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Charlotte John is running for VP Education, and she believes this move to be a natural progression from the roles she is currently participating in. She describes herself already as a “voice for students,” as an academic rep and a postgraduate faculty rep for LUMS. Charlotte claims to “care a lot about the university and students,” and thus she believes is she is the best candidate for the role.
As part of being an academic rep, Charlotte says she knows how the educational system at the University works and “the challenges in the system of getting things to change.” She also has experience of dealing with senior management, like in the Students’ Union, and she compares this to her time working for Children in Need, where she was “not afraid to challenge the decisions” of those high-up.
Charlotte did not complete her undergraduate degree at Lancaster University, but states that having experience of other universities will be useful and provide inspiration for change. She praised the Lancaster University Students’ Union as being better than at her previous universities, but that it is tailored too much towards undergraduate UK students, and so she believes 43% that of students are not being effectively represented.
When talking about how she will act as VP Education in practise she states that her approach could be viewed as “less proactive,” since her priority will be directly speaking to and lobbying the university. She believes herself to be unlike other candidates and recognises that “you can’t just step into the role and change things”; she claims to “know how change happens” and so is not naïve and unrealistic.
When asked about the main problems that students face, Charlotte cites the lack of learning support that the university provides, equipping students for study. She has spoken to many students that have said that “the university does not teach the relevant academic skills, like how to read journals and write academically.”
A main manifesto point of Charlotte’s surrounds the lack of teaching and study spaces. She highlights the issue behind bringing in more students, and then having not enough room to educate them in, and occasions where students have had to sit on the floor in aisles of lecture theatres due to overcrowding. But when asked whether it was realistic that she could pursue the building of extra study spaces within her year-long term, she said “I cannot answer yes or no to this.”
If elected to the role, Charlotte stated that her first priority would be to work with departments to “better explain the academic rep system,” since students “miss out on a perfect way to get their voices heard” which leads to poorer representation.
She is aiming to solve this by raising awareness of the system, so that “the average student on the spine knows that there are people working to represent them.” And in reference to solving the greater systematic academic rep problem, she suggests creating a path of communication between academic reps across departments.