We asked some questions to your Education EO candidates and here’s what they had to say!

Ana-Maria Bilciu

What are the main points of your manifesto?

So, they are split into three main categories which are Accessibility, Collaboration and Engagement. So, each of these categories cover the main challenges facing the section right now. Regarding accessibility, we don’t really have a platform where we can interact with students directly and not having a social media presence means that student don’t really know what the Education section do so we would like to revamp the section and launch it properly next year. Right now, the representation system in education for undergraduates and post-graduates isn’t really working so next year I would like to look into finding a new way of doing it, particularly by splitting the undergraduates and postgraduates into two unique groups and working to collaborate with them more and learning about what issues they are actually facing. After being in the Education EO position for a year, I realised that the school induction our university colleagues deliver could do with more support from LSU. I would like to school or student inductions to be given the same amount of attention as hall inductions. I would like school inductions to be a key focus for our education sabbatical officers going forward.

What experience do you have that makes you suitable for the role?

It’s been a really rewarding year (as Education EO). I never expected to learn as much as I did and to still love it as much as I do. I’ve been sat on different committees, working groups, sub-committees, project management boards within our university colleagues, almost over twenty of them now, but the Education Officer role will not survive without the student voice. So, I get to work with four different groups of student volunteers, ranging from peer support to student-led department committees, so I think more than anything my senior student volunteers have taught me how education should be seen by others and I want to make sure that is brought forward and that others see and value it as much as we do internally?

How important do you think this role is?

I am probably going to be incredibly biased and CONTROVERSIAL but I think it is the most important role. They have the strongest liaison with the university because they work on so many projects, scrutinising the ever-famous mylboro app, sitting on senate, continuously having a voice at Learning and Teaching, the highest committee on learning at the university, working with our Pro-Vice Chancellor of Teaching, Rachel Thompson has been amazing. Then when we bring it back to the office, the Education EO gets to work with four different groups of senior volunteers, so you get to see them influence the academic journey of their peers, take charge of their learning community and basically enhance student learning. So, I do think it is the most important.

How do you want to enhance the way people learn?

Oh, that’s a very interesting question. We need to start looking at what we are currently doing and realise that more and more people have different ways of learning. I know, for example, that some students are more comfortable learning with their peers, some are better on their own. I think the university needs to hopefully start moving away from having a generalised approach to learning altogether but I don’t think this is dictated by Loughborough, I think this is a sector issue that needs to be addressed nationwide.

How will you encourage people to become Course Reps?

I think it is important to really empower them. This year what I’ve been trying to do is a top-down approach. So, I changed the way we work with the School Presidents. I have been doing one-to-ones with them every single term to make sure that they realise how much they are doing. A lot of times I think our volunteers believe they haven’t achieved anything but then when you ask them, they have done so much, even if they have only changed one thing or start one conversation. I want to empower students to realise how important their voice is.

How would you manage the strike situation as it is an ongoing issue?

The approach we have taken this year really allowed us to put ourselves in a position where we could represent all students. What some people might not necessarily be aware of is that Loughborough is pre-dominantly undergraduate so sometimes the postgraduate student and staff voice is lost. What we thought would be important would be to take a neutral stance in the conversation in order to interact with the university and UCU colleagues to help educate the overall student cohort and help everyone to understand the strikes. We have opened as many communication channels as possible to help answer questions and concerns students have.

If you could be a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?

A bourbon because everyone likes them.


Holly Hume

What are the main points of your manifesto?

The first point of manifesto is to extend the current programmes that are available to assist with learning, so that can be things such as peer assisted learning and drop in sessions within the department that can be led by staff volunteers. This is something that’s worked really well within the physics department and I’d like to extend it to other departments too. I’d like to increase the amount of variation of different resources available in particular online resources, such as getting lecture capture available either with video or somewhere to see the whiteboard or blackboard that some lecturers prefer to use. I want to cater for everyone that has different learning styles or for whatever reason can’t always attend the lectures. I don’t think you should be a disadvantage just because you haven’t chosen to attend the lecture at the end of the day, we all pay the same fee we should get the same content available to us. I’d like to increase the visibility of the education executive officer role but campus wide. I’d like to do this by having more keep calm events because I understand that there’s not just exam week that is stressful, any week at University can be stressful. I want to make them more regular and have them across campus as well especially for stem students it can be a bit of a trek to come down to the union. Ideally, we’d even tailor the event to the department in the building that we’re doing the event in. I would like to generally improve work focus as much as I can, for example by making sure there’s a bit more seating in the library because we all know its struggle to find somewhere to sit sometimes. Also, even though they are study spaces and they should be quiet they’re not always, so I’d love to have free earplug dispensers in study spaces just to help improve students focus.

What experience do you have that makes you suitable for the role?

So, in my second year at University I was a peer mentor or and for the last three years I’ve been a peer assisted learning facilitator. I’ve done that officially with the union on the modules that they do it for an but also at the request of the students that were attending the sessions I did it with the physics department. I put on sessions for extra modules that they thought they want might needed more support on, so I’ve seen all the benefits of that. I’m probably the best person to improve the peer assisted learning scheme it and will make sure everyone gets those benefits. Also, I’m someone who’s had personal experience with a long-term health condition that means that you can’t always attend the lectures, so I felt that disadvantage first-hand. It’s just made me really passionate because there must be so many others out there struggling and will have to put so much more work because currently it’s not as easy to learn in any other style than attended lectures.

How important do you think the role is?

I see it as very important and as I said that working in peer assisted learning in the past there should be much better communication between departments and the union. Without this role there isn’t that bridge between them. I want to communicate and therefore make sure we’re helping each other out in providing the best support we can for students. 

How do you want to enhance the way people learn?

One of my ideas is having persisted learning on all courses as currently it’s not available to everyone. I’d also love to have drop in sessions run by staff members in all departments and get some kind of video recording on the lecture captures too as in some lectures it won’t show what has been written on the whiteboard. I’d like to make comprehensive notes available before the lecture as that’s better for some people in terms of learning. A lot of people go online for help, so I’d like there to YouTube style tutorials. In addition, I’d want to make sure there is at least 2 past papers available for modules because there’s nothing worse than getting to exam time and realising there isn’t any. I’d like to champion the ideas forum because that is a brilliant way of putting forward a change that you think needs to happen without perhaps going to a course Rep or the school president.

How will you encourage people to become course reps?

I would show them the benefits of being a course rep in terms of the changes that we can make, without them, I think a lot more problems that students face would be kept to themselves, because it is so much easier to tell a problem to someone on your course who you already know then perhaps to the lecturer directly or even me as an education officer.

How would you manage the strikes situation as it is an ongoing issue?

This is again where a lot of my resources would become helpful, so if the lecturers aren’t giving the lectures at least there would still be full notes available. It will be easier for you to catch up on that content or teach yourself because you wouldn’t just be relying on the lecturer to teach the lecture.

If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?

I feel like I’d say a jammy Dodger because people underestimate it, it’s a bit bland but then you get to that jam in the middle and it’s so good!

Voting closes at 11am on Friday and you can vote here: https://msl.lsu.co.uk/elections/


Comments are closed.