The Student contacted VP Education candidate Steph regarding her campaign and manifesto. To read Steph’s manifesto, click here.
Why did you choose to run for this position?
I have been involved in student representation since my first year as Programme Representative, and through my past four years in Edinburgh, I have seen just how important the student’s voice is. I have seen and experienced how the representation systems work in the university, and am confident I can push through positive change representing all students.
What are your thoughts on the mandatory interruptions policy?
I am against this. The university should not be pushing through a policy behind [closed] doors that affects students without their say. There has recently been a large push from the Students’ Association against this policy, bringing in the students to have their say. I want to continue opposing this policy until the university is willing and able to hear and consult directly with students.
What is the most ambitious point on your manifesto and how do you plan to tackle it?
The personal tutor system needs a lot of work. It’s inconsistent between schools, and students all have incredibly different experiences of it. I want to create a standardized system, putting the student first, and ensuring the PT is equipped with all the necessary information and skills such as mental health training, and knowledge of services available to students. The university is beginning a review of the PT system, so as VPE I would have input into how this system is run, and its structure.
You have served as both a Programme and School Representative. What are the strength and weaknesses of the rep system and what would you change if you became VP Education?
One of the main problems of the current rep system is that students are still not aware of who their representatives are, or the remit of a representative. I want to create an online representative system which would first off create an easier way for students to contact their representatives quickly and effectively, and would also allow representatives to contact other representatives in their school to collaborate on certain issues and projects.
You want to release the semester one exam diet earlier. How will you do this, especially considering the failed attempts of previous candidates?
The semester one diet is released so late because the university aims to create a timetable which will have the least amount of clashes for students, and have to wait until all students are matriculated in week 2 to start the process. I want to explore options including alternative forms of assessment, such as essays earlier in the year instead of exams which would lift some of the stress off of the scheduling system.
Finally, is there anything in particular about your manifesto/campaign that you want to draw students’ attention to? What is your favourite policy?
My manifesto is focused on three points: feedback, support, and inclusive academia. I want to use all of these to improve the student experience at Edinburgh!
The following is a transcription of Steph’s responses during the Sabbatical Candidate’s Question Time which took place on Thursday 28 February 2019.
Due to technical difficulties we, unfortunately, do not have any record of the first half of this event. Some answers may have been edited for clarity.
How do you intend to effectively represent the students from the academic level you are not currently a student at?
I agree with the other candidates. We need to just engage and effectively communicate with these area and School representatives. We have a postgraduate school representative for every school, we have part-time representatives and mature student representatives, and a lot of this is engaging with them and determining what they think is best. I want to find better ways for students to connect with their representatives so they understand where their representatives are and how the representatives are able to take matters further for them. So I just want to engage more with these different representatives.
Image: Shannen Tioniwar