Wednesday 9th March saw Impact News attend a Question Time, in which the candidates running for the role of Education Officer were given the opportunity to expand upon their manifesto. The candidates running for the role of Education Officer are Beth Massey, David Garner, Debbie Adeboyejo and Halil Ozkaraca.
Halil Ozkaraca was unable to attend Wednesday night’s Question Times. Current Education Officer Dan Rattigan gave the three candidates in attendance a short amount of time to introduce themselves.
Beth Massey wants to make sure that everyone is represented. She draws on her various experiences, including her position as Course Rep for History and her role as a School Education Rep.
Debbie Adeboyejo makes reference to the fact she is an international student, saying that during her five months at the University of Nottingham she has gained a good insight into how the “University sees educations” due to her position on the postgraduate sounding board.
David Garner introduces himself as a 3rd year Politics student who has worked within political party societies. He places emphasis on “improving relationships between staff and students.”
Dan Rattigan started the Question Time by asking the candidates why they wanted to be Education Officer.
Beth believes her “experience with listening to students” has pushed her to want to “make sure people who come here for a degree get the most out of” their course. She believes her vision for the university makes her “the perfect candidate.”
Debbie draws on her experience in speaking to prospective students weekly, noting that she “got to a point” in that role in which she “noticed a gap between the university and students.” She wishes to bridge the communication gap between the university and the students in education.
‘Lecture capture is something “students have been demanding for years.”’
David stated that the reason he is running for Education Officer is because he wants to do “something positive for the university that has educated [him] for the past three years.” He wants students to be feel comfortable in approaching staff with problems, and is willing “to be the voice” for the students who can’t.
Efforts to implement lecture capture and recording are a huge part of this year’s candidate manifestos.
David comments on the academic staff’s belief that recording lectures will lead to a drop in lecture attendance. He believes that lecture capture needs to be tackled on a “school by school, or module by module basis.”
Beth said that lecture capture is something “students have been demanding for years.” She aims to encourage staff to upload recordings of lectures prior to important exam or assessment periods rather than immediately after the contact hours. She noted that “a lot of staff don’t know how to use” the lecture capture technology so she would like to implement Lecture Capture ambassadors – students in control of the technology so that “staff don’t have to worry about it.”
Debbie echoed Beth in her aim to implement Lecture Capture Ambassadors. “[Lecture Capture Ambassadors} will be a class by class thing, a departmental thing.” Students will be in charge of organising and implementing the technology, Debbie says.
Rajesh Ramesh (running for Postgraduate Officer) posed a question to the candidates. He asked what plans they had regarding integrating departmental practical training and real life exposure (field trips etc.) into student’s academic lives.
Beth placed emphasis on the experience of “international students across the university.” She commented that it could be possible for regular monthly visits to field specific places of interest, and made note of the wealth of cultural sites around Nottingham – “it would be silly not to take advantage of them.”
Debbie she aims to increase awareness of the large amount of resources the University already has access to. She would like to enable course reps and societies to access such resources.
David thinks it’s an “interesting idea for final year” students. He suggested that once per term, sites of practical interest could be visited, and emphasised the resources already available at the University.
The support available to students studying abroad will be an area of significant interest for the successful candidate.
David suggested that academically, there need to be more “clarity” in the marking system when studying abroad. He suggested that there be module showcases for returning students.
Debbie believes that managing the welfare of a student abroad is a “huge task” and would like to implement a small, dedicated team of staff in the international office. She stated that working with people returning from their years abroad is also an important point.
Beth would like to implement a “buddy system” to help students before their year abroad understand the “ins and outs of applying.” She states that an online forum where students studying abroad can chat would help in ensuring they have friends in Nottingham upon their return.
A suggestion was made by Angharad Smith (SU President) that there’s often protectionism between faculties with school not wanting to share their successful methods of good practise.
David Garner “hadn’t realised it was a problem” and would encourage students to be more confident in sharing good aspects of their schools.
Debbie aims to “encourage fairness across faculties.” She would like fairness from the initial “induction” of students.
Beth would like to look at existing “good examples” such as ‘Staff Oscars’ in other schools and implement them across other faculties.
Dan Rattigan shifted the questioning onto the Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) attainment gap. BME’s are 20% less likely to finish ther degree with a 2:1 or a 1st than other demographics.
David Garner noted his manifesto was “very student focussed” and suggested that encouraging students to request guidance is key in tackling the problem.
Beth noted that it was an unfortunately fascinating trend, and suggested continuing the collaboration with the NUS. She stated that tracking students to monitor where the support was lacking for them would be something she would like to do. She’d like to work with the Welfare Officer to tackle the issue.
Debbie would like to know “the style of learning and teaching” received prior to university. She said that as she is an international student, she understands the difficulty in adapting to a new learning environment. She believes letting the “students talk to you” is key in tackling the gap.
As the Education Officer, the successful candidate will need to balance communicating with students with relaying student’s views to the university.
“You should never underestimate the power of dialogue.”
David felt that while there is a balance, more emphasis should be placed on communicating with students and understanding their issues.
Debbie stated that “it’s a personal thing.” She drew from her experience on the sounding board, and stated that prioritising is key. She suggested that certain days should be dedicated “just to students.”
Beth highlighted that academic staff and students “are all on the same side.” She stated that communicating with staff and students is key to ensuring that goals are the same.
As Education Officer, the successful candidate will be interacting with students with knowledge above their individual level of study.
Beth believes communication is key to solve any gaps in knowledge.
Debbie stated a collaboration with the Postgraduate officer is integral to the Education Officer’s success.
David asserted “you should never underestimate the power of dialogue.” He echoed Beth by believing communication is important.
Steven Green and Luke Norman
Images: Luke Norman