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In Conversation With... School of Life Sciences

A look at some of the key questions from the 'In Conversation With...' event with the School of Life Sciences.

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We began the fourth week of ‘In Conversation With…’ events with our first HLS panel. A panel of representatives from the School of Life Sciences answered your questions.

The Panel consisted of:

  • Simon Igo - Associate Dean - Student Experience 
  • Jennifer Barnes-Hill – Associate Head of School - Student Experience
  • Becky Butler - Head of School 

Questions were posed to the Panel by our school reps:

  • Welfare Rep – Jasmine Stubbings
  • SU President – Catarina Cardoso

The event was hosted by Emily Long, CUSU Student Experience Coordinator. Below you can find some of the key answers from the event.

There are many Law Reports for Law courses, which is great. However, is the University able to provide science students with Lab Reports in the library? This would be very useful because sometimes in our lab report assignments we are asked to compare our method with somebody else's method, and at times this is hard to find on the internet.

They are already there; they are just not called Lab Reports. The purpose of a Lab Report is that it’s an educational mechanism used to help you write a Scientific Paper. All Scientific Papers offer the same resource as a Lab Report. The best thing students can do is seek out Scientific Papers in your subject area. The more you engage with Scientific Papers, the better your Lab Reports will be. From day one, immerse yourself in the papers as there will be a range of helpful styles to support your own learning. There are also resources and workshops to help you find these papers. You have access to all of these Papers for free if you login using your Coventry University login. Many Module Leaders will be able to provide assistance for their subject and should also run workshops at the start of your course to help with this process. The library also has a system where you can request papers which are not currently available. It is a really short form, and they should make it accessible in a couple of days. An Academic Liaison Librarian is available to assist too – they will know your subject area and will always be open to schedule appointments or you can email them with queries. We often find that students can have issues with there being too much resource rather than too little, but there are some instances where the resource required is not available. If this is the case, Student Reps can take this information to the Board of Study and this can be passed onto the Academic Liaison Librarian who may be able to guide students.

Can we use lab spaces outside of our scheduled practical time? Is there a way we can book these?

This is different for different courses. For some courses, there are spaces available to practice certain practical elements – for example Sports Therapy. We weren’t able to offer this through the pandemic, but this has changed and we encourage students to get involved with this. However, for lab space and kitchen usage, this is not available from a Health and Safety point of view. There is a huge amount of paperwork and risk assessment that is required before using the Labs, so this is not something we offer. We are always open to suggestions so if you have any ideas, we are open to considering it. It may not be something we can do on an individual basis, but we could be able to accommodate group use. Some courses are offering enhancement weeks to catch up with missed lab time during Covid. If you feel that you are not getting enough lab time, this is something to raise with your course rep who may be able to help. We are not in a position to continually rerun lab sessions, but there are certain plans in place to offer people who have missed out as much lab time as feasibly possible.

How is the school encouraging inclusivity for minority groups?

We have the University Access and Participation plan, which has a host of Key Performance Indicators that we have to hit. They are cascaded down to Faculty, School and Course level. One of the things that we have developed is a School level Access and Participation groups, where likeminded individuals who have an interest in Access and Participation can come along and suggest changes to our teaching and learning commitment to ensure we are being as inclusive as possible. There are a number of metrics that we have to hit and we will report these at these meetings. These reports will be shared across the University. The important thing is these groups provide students with a voice to help us to be inclusive to all groups. We also have the Faculty EDI committee – this sits a little outside of the academic side of things, focussing on access to buildings and a number of other more logistical things to make the school environment more inclusive. The Student Success Coaches also have an interest in this and have helped to introduce the Young Carers Passport which will hopefully help with things such as extensions and deferrals. If people want to get involved with any of the Panels discussed, they can get in touch with student reps who will be more than happy to assist.
 

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 will be made available in the next week. If you would like to watch the event back, a video will also be made available shortly.

 
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