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SU President Exeter Cara Chittenden


SU President Exeter

Hello! My name is Cara and I'm your Students’ Union President Exeter for the academic year 2020/21. I've spent three years here in Cornwall, studying English with Politics. For my fourth year, I'll be working alongside your other SU Presidents, Lizzy Marshall (Falmouth), Amelia Banton (Student Experience) and Charlotte Agnew (Welfare and Inclusivity), to try and deliver you the best possible University experience.

At the University of Exeter in Cornwall you’ll receive a genuinely unique Russell Group University experience. You'll be taught by academics at the top of their field in an environment intimate enough that you can really get to know them and take advantage of their world-class knowledge. However, it's not all about studying! The size of the Cornwall campuses, the shared campus with Falmouth University, plus the wealth of societies, sports teams and events on offer mean that everyone meets everyone. You can find friends for life here - and they might not be who you expect!

This academic year looks like it’s going to be unique, with some of these experiences occurring in a digital environment. However, we at the SU are here to support and represent you. My job, specifically, is to improve your academic experience here in Cornwall as a University of Exeter student. So if you have any queries, issues or suggestions, drop me an email, or use one of our other feedback systems. Additionally, make your voice heard as a committee member or subject representative! In the meantime, take advantage of the opportunities that the University of Exeter in Cornwall has to offer. I hope you love your years here as much as I have!

Roles and responsibilities

  • Academic appeals
  • Exeter Course Reps
  • Placements
  • Widening Participation Access Agreement
  • Academic representation
  • Employability
  • Elections
  • Liaising with Exeter Guild
  • Liaising with the University of Exeter Senate and Council

I'll be updating you throughout the year on the work I'm doing to improve your student experience.


Manifesto priorities


  • A core priority for me is to expand module choices by providing students with access to Streatham Campus modules via digital learning mechanisms.


  • Progress Updates:
  • 11/09/2020 I have discussed the idea of cross-campus modules with a range of Subject Chairs, considering where this is most needed and how we could pilot it.

  • 11/09/2020 I have met with Lisa Harris, creator and convenor of the cross-campus business module “Digital Technologies and the Future of Work”, where we discussed the ins and outs, advantages and difficulties of cross-campus modules.

  • 11/09/2020 I shared the idea of more cross-campus, collaborative learning with new Vice Chancellor, Lisa Roberts, who is keen to support in the pursuit of this goal.

  • 11/09/2020 I have arranged to meet Penny Dinh (VP Education at the Students’ Guild for the Devon Campuses) to discuss a collaborative project going forward.

  • I want to offer a black-tie graduation celebration in addition to the usual Summer Ball, for both the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 graduates.


  • Progress Updates:
  • 11/09/2020 Amelia Banton and myself had a very positive meeting with Ian Blenkharn (Director of Education and Student Support at the University of Exeter) to discuss using money that was saved in 2020 industrial action period to set up a graduation ball in Summer 2021.

  • A core priority is to work to decolonise the curriculum- utilising and amplifying the student voice.



  • Progress Updates:
  • 11/09/2020 An anonymous online forum is planned to go live at the beginning of October where students can submit their experiences of education at Exeter and pinpoint what decolonising work is needed.

  • 11/09/2020 I have pushed for the implementation of EDI (equality, diversity and inclusivity) reps in all colleges who, at SSLCs, would champion decolonising education amongst other EDI issues. We are hoping to appoint reps to these roles in October.

  • 11/09/2020 I have formally requested that we put EDI issues as a standing item on SSLC agendas. We are currently finalising the wording of these agenda points.

  • 11/09/2020 Before Christmas, we are planning to create decolonising education focus groups in each department so students can provide feedback directly to academic staff and their EDI reps.

Other items from my manifesto


  • I will seek more detailed assessment feedback for all students, particularly by use of the line-by-line annotation tool available on Turnitin.


  • Progress Updates:
  • 11/09/2020 Updates to eBart are planned which include in-line text marking – we are currently awaiting final confirmation on these plans.

I will investigate and work to rectify the rumoured funding gap between Cornwall campuses’ students (under The Students’ Union) and Devon campuses’ students (under The Students’ Guild).

I will increase the promotion of, and access to, modularity and interdisciplinary modules.

  • I will make Course Reps more visible, accessible, and influential.



  • Progress Updates:
  • 11/09/2020 With Hannah Partington, have begun discussing ways to give course reps more training and development opportunities.

  • 11/09/2020 Our Student Voice team have been working hard to update and improve ROS (Rep Online System) in the lead up to the new academic year. It will be easier for Course Reps to input feedback into and also will be accessible by all students.

  • I will scrutinise the University of Exeter’s divestment from fossil fuel and other unethical industries.


  • Progress Updates:
  • 11/09/2020 I have discussed with Andrew Connolly, Chief Financial Officer for the University of Exeter, open-invite meetings at the Penryn Campus where students can scrutinise the University’s investment decisions. I hope to work on this with the Environment and Ethics Officer on the Student Council when they are appointed in October in the Student Council Elections.


Other things I’m working on


  • I aim to improve academic representation for Postgraduates at the Penryn Campus.


  • Progress Updates:
  • 11/09/2020 I have created a plan in collaboration with the Students’ Union comms team for how our communications can include and recognise our PGT, PGR and mature students better.

  • 11/09/2020 Plan to set up PGT coffee mornings later in the academic year.



  • Progress Updates:
  • 06/10/2020 I’ve been liaising with students and the University following the decision to pause 2021/22 intake on the Penryn Campus’ English and Mining Engineering undergraduate courses.

  • 06/10/2020 We held an open meeting for concerned English students and alumni to ask questions and are currently planning the same event for Mining Engineering.

  • 06/10/2020 I’ve been promised student involvement with discussions about the future of these courses and a student-staff working group which will make sure that the current student experience is maintained and prioritised.

  • 06/10/2020 I’ve discussed the pauses with the new Vice Chancellor Lisa Roberts who has assured me that she has an “exciting and expansive vision for the Cornwall campuses” that we will work with her on going forward.”



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