The Student Experience Committee exists to enhance your student experience at the University of Chester. It is a chance for your elected sabbatical officers and student representatives to discuss and think strategically about the best actions and outcomes for students based on student feedback and everything we believe will make positive change for students, to ensure they receive the best opportunities and experience during their time at University.
The Students’ Union President presented her report to the committee. The main points noted were:
- More water fountains across all campuses: It was noted that there was a need for more water fountains in each building across campus to keep hydrated.
- Response: Facilities reported that an additional six water fountains have been ordered.
- The Students’ Union will be continuing to ask for more water fountains close to every building and to ensure they are cold instead of warm in some places.
Student-led therapy sessions:
- Response: The Students’ Union reported that the Sports Performance Team, in conjunction with Sport & Exercise Science, Nutrition and Dietetics Department, are working together to provide support and guidance for the sports teams e.g. nutrition advice, healthier living, time to chat groups and campaign activity across our campuses.
Keeping Wednesday afternoons free: There is still an issue with some students being unable to attend sporting events/extra-curricular activities on Wednesday afternoons due to timetabling clashes.
- Response: It was noted that this will cause some timetabling problems for Combined Honour students along with Single Honour students where Single Honour programmes also offer Combined Honour programmes to students. This may not work for every student, especially because more lectures will occur earlier in the mornings and later into the evenings (19:30 finishes) to accommodate this earlier finish on Wednesday’s. Some of the consequences are that there may be some earlier lectures and twilight teaching.
- VP Activities will be collating more student feedback for keeping Wednesday afternoons free
Recorded Lectures: This is on the sabbatical officers’ manifestos due to a high demand from students and personal experiences. It was mentioned that recorded lectures would benefit students who are unable to attend lectures for legitimate reasons (this can be monitored through attendance monitoring to ensure students don’t use recorded lectures to their advantage and not turn up at all). Recorded lectures would also allow students to attend sport games for those who have lectures until 13:00.
- Response: A discussion took place regarding recording of lectures. The University commented that LIS would be trialling the recording of some lectures to see whether there is correlation between attendance and performance. It was noted that there is a huge cost to fit out Lecture Capture in all teaching rooms.
There should be more Counsellors and Wellbeing services.
- Response: The Director of Student Futures reported that a Mental Health and Wellbeing Clinical Manager has been appointed and will be starting in January. There is also a full time and part time Counsellor and counselling can be outsourced as required. The University now has Mental Health First Aiders which can assist in this area. There is also a Mental Wellbeing Team with a Mental Health Wellbeing Adviser. It was also noted that it would be helpful for departments and sites/campuses to promote what the Students’ Union and Student Futures can offer in terms of support in light of the increased demand for wellbeing services.
- CSU have carried out a number of campaigns and activities (De-Stresstival) during May, which tied into the month of Wellbeing at Riverside. The wellbeing campaign will expand across all campuses to ensure students get involved with the activities and are aware of the wellbeing services available at the University of Chester. CSU will also be lobbying the University for Mental Health advisors
Free printing for students. Students’ Union President will try to identify which courses have heavy printing requirements, especially for printing dissertations.
- Response: The chair and Director of LIS said that they would look into their budgets for next year to see how they can allow for printing credits for students. It was mentioned that there may be a lot of unnecessary wastage.
- The SU will continue to look for some contribution towards printing credits, especially for some courses.
Accessibility to online journals for those that are hard to retrieve.
- Response: The director of LIS reported that his team would be carrying out a review on the way online journals are accessed, in order to try and simplify the process.
Communication and noticeboards/Large Screens
- Response: The Students’ Union have requested more notice boards and big screens across sites/campuses as a means to improving the student experience and engagement. The PVC (Services & Operations and CIO) reported that LIS would be carrying out a review, to look at the costs and possibility of increasing the number of noticeboards/digital signage around the University.
Deadlines and timetabling
- Response: This has been seen to be problematic for combined students and keeping all students happy. With deadlines, it was noted by the President that some students have deadlines too close together in certain departments. The PVC informed the SU that certain departments would be spoken to, to avoid such tight deadlines for students. It was also noted that students must inform their StARs if this becomes an issue in certain modules.
University Guarantor scheme
- Response: The SU proposed the idea and service for the scheme, but the Universities response was that this may be financially detrimental to the University.
- Response: The SU will be working on a more detailed proposal to avoid the financial risk and share good practice with existing Universities who have already implemented the scheme, particularly for disadvantaged and international students.
Other SU initiatives:
The Students’ Union are looking at creative ways to get more students politically engaged. Since we ran the #GenerationVote election campaign we managed to get more political discussions between students and made more students aware of political parties and what they stood for on their manifestos.
Encouraging students to run for the Sabbatical Officer positions – Great experience for students to get involved in the Students’ Union for unlimited experience, opportunities and a full time job after University. Please look out on our social media pages and Careers and Employability to see more information and get ready for the elections in March! You can email SUPresident@chester.ac.uk for a meeting about running too!
Student Accommodation: The Students’ Union, alongside the local City Council and Accommodation Office will be hosting an Accommodation Fair to provide useful information to students, in preparing them for moving into the private sector. You may have also come across our ‘Don’t Sign Yet’ campaign; we are advising students to hold off from signing until our Accommodation Fair takes place in January.
Rebranded StARs team as ‘Academic Representation Team’ which now includes PG Reps. Just over 700 students have signed up so far this year and training sessions have commenced. We have seen greater engagement from academic and support departments in the recruitment of StARs in comparison to previous years.
Inclusive Fair: The Students’ Union will be hosting an Inclusive Fair, which aims particularly to benefit underrepresented student groups such as PG students and international students. This will take place during February to give people extra opportunities to get involved.
Student Voice: Setting up a student voice networking event to discuss students’ perspectives on their overall university experience and how we can make this better, particularly with the communication lines between the SU, University and Academic departments.