“I worked on an Office Hour Guide for students in order to have a better idea about how and where to reach out when they have academic requests and learning problems.”
– Natural Sciences Rep
“I relayed the issue about the complex process of applying related documents for research project such as DBS check which was not mentioned on the Moodle page, after discussing with administrator, the information will be added to the website as a guidance.”
– Population Health Sciences Rep
“We asked for office hours where students can drop by and speak to a member of staff. This is now in place, with a different academic being available for one hour a week.”
– Psychiatry Rep
“A number of students were concerned by the lack of support they received in preparation for going on placement. I outlined to the department a plan for better support (i.e. regular email updates about upcoming deadline, updated information about careers services etc.). They took this on board and informed us that induction weeks will be used for information like this from now on.”
– Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management Rep
“Slack, a messaging platform, had been used in one module to ask questions and was a great success. We suggested implementing it across the department and this change was adopted. Lecturers and students are now communicating daily using this platform.”
– A rep from the Faculty of Built Environment
"The prospects for study abroad for my course lacked clarity, and so I took steps in finding out information about how an Erasmus programme could be arranged for our course and which countries would be available to us."”
– A Political Science Rep
"I led a change maker project to facilitate student-led study groups, which was disrupted by COVID, then I led online module review groups over summer, which worked really well and connected the staff and students."
- A Natural Sciences Rep
"During this Covid-19 situation, I have heard a lot of my fellow students complaining about the lack of support for their dissertation work and I passed this issue to the staff at an online Department meeting. Steps were taken accordingly with an introduction of the Buddy Writing Scheme by the Academic Writing Centre which offered students with a source of peer-support during this challenging time."
- Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment Rep
"We arranged for extra statistics courses as we felt that this wasn’t included enough in our course and we needed it to write our thesis."
- Biosciences Rep
"We felt that the first SSCC meeting was not treated with an open mind by some staff members. We discussed this between reps and contacted the postgraduate sabbatical officer. They then had a meeting with the staff members. This improved the attitude of the staff members and was very successful."
- Neurology Rep
"Some of my peers were feeling overwhelmed by our logic course. I talked to them and told them about the logic preparation hours held by 2nd and 3rd-year students in the common room on Fridays and also offered to explain the things that they did not understand myself. I have met with some of them in a booked study room and I have gone through the things that they did not understand and helped relieve their fear of logic. I have also talked about the fear of logic to some members of staff and tried to figure out a solution. I want to propose that the introductory courses should also focus on trying to get rid of this fear of logic, trying to explain that it is easy and people should not be afraid of it."
- Philosophy Rep
"I was also successful in negotiating for a series of question and answer sessions for students on the PHAS0037 Cosmology course. Lectures had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation, and so students had less opportunity to interact with a lecturer to ask for help in difficult sections. This was an issue as emailing lecturers often warrants a response time of a few days due to their busy schedules, but also explanations through email are usually not as effective as an in-person discussion. I contacted the lecturer and managed to arrange a series of Q&A sessions through Zoom.
In addition, due to difficulties arising for students during the COVID-19 situation, many felt increased levels of stress during these times. Thus, I contacted the course lead for the PHAS0113 group project module and managed to negotiate a later deadline for both the formal report and verbal presentation via Zoom as to reduce the workload on students."
- Physics and Astronomy Rep
"A few issues we had to address:
Office hours - temporary contracts with only one office hour a week not enough (e.g. there are too many students so there are not enough time for a tutor to cover all students/ student having another lecture during an office hour hence unable to attend it). [not resolved as no further action was taken on the part of student reps]
Support for International Students: attended a focus group conducted by the department, sharing insights as to how the department can do to improve international students' experience at UCL History. Examples of our response were: Familiarising students to learning History in a UK university: some students come from an education system whose exam is done in a multiple choice questions. Familiarising them with essay style questions will be helpful. Creating videos for offer-holders, including a video on what to expect in London as an international student."
- History Rep
"The biggest achievement of this year as reps was the implementation of a student driven iBSc booklet that offers insight into all the iBSc's at UCL along with student satisfaction and things to expect. Since this is a first hand account of student experiences, we strongly believed that this will allow fellow peers to take a better decision in their choice as well their preparation for the iBSc. It mainly involved interviewing current iBSc and Y4 students for their inputs and preparing a document that was later published to all RUMS students."
- Medical School Rep
"Helped to edit the road map for research students of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care. The road map provides new students with a broad picture of their PhD programmes."
- Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care Rep
"It emerged early in Term 2 that students were confused and worried about the various pieces of guidance we had been given with regards to the proposed dissertation timetable. I went through all the relevant emails and sections of the handbook, noting clearly the different areas of confusions which emerged from these, which were in toto not coherent. I wrote to our (new) convenor noting what these areas of confusion were, how they had emerged, and suggesting how they could be cleared up. He followed my categorisation in an email clarifying the uncertainties in an email to all students on my course the following day. Many students noted that they felt significantly clearer and less stressed about the minutiae of the proposed dissertation schedule after this (of course, it did not end up being the actual one)."
- SELCS Rep
"As a rep for a course that is practical in nature and has experienced students as classmates, our course was highly academic and the professors were focused on academic understanding. I brought the class together through Case Study Fridays and Dinners around the world to share our public administration experience. This allowed us to bond more and perform better in group projects. More importantly, everyone agreed that we learned more practical knowledge through these avenues that we did in lecture/seminar classes."
- Public Policy Rep
"As a successful change or implementation I would state the possibility for PGT students in our Faculty to attend different development courses to be more prepared for writing or presenting. This gives students suffering with language or confidence for presenting the ability to train and get better for the courses. Furthermore, the need for activities like that but also certain adaptions of a faculty wide induction week have been adressed and were noted by MAPS. "
- MAPS Rep
"In my department, a lack of tutorial from some of the modules had been a repeated issue raised by students and staff alone had not come up with an effective solution. In response to the situation, I led a change maker project to facilitate student-led study groups, which was disrupted by COVID, then I led online module review groups over summer, which worked really well and connected the staff and students."
- Natural Sciences Rep
"I have created Google docs for students to add their own notes to. This creates an environment for students to revise together and also provides an approachable environment to help each other with any parts of the topic they may struggle with."
- Brain Sciences
"I have created a weekly zoom session for students to collaborate and work together"
- Physics and Astronomy rep
"Our students were facing an immense amount of work and struggled with the pandemic. We were able to negotiate extensions for everyone such that they did not have to worry about asking one."
- Psychology and Language Sciences Rep
"Many students have been confused about PHD application process, so I have asked departmental staff to take action. Now the related websites are provided and the department leader also some members are glad to help."
- Built Environment Rep
"Talking to students to get a sense of what they were finding hard when working from home. Especially during the first year of PhD. We took the
issue to the graduate tutor and raised it, then came up with the idea of organising a MPhil reading group to discuss ideas and see each other. This was successful and made our cohort feel better."
- Economics Rep
"One success I did have is from organising a workshop on our dissertations that would not have taken place otherwise. To do this, I spoke to my course mates about what they didn't understand in relation to our dissertation and then fed this information to staff and suggested a workshop took place. Once they understood the severity of the situation, a workshop was organised."
- Biomedical Sciences Rep
"Through my talking with my peers and inquiry, I found that one personal tutor has left office from the UCL. I communicated with the department staff quickly and the department arranged a new tutor for these students. As a result, these students avoid losing personal help from their tutors."
- Chemical Engineering Rep
"The most rewarding and successful experience I had for being a rep was seeing change happen on Unitu. Given the circumstances with COVID, reps are not able to directly contact students in person, so creating change through an (anonymous) online platform really allowed students and reps to raise their voices regarding issues in the department. I specifically raised an issue about crits/presentations being held during Chinese New Year, and the support we got from students agreeing and from staff saying this will be considered next time made me see that raising our voices really do make an impact so I was really grateful."
- Architecture Rep
"Student peers expressed their wish to have more of a discussion and shared experience aspect during a module. We liaised with faculty and organised for the Teams meeting to remain open for another hour after the seminar was finished for students to continue further peer-based discussion between themselves if they wanted."
- Psychology and Human Development Rep
"Introducing study group with weekly meetups using MS TEAMS for Health Data Science students has been successful. That has been actively used twice a week to study together and help each other. In these unprecedented times when everyone is studying from home, the study groups have helped to come together to solve study problems."
- Health Data Science Rep
"I have been successful in getting the doctoral school to plan and provide some financial assistance to the self funded students and address each students needs individually."
- Eastman Dental Institute Rep
"With my co-rep I have succeeded in creating an excel spreadsheet listing useful historical databases and online archives for research students who suffered from a lack of library/archive access during the national/ international lockdowns."
- History Rep
"We had ongoing issues with training placements during the PGCE course. Due to Covid a number of placements were cut short. Myself and my fellow rep kept regularly in touch with students and tried to support those who didn’t have placement settings/teaching hours. We consulted with course leaders, placement officers and were able to raise this at an SSCC meeting. By highlighting the issues we were all able to work across departments to support the students affected. Placements resolved for the majority and we are still trying to consolidate outstanding issues as the academic year closes."
- Initial Teacher Education Rep
"We noticed that some students were maybe struggling with academic writing, and would benefit from some proof reading, so we set up an informal 'writing buddies' system where we could pair up anyone who was interested."
- Built Environment Rep
"An example of an issue I faced (as a second-year) was the frustration/worries of students in my year who had not taken an exam in the first-year and were struggling to revise/understand how to deal with the end of year exams. I brought this forward to the SSCC meeting to discuss what support would be available to second-year students. This led to lectures organising exam revision and support sessions which made the students feel more comfortable about the upcoming exams and also feel more encouraged to do well."
- Geography Rep
"Establishment of online journal clubs for virtual learners has been successful. In semester 1, there were on campus journal club sessions for those in London. These sessions were only optional but the virtual learners felt like this was an opportunity they were missing out on. I was able to communicate this to the faculty justifying with reasons and virtual journal clubs were arranged in a week's time."
- Neurology Rep
"This academic year as the Faculty PGR representative has been a learning and rewarding experience, closely working with staff members and other students. I created, organised and executed the first ever PGR Student Conference in the Faculty of Brain Sciences, a successful long-day conference with 59 research talks supported by a ChangeMakers grant. This was a unique opportunity to highlight and promote the PGR work happening within the Faculty, as well as facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration. I also chair and organise the Faculty’s Rep Forum, which allows for productive discussions and feedback across departments and reps in the faculty, especially focusing on diversity, mental health and funding. This position has been a wonderful opportunity to establish new traditions, influence strategies and ensure that students are enjoying their experiences at UCL to their fullest."
- Brain Sciences Rep
"My co-Lead Rep and I repeatedly received the same questions from students about our exam questions and dissertation. Although we tried to answer these questions the best we could, we realised that part of the underlying problem for students was the lack of face-to-face opportunities to ask for reassurance from lecturers. We organised a 'Finalists Forum' in our department, where the Head of Department, the Chair of Exams and the Departmental Tutor spent an hour answering questions on Zoom. It saved them time – they did not have to respond to emails with the same questions over and over again. And it offered students an opportunity to hear the reasons behind certain regulations."
- English Language and Literature Rep
"When the second wave of Covid hit, students were expected to help out in ICU but initially there was very little information on how this role was going to work along side our usual placement times. However, after writing letter and emails we got more clarification from the relevant members and more students were willing to help during the Covid surge, as we felt listened to and protected."
- Medical School Rep
"Pushing for the introduction and use of Unitu was massively successful by myself and the co-chair within the geography department. Early in the term we recognised that students would find it especially hard this year to engage and feel heard. As a result we researched and discussed Unitu in our DTC meetings and managed to get it approved just before christmas. Over the holiday we then got trained and ensured the reps were trained before pushing it out to the cohorts. Our department saw the quickest uptake in UCL and it was frequently used by students to provide feedback, which was either handled prior to SSCC meetings or (if they were bigger issues) handled by the SSCC. The outcomes were significant student engagement and a better run department."
- Geography Rep