Candidate interview: Jacob Home

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Jacob Home
County

Tackle Wednesday afternoons
Encourage course reps to engage with departments when developing new modules
Does not agree with fee rise, but Lancaster must set a high level to compete

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Jacob Home’s motivation behind his decision to run for Vice President (Academic) grew out of his enthusiasm for Lancaster University. “The role of VP for Academic Affairs would allow me to continue my passion for making Lancaster University one of the best places to study and plus I would love another year at Lancaster”.

Home is the first to admit that he hasn’t had the strongest ties with LUSU during his three years at the University. But he believes that his other commitments and positions have provided him with the essential skills needed to take on the role of Vice President (Academic). As the Sponsorship Coordinator for the Lancaster University Science and Technology Association, where he sat on academic council for one year as a representative for the Faculty of Science and Technology, as well as serving as a course representative , Home says “I consider the roles I have undertaken outside of LUSU are a strength and not a weakness. I have seen alternative ways of getting things done and have not had one set routine drilled into me”. Home was also appointed as County College’s Sports Representative on the JCR in which time he set up the Legends Cup.

Home outlined a number of key issues which he hopes to improve should he be elected as the new VP Academic. On the ongoing problems concerning timetabled lectures and seminars on a Wednesday afternoon, Home labelled it as “unacceptable”. He went on to say “I would just try and find a good way to try and spread out the seminars by talking to departmental staff, hearing their view points as well as the faculty members. But I would do everything I could to change this”.

Improving the course rep system was high on Home’s agenda. “The fact remains that being a course rep is not attractive or sexy and, really, there is nothing to encourage people other than it being a CV filler. It is important because there are  course reps out there who do it purely because they want to represent their colleagues and fellow students but there are too few of them. I am looking to find a way to give some of this enthusiasm to the rest of the university”. Home then when on discuss his plans to improve the current system: “I want to develop the course rep role from not only reporting on problems but to encourage students to actively engage with departments when developing new modules and ensuring the course as a whole is delivered as one product instead of bits and pieces that are loosely tied together”.

On the topic of tuition fees, Home made it clear that the “The focus should now shift to making sure students will get value for the fees they are paying. I will take every opportunity to make sure this University continues to provide high quality education worthy of a top ten institution”. When pressed on how high he believed fees should rise, Home, before answering the question, said that “I don’t believe they should go up but I do realise that economics is a driving factor in the universities policy plans so I can sort of understand why they’ve done it, even if I don’t agree with it.” Home said that he would not wish to see tuition fees rise above £6,000 but once again was understanding that this could indicate that Lancaster was “a second class university” and that discussion was needed. Although any rise in tuitions fees will not be implemented until the following academic year, Home wanted to ensure that the next VP Academic had a support system in place: “I will prepare some framework for should whoever succeeds me”.

With plans to ensure all student attending Lancaster receive value for money, Home turned to the problems concerning LUVLE. “I think it goes without saying that the LUVLE system could be improved, from the beginning of the 2011 Michaelmas term the new MOODLE virtual learning environment will come into partial use. The yearlong transition will doubtlessly throw up many challenges which I look to combat while ensuring the transition occurs as smoothly as possible”.

Home was also questioned on whether his choice to run for the position was a last minute descision but Home was quick to refute this claim. “It is something I have considered for a long time and the planning and the vigour have always been there. The actually signing up was the thing that I was unsure of and in the end it came down to the fact that I believe that I can do a good job in the role”. Home went on to reiterate that his main focus are the student’s academic right not compromised : “I think this University is great for academic support for students. I just want to continue to do that and improve upon it”.

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