Last week hosted the final RH100 panel of the year, focused on the College Strategy – so no small exercise! President Jack O'Neill tells you all about what was discussed, including student needs, environmental sustainability, and equality, diversity and inclusion.
Last week, we all attended the third and final RH100 panel of the year. This session focused on the College Strategy – so no small exercise! The panellists discussed a range of issues contributing to the consultation on the green paper, a document prepared that outlines the direction of the strategy, posing some of the pressing questions for consideration.
Students engrossed themselves in topics ranging from student needs, considering what educational experience students in 2030 will value, to environmental sustainability, exploring ways in which the environment can feature in the Royal Holloway experience and equality, diversity and inclusion, considering values that underpin everything that Royal Holloway does.
The discussion on student needs was really interesting, focusing on what a student in 2030, who may only be 8/9 now, would like to see from their university education. The conversations were really ambitious and insightful, with suggestions such as a ‘pick and mix’ degree where you choose modules from multiple departments, greater integration of technology into learning, and even a university where a campus wasn’t needed at all and your teaching was all through distance learning! It seemed clear that students felt the student body of 2030 would be more diverse than it is now, and the University would need to adapt to accommodate this, through exciting ways such as a diverse variety of assessment types and interesting funding proposals!
Students discussed how climate literacy could be worked into their various courses and identified where there were possible conflicts. These potential conflicts included lab-based courses and the need for single-use plastic for scientific research. They also talked about the operational side of the university and how this could be made more environmental through changes to catering outlets, decarbonisation and the pros and cons of a zero-waste shop. The third topic discussed was research and how we should not only ensure our research is sustainable but how we can support and encourage innovative environmental research. Discussions were held around the addition of bursaries and scholarships as an incentive as well as flight usage for academics researching or attending conferences abroad.
Students were able to discuss, in groups, a wide array of topics centred on equality, diversity and inclusion. Questions generally focused on the approach of staff and how a holistic improvement of EDI may look. It was fascinating hearing opinions from a diverse group of students who were able to critically think about their own experiences and their knowledge of the University and departments within it. It was enlightening to hear some of the ideas, considering creative ways to solve current challenges.
It is always brilliant to see students immerse themselves in discussions about the College’s future. This year in particular, with a closely aligned relationship between RH100 and us Officers, it has been useful to gain the input from the students involved – thank you!
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