Academic Reps do one of the most important jobs in the Union - they campaign for your academic interests and make sure that students have a voice in their education. Each month, we’re featuring your reps and the work they’re doing to make UCL better. If you have an idea about how to improve your course, your department or UCL you can contact your own Academic Rep using our Find Your Rep page.
November 2020's Rep of the Month is Kan Yan Chloe Li, a Postgraduate Faculty Rep for Population Health Sciences. Read more about what Chloe has been up to:
"This year I have taken on both the Faculty Rep (Population Health Sciences) and Lead Department Rep (Institute of Cardiovascular Science) roles and I have learnt so much already during this first term! I’ve attended all meetings so far, including DTC/SSCC, DRDC, Education& Activities Zone, UCL East Student Forum, and Faculty Research Degrees Committee meetings. So far, I have enjoyed working with other reps (within and outside of my department and at faculty level) on exciting projects. I have been involved in making a short survey (at both departmental and faculty) level to assess students’ wellbeing and experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging times I feel it is imperative that we stay well connected with one another.
I take all students’ feedback and opinions seriously and make sure to voice their concerns and represent them in a fair manner. As a postgraduate research representative, I ensured to make the questionnaire more tailored to PGR students because there have been concerns raised by final year and penultimate year PhD students on extensions and funding to ensure they can complete their research in a timely manner or receive adequate support to continue their research beyond the timeline.
Another topic that I raised in previous meetings after receiving feedback from other departments’ reps was the use of the digital student voice platform, Unitu. It was interesting to find out during the beginning of my Rep roles that Unitu was not standardised across departments. If used appropriately, I think Unitu could really help with connecting staff and students together and enable students to post questions and ideas anonymously, as well as receive prompt feedback.
Finally, another topic that I have been involved in this term is mentoring. I signed up to be a mentor on the FPHS mentoring scheme as I thought I could help new research students with the transition into UCL. A discussion that I had in the faculty research degrees committee meeting was the need for an ‘international buddy system’ which was raised in a Faculty Rep/Lead Department Rep training session earlier this term. I took action by contacting the Welfare & International Officer and recommended promoting the international buddy system (Cultural Connections Project) more so that international students can settle into UCL quicker, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic where it can be challenging to meet others. I am also involved in planning social activities/events at both Faculty and Departmental level, e.g. virtual game/quiz nights, icebreaker sessions.
My advice to future reps: (1) complete the training as soon as you can as the information on the Moodle page is very informative with excellent scenarios, (2) step out of your comfort zone and try something different, e.g. mentoring, volunteering, etc. as this can help build your confidence, (3) enjoy your time working as a rep as you can help make a difference at UCL whilst meeting plenty of great people!"