Officer Trustees 2016/17

Nick's Goals

Here's what I said I'd do for you as your Deputy President (Education):

My goals for 2017/18

Goal #1: Feedback Audit

Last year the Union with working the College to develop policy around assessment feedback. This policy aims to promote more timely feedback of your assessments, ideally within ten working days (though this will vary with the type of assessment). This policy was finally introduced after years of campaigning by the Union, highlighting the damaging effect that late and inadequate feedback can have on students' academic progress. While this policy is a good first step, the College is yet to create any way to check whether it is being adhered to across the whole Imperial.

That's where I step in. To hold the College accountable for this policy, my aim for the year is to run a feedback audit, that uses our Academic Representation Network to monitor feedback timeliness across all departments. (For now, we are only auditing feedback given to Year One Undergraduates). Reps will be given access to a repository of assessment dates, and asked to input the date when they actually received their feedback. This way we can see which departments are adhering to policy and which ones are not.

Progress I've made:
  • August-September
    • Met Directors of Undergraduate Study to discuss the audit
  • October
    • Contacted departments to gather information on assessments
    • Audit data-gathering method discussed and decided
  • November
    • Information gathered from all departments
  • December
    • Coursework information distributed to Academic Representatives in all departments
    • Feedback timeliness information gathered
  • January
    • Audit nearly complete, chasing missing data entries
  • Next steps
    • The results will be presented at the Learning & Teaching Committee, where they will help College staff and student representatives make an informed decision on the effectiveness of the feedback policy
Status: Excellent progress

Goal #2: StudentShapers

UCL currently run a scheme called ChangeMakers, which encourages students to put forward ideas on how to improve the educational experience of their peers. The best ideas are turned into projects that receive staff support and funding of up to £1000.

The College are keen to launch a similar scheme, which we are calling StudentShapers. One of my priorities for the year is to lead the Union's participation in this project, ensuring it works for our members and fits alongside our Academic Representation Network.

Progress I've made:
  • August - October
    • Learnt about the College's intentions for this project as set out in their Learning & Teaching Strategy
    • Arranged a visit to UCL to discuss the project
  • November - December
    • Visited UCL where I learnt that many of their projects were similar to the work of our Academic Representatives 
    • Established that the StudentShapers programme must be designed so as to not duplicate or disrupt the work of our Academic Representatives
    • Arranged meetings with the College to share views
  • January
    • Secured place on interview panel for the newly created role of Director of StudentShaper scheme
  • Next steps
    • Take part in recruitment of director
    • Work to build relationship with director and ensure that the scheme develops in a way that's positive for our members and for our own representational activities
Status: Excellent progress

Goal #3: Postgraduate & exam timetabling

This goal has two parts: the first to lobby College to protect Wednesday afternoons as free from teaching for as many Taught Postgraduates as possible; the second to work with College as they develop a new Timetabling policy to improve the experience of students in this area.

Progress I've made:
  • August - October
    • Luke, the previous Deputy President (Education), established that approximately 70% of Taught Postgraduates do not have Wednesday afternoons free despite College policy.
    • Due to Luke's PhD, handover of this matter was paused for the time being.
  • November
    • Timetabling policy team visited Education & Representation Board to present to Academic Representatives
    • Along with Constituent Unions, we helped promote a College survey
    • We have been asked to contribute to the draft policy
  • December
    • Responses from over 600 students were sent to the Timetabling policy team
    • Our feedback was gratefully received
    • Restarted discussions about Postgraduate timetabling
  • January
    • Timetabling team have taken new policy to Provost's Board with effective student input from Imperial College Union
  • Next steps
    • Postgraduate timetabling: press case with Timetabling team
    • Exam timetabling: complete
Status: One part complete; one part adequate progress

Goal #4: NSS & PRES Responses

For a number of years now, Imperial College Union has produced Responses to the College's results on high-profile student surveys, such as the National Student Survey and the Postgraduate Taught or Research Experience Surveys. We use our Responses to make clear, practical recommendations to College about how to improve the academic experience of our members. These Responses have shaped debates and made real change at Imperial in areas such as feedback quality, rewarding teaching innovation, acknowledging mental health, and improving the training given to personal tutors.

Progress I've made:
  • August - November
    • In partnership with the Education & Welfare Team, we completed the 2017 NSS Response in the quickest ever time
    • The Response was discussed at College Council, Provost's Board, Senate, Faculty Teaching Committees, and the Learning and Teaching Committee - basically every important academic body within College
    • Committees including Provost's Board accepted several of the recommendations as ones they would adopt and implement
    • Chippy and I met the Vice Provost (Education) to discuss how College would implement our recommendations
    • The PRES Response was also completed in the fastest ever time, and disseminated to key decision-makers related to research and PhD supervision.
  • December
    • Myself and the Graduate Students' Union President are regularly meeting the Director of the Graduate School to discuss the PRES Response recommendations.
    • Discussion of the NSS Response recommendations continue across College
  • January
    • Met with College's Head of Strategic Projects to work on a formal action plan from College centred on our recommendations, to be completed by February
    • Several PRES Response recommendations actioned by the Graduate School
  • Next steps
    • Hold College accountable for the NSS Action Plan they will create as a result of our campaigning 
    • Continue to implement the PRES Response in partnership with the Graduate School
Status: Excellent progress

My reports to Union Council

Each Officer Trustee is expected to send an update of their work and achievements to Union Council, the representative body made up of Imperial's student leaders.