Jess Harding

Vice President Education and Democracy

Key Points

  • I am gaining leadership experience as History Academic President
  • Look into equal initial university provided printing credit for all
  • I am enthusiastic, passionate and organised
  • Improve the raise the visibility of existing academic skills services
  • Further develop the representation for Joint Honours and Post-Graduates

Why vote for me?

Hi, I am Jess Harding and I am a candidate for VP Education and Democracy. I started as a course rep in second year and I am currently a third year history student and the History Department’s Academic President. Within the role of History Academic President, I have worked to improve the student experience in the History cohort and I have improved the communication between staff and students. I have enjoyed working as Academic President but I am now excited about how I can drive for improvements...(click here to read more...)

Questions & Answers

In your manifesto you pledge to “work upon the existing progress to develop an even greater community for joint honours students”. How exactly do you propose that you will achieve this?

That is a great question. A existing channel that I aim to use is the course representatives structure. Sam has introduced in recent years the Joint Honours course rep position, but I would like to ensure that more of the Joint Honours students are nominated for this role so that their voice are heard within the department SSLCs (Student Staff Liaison Committee). I would like to advertise this role further for Joint Honours students, and this will enable them to feel that their voice is important and heard within both of their departments to which they belong to.

This question was also only asked to JessAnswered by Jess on 21/02/19 17:49

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?

That is a great question, and as you have said, is central to students to ensure we get the most out of our university experience. This is especially how much we pay for our degree. 'Value-for-money' to me looks at how students will have the best facilities and resources to use as part of Southampton University. Therefore, lobbying to ensure that students do get the 'value-for-money' is where the SUSU comes into play. In relation to how I will work towards 'value-for-money', one of my main manifesto objectives is to have a free initial printing credit allowance for students across departments. Some students get it already, others don't and I think it is essential to have the value for money for all students. This will mean that students are financially supported in being able to print handbooks or online resources to a budget provided. Thus, I would say that 'value-for-money' is at the centre of my campaign for VP Education and Democracy.

This question was also asked to Joanne Lisney, Sebastian Graves-Read, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Jess on 25/02/19 13:21

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?

Lecture capture is a great learning resource for all students at Southampton University. It is true, that there has been little interest in making it standardised. I believe that lecture capture should be pushed more and discussed across departments in the university, but for some degrees, especially in third year the lecture capture will not replicate attending the lectures or seminars. Therefore, it is a excellent resource that should be used more in some departments, but for some degrees technology cannot replace discussion and interaction with others.

This question was also asked to Joanne Lisney, Sebastian Graves-Read, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Jess on 25/02/19 13:25

You have policies to reduce the cost of printing but how do you intend to finance this seeing as the university is going through budget cuts and fairly compensating students would require hundreds of thousands of pound to be spend? Also how do you intend to push this policy through when in the past it has been tried and has failed, what are you going to do different to the streams of people who promise the same thing

This a good question. It is a big statement in my manifesto that I aim to have an initial free printing credit for students. I would look into financing it through discussing it with the university and assessing the budget. I would also like to look into what happens to the printing credit that some students already get but do not spend at the end of the year, we could look into having this recycled for the next year, which would help. I intend on pushing it even further than before, I will work tirelessly. I will sell this as a means for University of Southampton to further stand out as a university that considers itself to be 'value-for-money' for its students when there is increasing concern about how much students spend on their degree.

This question was also asked to Evelyn HayesAnswered by Jess on 26/02/19 10:42

Out of all the candidates, you appear to have the best understanding of the needs of postgraduate students, and bringing the various departments' course representation systems (which are currently rather informal and not always transparent) under SUSU's umbrella is a great idea. But you stop short of describing any plan or steps to actually achieve this. What would you do differently from previous failed attempts?

Hi, thank you for your question. I am sorry I did not explain further about my plan I would put in place to improve the experience of postgraduates within the course representative structure. My plan would really push for increasing the marketing for the Autumn elections and work further to getting the postgraduates to nominate themselves, this would be something that would happen in rapid time in October. This should get postgraduates more involved straight away and across the year, the post graduates would feel more included in the decision processes on a departmental and university level.

This question was also only asked to JessAnswered by Jess on 28/02/19 12:18

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?

This is a good question, and you are right, it is a pressing issue for SUSU. The way in which I would deal with the election engagement of students would be to work further with the societies to raise awareness of the candidates who are running. Endorsement of candidates from societies is new this year, and it is something that I can really work with. Working with societies to encourage endorsements will advertise the elections, and further make more students more aware if they see their society endorse candidates. This would be a work in progress.

This question was also asked to Joanne Lisney, Sebastian Graves-Read, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Jess on 28/02/19 12:30

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?

This is a great question, and is a challenge for the Sabbs. The way in which I would deal with any backlash from students would be to improve any communication, make a statement and put my face out there for students so they feel like they are able to discuss any issues they have with the work I have carried out. I believe in transparency and visibility of the Sabbs and this is fundamental for students to trust the work that the Sabbs do.

This question was also asked to Joanne Lisney, Sebastian Graves-Read, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Jess on 28/02/19 12:21

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Hi, this is a great question. The qualities that I have that set me apart from the other VP Education and Democracy candidates is my personality. I am a hard working, organised and extremely driven History student. It may sound silly, but I really do work so hard every semester I could not put any more effort into my degree. I equally will put this drive and determination into being the VP Education and Democracy. My driven personality is a real benefit to students because it would mean that I would work tirelessly to ensure that students are best represented and their voice is heard. You are investing your vote into one candidate, its about their policies but also about if you buy into them as a person. So, I hope this convinces you that I stand apart as being the most determined candidate for the role.

This question was also asked to Joanne Lisney, Sebastian Graves-Read, Evelyn HayesAnswered by Jess on 04/03/19 11:10

How would you handle a disagreement with another sabbatical?

Hi, this is a great question. I would treat being a sabbatical officer like any job I previously have been employed in, and deal with it professionally. I have had much work experience, although it was only waitressing, I have dealt with stressful environments and working with others. I would deal with a disagreement in a calm manner and speak to the other sabbatical officer directly about the issue arisen. Communication face-to-face is always the best way to diffuse any disagreement. I would ensure that we both discussed any issues we had, and I would encourage us to come to an agreement that would allow us to move on working together as part of the sabbatical team.

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


  • 90 x Flyers - £15.90
  • 14 x poster printing - £4.10