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Ian Meeks is running for VP Education. His motivation for running is based on observing the inconsistency of education among departments at university from his and his peers’ personal experiences, who lack in representation at the Students’ Union. He aims to “solidify” and “unify” the university system, as a whole, between departments.
He cites being a member of the Physics Department as providing him an overview of what a well-operating department should look like. He aims to extend this experience across other departments, such as, in providing a four-day deadline to receive feedback for assessments. Ian has also has three years of experience working with the Students’ Union as an editor on the SCAN executive and as a member of the Solutions Team.
As a fourth-year integrated masters student, Ian believes his lengthy experience in education as an undergraduate and postgraduate, and within the Students’ Union would enable him to “get working straight away” should he be elected, since he is fully aware of how the system works already. And as VP Education, Ian would create an “open office policy,” to ensure he is a genuinely relatable “Full Time Officer, not a meetings officer.”
In preparation, Ian also has worked in cooperation with academic reps throughout this education, who he believes find it extremely difficult to communicate to both staff and students. As a result, he aims to make academic reps feel “as valued as staff,” and eliminate flaws. He has also conducted his own research into “current academic affairs” at the University, for example through consulting with existing VP Education Hannah Laycock to establish essential areas that he can work with – in particular interdepartmental communication.
Ian cited the introduction of off-campus study spaces as one of his main manifesto points, which would work to solve the overcrowding in the library. He said that there is university funding for lecture theatre and library refurbishments, yet there is still not enough space for students to study. He suggested that the “unused” campus in the city, could be developed into a dedicated area of study spaces which are easier for students living in town to walk to. However, when asked how this would be funded, he replied that there are areas of funding that would be accessible, but “at this point in time [Ian] could not safely say where it would come from”.
He also believes that “improved postgraduate communication and experience is vital.” He states that “only 16% of postgraduates feel like they are being valued and helped academically” which he believes to be “ridiculous.” To solve this, Ian would strive for more advertisement about university aid and the advice team, for postgraduate students. When asked whether this should be a responsibility left for the PG board, whom he has already consulted with, he disagreed and said that “postgraduate education is often overlooked” by FTO roles, so he would aim to make the Students’ Union effective for students in all stages of higher education.