Hi! My name is Tomás and I’m running to be your next Academic Officer. As Academic Officer my main task would be helping you and your academic achievements. Having been department representative I understand the role YUSU plays in the academic aspect of students lives and I am aware of where it could do more. I believe that, by being an approachable and hardworking Academic Officer, I will be able to develop an inclusive and collaborative community that will ensure everyone stays on TRACK!
With the growing costs of higher education, particularly tuition fees, student life has increasingly become more expensive and inaccessible . To lighten the burden, the university must be more transparent regarding the ‘hidden costs’, such as the costs of books, softwares and other tools that are considered essential by lecturers. I will continue working with ongoing project groups (such as the Together York project) to address hidden costs and disparity between student experience in different departments. While the university library is efficient in providing books to certain departments, other departments still require students to purchase books. Therefore, I will cooperate with student representatives and departments to organise book fairs to sell 2nd hand books and other materials, such as stationary.
We want to encourage more student engagement to make sure everyone is represented fairly, from joint degree students to international students. While Blackcards are a great way to enjoy York's nightlife and not think about entry fees, this is not the priority or interest for all students. Therefore, I will work to push forth new incentives, such as written certifications from Departments and from YUSU, and Amazon or YUSU Bars vouchers. Moreover, I will be attending Liberation and Welfare meetings (in order to ensure that academic policies are accessible and inclusive), as well as collaborating in student welfare campaigns.
As Academic Officer, I will work to represent and be spokesman for students when dealing with the university.
We need to work closely with Careers and all the departments to develop and promote lectures and workshops on writing CV’s and applications that are field-oriented, as to ensure that students have the right support with regards to their field of work. I will also establish a bookable interview room professionally set up for students to carry out online job interviews.
We need to make sure that students have the best support possible. As a main point of contact, supervisors play a key role. I want to establish a feedback system that will allow students to evaluate their individual supervisors, which will also be a good tool for departments to assess their staff. I will also push for departments and the university to provide proper training for staff members so that they are able to assist students promptly, as the Law Department is doing with mental health matters.
As Department Rep, I’ve learned that Improving the visibility of programmes and projects that aim to promote and recognize the knowledge and skills that students acquire during their time at York is extremely important. Example of this is the ’Open Badge Scheme’, which is meant to recognise the hard work student reps do, and it is being developed by the current department reps and by YUSU. Also, I would ensure to help students connect with previous graduates who can help them at the start of their career, through "the York Profiles and Mentor Scheme".
I want the student body to know more about what YUSU does for students and most importantly I want to know more about student’s academic complaints. I will attend Student-Staff Forums, Academic and Careers events, talk to students directly, offer as much information and support as needed to ensure the academic wellbeing of all.
Having said that, I firmly believe that my candidacy fits the profile of an Academic Officer. I have the experience, the diligence and the dedication needed to improve the student life and ensure that each and every one of you stays on TRACK!