Blog: Making Your Voice Heard In PDRs

As one of the three Faculty Reps, I have been involved in lots of discussions this year in order to ensure that the student voice is at the heart of what the College does. This has included attending College meetings, supporting Department Reps in the Faculty of Management, Economics & Law and excitingly, being involved in the Management Periodic Departmental Review (PDR).

Prior to this year, I didn’t know what a PDR stood for, let alone what it entailed. But over the past few months, it has been great to see how student involvement in this process has vastly improved, allowing it to be an opportunity to improve the student experience.

Speaking alongside a previous Course Rep and recently graduated part-time Masters student, I contributed to discussions with the panel looking into how the School has grown, taken onboard student feedback, and been responsible for providing the best possible experience for students. Since the PDR panel, the School has been incredibly open to discussing these topics further with us and are really keen to address issues that arise – without the improved involvement of students in this process, such urgency and channels for discussion wouldn’t be apparent.

So what did we discuss?

We spoke about the quality of teaching on the course: how some needed to be updated in order to suit the skills desired by employers; how inconsistencies in teaching can be tackled and how progress has been made in altering employability modules following feedback from Course Reps.

We spoke about assessments and how to rectify problems in feedback; centring discussions on expectations, communications and support within group work. The PDR was also a welcoming space to propose ideas, such as publishing expected feedback dates when submitting assessments, and how a greater community can be formed, especially within the Postgraduate cohort.

Support for students also took front and centre, with specific focuses on preparing students for lectures – in particular, those with an international background or those experiencing difficulty during lectures – such as posting lecture slides prior to the lecture.

For me the experience was enlightening, and I was glad to see how much the school cared and took on board our feedback. Already the discussions we had back in October are changing curriculum planning for next year, influencing decisions in Faculty Board papers that I am reviewing as I write this!

Previously, I never knew what a PDR did whereas now, I have been fully involved in the process, witnessing how it has incorporated the wider student voice, and have been talking to lots of students from the Faculty about the departmental reviews!

Alexandra Upton // Faculty Rep for Management, Economics & Law