I hope that you're all having a restful break and that the workload going into the final semester doesn't seem too daunting. Please remember that there a support services within the Union and University who can support you through this period, just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll point you in the right direction.
This semester has been full of meetings around the new curriculum for the September 2023 cohorts. This has consisted of several programme approval panels where we look at all the course specifications and module descriptors to make sure that they're in line with the new curriculum, but also that the courses are designed for our students to succeed. Along with these, in the new curriculum, students will be offered opportunity modules which they can choose, which can be completely unrelated to their current course, or run alongside it. These modules have also had to be designed and approved, and I've been the student voice panel member on these.
I also led on our student submission for TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework), which the Union recently submitted. The project consisted of collecting data across our different feedback methods, following the guidelines which had been given to us by the OfS (Office for Students). The document looks at teaching, learning and student outcomes and the TEF assesses the quality and standards of these. We're excited to see the results and you'll be able to see the full ten page document of the student submission, along with the longer university submission, in the summer when the results are released. The outcome that we receive will not be able to change for another four years which would give us time to improve to the next rating.
If you managed to miss it then I'm excited to tell you all about our recent #BSUElections for our part-time and full-time officers. Over the time that the nominations were open, I deliberated whether I should rerun for my role for a second year, however I decided not to. This allowed me to be part of the process on elections night where I had the pleasure of announcing the winners for our Student Trustees, as well as for my role. I would like to congratulate everyone who got elected and I look forward to following what you all do next year.
In February we welcomed our Feb 23 starters on the Uxbridge campus which consisted of Nurses and Paramedics. Frankii and I went around to do our Students' Union inductions, to meet the new cohort, hand out membership guides, explain everything we have on offer, as well as handing out student rep nominations to elect them into place. It was great to see so many people hearing about The Big Deal and being surprised about how they can get involved in anything they want, all for free.
In February, the Sabbatical Team, Tristan, and a few students were invited to sit on the Deputy Vice Chancellor interviews panel. This person is part of the University Executive Team and is second in command at BNU. There were four potential candidates which took up most of the day where we learnt what they could bring to the role, how they would engage with the students, but also, more importantly what Disney character they would be! Over the last two semesters I have been sat on a few interview panels for University members of staff and I look forward to seeing how they work with the Students’ Union when they're all in place.
At the very end of the month we hosted the Southern Union's Conference, where we welcomed around 100 people from 25 different Students' Unions from Southern England onto our campus. We got to reunite with several Sabbatical Officers who we met at the start of our term and see how they're getting on with campaigns and lobbying their Universities for different things which would help their student body. We learnt that we're all coming up with the same difficulties and issues, so we shared how we're trying to manage them and also learnt how others are doing it. Lots of ideas were bounced around over those two days and some will hopefully make their way to Bucks Students’ Union in the future.
After two days of networking and sharing ideas with other Students' Union, myself and the rest of the Sabbatical Officer team were invited to be part of BNU history. We had the pleasure of attending the investiture of Jay Blades as BNU’s first Chancellor. This was a joyous event which you can read about here.
The University have a large amount of partner institutions, where they accredit their academic programmes and we review the organisations and the courses that BNU accredits. In early March I was invited down to Maidstone, Kent to review the European School of Osteopathy, meet the academics, students and the support teams at ESO. Unfortunately, due to the uncertainty of snow during, the review took place via Teams which meant for me, it was a record breaking 7hr 2mins call with a couple of breaks. Can safety say that I was looking forward to not looking at a laptop screen for much longer after that.
Something I get to do a few times a year is meet prospective students at open days and in March I attended one at High Wycombe and another at Uxbridge. These had a mix of students looking at BNU for the first time, but also students coming for the second time as they were deliberating whether to put BNU as a choice on their UCAS application. It was great to talk to prospective students and their families about what we offer, watching them being amazed by The Big Deal. We look forward to seeing some of these join the community at BNU in the future.
We finished off March with Varsity where we were away at the University of Roehampton, this was my second Varsity, and my first away Varsity. Unfortunately, we lost the Roebuck trophy this year as Roehampton beat us 8-6 overall but that didn't change the electric atmosphere that our students created. Especially on the side-lines of the last event, which was the rugby. Though our boys were the underdogs, they put on a great performance and everyone was enraptured by the fixture which saw our boys winning 8-5. The responce from our spectators was incredible, and made us all feel like we had won the day as our fans jumped the barrier and congratulated the team. We are so proud of everyone that played in Varsity and we look forward to hosting it at home next year.
See you all on campus for one more final push for Semester 3.
Emily, Vice President Education and Welfare (Uxbridge and Aylesbury)