As the Natural Sciences department rep, I have been fortunate enough to work across 9 different departments as well as Natural Sciences, which has included attending 4 different boards of studies. This has meant that I have been able to witness how numerous departments run and their differences and similarities. In particular, I have experienced the challenges of being a student across more than one department and this is what I would like to focus on as the science faculty rep.
As a natural sciences student, I have had first hand experience of what it is like to study across multiple departments. While studying multiple disciplines opens many opportunities and overall I really enjoy it, students on this type of course (including combined programmes) do face some extra challenges within the university. One example of this is the way projects are allocated. I would like to work with the university to make sure that a priority in allocating projects should be which student is doing the course most suited to the project (for example, students studying biochemistry should get priority for biochemistry projects). Another area I would like to work on is that some of a students data can only be seen by the students "home" departement and not the other departments which they are studying in. For example, my picture can only be seen by the natural sciences department and not the physics department in which I take most of my modules. This lack of communication can sometimes make solving any problems difficult as different people can see different bits of information. I would therefore like to work with the university on why this is and if there is any way this can be made easier.
Varying assessment methods:
In the sciences, most courses are assessed largely through exams, however, this is not necessarily suited to everyone and I would therefore like to work with the science departments to include more varied assessment methods. Last summer, I completed a research project looking into whether performance in different methods of assessment is correlated with gender in the sciences here at York. I am interested in continuing to work in this area with the part time officers for the liberation groups to find out if people in different groups feel particularly disadvantaged by different styles of assessment in order to try to make assessment fairer across the sciences and the university.
Small group teaching:
I believe that small group teaching can have a really positive impact on teaching and learning at university and would therefore like to work to include more of it into our courses in the sciences. For example, biology students take a tutorial module which is separate from other modules, where they explore a topic that they are interested in, through tutorials with 3-4 other students and an academic. In these tutorials they learn skills which are not developed so much within the rest of the course but are extremely good skills to have particularly when leaving university and entering the workplace, like report and essay writing and programming, as well as getting detailed feedback for their work. I would like to work towards having more modules like this within the university.