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There are four candidates running for the position of VP Education this year:
- Matthew Cartwright
- Jake Perkins
- Gayatri Shewani
- Ignacio Granados Zavala (contacted for interview but did not respond)
In our interview, among discussions of the pandemics and their manifestos, each candidate outlined their motivations for running for the position of Vice President of Education.
Gayatri outlined how leadership was her passion and a lot of activities and roles in her life have aligned themselves with this quality. She wants to run for VP Education as she has a flare for leadership and is looking forward to such an experience where she can enact change and learn.
Jake’s main reason for running is his passion for education with an end goal of ultimately working in academia. He is the second person in his family and the only one of his generation who has had the opportunity of attending university, for this reason he wants to work on the advantage’s university can offer those from working class backgrounds.
Matthew’s reasons come from his experience as a post-graduate Law student who has lived through two rounds of strikes and now a pandemic, he wants to work on university recovery post-pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic occupied a lot of the discussion in terms of how it had affected education, how the university has handled teaching and how the impact of Coronavirus will be remedied in the future. From all three candidates interviewed there was an overwhelming sense of disappointment in how the university has handled the pandemic thus far.
Gayatri described the lack of contingency plans within departments and from a university management level which she witnessed as an Academic Rep with the LUMS Faculty throughout the pandemic. She describes her wish that departments had long-term plans for managing teaching to give students a better academic experience under any situational outcome.
Jake stated how the pandemic experience can be examined from the perspective of individual departments and the university management as a whole. According to Jake, this has been a “top-down problem” where he outlined that university management has shown themselves as quite poor in handling a crisis whereas some departments have adapted well to remote-learning. The biggest failing to him has been communication as a result of university management.
Matthew discussed how, compared to other universities, Lancaster’s handling was pale in comparison which is where the criticism has come from. He referred to Bee’s determination in achieving a no-detriment policy for students and how the university lacked communication with its own staff and department members, leading to confusion among students.
All three candidates evidently want to focus on recovery, not only from the pandemic, but for students in general. This will be achieved, according to their manifestos, through policies dedicated to wellbeing, accessibility, and rejuvenation.
According to their manifestos, Gayatri aims to increase the quality of education, allowing more interactive classes and increased care and attention from lecturers.
Jake wants to make lecture recordings ‘opt, out’ rather than ‘opt, in’ for academics to maximise the number recorded as well as captioning all videos to make learning easier students, especially those with disabilities or those whose first language isn’t English.
Finally, Matthew wants to tackle the oversaturation of students on courses which makes the experience much less individual and can affect the way in which students learn and progress on their course.