FTO ELECTION VP EDUCATION SOPHIE

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Sophie Grantham is running for VP Education and wants to “improve the quality and consistency of education across departments and faculties.” She wants to make sure that everyone feels supported in their education, and ensure that they are “developing the skills that they will need after university.”

She has experience as an academic rep and student ambassador, so believes she has demonstrated leadership qualities and the experience of faculty meetings with academic staff that are required for the role. She also describes herself as a very “open person,” so aims to be approachable as VP Education. She also says she is enthusiastic so is always excited to campaign for student issues, especially surrounding education.

If elected, her priority would be to address student support which plays a big effect on educational quality. She states that the University’s “poor dropout rate of 11%,” a level which is relatively high for a top ten university, is reflective of a lack of support. She would highlight mental health as a major issue within the Students’ Union, and would strive to “extend provisional welfare and support across departments and the university.” Sophie would also incorporate academic tutors into this, as a wider support network.

When asked about the current Students’ Union, Charlotte criticised the way that information is released to students, and describes a common feeling of uncertainty among students as a result of a delay in addressing issues. She wants to make students “feel part of the Union.”

Communication is also a key point for Sophie in respect to departments. She believes academic reps should be worked with more by departments and properly promoted to ensure stronger representation and communication with students. She also believes that transparency within the VP Education role is vital to ensure better communication with students.

Regarding the cost of university, Sophie raises the many day-to-day issues that students face like the cost of equipment, textbooks, printing and field trips for example. To deal with the larger costs of university fees, she wants to “have a conversation with the University about tuition fees and how they’re spent.” And to ensure that “the student voice is heard,” she’d use students actively as part of her campaigns to make their opinions heard by university management.

One of Sophie’s main manifesto points is to enhance the advertisement of careers services within departments. She recognises that it is strong in the LUMS faculty but is weak in the other three faculties of Lancaster University. She would encourage frequent direct careers communication with students through emails and within lectures.

She is also passionate about reforming the academic rep system. She wants them to act as part of a more personal relationship with students to prevent the ineffective method of simply “sending an email to someone that you don’t know.” She believes a strong academic rep system would solve the “disconnect” between students and staff.

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