Today was the Programme Rep conference, the first of this academic year and the biggest one yet.
The Programme Rep conference is held to get all the Reps across the university together to share good practice, new ideas, and discuss developments within their departments. As well as this, the conference is a great way for the VP of Education and Student Voice to inform us of new initiatives and to inspire the Reps to aim high within their role.
This conference had the theme the Future of Our Education and was held within the first ever ‘Our Education Week’, which has been a great success so far. The conference involved 3 minute wonder speeches including one from Lazar Zindovic, VP Education, about the future of technology within teaching and how this can enhance students’ learning and experience.
Other 3 minute wonders included Voice staff member Nicky Conway on the Student Charter and Student Led Teaching Awards project. This is a project set up by Nicky that Programme Presidents are working on and involves creating a survey to send out to all students to find out what students want from their lecturers and staff. With this information, a criteria can then be established that can be used within a teaching award to highlight and honour the staff that fulfil what the student body are looking for.
There was also a 3 minute wonder from the Student Advocates at Voice who wanted to pass on what they do (help with impaired performance claims and accusations of academic misconduct) to the Reps so that they know about the service and can pass that information on to the cohort they represent.
On the panel was Lazar Zindovic the VP of Education, Ellie Read the President of LSU, and Professor Bob Allison the University’s Vice Chancellor.
With such an important member of staff present the conference had a buzz about it and Reps were given the opportunity to ask questions to the panel.
When asked about a rumoured further rise in tuition fees the Vice Chancellor stated that we should not see students as a consumer. A consumer is being convinced or persuaded into buying a product, we are all here because we want to study and learn: this isn’t a consumer relationship.
Another question featured was a query about how much we should be looking at league tables. The Vice Chancellor’s answer was that league tables shouldn’t control what we’re doing, we shouldn’t live by that. We should be trying to provide excellence anyway. Ellie Read went on to add that although we shouldn’t get bogged down in league tables we should use the data, and even if we gain 91% in something we should work out how to get the extra 9%.
Programme Representatives are vital in making improvements in teaching and learning. Our Education Week and the conference should send the message that we do have a voice.