Rep Of The Month: Joe Russell-Davis

Every year we celebrate the incredible achievements of our wonderful academic reps. Last month, our Sabbatical Officer team found that one rep really stood out – your Year Three Physics course rep and December's Rep of the Month, Joe Russell-Davis!

Your December Rep of the Month is Year Three Physics course rep, Joe Russell-Davis!

This month, your Sabbatical Officers were really impressed with Joe’s initiative and proactive approach to his role. He used his communication skills to work effectively with the department to get a deadline moved by a whole week, positively impacting all the students on his course!

We caught up with Joe to find out more.

Why did you want to become a rep?

I’m in my third year at University now, and in my first two I wasn’t really that involved in the Physics community, but I’ve gained so many things from being a part of it – friends, transferable skills for life, and I just wanted to be able to give back a little bit and leave a positive impact.

But I didn’t really have the confidence to do this until my girlfriend actually applied to become a course rep, and I saw the positive impact she was able to have, and I thought, you know what? I can do the same, I can make a difference and I can leave my mark in some way. It’s been great! 

What have you been up to this term?

This has been quite a strange term for everyone, with the blended learning experience there’s been a massive influx of feedback, both positive and negative from students. But the biggest thing that happened was when about half of my year group was doing this Labview mini-project, which was a series of lectures and coursework that culminated in a project report.

However, it was due six days after it was set and many students felt uncomfortable with this, it gave them a lot of stress and anxiety because they only had six days to complete it to their best standards while also considering other coursework. I contacted the course leader and articulated these issues to him and very quickly he sent a year-wide email out extending the deadline, and many students were really happy with this and it gave them a lot of relief. I’m happy I was able to do that, definitely!

I also had my very first Staff-Student Committee, which was a very interesting experience to see how staff really listened to student feedback and how they resolve issues. It was a great experience.

How do you see being a rep impacting your future?

It’s given me the opportunity to approach challenges in life with newfound confidence, and I think it has also given me communication skills because approaching my fellow course-mates and the outreach I’ve done with them, I wouldn’t have done before. 

I’ve met lots of new people, and approached members of the department, giving them positive and negative feedback – I didn’t really have those communication skills before, and that’s really transferable in life, both in my academic life and my professional career, because now I feel there’s someone in a high position who I can articulate the concerns I have to. I really struggled with confidence before and now I feel like it’s given me a lot of life skills.

What’s the best thing about being a rep?

It sounds kinda cheesy, but my personal philosophy is that I want to leave my mark and a positive change in the world – it’s why I've gone into Physics, because I want to positively impact the energy crisis in the world. To me, being a course rep is a step towards that – I can leave a positive mark in the department. Knowing that my fellow course-mates, even ones who I have never met before, feel like they have confidence in me, they can come to me with an issue and concern and know that I will try my best to resolve it is great.

Working with the department is really nice as well, I’ve made connections with members of staff, and seeing how quickly they respond to the feedback is really nice and feels good. I’m even more integrated into the department now.

Congratulations Joe!

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If you’re an academic rep and want to have a shot at being Rep of the Month, don’t forget to keep telling us what you’re up to through Your Impact!