Sasha Watson is the current VP Academic Affairs and is one of three Sabbs who is re-running. The Wessex Scene caught up with Sasha to check why he wanted to have another year in the role.
How do you plan on keeping student updated with changes you are making?
This year ive written blogs, had the fb profiles for the academic presidents putting out messages also every month I send a report to the course reps so its formalising that and making sure the course reps can get the message out to students. It’s a new system and this was a tester year but it seems to have gone well.
What do you believe the main role of VP Academic Affairs is?
It’s ensuring course quality. Making sure that all part so of the degree experience is up to a high standard, from what you do as an independent learner in the library and access to online resources to the quality to the lecture and also how you’re assessed. It’s the whole package to do with the degree and making sure students are happy with the quality of the course that they receive.
We can always improve and hopefully we’ll see how that goes.
How do you plan on balancing your role of representing the student’s interests and keeping a good relationship with the university?
It’s a difficult role as we both want to achieve the same thing we both want to make sure the student experience is the best it possibly can be, the difference is that sometimes university staff want to do it in a different way to how students want to do it. The relationship which I’ve developed is a strong one as they have recognised I know what the students want and they tend to agree with what I say and the points I make in meetings. They understand that im from the union and that we are going to disagree on certain things but so far its been well managed, I’ve got a lot done and we haven’t had any massive arguments so I hope to continue as it is.
That’s what I bring; I’ve got a good understanding of the role. I’ve got the skill set in terms of arguing and shouting with the university as was proven with the four day extension, they weren’t expecting that and didn’t argue against it at all.
How do you plan to ensure your promises are fulfilled?
Long Pause. The difficulty is that a lot of what I’ve promised is 5 year planning. The library is something that wont happen overnight. Changing feedback isn’t something that will happen overnight. But you can set the processes in place to make sure that happens. Things like online feedback and online assessment; those are things that can happen. How I will ensure that is by asking in meeting for update, emailing the right people but it is mainly questioning why people haven’t done what they promised to do.
What is your unique selling point that makes you the best candidate for VP Academic Affairs?
Obviously I’ve been in the job for 7 months now and I know how to implement the ideas that I’ve had. A lot of the ideas that I’ve had are an adaptation of what the university wants to do from a student’s perspective. I have the experience and understand and also know who to communicate with and what’s actually doable. Nothing in my manifesto is so outrageous it’ll never get done. My manifesto is also pragmatic; it’s planning for the long term. Its not lots of little policies that can be implemented straight away but go wrong later on down the line. It’s forward planning in that once it’s done properly once it won’t need to be done again. I bring those qualities; the skill set, the experience and the understanding to actually do what I want to do.
As a re-running sabb, does this not tell us that you have been disorganised in your first year and need a second to finish everything?
No not at all. The way things work is that things take a lot of time with the university because you need a lot of planning to actually put things in place. What I’ve often been frustrated at is the slow speeds. A lot of things I have got in place for next year, there are just so many caveats with what you want to do that it takes a long time to do.
So that is a brief look at Sasha. To check his manifesto in full check susu.org/elections and click on the candidates section, which will also show you all the other candidates running in this year’s elections.