Academic Reps Officer: Chantel Melia.
Hi, my name is Chantel Melia and I am your Academic Representation Officer for this academic year! I am currently in my final year studying Counselling Studies and Working With Children, Young People, and Families. I am here to support students in the best way possible, whether it be academic advice or just a general chit chat!
In the past year I have been a course rep and an advisor for the Student Union’s advice clinic, which has allowed me to learn and understand the university’s procedures and policies. All of this has made me become passionate in making sure that each and every student gains the right support from the university, as well as the best possible experience with us!
I am looking forward to working with everybody in the Student Union, including course reps and stars, and creating new relationships with everyone at the university. Don’t hesitate to say hi around campus! I’m always up for a tea or coffee and a talk if you needed. If you can’t find me out and about on campus, I will be in the Student Union office.
Fun fact: I make the best naan breads EVER!
Job Description (summary)
All Officers are responsible for the day to day running and management of the Union as an organisation, including but not limited to: ensuring it complies with the law and relevant acts, in particular the Education and Charity Acts, funding and budget monitoring, compliance with Health and Safety legislation, ensuring Union Policies and Procedures are adhered to and representing students. All Officers are also required to be actively involved in collective work and be willing to accept work at the request of an appropriate body.
Academic Reps Officer voluntary position (non-sabbatical)
Is responsible for representing students’ concerns, aspirations and problems in relation to academic provision, ensuring needs are met, participating in University wide quality assurance systems and running awareness campaigns on education issues.
A full job description can be found in the NSU Constitution, Bye Law 1.
1. As a course rep, I believe that there could be a better way to ensure that students are not only giving, but receiving feedback efficiently. Currently there is no platform other than personal social media (and even then not everyone has access to this) that allows course reps to quickly gain access to all students and effectively gather feedback. Other universities such as Aston, UoB, and Coventry have "find my course rep" pages, as well as systems in place to message cohorts on their student union pages. I want to build on the system that is already in place by giving our students an easy way to access our course reps. Why should we only limit it to our contact hours when some students are absent? ALL voices should be heard. Let's do this effectively to make YOUR student experience better. I am aiming to make this a short term aim and have it completed within the first semester, in line with recruiting course reps.
2. Newman currently has approximately a sixth of its students who attend evening classes. Because of this, these students have a limited university experience when it comes to support networks. This is also the case for our students who have other responsibilities such as care giving. I want to eradicate this by setting up out of hours services for students so that they can have their voices heard. Whether this is making appointment times available from 4pm to 7pm, or having a "pop up" student advice clinic located in the library once a week. This will be a long term aim as I want to ensure that these students gain the right support that can be available across the academic year.
3. Following this, I also pledge to amend timetabling for those who have responsibilities outside of university. This is mainly targeted towards students who are parents and/or carers. It is hard for those who want to build on their education whilst also be a responsible adult, so why make it hard by having contact hours that are not suitable? This may be due the school run, or having work commitments. Some students feel that they have no choice but to put university at the bottom of their priority list. Although I am not sure of how this will be conducted, I already have an idea of who to talk to in order to make this happen. Because of this, this shall be a long term aim. For now, it is about making sure that students have the correct support so that they do not have to deal with the additional stress of their studies.
4. Lastly I pledge to raise awareness for students with caring responsibilities. Following on from my previous point, we as a university need to ensure that our students are gaining as much support as they can. At the moment all that is being done is signposting students to the correct people when they are approaching staff/services. As a result many students are unaware of the support that they could be getting because they do not know who to ask. To change this I promise to raise awareness on the support that students can apply for, such as child care grants, young carer grants, and other financial aids (for example bursaries within your residential area). This will be a short term pledge as raising awareness will be an all year round task.