October was a busy and rewarding month at The Students’ Union. Here are my highlights as your VP for Education:
Black History Month 2019
In celebration of Black History Month, I had the pleasure of organising and leading a panel discussion for the ‘Beyond Barriers’ event, which helped tackle the Black attainment gap that still exists within education.
In the UK, 78% of white students receive a 2:1 or First at university compared with only 53% of Black students. Beyond the racialized award gap, transition into good careers, leadership and senior positions is much lower for black students than their counterparts- even with similar classification. The concerning question is how can we really make a difference?
The event focused on inspiring Black students at UWE Bristol. There were discussions around experiences panellists faced as Black students in academia, we explored the attainment gap and brainstormed possible ways of tackling it at UWE Bristol. The key stand-out for me was the key point that students should not feel limited by their characteristics- rather, they should have an undying desire to be the best they can.
I intend to use the feedback from the event to develop a new platform to support Black students throughout their Higher Education journey at UWE Bristol.
The panel discussion members were:
- Professor Paul Olomolaiye - the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Environment and Technology here at UWE Bristol.
- Esther Deans - Chair of SARI, SACRE and hand-picked as one of 12 Commissioners to work at national level to advise the Government on the Education Curriculum.
- Dr Emmanuel Adukwu - a Senior Lecturer and Employability Leader in the Department of Applied Sciences here at UWE Bristol. Dr Adwuku is also the co-ordinator of the Africa Staff Network and creator of the Africa Week event.
- Omari Cato – works as a life coach on an adhoc basis with a number of organisations, including Bernardo’s. He helps to mentor young people from all social-economic backgrounds.
- Laura Lewis-Paul - The Founding Director of Saffron Records and Director of Bristol Women in Music.
Many thanks to the Representation Team for working tirelessly during the month of October to ensure that student reps got training. I’m happy to say that we have trained over 640 out of 928 student representatives, who will also be undergoing online training in the weeks ahead. It was great to meet so many student reps at training and I’m looking forward to working with them in the months ahead, to ensure the continuous improvement of the student experience at UWE Bristol.
World Mental Health Day
On Thursday 10 October, we celebrated World Mental Health Day. I was at Glenside Campus to give out fruits, reusable water bottles and de-stress goodies to students. Such events across all campuses encouraged students to think about their mental health and make positive pledges towards improving their wellbeing. The pledge I made was to connect more with my friends and family, because it’s important to make sure that people around you are feeling loved and cared for.
FBL Recruitment Panel
I was invited to sit on the Recruitment Panel for the recruitment of the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean for FBL at UWE Bristol.
As part of the student interview panel, I came up with questions to ask each candidate throughout the interviews. The questions covered policy, the attainment gap, UWE Bristol’s 2030 strategy and the future of the faculty.
Having graduated from an HR course, I was able to align the knowledge and skills I have learnt during my degree at the interview. I soon discovered that for candidates to be able to succeed in any interview, it is beneficial to show evidence of transferable skills, vision and knowledge of the organisation and, most importantly, to remain true to their self.
A Manifesto Update
Over the past few weeks, in collaboration with the Library Services team at UWE Bristol, I have been able to come up with a proposed assignment feedback form. I am really keen to listen to students’ ideas from the different faculties, so during upcoming Rep Committees, I will be running a student-led focus group.
Also, I was invited to the LETSEE and FET Faculty Learning Teaching and Student Experience Committee to talk about the proposed feedback from and also get an initial buy-in from academics.
Last year we had over 700,000 e-books at UWE Bristol’s library. I’m happy to announce that after several talks with the Library Services team, e-books at UWE Bristol’s library have increased by an additional 100,000!
A successful month- here’s to November!