national and local level as well as enriching your awareness and involvement in key themes within Higher Education.

Enjoy the workshops on offer, get involved in discussions and I hope that you both enjoy this experience and feel motivated to continue your involvement in the debate around Higher Education – one that continues to evolve.

I hope to see you there!

Jack O'Neill // Vice President Education