Postgraduate Education Officer
The Postgraduate Education Officer represents the postgraduate student body in their education needs and progression, supporting academic representatives and acting for improvement with regard to learning and teaching.
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-Campaign against rising postgraduate tuition fees.
-Tackle the hidden academic costs of studying.
-Improve the postgraduate induction week- coming to Sussex as a postgrad can be just as daunting!
-Work with I, too, am Sussex to liberate the curriculum.
-Fight discrimination against students with disabilities.
-Campaign for the fair treatment of Associate Tutors.
-Improve timetabling- no classes after 7pm!
-Make sure PG international students have the necessary support they need- particularly with regards to mental health.
-Create a postgraduate social space on campus.
-Ensure PhD students are given supportive and sufficient supervision.
I’m the current Postgraduate Education Officer at Sussex and I’m rerunning for this position because I believe that I have so much more to bring to the role and lots more ideas for improving the experience of postgraduates here! Over the past eight months I have worked hard on several campaigns and projects including improving mental health support for postgraduates, successfully campaigning with NUS to remove the age cap of 30 on postgraduate loans and setting up the exciting Dissertations for Good scheme at Sussex. I would love the opportunity to continue this work (and much more!) for another year.
If re-elected there are several areas that I would like to work on:
Relieve the financial burden that comes with postgraduate study- Continuing on to postgraduate study is a huge financial decision- particularly after paying £9000 a year or more for your undergraduate degree. I believe that money should not be a deciding factor in whether someone gets an education or not. I will therefore campaign against rising Home/EU and overseas postgraduate tuition fees. This year the University have decided to raise masters tuition fees by up to 50%- this is a hugely unfair decision which I will fight against. Education should be a right at all levels of study. As well as this I will tackle the hidden academic costs of study by lobbying the University to provide more printing credit, lower the cost of graduation and provide more support for paying for textbooks and academic trips.
Improve the postgraduate induction week- Arriving at Sussex as a postgraduate student can be very daunting and, because we have studied at University before, we are expected to hit the ground running. I will work to ensure that masters and PhD students are given a clear induction week that makes them aware of all the support that is available to them.
Liberating the Curriculum- Over the past couple of years the society and campaign group I, too, am Sussex have done excellent research and campaigning on understanding inequalities of race and how these contribute to individuals’ academic experiences. I will continue to work with them to achieve the aim of decolonizing education at Sussex at postgraduate, as well as undergraduate, level. This includes (but is not limited to) working towards closing the BAME attainment gap, addressing shocking statistics like the fact that 80% of Black PhD students drop-out and ensuring that tutors and lecturers include a diversity of perspectives when constructing reading lists.
Fighting discrimination against students with disabilities- I will work with the Students with Disabilities Officer to make sure that students with disabilities are treated fairly by the University, particularly in relation to reasonable adjustments. The University must fulfil its legal obligations of providing anticipatory reasonable adjustments for students who require them.This process should be easy for students and there should not be long periods of waiting time where students are unsure if their adjustments have been approved. At the moment some students are spending extensive amounts of time worrying about their reasonable adjustments when they should be concentrating on their studies- this is hugely unfair. I will pressure the University to be proactive in improving this process.
Continue to improve mental health support for postgraduates- Many postgraduate students face serious mental health issues. I will therefore continue to lobby the University to provide sufficient mental health support for postgraduate students and will strongly encourage the Counselling Service to continue their postgraduate workshops. I will also continue the Time to Change campaign to add to all the great work that Rianna’s done on reducing the stigma around mental health.
Campaign for the fair treatment of Associate Tutors- There is massive inconsistency across the University in terms of the way that PhD students who teach (Associate Tutors) are treated. Poor pay and unfair working conditions affect not only PhD students but the undergraduates that they teach. I will campaign for fair treatment to be practiced across all of the Schools.
Improve timetabling for postgraduates- Postgraduates have classes on Wednesday afternoons (which for undergraduates are kept free for sports) and some have classes until 9pm. Many of us feel that postgraduate timetabling has been treated as an afterthought. This needs to change- I will argue for Wednesday afternoons to be kept free for all students and for no classes to be timetabled after 7pm.
Supporting postgraduate international students- There is a growing feeling amongst international students that they are treated like ‘cash cows’, are not given the academic and non-academic support that they need and that they are not appreciated for the intellectual and social value that they bring to the Sussex community. I want to help alleviate this feeling by working with the International Student Support to improve the experiences of the growing numbers of international postgraduate students. I especially want to ensure that these students are aware of and have access to mental health support services.
Improve PhD supervision- Poor PhD supervision can ruin a PhD, particularly as there is not an easy way that students can raise issues of poor supervision. I will ensure that best practice supervision is implemented across the University and that students feel able to use the complaints process if they do encounter problems with their supervisor.