VPAA Report January 2015 - Edinburgh University Students

Semester 2 VPAA Report 1
SLICCs – We have launched a scheme alongside the University called “Student-Led
Individually Created Courses” – where students create the framework for a course,
are helped supervise it and then assess it. This will enable students to create their
own course – get credit for work they do outside the curriculum that can be
assessed, whether that be volunteering, work placements, research projects, and
much more. There’ll be an event in Innovative Learning Week giving more detailed
information on the project, and the first students for the scheme will be piloting it in
the summer.
Book Fair – We’re collaborating with EdExchange and holding a 4 week book fair
here in Teviot. However, the next step is working out a sustainable, permanent way
of running it and we’re exploring options for that, including SHRUB and perhaps
more than just books!
SSLC Review/Overhaul – We’ve had the College Committees audit their SSLC
structures, finding that students and staffs experiences of SSLCs are hugely
inconsistent. We’re now making strong recommendations to those committees,
giving students hopefully a lot more power and leverage in those situations
Gender Studies Project - We secured a staff hire in the School of Social and
Political Science last semester who will help create and run the intra-disciplinary
Gender Studies 1.01 course open to all students. The job advert for this will go out in
the coming month or so, and we’re also preparing a legacy document to help cement
the network we have created.
We will also help run a TedX style Gender Studies Conference the day before
International Women’s Day, where students and staff can showcase the projects
they’re involved in, with an accessible Pecha Kucha style.
FE Budget Shortfall MSP meeting – I’m set to meet SNP MSPs Marco Biagi and
Jim Eadie tomorrow, alongside NUS Scotland VP Education Robert Foster and
Edinburgh College SA President Jeroen van Herk, to discuss the £10 million cut from
FE bursaries – an unacceptable cut when considering the current surplus recorded
by the SNP Government.
International Students Campaign on Post-Study Work Visas – I’ve been out with
the International Convenor collecting signatures from students petitioning the
University to be outspoken on the issue of post-study work visas being returned. The
University/UUK/Russell Group have been conspicuously quiet on the issue, and this
is the right time to bring the issue back on the table.
Presented case for Divinity Library being extended – I spent some time last
semester speaking to students in Rainy Hall and helping make a case for the Library
Hours to be extended. This data has since been presented in the relevant IS
committee and we’re hopefully going to secure something in time for revision period.
Study space within College opened up – With the forecasted chaos that is
revision week and exam season, I’m working with the College IS officer in CHSS to
open up more buildings in the central area during exam session. This should
hopefully result in WiFi/plug areas within rooms being available in central area
buildings from the point teaching finishes!
Google Glass – opening out to student – The University has acquired 20 Google
Glasses, and have opened out a student consultation for projects. It’s a chance to
propose student-led ways of using technology in classrooms, and you get to also win
the Glass. We’ve been
Teaching Award nominations – We’re now up to 1,500 nominations in the
Teaching Awards, with a decent spread between Schools. I’m keen to use this as a
bit of a stepping stone for Schools to run formal sessions discussing the impact of
good practice from these, so that ‘good teaching’ is mainstreamed a bit quicker.
Podcasting – This is the big semester for furthering video podcasts! We have two
options here – one is the option to have all video recorded, and the other is for staff
to have it fit on their own desktops, enabling them to create video at their desks and
make that a part of tutorials/lectures. I’m keen on both, but would welcome ideas on
how either could be used to enhance the way the University does teaching!