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What has your Students' Union done for you recently? Well, we’re glad you asked.

Your Officer team, Academic Reps and all the Union staff are constantly working hard behind the scenes, ensuring your academic interests, ambitions or concerns reach the places where change can be made. With us, no student voice goes unheard.

Here’s your update to find out exactly what's been achieved to improve your academic and personal experience here at Staffs.

Key:

Union Win

Academic Rep Win

Wins for this month

Successfully submitted a motion to National Conference “Stop doing over our Nursing Students”

To keep defending the right of our nursing students at Blackheath Lane and Shrewsbury.

VP and Pres-Elect Darren has submitted along with UEA have submitted a proposal to NUS National Conference to help fight your battles.

Darren will be presenting the proposal at this years National Conference.

You can read the proposal and download the pdf here

Successfully engaged students with Wellbeing Week

In this year's High Five, mental health once again came out on top as your priority issue.

We collaborated with the University to bring you a week of events to help you manage you mental wellbeing on the run up to assignment deadlines and exams.

Pres Jaime-lee and VP and Pres-Elect Darren Clarke also signed a Time to Change pledge to commit to helping to reduce the discrimination of mental health at Staffs.

See more about Wellbeing Week here

Read a student blog and review here

Wins for February

University Staff Conference Representation

The Students' Union attended the University Staff Conference to ensure that students remained at the core of the agenda.

Staffs Games Jam

The Union supported students in bringing their annual Games Jam to Stoke-on-Trent for the first time. The event was a great success, attended by both current students and alumni who created an incredible 19 individual games.

Digital Champions

Funding was secured that allows the sponsorship of students to act as our 'Digital Champions', forming and delivering digital projects at Staffs. Six will be appointed following interviews.

Stoke-on-Trent By-Election

In cooperation with Keele and the local council, the Union are striving to make sure as many students register to vote in the Stoke-on-Trent By-Election, before the deadline on February 7th. This is critical as whoever wins the seat of Stoke-on-Trent Central will have some say on the development of the university.

David Bowie Exhibition

With the help of Big Lottery Funding, the Union supported the development of a David Bowie Art Exhibition to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Wins for January

Student Voice in technical review for Film students

There is an undergoing review of support available in the Film. Lead staff want to hear about the student voice and how they [students] feel the service needs improving. .

Kathryn Pogue, School led Rep hopes to set up weekly meetings with staff members conducting the review and plans to talk to students about what they would want changing to put into the review.

If all goes to plan, there will be a better support network of technical staff so that more can be achieved with the resource available.

Representation at University Executive interviews

The Student Officer team attended the interviews for new Deans and other University Executives to make sure the decision made was the very best for students.

They also inducted the new staff members, introducing them to the student experience at Staffs.

FoodHub Team Leader role for students

After the creation of FoodHub, a food donation service to support students who can’t make ends meet, the union created a Team Leader role for a student to take on, ensuring the management and promotion of FoodHub runs smoothly and effectively and enhancing student opportunities within the organisation.

Fruit for Thought

To help boost your brainpower before exams, we handed out free apples and bananas at the Sports Centre and outside the LRV. Over the week, we distributed nearly 800 pieces of fruit.

Microwaves at RSH

Although students were given access to the microwave in the staffroom, to cater to more affordable alternatives at lunch, there were issues with queueing during the short breaks and overheating due to over use.

After taking this forward to the University, a second microwave has been installed in this kitchen, for all to use.

Wins for December

HEAR Report

The union’s Engagement department has been hard at work persuading the university to bring back the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), since it was discontinued in 2014. Now all students graduating in 2017 will have access.

The HEAR takes all of your curricular and extra-curricular achievements (this could be working as a member of student staff, being an active committee member for a club or society or even winning a student award) and accumulates it into a concise, formal document: ideal for job or further education applications.

Changes within Modules

During a Course Management Committee meeting, there was an issue surrounding the amount of work that students were required to do near assessment periods. Tutors would often raise complaints due to students not preparing enough and many students were left feeling there was too much to do.

Immediate changes were made within modules after this meeting to improve things for these students.

Python Idle installed on all library computers

A piece of software named ‘Python Idle’ was only available on a select few computers in the library. The software is a crucial part of the Computing degree and is required to complete coursework. The software has now been installed on all library computers.

A school representative (Jonathan Peach) contacted the library manager and IT department, and they agreed to install the software onto all machines.

Computing students now have access to Python Idle on every windows machine in the library, enabling students to complete their coursework without the worry of finding a computer with the correct software.

Wins for November

Lecturer's Blackboard Deadline

Lecturers must upload notes on to Blackboard 24 hours before your lecture. Thanks to President Jaime-lee, this rule is still in place.

At a recent Academic Board meeting, University staff raised that this rule would soon be abolished in order to allow more flexibility for Lecturers. Jaime refused to let this happen, explained the importance of this to you and fought your corner, so you still have enough time to read up on your notes before a lecture.

£9750 secured from the Big Lottery Fund

VP Swetha has secured £9750 from the Big Celebration Fund which is a part of the Big Lottery Fund. This funding is specifically for community events on campus that will help us celebrate everything we love about Staffs and Stoke-on-Trent. This is great news as the Union now has funding to host fun events for you students. Keep your eyes open for these events throughout the year.

New Volunteer Advocacy Scheme

VP Ben is introducing a new volunteer advocacy scheme that will create new and well supported development opportunities for students working in the Student Advice Centre, including a new paid student staff post. This is great student win as we get more opportunities to develop student employability skills, helping to give you that competitive edge.

Union staff at Blackheath Lane and Shrewsbury

The Union has created a new position in the marketing team. The new staff member will spend one day a week at Blackheath Lane and in Shrewsbury. As a result, we hope to become better engaged with our students at the Centres of Excellence and make them more a part of the Union.

Hot Drinks & Refreshments

Tea, coffee and other refreshments are now available later in the evening after part-time students who were studying late did not have access to them

An Academic Representative (Jess Handley) on the Business Administration Masters course liaised with their module leader, course leader and the head of catering.

The university has since committed to providing a kettle or urn as well as all the means to make a great cup of tea or coffee. They have also committed to examining the amount of vending machines on campus within the next week.

Regular stall for Ceramic students at Stoke Railway station

Students wanted to raise funds and regularly display their ceramic work, and thanks to Students’ Union Core Staff member Kate Rowe, they now can.

 

Kate contacted virgin trains to enquire about the possibility of regular student stalls within the city’s train station foyer, which they agreed to.

 

This now provides a weekly opportunity for students to sell their work and raise awareness surrounding what they are doing as part of their course.

 

Wins for October

Noticeboards at Blackheath Lane

As suggested by students, subject area notice boards are now up and in use across the building. Some really interesting and helpful info is being shared.

Massive increase of Academic Reps.

We have an outstanding number of reps confirmed this year with 414 in total in comparison to the previous year’s 292.

Massive increase in new start-ups

30 genuine new start-ups – 37 including reboots – So 37 from start of year.

We are 216 unique individual members up on societies up on 2015 with 1158 in total.

Society memberships sold has also seen a dramatic increase from 2015 as we’re currently up 450 members leaving us with 1608 members in total.

As a result of all of the new start-ups, we have a total of 67 societies which is the highest number ever.

All of these are union records and the highest numbers we have recorded for societies

Change of timetable for Early Childhood Studies

There was a three-hour gap between classes for Early Childhood Studies students and people were finding it hard to get work done due to having lunch and then a short amount of time to get into the flow of doing work before class started again.

A student representative (Karine Aebi) for the course talked to the lecturer about it and brought it up in meetings and the timetable was changed for semester two, making it easier for students to balance their University life.

Changes within modules for Computer Games Design

There were a few issues students were having with a particular module on the Computer Games Design course. One of the main issues was that the module was unorganised and could have benefited from more structure.

By a student (James Morgan) relaying information along with other students on a regular basis to staff, the module has become more student friendly. More structure has been implemented and students feel more at ease with the module.

Tripod Shortage

Academic representative (Kathryn Pogue) for Film Production Technology found that there was a tripod shortage within the faculty.

Members of the Union and Kathryn spoke with Richard Mortimer and Richard Harper who supported the Staffs TV society in getting four tripods. This allowed them to work more independently from the faculty and to get more coverage of what is happening at the University.

Masters Enrolment Deposit – Negotiated Masters

Academic representative (Thomas Hope) worked alongside Margaret Mulholland and Noel Morrison to ensure that any Masters student could contact the fees and bursaries team if they were unable to afford the £200 deposit at the first stage of enrolment causing them to not then receive student finance.

Thomas did this by gathering information from both the student guidance advisors and the Students’ Union.

Blackboard Communication – Sociology, Criminology and Deviance

There were issues with academic representatives being unable to communicate with all of the students of Blackboard easily without commenting on a Lecturer’s previous comments, meaning they had to try and email everyone student without knowing their email.

Academic rep (Jack Whalley) managed to get an upload page on Blackboard so that the reps could communicate more easily with the rest of the class.

Wins for September

Secured student input in to the design of creative learning spaces

When the University were developing areas in Mellor and in the new Beacon Building, thanks to the Officers, your input was included to truly reflect what you want. The University have committed to further student consultation as they work on their creative learning spaces.

Feedback from union from BHL and RSH students secured access to self- catering facilities

Students at Blackheath Lane and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital complaints how the café available to them was too expensive. We have given them access to a microwave and kettle so that they are able to bring in their own food instead. The kitchens are in rooms A006 in A block (closely located to the large social space), BL136 and BL167 in the main block.

The new tables and chairs for the Digital Kiln

These should be on site 11th & 12th October. Three of these will be “poseur height” and three will be normal desk height which will solve the issue with the wheelchair access. New lower chairs will be delivered for the normal desk height tables, with the taller ones being reused as part of the Mellor Creative Learning Space in the foyer downstairs.

Extra parking secured at Fenton Manor

Parking on campus can be a nightmare. Now more parking is available for you down the down at Fenton Manor is there’s no space on site.

Wins for 2015/16

More money in the library to buy the books students need – Psychology and Counselling

On the course of Psychology and Counselling specifically, students felt there were no relevant resource to their course available within the library.

At a Course Management Committee meeting it was requested that funding be given to the course so that the library could buy in the books that this course needed for modules.

They received the funding and the material was brought in by the library.

Boring Lecturers within Psychology and Counselling

Students on the Psychology and Counselling course felt their lectures were long and dull, which was raised at an academic rep meeting.

By the next meeting the entire curriculum had been changed making lectures more interactive, enjoyable and easier to retain for the students.

Transport paid and arranged for field trips – Animal Biology and Conservation

On this specific course, students were expected to travel miles for special field trips as a part of their course so that they could study specific areas of their degree.

At an academic rep meeting, they requested that the university covered the travel expenses. Instead, they arranged coach travel for students taking them to and from the destination for their course.