Joanne Lisney

Candidate for Vice President Education and Democracy

  • Increase support for students suffering with mental health issues
  • Impliment better communication between university and student if deadline missed
  • Push for full digitisation of course collections
  • Publishing how we are responding to feedback
  • Working with other universities SAABs to improve UK higher education

Why vote for me?

I have been at university for two years now and felt that not many students are aware of what the VP of Education and Democracy exactly does or how to approach them if there are issues. This is what I want to change by engaging more in person with students and online. Typically, my phone is glued to my hand, therefore getting in touch with me will not be an issue as I will be quick to reply. Alternatively, I want students to feel welcome to pop by and have a chat if they want to and would implement a time where students can come to speak about issues.

As a student at Southampton, I want students to feel even more supported by the Student Officers regarding education as after all, we are paying to be here. I feel that the university needs to be more open with and clarify what they are spending our fees on regarding our education as many students feel disillusioned with university now that they are here. This should not be the case. To counter act this, I pledge to consistently keep students updated with how we are responding to student feedback through publishing documents on SUSU and other social media platforms. Likewise, I plan to put a suggestion box in the SUSU building which will allow a constant way that students can contribute to improving their and other people’s education.

Also, studying can take a toll on our education. I plan to work with fellow mental health societies to help improve how the university handles mental health and how we can help reduce this impact on student education. Whether that be setting up mentoring in the library or making quiet places for students to come study that is outside the library, we will find a way to support you.

I know good students who have missed an important deadline by mistake. Whilst it is hard to appeal against this, I wish to implement a system that will email you if you miss the deadline so you will face a minimum penalty. If the library can remind you that your book is overdue, why can’t the university do the same regarding your essays?

Another issue that affects our education is access to course collections. How annoying is it when you and twenty other students must read something from the course collection and there is only one copy of it in the library? Or there are a few copies, but they are all out on loan? I wish to help drive the digitisation of these as it is not fair that students suffer because of the lack of resources. The books are slowly becoming digitised, but there needs to be a priority for these.

I also intend to work and communicate with Student Officers from other universities to get an insight into other student issues that may also affect Southampton students and solve the issues as they arise.


Questions & Answers Ask me a Question

Do you feel that your policy regarding a physical suggestion box in the SUSU building is an effective use of time and resources? Given that the You Make Change system is established, public, and universally accessible - would this not be a downgrade in many ways?

Whilst I would still plan on keeping the system, the box would not have to be expensive. It would live in the box office at the side. Students can still make suggestions on the web, but there needs to be other ways in which students can engage with me. Some students prefer online content, whilst others prefer other methods - there needs to be an accommodation for all. The food bank bins we already have in the union that Charlotte Colombo set up works magnificently by allowing for physical action to be taken, which is the premise for the box too. It also means that it is really simple for students to access as all they need to do is slip the suggestion in whilst on campus too.

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 21/02/19 15:18

I have a dream that one day, the university facilities will not have awful horrible scratchy thin toilet paper. I have already submitted a YouMakeChange petition about this and nothing happened. This is the most pressing issue to me as a voter so I want to know what you will do to make my dream a reality and improve the toilet paper on campus (especially in the library please). My vote depends on this.

Hi, I understand your frustration as it affects all students. However, this is not necessarily a VP Education and Democracy issue, but I can offer advice. I would still submit your feedback to YouMakeChange. I also advise to directly email the current acting President and VP Sports SAAB Steve Gore with this issue. Additionally, I would directly give feedback to the library here: By directly contacting these people, they will hopefully be helpful and take this on board to implement for the next part of the semester/ next year. Hope this helps!

This question was also asked to Sebastian Graves-Read, Jess Harding, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Joanne on 25/02/19 16:41

Out of all of the conversations gripping Higher Education at the moment, the concept of "value-for-money" is certainly an interesting one. What does "value-for-money" at Southampton look like to you, and how will you (as VP Education & Democracy) work towards it?

I am aware that the debate around value-for-money is heated in the current climate at all UK Higher Education institutions, especially after the strikes affecting the last academic year. Students lost a lot of money due to this and has brought the value of our degrees into question. In response to what I see as value-for-money at Southampton is to work with the current plan that the SAABs this year have put into place if a strike happens and improve resources. I would want to improve the plan where needed with the help of the other SAABs, as it is a team effort to improve the question of value-for-money. To counter act the value-for-money lost from the strikes, I propose to invest it back into the university where it is needed, such as into the student hardship funds, funds for printing etc. Currently, Evie (VP Democracy 2018/19) is looking at this issue in detail. Whilst this is a universal issue, I have found that as a humanity student, I often question the value of my degree for the amount of money I pay. Essentially, I pay for access to and use of resources when outside lectures and seminars. With that in mind, I propose to combat the issue around the value-for-money debate is to improve resources that can be rolled out to ALL degrees such as setting up an automated email system that will tell students when work is overdue/ send a reminder 24 hours prior to hand-in. It might seem simple, but it is about the little actions that can be taken to increase the value-for-money of all degrees. As I have stated in my manifesto, I would work with other UK university SAABs to improve higher education for all. As someone who have many friends across the UK at university, I often find issues that rise at one, is the same a others. Even if our university is not affected by that issue specifically, it is about helping other universities improve and they will also do the same. Furthermore, it is about really listening to students and having their input taken seriously as sometimes it feels as if it is ignored, this needs to change.

This question was also asked to Sebastian Graves-Read, Jess Harding, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Joanne on 25/02/19 17:09

Lecture capture (AKA recorded lectures) are becoming more and more common at Southampton, but there has been little appetite for a universal policy on it. What are your thoughts on lecture capture, and how would you like to see it used at the University?

This is a complex issue as some lecturers do not like recording lectures. The reasons being when I have questioned them are as followed: - They are uncomfortable with being recorded. - Recordings may end up online without their knowledge, thus becoming a copyright infringement. - Students make profit by selling lectures, thus becoming a copyright infringement. - They have tried it previously, but students stopped attending lectures. It is important for students to still attend, even if it is recorded. I understand why. Of course, we cannot help being ill and may need to miss lectures to recover, therefore we miss out on information given out. Likewise, many students wish to have recordings to refer back to for revision purposes. In order to improve the university experience for students, I propose having microphone recordings in all lectures. All should be put up on Blackboard in the leading weeks up to exam seasons. By this, it appeases lecturers and still useful for students revision. However, if a student is ill, they should email their lecturer and be allowed access to the voice notes to play alongside the lecture slides.

This question was also asked to Sebastian Graves-Read, Jess Harding, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Joanne on 25/02/19 17:29

Could you please explain in more detail your plan to digitise course collections? Currently, the main issue is not a lack of will, but most commonly licencing issues. As the University is slowly moving towards making more digital copies of books available to students, it encounters an ever-rising cost. How do you propose to accelerate this process at an already financially strained institution?

Hi, You say it is 'not a lack of will', and I understand that. However, my manifesto pledge surrounding digitisation is referring to the libraries/university prioritising the books on the course collection lists instead of books which are widely accessible in the libraries already or cheap enough to buy. This means that the money already used to digitise books not on course collections will be redistributed to make the course collections more accessible for all courses. So as a university, we currently have a copyright licence that allows us to use material for educational purposes as we have to have this to copy anything. Of course, the main issue here is to obtain permission from authors. However, I propose that as a SAAB, I will personally engage with them with the support of the university through email, meetings or by telephone with the people. If they do not allow us to, then it is about negotiating over it. Hope this has helped!

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 27/02/19 15:51

The focus of all candidates has been exclusively on the remit of the old VP Education role. But SUSU is currently going through a democratic crisis. Elections engagement is dropping from year to year. AGMs, once bustling events with hundreds of people in them, have declined to a handful of people hidden away in the most remote corner of the Café. If elected, it will be your job to fix this. What will you do?

Hi, this is a very important question which SUSU continues to have issues with. I think it is important to remember that one person in one year cannot completely reverse this. Last election, there was only 19% turn out for it. We should continue to raise awareness of the role of SUSU in the running of uni life. However, it is impossible to imagine a 100% turnout - the simple fact is the union is not as important to some students as others. Unfortunately, there is no singular answer to improve voting turnout. SAABs that are elected must continue to be constructive and hard working; accompanying this with a renewed education drive on SUSU and SAABs will hopefully increase the prominence of the union. Also, there needs to be a bigger prescence on campuses of SAABs. They are supposed to represent student interests, but currently there seems to be a divide between students and SAABs. This year, putting Bun Fight at Avenue allowed more interactions with students with SAABs and was successful. This should be a regular occurance as it allows 1st years to learn about SAABs and what they do, as well as engage with students who have been here for years. Likewise, it is about regaining students trust through showing that we are proactive and connected to students, thus showing power has not gone to our heads. We also need to be transparent about issues instead of brushing it under the carpet. If you would like to discuss this further, do not hesitate to contact me @ :)

This question was also asked to Sebastian Graves-Read, Jess Harding, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Joanne on 27/02/19 14:49

How would you deal with any backlash from students who do not agree with a decision that you have made, even if students had been consulted in the decision-making process?

Hi, Of course it is impossible to please everybody, there are 25000 of us after all! With that in mind, I would suggest that when students are consulted, that there should be a minimum threshold of turn out. If that is not met, voting needs be held later on so more people can get involved. It is about listening to students too. I propose holding consultation before, during and after the implementation of the proposal to students. If it is not working or students are upset about it, I would encourage them to talk to the SAABs to explain why and work with them to formulate a way to combat the issue/s together. Things cannot get better if the SAABs are seperated from the students that they claim to represent. Likewise, things cannot get better unless communication improves between SUSU and students, something that should currently be implemented already, but seems to not be.

This question was also asked to Sebastian Graves-Read, Jess Harding, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Joanne on 28/02/19 10:03

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Hi, There are people who are running across SUSU who have perhaps over promised things. This feeds into the democratic crisis we are facing in SUSU election turn out as student's hopes are poorly managed. What makes me different to the other candidates running for VP Education and Democracy is the fact that I conducted research prior to writing my manifesto into what students need and what resources we already have thag can be implemented across all degrees to improve everyone's education. Furthermore, I will hold myself accountable if I cannot deliver on something during my time as a SAAB. I am also only a 2nd year, so anything that I would change would directly affect my education, therefore it is in the best interest for students and myself as I will also be there to go through it too.

This question was also asked to Sebastian Graves-Read, Jess Harding, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Joanne on 04/03/19 09:57

The union has come under fire this year due to sabbatical staff being unprofessional on their work accounts. In your role you represent 24,000 student's views, not just your own. Would you be able to separate personal and professional social media and feelings?

Hi, yes the union has come under fire for this in the last year. Whilst there is apprehension for the next SAABs and their social media account use, I am able to separate my personal from my professional. I currently have 2 jobs and it can be stressful, but I have to keep a level of professionalism even on my personal account. When I'm not at work, I am still representing the companies I work for, therefore I must be conscious of what I put online at all times. This is also the same if I were to be elected. I would also only use my education work profile to update students only. Currrent Communities officer Charlotte Columbo has done this effectively this year with keeping her page and personal separate and I wish to follow her lead.

This question was also asked to Sebastian Graves-Read, Jess Harding, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Joanne on 05/03/19 16:06

How would you handle a disagreement with another sabbatical?

I would handle this as I would handle a disagreement with a housemate. I spend a lot of time with my housemates and it would be the same with other SAAB officers if I was elected, therefore disagreements are bound to happen, that is unavoidable. When that happens in my house, I like to sit down with the person/people and talk it out whilst being calm. Shouting at one another only makes it worse. Likewise, if there is an issue, talk to them directly instead of going behind their back as that is immature and will only make the issue worse. By being direct, it helps avoid confrontation and for myself and the person to work together to overcome the issue.

This question was also asked to Sebastian Graves-Read, Jess Harding, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Joanne on 04/03/19 11:11


  • 585 x 117 x 5 sheets of stickers - £3.48
  • 40 x Receipt 1 - £10 for printing - £10.00
  • 14 x Printing receipt 2 - £5 - £5.00
  • 3 x Receipt 3 - printing - £1.50