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Faculty Rep (Social Sciences) Candidate

Tom Holderness

Summary

  • A consistent and well-organised VLE
  • Improved exam preparation and coursework feedback
  • Better departmental focus on careers and employability

Manifesto

I'm running for Faculty Rep because I believe that students should get the best possible experience out of University life.

The best way to do that would be to ensure that the student voice is appreciated by staff across the social sciences. Communication is essential in making sure that our feedback is taken into account, so I plan on bringing up the concerns of social science students at every opportunity and working with course reps to make our voice heard. All too often, students feel like they have little input in the way they are taught: I know that if students were to communicate their needs effectively, University would be seen as more than just a list of things to know for an exam, and would be a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Better recognition of small courses and departments is also important: students shouldn't feel like their course is an afterthought, something put together with no consideration. For example, some modules are put together with no strong sense of consistency or direction, particularly in First Year. I would seek to address this, working with departments to make sure that you study what you signed up for.

Another point that I want to address is that the VLE is thought of as confusing and poorly laid-out. Different modules have different layouts, meaning that it is unneccessarily difficult to locate specific pages or information: it shouldn't be like this. With the University becoming increasingly reliant on the VLE, it only makes sense to structure it in a consistent and rational way to make sure that we can get essential information easily. I plan on working with various departments and representatives to create a well-organised and intuitive VLE.

As your faculty rep, I would work with departments to ensure that exam preparation is offered across all modules: as students, we have a right to know how to improve our standards for all assessed work. This means that I would pressure departments to give better feedback on all coursework, and offer optional preparatory exams so that students can familiarise themselves with working in an high-intensity exam situation before the real thing, helping to reduce stress and anxiety and identify areas where more work is needed. 

I plan on working with the YUSU Acadmic Officer to eliminate the "fears around careers", and to promote career opportunity and employability events for the social sciences, which can be notoriously difficult to find good work in. Both undergraduates and postgraduates can benefit from being more informed about their options, so the University faculty should be more proactive in hosting events and talks across the various elements of the social sciences.