Posted on Thu 08 Dec 2016 at 09:35 by Lucy Gill
The end of your term - and the first ever term with a full time Postgraduate Officer - is fast approaching. I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you this term - you lot truly are the most supportive and positive bunch of people and I'm thoroughly enjoying representing you!
But enough of the soppy stuff - what have I actually done for you this term?
- I completely gutted and reformed Welcome Week with the help of the PGMSA. The turnout was amazing with at least a hundred of you at each event! It doesn't stop here though, I've already learnt what worked and didn't work and I hope to make it even bigger and better next year.
- For those of you who didn't arrive in time for September, I've been working with the Graduate School to deliver the first of their monthly inductions for new researchers (or PGRs!).
- I've managed to get the University to agree to do a complete review of the university structures to see who should be responsible for the academic and pastoral support and provision of Postgraduate Taught students (PGTs, from now on!). (At the moment, there is no such structure!)
- With the Graduate School, I've also secured funding to do a review of Postgraduate pre-arrival communications, from registration all the way through first term. This has come out of the number of you who contacted me in September not knowing when your inductions were so YOU have made this happen!
- I teamed up with the Postgraduate Officer at Nottingham to organise a Postgrad Officer Conference which shared best practice from unions from around the country and we are currently pushing for a reform in national Postgraduate representation.
- I've been working with Library Services to make sure that the new research space is open to all Postgraduate Research Students (PGR’s).
- I've been involved in reviewing the codes of practice surrounding Postgraduate teaching assistants, making sure that PGTAs are centrally declared so that we can ensure they are adequately supported
- We've set up a working group within the Guild, with a staff member from every department to ensure that Postgrads are on everyone's agenda
- We've also set up a working group that focuses on student parents and carers, to provide more support for this group of students
- I've been working with our communications and marketing department to develop new ways of branding and communicating with Postgraduates (you may notice that all of your communications are in blue - we now call this 'Postgrad blue!')
So what is to come next term?
- We aim to develop a part of the website that is specifically for Postgraduates, with all the information you'll need in one space
- I'll be putting more of a focus on Postgrads and mental health, working at raising awareness and with the Welfare Officer, Guild Advice and counselling services to provide better support
- Pushing the university to provide more dedicated Postgraduate study and social space
- I'll be working with the university to create a charter for Postgrads who teach, so that they know their rights and what they are entitled to
- I'll be looking at PGT dissertation deadlines which overrun university accommodation contracts and ID card terms
- I'll be setting up a student parents and carers network - to replace the association as it takes a huge amount of time and effort to run an association, which is often not possible for those with dependents
- I'll be working with Academic Services and the Careers Network to put on events/workshops/support that is bespoke to postgraduates
- I'll be working with Student Groups to see how societies and events can be more accessible to Postgraduates
- I'll be supporting the PGMSA in delivering regular events and building more of a community outside the regular September welcome period
It does seem like a huge list when it's written down, but the fact that I would not forfeit anything I've put here shows how vital it is that we have a full-time Postgraduate Officer who works for you.
I've had an amazing first term and it's only getting better! If you have any feedback or ideas on how to improve then please let me know through firstname.lastname@example.org or through my Facebook page : Facebook.com/guildpostgraduate