With Candidates for both full-time Sabbatical Roles and Students Leader roles in the midst of campaigning, we interviewed each candidate running for full-time sabbatical roles to find out why they wanted the role and what they planned to do if elected. News Editor Samuel Tyler, interviews VP Education Candidate, Samuel Dedman.
Hello Samuel, thank you for joining us today. Firstly, why are you running to be our next VP Education?
I am running because I want to be able to make a real difference. This is a role that I have always felt a drive towards. I feel it is also one of the most important, we are all here to get a degree so I want to make a practical difference to everyone’s and make it a little easier for them.
Thank you Samuel, what experience do you have that makes you fit for the role?
I have been involved in student leadership endeavours since 2011. More specifically, I have been moving up the ladder in the University since first year where I started as a course rep. I feel, through making those transition from Fresher Rep, to Academic President and Faculty Officer, that there is a big jump between the AP and Faculty Officer role and I would like to see more support in making that transition.
What are the main problems you identify within the remits of your role, and how do you plan to fix them?
The main problem I see is the inequality that exists across the faculties with regards to online submissions and printing costs for instance. There is a clear difference between the provisions in place for one faculty, such as humanities, and another such as engineering and physics. I want to see a move more towards digital assignments and digital marking, and would certainly like to see steps towards free printing for students. From my experience in humanities alone, we see a huge demand for printing that is an expense which students are required to make.
You said in your manifesto that you wanted transparency in marking, what do you mean by that?
Currently marking guidance for university courses are contained in subject handbooks which are more difficult to find and use. Centralising the handbooks for subjects was a good move, but I would want the important sections concerning marking guidance cherry-picked out and uploaded somewhere easier to find. We could, for instance, utilise Blackboard for this purpose, which is to the benefit of the staff too.
You said in your manifesto that you wanted to improve teaching spaces with student involvement, how do you plan to do this?
I think that we can implement this in a similar way to council planning projects for instance. The refurbishing designs can be placed on display outside the room and we can utilise an online resource to gather feedback which can be used as consultation to determine the final decisions. This can be similar to the refurbishment of Lecture Theatre B at Avenue and can have the two groups, students and the university staff, working together to utilise those spaces effectively.
You say in your manifesto that you want to support sites away from Highfield, such as Avenue and the NOC, which are overlooked, yet you equally want teaching to be student dictated which will mainly emphasise Highfield. Do you see this as contradictory and how would you plan to ensure you can succeed in both areas?
I think I want to improve the others sites to a standard equivalent to Highfield, I do not want to overlook other areas. Changing study locations for students will prove tricky to implement, but I am very willing to listen to suggestions from groups as to where they feel they are best placed to learn. I know that a large number of Medics wanted to move to Highfield.
Concerning the other areas, it is not just about teaching spaces but study spaces at sites like the NOC, WSA and Southampton General Hospital. They all have study spaces that can be utilised more during examinations that reduces the demand on the Hartley Library. I think we also have to be encouraging the appropriate usage of these areas. For instance, there was one booking case on Avenue where someone booked a 40 seat space for one person just so that they can use a whiteboard. There needs to be a further stress on the appropriate use of space.
You say in your manifesto that you want ‘Smarter Buildings’, with Hartley Library TVs showing where available computers are. Given that this is already available on SUSSED, is such a thing necessary?
It isn’t necessary, but it would be useful for students. We have had a strong use of digital data before at events such as bunfight. I think that it is great that we have this data on SUSSED, but we can build it further. I think utilising these TVs will lead to better communication of where these available computer rooms.
Finally, can you give us a thirty-second closing pitch as to why students should vote for you, Samuel Dedman, as their next VP Education?
I will not only back the larger projects but will look at the smaller things that make the day to day difference. I want to expand areas important to students such as printing, study spaces and expanding support spaces for students. I ultimately want to build a system that makes everything easier, simpler and leaves our students a little happier during their time they spend here.
Samuel Dedman, thank you.