With elections closing last week, Undergraduate Officer, Jenna Chapman, took to the UEA SU blog to outline her aims for this academic year, following her commitment to providing quality, accessible and enjoyable education for students. She has stated that increasing the volume of recorded lectures, improving awareness of the hidden costs of studying, and looking to staff and academic adviser training, are to be her three key priorities.
Chapman, along with the four other full-time SU Officers, were elected in March with their roles commencing in July. Chapman beat her competitor, Finn Northrop, by 171 votes, as reported by Concrete.
Speaking on recorded lectures, Chapman cites the benefits as being conducive to allowing “extra flexibility” in learning, as well as acting as a “useful revision tool”. She added that making this a more widespread feature of studying at UEA will ensure that students are not pressured to note down the entirety of their lectures.
In advocating for transparency when it comes to course costs, Chapman lists “DBS checks, placement costs, compulsory field trips and books” as hidden compulsory elements to many courses that students do not always budget for. A Which? survey conducted earlier this year found that students spent an average of £119 on textbooks, £158 on field trips, and £203 travelling to and from work placements annually.
Finally, the issue of adviser training has been an ongoing concern for many students, more so after figures revealed by the SU in 2017 found that in five years, just 184 of a possible 1,000 academic advisers had completed their training. The work of last year’s Undergraduate Officer, Mary Leishman, changed this, making training a compulsory feature of the position. Chapman wants to continue in this vein by modifying the training procedures, making them more applicable to the needs of students at UEA.
Chapman has since published another blog post, reflecting on the ways in which student feedback has enabled progress to be made in key areas over the past few years. Specifically, allowing students to access exam scripts, additional plug sockets in the library and a mobile friendly Blackboard app.