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UPDATED - In Conversation With... School of Energy, Construction and Environment

Transcript attached - Highlights from the 'In Conversation With...' event with a Panel from the School of Energy, Construction and Environment.

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The third instalment of CUSU’s ‘In Conversation With…’ events saw a select panel of leaders from the School of Energy, Construction and Environment taking part and answering your questions. The panel consisted of Paul Greening, Associate Dean for Student Experience in EEC, Stephen Austin, Head of School and Michelle Newman, the Associate Head of School for Student Experience. Questions were posed to the Panel by Imogen Brady, the Education Rep for EEC. The event was chaired by Emily Long from CUSU. Here are some of the key questions answered yesterday.

Does the school have any industry links to assist students with gaining Work Experience?

Yes, is the simple answer! Particularly within the construction side we are very connected to industry. We also provide a lot of apprenticeships to industry to help build contacts. Any links that we do have we will put through the Talent Team. This is to centrally organise placements and to publicise the opportunities to everyone.

On the Geography side of the school, we have placements and existing long-term links with both local and national companies and have done for around 40 years. The opportunities are out there, it’s just a case of knowing how to access them.

In previous years there were concerns raised about the APT (Academic Personal Tutor) system. How are those concerns being mitigated going forward?

Within certain parts of the school, the APT has always been solid and functional. This year, we have introduced a new robust system. All tutors have work supplied and activities sent to them across the school. Every undergraduate student has a tutor who will be able to meet once a fortnight and signpost students to different supporting resources within the University. We feel very strongly that this is how we get to know students and that they get to know us – it’s absolutely fundamental to a good student experience. If there were any concerns, we would hope that what we are doing is enough to address them.

APTs absolutely underpin exactly what we try to do – we want to create positive relationships between students and staff so that we understand where students are coming from and can give everyone holistic support. We believe that we are a ‘friendly’ school. One of the reasons we believe we do so well in the NSS Surveys is because of these relationships.

Some students have said that they are not attending lessons as they do not find them engaging with staff simply reading from slides. What does an engaging session look like to you and what is the School doing to identify these types of classes?

We find that really disappointing. All staff planned this year to try and make the syllabus engaging and hands on. Obviously, all courses have theory so it can’t all be hands on. We need to know if an academic is just ‘reading from a powerpoint slide’ because that’s not the ethos of delivery within the school; far from it. We need to know so that we can step in. We do observe staff, but we can’t be everywhere.

You as students have a Module Evaluation Questionnaire, which you can complete, and we take these seriously. You can also speak to your Reps, or you can let their APT or Course Director know if there are concerns. We need to know so that we can make changes. There should be engagement and discussion; it is disappointing to hear this.

For more information on the ‘In Conversation With…’ events, there is a full schedule available here. If you missed this event, a full transcript of this is available here.

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