Samuel Dedman

Candidate for Vice President Education

  • To improve the quantity and quality of study spaces
  • To ensure investment by the University in digital resources
  • To secure a student-friendly University printing offer
  • To strengthen our Postgraduate academic representation
  • To encourage wider and more frequent consultation by the University

Why vote for me?

Sam Dedman main image

I’m back – let’s #GETreDEDUCATED!

My name is Samuel Dedman – your Vice-President Education for 2017/18 and running again for 2018/19. From improved study spaces to free hot water I’ve led a range of successful projects over the past year, but there is still a great deal to be done to continue to make student life better, simpler and more enjoyable. Make sure you vote to #GETreDEDUCATED.


#1 Studying made simpler

  1. Student-centric study spaces: Quality study spaces remain in high demand across our campuses, and so I’d push for increased access for both undergraduates and postgraduates to spaces designed with input from students. I’d also develop the Union’s own facilities, providing well-equipped spaces in a less formal environment.
  2. A digital campus: I’d lobby the University to expand scale and scope of digital resources provided. From recorded lectures to specialist software, this will help ease demand for physical spaces whilst also improving accessibility to resources both on and off our campuses.
  3. Unpacking printing costs: Pressure on student finances is high, so I’d challenge the University on the value-for-money and experience they provide when printing. I’d aim to launch a free Union-led printing offer, which even in a limited form would finally deliver on a long-standing student request.

#2 Representation made broader

  1. Representing you better: Considering the University Restructure, I’d seize this opportunity to develop our Academic Rep structure. I’d devise new roles where appropriate to ensure comprehensive representation, working with the reps to increase their visibility and ability to collect feedback from all students.
  2. Strengthening our Postgraduate representation: I’d commit to a redesign of Postgraduate academic representation at Southampton, working with current Postgraduate Research and Postgraduate Taught students to ensure that they feel represented by a Union which stands for them as much as anyone else.
  3. Making the University listen: I’d emphasise to the University the need to consult widely with their student body, using Student Forums to give students the chance to directly contribute to the future direction of the institution. I’d also work with the Sabbatical Team to push for a student presence on the University Remuneration Committee which decides executive pay.  

#3 Successes made visible

  1. Remaining visible: I’d continue to deliver weekly updates of my progress to the student body, as well as directly to reps and societies. I’d also increase the visibility of the Education Zone, making it a recognisable force for consultation and change.
  2. Celebrating our Reps: I’d ensure that the successes of our Academic Reps are properly recognised across the institution, continuing our current series of Academic Rep celebration events. I’d revisit the idea of a Union reward scheme, literally putting our money where our mouth is when rewarding our volunteers.
  3. Promoting Society successes: I’d commit to promoting the fantastic work of the Education Zone’s societies, engaging them directly in the work of the Zone itself. I’d also be keen to work alongside the rest of the Sabbatical team to examine Union Grants, and how we can best support our clubs and societies.
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Questions & Answers Ask me a Question

Where do you propose to add more studying spaces?

Hello, and thank you for getting in touch! There are a couple of different ways in which I can see new study spaces being made available, so bear with me and I’ll go through them all. The first is a simple one - by building more suitable spaces. This is obviously a fairly long-term development, but as a starting point the new South Gower building is due to be finished by 2019 and should bring with it a large amount of new flexible space for students. We know that the University is planning a fairly ambitious building schedule over the next couple of years across a range of campuses, and should I be re-elected as VP Education I’d ensure that adequate study space (both individual and group) is incorporated as part of these. I’d also involve local students and local Academic Reps in planning discussions, ensuring that the facilities are tailored to their needs. Admittedly, new buildings are by no means guaranteed and will take a while to be built regardless. It is therefore also important that we start to use current spaces better. Further refurbishments to Library and Common Learning spaces are expected over this coming summer, and I’ve already been involved with conversations this year to ensure that the space is used efficiently and is up to the standard which students deserve. This includes making more plugs sockets available, better internet access and indeed rolling out lecture capture to more of our spaces. The improvements made last summer to the Hartley Library site show just how effective this can be, and again it is crucial that students are engaged and consulted throughout to create truly student-friendly spaces. Finally I honestly believe that the Union should be offering some sort of study space for students. I’ve been lucky to visit a lot of other Unions over the past few months and the vast majority of them offered some sort of study space to their members. Your Union should be here to make your experience of studying as easy as it can be, and providing a space to study is a really important part of this. Watching Bar 2 be used as a study space this year has been really interesting, and I think with some small tweaks to make it warmer, more comfortable and better equipped it could become a really nice space for students. Additions like more beanbags don’t cost a whole lot, and most importantly mean that the space can retain its current flexibility as both a study space and a bookable space for clubs and societies. Hopefully that answers your question. I’m more than happy to chat about this further if you have any more questions - just drop me a message on my Facebook page ( Thanks again for getting in touch! Sam.

This question was also only asked to SamuelAnswered by Samuel on 24/02/18 13:31

Academic representation at WSA is limited, and students' concerns ofter go unheard. How do you plan to better represent WSA?

Hello, and thank you for getting in touch! While academic representation at WSA is certainly getting better I’d certainly agree there is more that the Union could be doing to support both Reps and students and therefore better represent the student body there. The first thing that immediately springs to mind is communication. One of the main year-long projects which I’ve been working on this year is raising the profile of Academic Reps, their work and (most importantly) their successes. While this has worked really well on many campuses and within many departments it hasn’t quite resonated with WSA in the same way, and therefore many students and staff simply don’t know what the Union has to offer in terms of academic representation. A close working relationship with the WSA Committee should help to start overcoming this, as well as far more regular meetings with the staff heading up teaching activity. This sets expectations - students know that we exist to help them, and staff know that they should be listening to and respecting reps when they raise issues. The second point is around training, and in particular consultation methods with students. We’ve had great success hosting dedicated WSA Course Rep training sessions at WSA, and yet the content used has been pretty much identical to the sessions delivered on other campuses. However following conversations with current WSA Course Reps as well as the current WSA Committee I have found that the methods they use to consult with students are quite often very different to those used in other areas of the University. The Union has taken great steps this year to start using channels such as WeChat to talk to our students, and I’d be keen to not only make use of these but also encourage reps to make use of them. No student should go unheard, and by broadening our communication channels we can make sure that no student ever will. Finally I’d also continue to engage and involve WSA students, reps and Committee members in academic issues and campaigns raised in other parts of the University. Printing cost and accessibility is something which has been raised to me by students both on and away from WSA, and so involving them in such projects just seems sensible to me. There are plenty of these issues which are fairly widespread among our student population, and the more voices working together on them the better. Hopefully that answers your question. I’m more than happy to chat about this further if you have any more questions - just drop me a message on my Facebook page ( Thanks again for getting in touch! Sam.

This question was also asked to Alexandra TurdaAnswered by Samuel on 24/02/18 13:32

In your interview with Wessex Scene, you say that: 'I don’t want to spoil too much, but over the coming months, should I get this role, I’ll have some really positive news about some sustainable long-term printing solutions for students'. Is it possible you could provide any more detail at all?

Hello, and thanks for getting in touch! Unfortunately a lot of the stuff around the printing issue is either unfinished or is commercially sensitive, and therefore I can’t really go into specifics about it. I know this is frustrating to hear, however, so I’ll do my best to say what I can below! The University printing offer - much like many of their other business operations - has to be put out to tender every few years. We’re approaching that point right now, and for the first time the Students’ Union has been involved in the conversations at this stage. This gives us a seat to push for genuine changes to the service, including making it easier to print from a range of devices and (perhaps most importantly) the price of printing itself. This is something which is of fairly universal concern across the University - I had an interesting conversation with some students at WSA just a few weeks ago about how much their printing was costing them. The Wessex Scene did some fantastic investigative work on this exact topic, so I’d encourage you to take a look at their articles if you want to find out more. In my last manifesto I also committed to exploring a free Union-supporting printing service, and this is something which I’ve been actively working on and still believe is within our grasp. Students living in Liberty Point already have access to a free printer from the same company which I have been working with, so this is already tried-and-tested territory. We want this to be a service which sticks around and is successful at Southampton, and so we’re just doing a few checks to make sure that we can do it right first time. Regardless of my re-election, however, I’d be keen to follow through with this commitment! Apologies for not being able to say all that much about this, but hopefully the above should show that I have been working on the printing issue and want to continue doing so! I’m more than happy to chat about this further if you have any more questions - just drop me a message on my Facebook page ( Thanks again for getting in touch! Sam.

This question was also only asked to SamuelAnswered by Samuel on 26/02/18 14:01


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