Hello! The past year has been a mad whirlwind of experiences and opportunities. This being my final update as SU president Falmouth before I handover to my successor at the end of June, I’d like to take the time to reflect on what I have done in my position this year, what projects are currently underway and what I hope for the future.
Big Showcase – This was my main manifesto priority, and it came to life! Big Showcase will now be business as usual at the SU, providing students with the opportunity ot showcase their art, free of charge across the business spaces on campus. You can read more about Big Showcase here!
TEF – This was the first year ever that a student written submission was written and submitted for the Teaching Excellence Framework. I was the lead student contact for this project. This looked to provide the Office for Students (Falmouth Universities Regulator) an unbiased, and honest account of the student perspectives with regards to Student progression, Student outcomes and their definition of “educational gains”. We held focus groups and surveys engaging hundreds of students to gather data and feedback around your experiences on your courses, how affective you assessment feedback was, how you have engaged with technical facilities and staff, the list goes on…
The outcome of this report will prove a framework for Falmouth universities academic activities for the next 4 years, and the OFS will award Falmouth their ‘Bronze, Silver or Gold’ standing, which you may remember looking at when looking at universities thought your UCAS applications way back when. Learn more about the TEF here.
Cost of Learning Group – Following all of the feedback we had gotten form the very beginning of our time as SU presidents. The entire team and I went full force in lobbying the universities and FXPlus to consider the current cost of Living Crisis. This resulted in a whole host of changes made across our entire student experience. Specifically within the Falmouth academic space, I worked with the vice-chancellor to create a working group of academics and senior staff at Falmouth university to address the current financial barriers to access the best education, and to developing our creative practises.
As-well as this we engaged with the NUS cost of living campaign, resulting in £58,000 being awarded to Falmouth university intended for Student hardship.
This resulted in an increase into the amount of money in the student hardship fund, an increased amount given to successful applicants, as-well as a standard “Cost of living” payment being given to every successful applicant on top of what they would ordinarily be entitled to. Click here to apply for that financial support: https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/study/student-funding/hardship-fund
This group resulted in Falmouth academics looking into their assessment briefs to find what costs could be absorbed by the uni, what costs are not needed in order to deliver a high quality education, and for clear and concise communications going out to students via the Falmouth university “Money Advice Hub”.
Devolution Deal – I recognised as the only student’s union on Cornwall, it’s important that we are plugged into local politics, and the opportunities that could rise for the students we represent. The recent proposal given to Cornwall council for a devolution deal was something I felt was right for us to endorse as a union. After attending a public consultation, bringing the proposed deal to our student council, for support and then the SU’s board of trustees. I wrote a letter of support for the devolution deal on behalf of the SU. This was due to the opportunities this deal opened up with regards to stimulating growth in sustainable local business, and proving funding to further developing the creative arts and technology sectors within Cornwall. Learn more about the Devolution deal here.
APP – Myself and Kira (President Welfare and Inclusivity) have worked with Falmouth University of the Access and Participation Plan (APP). Similar to the TEF, this was the first ever opportunity for students to feed into the universities 5 year plan for ensuring students from marginalised communities and backgrounds have every opportunity to access a quality education and student experience at Falmouth university. We hope during the implementation of this plan for Falmouth University to embed a culture of listening to students from said communities into all widening participation activities at Falmouth University.
To learn more about the APP click here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/apps/
With only having 1 month left, I am preparing to handover to Hannah, the Next SU president Falmouth. However, the student movement never stops! There is still a whole host of projects I am working on to create change for Falmouth students in the future.
Falmouth University Rep Review – Historically and currently students have been feeding back their frustrations with the REP system (this was something I included in my original manifesto when I was campaigning to be Falmouth President). I am currently working the Falmouth universities Director of Innovation and Quality to begin and entire review of the Academic Rep System. Look to how we can make it more inclusive for students, more engaging, and how we can provide quality and actionable feedback for both students and staff. As-well as this, proving some further incentives, qualifications or accreditation to those who volunteer their time as a rep.
Changes to graduation policy – Final year Falmouth University students who have to defer, refer or intermit their final assessments, but are on track to graduate, are not able to attend graduation with their cohort, and must wait for a later ceremony. This is something students have been incredibly passionate about feeding back to the SU about in the latter half of the year. This is not the case for our peers at the University of Exeter. I have worked with Georgi (SU President Exeter) to encourage Exeter to share their current policy on graduation requirements with Falmouth University and to lobby Falmouth University to implement something similar. This is an ongoing conversation I am having with Senior members of staff at Falmouth University about making this policy change for the benefit of students.
Divest Boarders Policy change – Student Council Mandated the SU to support the “Divest Borders” campaign. Falmouth University don’t currently invest in any companies affiliated with the boarder industries. However, it is not a policy to say they wont in the future. I am currently in conversations with the Director of Finance, Audit & Risk in implementing a policy to ensure Falmouth university will not invest in boarder companies in the future. To learn more about the Divest Boarders Campaign, Click here: https://peopleandplanet.org/divest-borders
Well, there you have it, that is the bulk of what I’ve progressed during my time as SU President Falmouth! I could talk for hours about all of the things I have had the opportunity and privilege to do during this role. It has been an amazing opportunity, and I am so grateful for all the student who put their trust in me and voted me into this position a year and a half ago. Here’s to the future!