Category Archives: .Vice President Faculty of Arts and Sciences

All blogs from Codie Austin – Vice President Faculty of Arts & Sciences

“A whole lot goin’ on!”

I really had intended to write these blogs every week, filled with all the wonderful events and campaigns we are running – the problem with this, however, is the more content I have, the less time there is to write about those things! Catch 22!

I have however, decided to set aside some time on this surprisingly sunny November morning to write a blog (which happily goes towards my target of writing 50,000 words this month! – You can follow my progress on my personal website, www.codiekinz.co.uk) updating you all about some pretty exciting things that have been going on!

Firstly, you are looking at (or reading…) a fully qualified Mental Health First Aider! This is a really exciting course that myself, President Kayley and VP Education Tami got to attend with one of our lovely advisors, Esther (VP Health Thomas was busy with various panels but luckily will be able to attend in the next few months!) and resulted in a shiny badge and a certificate. The course is based on the fact that every work place is required to have a certain amount of physical first aiders – but what about our mental health! Depression is more common than dandruff, but we never seem to talk about it! 1 in 6 people in the workplace experience depression, anxiety and/or stress -university and the changes that come with it, can be a catalyst for this. That’s why it’s important for as many people as possible to be trained in this. We are not taking the place of councillors and other professionals, we are merely a knowledgable link between.

Another exciting thing that happened last week, was Trick or Eat, our collection for Southport Soup Kitchen and Ormskirk Food Bank. More people than ever are having to turn to food banks for their family’s food so instead of filling up on sweets for Halloween, our wonderful team of volunteers asked for odds and ends from people in Ormskirk – who were incredibly generous! It’s crazy how much stuff you have in your cupboard that you’re probably never going to eat (so many packs of microwave pasta and tins of baked beans!) but that will make a really great meal for someone in need. We’re going to be collecting behind the SU Desk (near the Community Bookshelf!) until the 6th November, so if you have anything to donate, please pop along!

Speaking of the 6th, this Thursday marks the very first ever Student Book Club, in association with the library, and we are reading my favourite book, The Five People you meet in Heaven. It’s short, so there’s still time to devour it before the book club (refreshments will be proScreen Shot 2014-11-03 at 11.23.59vided!) and last week I got to do a super cool interview with Helen downstairs in Creative Edge, you can hear that here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9_zvLZqrNc&feature=youtu.be

So there you have it! A short insight to what I, and the team, have been up to the past week! No two days are the same, and that’s what I love about this job – that and getting to speak to you guys and call it work! </cheese>

Thank you for another wonderful month of adventures, and I can’t wait to see what November brings, starting with a whole load of Course Rep training today! 🙂

“The book of love”

It’s been a busy first month in the job! I can’t believe it’s only been a month! We finished our training and managed to meet a lot (but no where near all!) of the staff we will be working with this year!

This week, your VP Health Thomas and I began work on the EHSU ♥ Consent campaign which is due to launch in Freshers’ week! More on this in a future blog, but if you fancy getting involved in this, or any other campaign just drop me an email or come to the office and say ‘Hi!’

One of my proudest achievements thus far is the unveiling of our community bookcase. The idea came from a meeting in the Business School where President Kayley & I saw some books ‘Free to a good home’. We wanted to make a place where any student, or staff member could come and pick up old text books or pre-loved novels for free. The idea is that people donate old books, that can be enjoyed by someone else, thus recycling (even the bookcase has been lovingly donated by Directorate!) and giving people a chance to discover a new favourite author. It’s open and ready now and can be found at the top of the Hub, across the bridge, right where the SU offices are!

Bookcase

Modelling the bookcase like Daisy Lowe. Sort of.

Finally, a big focus has been on the General Election in May and how important it is for students to vote so their voices are heard! This year, you need to re-register to vote online, even if you’ve voted in the past. So, you’re on a computer now, why not click the link and it takes less than 5 minutes to register!

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Have a great week, & I’ll update you soon!

Codie

Ps. Well done to Kyle Hughes for correctly guessing The Zombies as the artist for the title of the last blog, anyone have any ideas for this one? Tweet me!

I’m ready to lead, are you ready to change?

So, last week, the other sabbs and I went to Lancaster Uni to take part in the NUS Lead and Change Conference. I have to say, it was the most amazing and inspiring week of my life!

After being put into groups (I was Group 6 –woo! Go Group 6!), we took part in discussions about leadership, power, politics, representation, public speaking, what it’s like to be a sabb officer, how to change the SU for the better and how to always work with students in mind.

We met many different sabbs from many different universities, ranging from Leeds to London and Sunderland to Sheffield. Everyone was lovely and we all learned a lot about how each officer works in their SU. We were also lucky enough to work with some of the NUS staff, who were truly inspiring people – they’ve given me a huge boost of motivation to be the best sabb officer I can be and I’m super excited for all you students to arrive on campus so we can get started!

My favourite part of the whole week, was taking part in a university simulation called Fibchester. As part of the simulation, we were all sabb officers within Fibchester Uni and had to deal with problems throughout the year as they piled up fast! Whilst the experience was incredibly stressful (and involved me taking part in an extremely intimidating and embarrassing TV interview), it really helped me to understand how to deal with certain issues within an SU and that you can’t deal with everything at once, otherwise you’ll never get anything done.

A sad part of the week was the announcement that the NUS Director of Policy and Delivery, Jim Dickinson, is leaving at the end of September. Jim led a number of plenaries throughout the week and he really inspired me and gave me the motivation I needed. I’m sad that he won’t be around for more conferences, but I’m glad that I got to meet/work with him.

Overall, this week has really opened my eyes to a number of things. I’ve been conflicted with what I want to do with myself after Edge Hill but now everything is clear and I know that I want to work for NUS one day!

Now we’re all back in the office, responding to a huge pile of e-mails and getting things ready for Fresher’s Week! If you haven’t seen what events we’ve got lined up, why not head on over to www.edgehillsu.org.uk and check them out!

I’m definitely looking forward to meeting all of you 1st years and being reunited with you 2nd and 3rd year students.

Bye for now!

Em-J
VP of Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Contact Us!

E-mail

SU President (Gareth) – supresident@edgehill.ac.uk

Vice President of FAS (Em-J) – suvpfas@edgehill.ac.uk

Vice President of Health (Christian) – suvphealth@edgehill.ac.uk

Vice President of Education (Kayley) – suvpeducation@edgehill.ac.uk

Twitter

Gareth – https://twitter.com/EHSUpresident

Em-J – https://twitter.com/EHSUvpfas

Christian – https://twitter.com/EHSUvphealth

Kayley – https://twitter.com/EHSUvpeducation

#demo2012 Educate. Employ. Empower

Educate. Employ. Empower.

If you have any of the elected Students’ Union officers on Facebook or Twitter you may already be aware of this, but Edge Hill Students’ Union will be supporting the National Union of Students at a national demo in London on Wednesday 21 November.
We have teamed up with other North West based Unions to travel down south in a convoy of coaches with several hundred students already signed up to take part. We will be joining many thousands of students from around the UK in making our voices heard on our concerns over our futures.
NUS voted in favour of holding this demo at National Conference back in April, and the national leaders have entitled the demo ‘Educate. Employ. Empower.’ This demo is not a direct protest against the rise in university fees – as was the demo in 2010.
This demo is aiming to bring students and young people to the fore and let our elected politicians know that we are not happy about a number of things, including the trebling of tuition fees, the cutting of Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for Further Education (FE) students, high youth unemployment (in particular in the North West), poor graduate employment prospects, and many other things that are affecting us as future teachers, future nurses, etc.
In order to show your interest in partaking in the demo, we need you to email us your interest at SUVPFAS@edgehill.ac.uk. We will then add you to the interest list, and will invite you to our demo briefing (compulsory if you wish to partake), time and venue to be confirmed by email.
For the event itself, it will be an all-day thing, with an approximate 4am departure from Edge Hill and an approximate 10pm arrival back. There is a small cost of £5 involved in order to offset the large financial investment our SU will be making in the cost of the coach hire, as well as a £5 deposit which you will receive back assuming your attendance is confirmed.
This is a great opportunity to get involved with your Students’ Union, and students nationally, but it is an even greater opportunity to take an interest in your future by attending the demo briefing, whether you partake or not, as you may learn more about the reasons we are marching.
We look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.
Thanks for reading.
Gareth

Please note limited seats are available and we may decide to run a first come first serve policy, if necessary, when we decide to begin selling tickets

Race for life – Laura Burgess

On Sunday 8th July 2012, Women from the local area will congregate in Sefton Park, Liverpool to be part of the biggest fight against cancer at Race for Life, and walk, jog or run to help beat cancer.

This event is just one of over 10 Race for Life events in the Liverpool surrounding area.

Race for Life is the UK’s biggest fight against cancer and the largest women-only fundraising event in the UK. Since Race for Life started in 1994, an incredible six millions participants have raised over £457million, more than any other UK event series raising money to fund cancer research.

Among the race starters on July 8th will be Edge Hill student Laura Burgess, who is running the Race for Life for her first ever time in memory of her grandad, who died 10 years ago through cancer.

Every pound that you donate to sponsor runners just like Laura really makes a difference. So why not ask around and find out who you know that might be taking part in a Race for Life event this year.

If you’d like to sponsor Laura as she looks to raise as much money as she can to help the cause, then please click the link below and follow the instructions

 http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/lauraburgess24

Early Years Professional Status – Edge Hill University Taster Evening – June 21st 2012

Find out more about the fully funded Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) Pathways

 

What is on offer?

Learn more about the current changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage and the role of the Early Years Professional.

Come and listen to a presentation about Forest Schools by Ian Currie, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, Early Years Professional Practice and Leadership, at Edge Hill University.

Hear about the impact of Early Years Professionals in early years settings from Liz Ludden, a nursery owner, Senior Early Years Professional and Edge Hill University Associate Tutor.

Explore what the EYPS programme is all about with a current EYPS student.

Experience the Virtual Learning Environment and how to access online EYPS teaching and learning programmes.

Find out about how you can be fully funded to top up a Level 5 qualification to a BA in Early Years Leadership alongside EYPS.

Have your questions about EYPS answered.

 

Where?

Room E1 at Edge Hill University in the Faculty of Education, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, L39 4QP

 

When?

Between 6pm and 8pm on Thursday June 21st2012.  Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

 

We look forward to seeing you! 

Refreshments will be available from 5.30pm. To help with us with hospitality please confirm your attendance to:

eyps@edgehill.ac.uk  or contact the EYPS Team on 01257 517127/517126, who will also be able to provide you with any additional information about EYPS should you be unable to attend.

Programme delivery is available from Ormskirk, Chorley, Manchester and Wirral (subject to pathways and numbers).

The end is near…..

We’re getting to that time of year again when exams are finishing, and final assignments are being handed in, at the same time many students (and staff!) will have one eye firmly fixed on the impending summer break. (I’m not getting massively excited, we’ve probably already had the best weather we’re going to have all year)

In the background the new halls of residence for September 2013 are starting to take some shape, as is the refurbishment of the performing arts building.

I often find in the academic calendar that this is normally a good time to look back and reflect on what the last year has looked like, and what the year ahead looks like it might hold. So with that in mind, I’d like to explore some possible discussion points and maybe throw a couple questions at you.

This time last year, The Students’ Union was two little offices in the street alongside the likes of the laundrette and the University Club Bar. Now, you’ll find us on the top floor of the hub (I’ll come on to the hub in a sec) in a more open and stylish space. Has this change made the Students’ Union more accessible to you? Or increased your awareness of the Students’ Union?

What about the hub in general? A £14 million pound building at the heart of the campus, what has the hub been for you? Is it what you expected it or wanted it to be? Is there something still missing from campus that you would have liked to see instead or along with the hub?

Next year, first year students at Edge Hill will be paying £9000 for their university experience, what should students expect from increased fees? How much is the relationship between learner and teacher likely to change with increased fees?

Mmmmmm, something to think about perhaps, I feel I’ve gone more philosophical than usual in this blog, but that being said, they are all questions that should be asked. I don’t think anyone is deluded enough to consider that our current HE system is stable, it’s in the middle of probably the biggest transition it’s ever been through, The student voice has never been more important, both Nationally and locally.

I’ve gone on for far too long on this, it’s on the verge of becoming another mini-series, and nobody wants that again! Once is quite enough.

Anyway, as always I’d welcome any comments or questions etc. feel free to leave a comment on the blog or to e-mail/phone me directly with any thoughts you may have, suvpfas@edgehill.ac.uk/01695 657311

Thanks again for reading

Billy

Students and employability: Part 4

At long last it’s time to bring this ‘mini series’ on students and employability to a close. (I might add that there’s been relentless banter in our office from the rest of the sabb team with references to it being ‘made into films’ and all sorts, all quite funny) Primarily I want to use this last part to go through what recommendations I would make in lights of the current situation that we’ve talked about over the last 3 parts. Although I do want to give a quick mention to the final key area that I feel currently hinders students’ employment prospects, the economy.

As with the other blogs, here’s a quick reminder of the four original points I raised to explore.

  1. Students’ knowledge/understanding of what employers are looking for.
  2. Lack of work placement opportunities in the Arts and Sciences curriculum.
  3. Not a strong enough relationship between Universities, small-medium sized businesses (SME’s) and students.
  4. Poor economy/job market.

 

4. Poor economy/job market.

I don’t think anyone is likely to argue that the economy hasn’t exactly helped those looking for employment; Unemployment nationwide is the highest it’s been since 1994, and has risen from 1.4 million unemployed in 2004 to the current figure of around 2.65 million, an increase of 1.25 million people unemployed in UK in the last 8 years. Whilst within the same time frame, the number of students studying at university in the UK has risen by around 300,000 with the total number of students qualifying out of Universities rising by over 160,000 from 2004 to now. In short, there are more graduates now and fewer jobs than ever before. (Stats courtesy of the BBC and HESA)

There isn’t really a lot to say on this, the recent recession is well documented at the statistics speak for themselves. The graduates job market is the most competitive it’s ever been, which is why students are having to do so much more to stand out to potential employers, work experience, volunteering background, etc.

So what should universities be doing to improve graduate employability?

This is what I all comes down to, we’ve talked through 4 keys areas that restrict graduate employability, now it’s time to look at how they can be tackled to give out students a better chance of finding work once they leave University.

 

1. Students’ knowledge/understanding of what employers are looking for.

It is essential that students value the learning process their institution adopts, the reoccurring message I hear from students is that separate modules specific to ‘personal development’ are considered a waste of time, they’re often not accompanied with credits towards their final degree and is seen as extra work that is effectively unnecessary. The key principles that underpin these PDP style modules have to still be addressed, but they have to be done in an environment where students value what they’re learning. Skills and knowledge directly attributed to enhancing employability prospects should form part of assessed work with the curriculum; this is already done on many courses through the likes of assessed presentations and group work but it has to be rolled out universally and developed to ensure students interact with the process. Universities need to review all the employability skills and knowledge they expect students to develop during their time at university, and find creative and innovative new ways to incorporate these into the academic curriculum through existing modules. Equally importantly the rationale has to be there too, students need to know afterwards through feedback exactly how this will have helped them develop better employability skills.

 

2.Lack of work placement opportunities in the Arts and Sciences curriculum.

I’m of the opinion that every single student in Higher Education, regardless of their programme of study, should at the very minimum have the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their study, most likely in the form of an optional work placement module that awards credits towards the final degree classification, and that the option shouldn’t have a cap on it that means only a certain number of students can undertake the module, it should be available to every student, period. In order to achieve this each academic department should have a staff position to oversee placements, create and maintain a portfolio of placement opportunities in the local and surrounding area, and be able to provide excellent support for students with regards to finding their own placement opportunities, and to act as a contact and support for the student while there are in the work placement. To say it should be the sole responsibility for universities to find the placements for students is probably unrealistic as much as it would be ideal, I see no reason why students can’t be part of the process of finding their own placements, but it is imperative that the university are able to provide the support for students to do this.

 

3.Not a strong enough relationship between Universities, small-medium sized businesses (SME’s) and students.

Universities need to Get local SME’s more engaged with the student experience throughout the duration of students’ programmes of study. Possibly achieved through the likes of SME’s taking or participating in relevant seminar sessions within the curriculum, SME’s running extra-curricular evening public lectures, and (as part of the above recommendations) developing further work placement opportunities with local SME’s. Universities should build up a comprehensive portfolio of local SME’s and ensuring regular communication with these, advocating clearly and accurately the benefit of employing graduates. Universities should (if they haven’t already) further develop their careers service provision to operate as a local graduate recruitment agency, aiding SME’s with weak or non-existent human resource/recruitment capability to employ graduates, and providing students with greater opportunities to discover and apply for employment opportunities within local SME’s.

 

4. Poor economy/job market

Difficult to make recommendations around this, But if I did, I would say that the government should invest significantly less money in such avenues as the trident nuclear weapons programme and put more investment into the economy, making it easier for businesses to be successful through greater tax breaks, investing in local and regional projects that will require an employed work force to undertake. Many different people will have their own views on how the government could spend more effectively to benefit the economy but the crux is that without investment it’s difficult to see a way out the current dark times, cuts effectively only lead to more businesses closing down, people spending less, and the job market getting tighter and tighter.

I think that pretty much covers all the points I wanted to make, those of you that have read this from part 1, thanks for sticking with it! As always I very much welcome any questions, comments or different perspectives on what I’ve said. You can get me on e-mail at suvpfas@edghill.ac.uk or phone me on 01695 657311.

Thanks again for reading; I look forward to hearing any thoughts you may have!

Billy

Windows Phone Camp

Microsoft are visiting Edge Hill on 16 May to deliver a Windows Phone Camp. This event should be of particular interest for anyone who wishes to further develop their skills in understanding and creating mobile apps. Ideally you will need to feel comfortable writing code as the aim of the camp is to get developers creating apps for the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The session usually runs for 4 hours. The first half is much like a lecture (to run in B001), where one of their team will run through:

– Windows Phone API
– Visual Studio
– App templates
– Windows Phone Marketplace

The second half (in CMIST1 and 4) is an informal coding session where students can continue with what they have started or make a start on developing apps themselves. Microsoft will provide refreshments during the event.

We need as many students as possible to attend the event (and to fill the labs in the second half)

The event is free, and three attendees will win Nokia Windows Phones during the event.

If you would like to attend (or know of students who may benefit, or would attend this session), please visit http://edgehillphonecamp.eventbrite.com/ to book your place.

Local elections question time!

On Thursday 3rd may, Residents in West Lancashire will be taking to the polling stations and electing local councillors for where they live.

Edge Hill University and a large part of Ormskirk fall into Derby ward, and there are four candidates standing to be the local councillor for the area.

Edge Hill Students’ Union is holding a candidates question time on Tuesday 1st May in the hub from 6pm-7pm. We want to give students at Edge Hill the chance to question the candidates on what they’ll do for residents of Derby ward, (which includes a great number of students) if they’re elected, and to challenge them on some of their manifesto policies etc.

If you are unable to attend but would like to submit a question then please e-mail it to me at suvpfas@edgehill.ac.uk, or as always feel free to phone me on 01695 657311!

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you next Tuesday!

Billy