Matthew's December 2021 Update

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End of Term Update

December 2021

It has been an exciting journey for me so far since I became your Co-President for Education and Employability in July 2021. I have enjoyed every bit of it, conversing with you face-to-face, online, via private messages and on social media. Meeting new and old students, discussing and sharing your concerns and ideas, and taking them forward to the relevant teams within the University has been a pleasure of mine.

As we approach the end of the year, I believe it’s a good time to reflect on the things we had achieved together and thank you all for every contribution you have made. A special appreciation to all the Programme Reps who have done tremendous work in sharing your concerns with me and your programme teams. I remember when I was a Rep (2019 – 2021), I enjoyed listening to my colleagues, sharing their concerns with my programme leader and tutors and assisting them with queries. I found it extremely rewarding.

It is worth recognising the work the staff are doing to ensure students have a good experience. As part of my role, I get the opportunity to represent you in meetings with the University Leadership, where I share students’ perspectives. You may wonder how I could get all students’ perspectives; I do this by engaging with your Programme Representatives to understand the issues faced by you and by visiting campuses to meet with students and engage them in conversations.

In order to have diverse perspectives, I successfully recruited some student reps to the following committees via invitation: Academic Board, Learning, Teaching, Assessment & Student Experience Committee (LTASEC), and Quality and Standards Committee (QSC). I am on all these committees myself as I continue to bring forward the issues students face to the University managements.

Student Representation

At ENSA, we have been able to reach more students than ever before through the Programme Rep platform, which now includes TNE, Global Online and Distance Learning students. My team and I continue to work to ensure that every voice is heard, no matter the distance. I will humbly request you engage with your Programme Reps or contact me directly if you need to discuss any issues, ideas or suggestions.

Employability

This year, the Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement launched its first paid internship roles. I helped in promoting these opportunities to students and also with interview process. Also, we saw 5 new vacancies suitable for our alumni and I am currently promoting that. You can access more information on that here.

I had the pleasure to work with Students Futures on how to improve your employability skills. During the Disability History Month, I recorded a conversation with a member of Students Futures to walk me through the available resources for students with disabilities. In the coming year, I plan to share further resources on employability.  

It is important to me that I am aware of what you want and I have conducted polls on Facebook to gauge students' interest on various topics. From your feedback, I have started speaking to industrial experts to get their insights and I will be sharing the conversations with you all in the coming year via short videos that will hopefully be impactful and beneficial to you. 

I am also currently talking with the University on areas to develop more experience-based learning and paid opportunities for students. I will keep you updated. I am open to hear ideas from you too.

Education:

I continue to give priorities to university meetings where discussions on education are taking place and bringing the students demands. I would like to thank the Reps who have joined me on some of these committees.

I would like to mention that I am part of the project team working on decolonising the curriculum with Edinburgh Napier University, which is also part of the NUS nationwide campaign. More on the work on decolonising the curriculum within the University will be shared next year. I have participated in the programme approval process and ensured that internship opportunities should be imbedded in the programme before it is launched.

I got in touch with the Academic Skills to discuss the rules around plagiarism, collusion and misconduct. I recorded some videos on academic integrity to raise awareness of the rules and I want to ensure we indulge in best practices as it is essential to your future after your time in the University.  

In the coming year, while I will continue what we have started in the past year, I want to briefly mention what I will be working on communication. I would like to keep you in the loop regarding what I have heard from you, what I am working on and the status of issues that have been raised. So, I will be working with my team to create an improved communication platform. I am also open to ideas or suggestions from you as always.

My fantastic colleagues (Heloisa and Emily) and I have organised Christmas ‘Santa Hunt’ with 24 Santas hidden on campuses and on the ENSA website. It was great to see people finding the Santas and winning prizes. We are also working with the University to ensure new students starting in January can obtain appropriate housing.

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You may have seen posts on my social feed advocating with NUS Scotland on fixing student housing. This campaign will continue in the new year.

I am sending my love to you all this season and encourage you all to take care of yourself, most especially during this time. Stay Safe and See you all next year!

Matthew

Matthew Akinpelu
Co-President for Education & Employability
Education"

Matthew is ENSA’s Co-President for Education & Employability. If you need any information or advice about anything relating to being a rep, the ENSA 50 or volunteering, contact Matthew and he will tell you all you need to know.

Email Matthew