Vice President Education and Democracy
My name is Evelyn Hayes and I’m running for the new position of VP Education and Democracy. Throughout my time at Southampton, I have been involved in student representation, ranging from a Halls’ Committee to my current roles as English Department President and an Education Zone Open Place. I want to make real change to student experience, and this new role provides a great opportunity to do so.
Prioritising Student Consultation:
Increase the frequency of Student Forums - The University appeared responsive to issues raised in this forum and student engagement was good, but they appear to have become less prioritised this academic year. Last November’s forum failed to materialise and plans are non-existent for Semester 2, so I would encourage the University to commit to a minimum of one forum per semester moving forward. Although the issues raised the institution’s initial plans were publicised, I would push for longer-term progress reviews to be published to ensure accountability for these projects’ completion.
Transparency - With the next academic year seeing the adjustment to an interim Vice Chancellor and continuing process of selecting a permanent candidate, I would push the university to consult students and provide transparency regarding their processes of selection and salary review.
Ensuring the consistency of facilities - The Centenary Building’s launch holds exciting prospects for Highfield’s study spaces, but some buildings still fail to provide basic lecture-recording facilities or sufficient ventilation. Whilst working to ensure that new buildings meet students’ needs across the University, I would also push for updates to be made so that all buildings meet minimum requirements.
Digital developments - Although many departments consistently record lecturers now, there are still gaps. I would introduce an opt-out policy to increase uptake and work with staff where possible to address their reticence. Printing has seen brilliant improvements in the past year, but I would push for the possibility free printing.
Beyond Highfield - Lots of work has been done recently to improve study spaces on Highfield Campus, but other campuses are comparatively neglected. I would work to ensure that facilities at sites such as Avenue, WSA, the University Hospital and NOCS receive adequate attention to meet students’ needs for a variety of flexible study and chill spaces.
Enhancing Visibility of Representatives - Many students are still unaware of the work that their Course Reps do. I’d work to close the feedback loops to publicise the brilliant work that our student representatives do and create a continuous dialogue between students and their representatives. I would also work to strengthen the relationship between representatives in different departments to encourage the sharing of best practise.
Representing Postgraduates - With the representation of Postgraduates being brought under the responsibility of VP Education and Democracy, this year provides an opportunity to cohesively address the issues they have faced for several years. I would work to provide comprehensive training and employability opportunities, as well as supporting welfare and providing community-enhancing events.