Author: Jenny Medland, Executive Officer to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching
Each summer, the Students’ Union (SU) draws on student feedback received during the year –through surveys, discussions with groups and societies, academic representatives, and surveying on the Parade -- to identify the ten most important issues for Bath’s student population. These issues are discussed and agreed with colleagues from the central University, and shape the SU’s strategic focus for the next academic year. A full list can be found on the SU website, but the 2017/18 issues range from building a 3G Sports pitch to an increased focus on PGR supervision and supporting all students who teach.
The SU has been identifying and delivering on their Top Ten for the past 8 years: previous successes include an expansion of the University gym, a review of Personal Tutoring, and working with the Centre for Learning and Teaching to improve assessment and feedback.
Key to successful delivery of the Top Ten is delegation and collaboration. Ben’s team of six SU Officers take ownership of different issues, leading on implementation but working in close partnership with each other, SU staff and the central University. This collaboration with University staff is key to successful delivery on issues, and includes work with Estates, the Centre for Learning and Teaching, and the Library.
Audience questions ranged from how staff can support particular activities to how the SU ensures the issues chosen represent the priorities of Bath’s large and diverse student population. Ben’s thoughtful answer illustrated one of the most important challenges faced by the SU: how to strike a balance between representing the needs of the entire student body and specific groups or individuals within it. Certain issues might not affect the entire student population but can make a huge impact for students within it, for example the refurbishment of the Muslim prayer room.
Ben’s talk gave attendees an insight into both the student experience at Bath and how the SU identifies and delivers on strategic priorities. It also highlighted the opportunities the SU’s top ten provides for personal and professional development for staff across the University.