Introducing: The Student Voice Group

Following our first ever blog post on December 3, it occurred to us that we had not yet introduced ourselves! For those of you who know about us and what we do, we’d love to give you an update on our work. For those of you who don’t know who we are, here’s a brief introduction.

Student members give the students' perspective a voice at the University

We were recruited in July 2014 by the Student Affairs Team. The team sent out emails and posted on the VLEs and social media inviting applications for student membership of the various committees that make University of London International Academy governance. Personally, we are a mixed group reflecting the diversity of the International Programmes’ student body. Our current enrolments do reflect upon the fact that Law degrees are amongst the most popular of International Programmes courses. There is:

  • Rachel: college administrator and working towards the LLM.
  • Harini: former IT professional, currently studying Politics and International Relations.
  • Jane: former banker, now working in health regulation and studying for MSc in Poverty Reduction.
  • Andy: IT consultant and social entrepreneur studying for an LLM.
  • Toni: BSc Computing student with a few years of law added to her knowledge base.
  • Paul: recent LLB graduate and now moving into teaching.
  • Vladi: former Company secretary and Compliance now studying law while being a full-time mum.
  • Tobias: studying German law at a German University and also English law with the International Programmes
  • Amy: former concert pianist now studying the law.
  • Peter: semi-retired clergyman studying epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College
  • Katharina: lawyer at Deutsche Bank AG in Germany currently doing her LLM.
  • Hannah: full time Company Secretarial Assistant based in Guernsey, studying the LLB via a teaching institution in Jersey.

We each sit as individual student members on different governing committees but collectively form part of the Student Voice Group (SVG). Our work here focuses purely on giving the students’ perspective a voice in the International Academy’s governance. We are consulted on a range of topics, such as changes in program, policy and technology, the student experience, quality control, and governance.

Committee meetings might have been daunting but they are really quite engaging, and our contributions are certainly welcomed. We also all love the biscuits served at meetings but are too polite to eat more than one or two, and get lost in the labyrinth of doors and floors that is Stewart House where meetings are held. (Senate House is slightly easier to navigate. If you’re in London, pop by for a visit! No security tags needed, and you might recognise the building from the recent Batman films. Yes, the ballroom in which Bruce and Selina first meet and dance is actually your very own Senate House!)

Our first meeting as the SVG took place in October and, amongst other things, we talked about the growing trend of viewing students as consumers. Is a university degree a commodity that can be exchanged in a commercial transaction? Is this right? Is our relationship with the university contractual? See this link: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/higher-education-network-blog/2011/mar/14/students-as-consumers

We also talked a bit about the way the International Programmes engages with us students, and whether it could be better streamlined. Is a portal, VLE, student blog and webpage simply too many things to keep track of? Did anyone, by chance, miss the recruitment announcements in July?

Sound interesting, and want to be involved? If you have an idea for improving the student experience, send it to the University through the Have an Idea? initiative and we will take a look during our next meeting in April. Or, if you’d like to join the SVG, be sure to keep your eyes peeled – student committee member recruitment for the 2015-16 academic year will open in July 2015*.

Remember to watch this space for future posts from us. Coming up next month is a glimpse of what goes on in the University’s highest governing committee, the Board of the University of London International Academy.

All the best for the coming academic year, and stay in touch!

*The University welcomes applications for student membership from students who are able to travel to meetings in central London in a cost-effective way.  

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