Posted by: sarahwakefield | August 30, 2010

Week ten: Getting down with evidence based representation, exciting

Much of this week was focused on a meeting which Kate Little and I had with our Vice Chancellor, Nancy Rothwell,  and the Head of Teaching and Learning for the University, Colin Sterling. They were keen to catch us up with how they viewed the National Student Survey (NSS) results. It seems that Manchester managed to make big improvements in some areas, but only incremental progress in others (see Kate’s blog for more details on this in the near future). We also spoke a lot about cuts and the process the University has to go to in order to decide how to make cuts to various areas. As we in UMSU find out what the plans are we will let you know so we can get the widest consultation possible.

One exciting thing which Kate and I took from the meeting was the position we are in to redefine how UMSU’s relationship with the University works. Currently we do some excellent things to improve the lives of students in Manchester, which my manifesto celebrated, however now, a few weeks into office I am realising that I missed something out; the role we play in shaping the future of education in the University to suit the needs of our members.

Universities are unique institutions in many ways, but one thing which is noticeable is how many different stakeholders (those with an interest in the future of the organisation) have the ability to have an input into its future direction. At Manchester we are lucky to have a senior management who appreciate the need to take what students say seriously. It’s exciting to be elected to a position which allows me to represent the needs of so many people. However, it also feels like we have responsibility to ensure that we are well prepared with strong evidence about the potential options we give to the University and our members on how to approach cuts, or any issues which impacts students.

The Union has great potential to improve how we understand and represent students’ needs to the University and wider society, something we will be working on in the coming months, so keep up to date with my blog and on goings at the Union to find out how you can be a part of forming what that is!

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