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This term, our sabbatical officers have worked tirelessly to secure improvements to your academic experience. They’ve lobbied UCL to make change, worked in partnership with UCL on important new initiatives, and worked with academic reps across hundreds of committees to communicate your feedback. We hope you’re beginning to feel the effects of some of the changes we’ve been able to secure – but we thought we’d finish the term with our top five completed initiatives, and five things we’re still working on:

Five completed projects:

  1. We worked with UCL on the first online induction, the Connected Learning at UCL course. This covered how to adapt and make the most of a new way of learning.
  2. We secured the enhanced Extenuating Circumstances Procedure, allowing students to self-certify for up to 14 calendar days on two separate occasions in the 2020-21 academic session, within specific conditions.  
  3. We inducted over 1,600 academic reps, putting them in a position to represent your interests throughout the academic year. To stay in regular contact with your rep, you can find their details here.
  4. We worked with UCL Library Services to introduce the click and collect service. We also helped introduce the possibility for another student to collect your books for you, which you can do by emailing lib-accessibility@ucl.ac.uk.
  5. We worked with UCL on guidelines for behaviour online, which you can check out in the Netiquette guide.

Although not strictly education-related, we’re proud to have made some very positive impact to UCL accommodation this term; reinstating the rent guarantor scheme; ensuring you’re able to end your tenancy early and be refunded, and finally - ensuring that you can return late in term two and be refunded for the time you’re not in your hall.

However, we know that there’s still much more to do in the rest of the academic year, and that some of the things we’re working on at UCL have not yet come to fruition.

Here are five areas we’re still working in order to achieve as much as possible that will benefit UCL students in 2021:

Face-to-face teaching

Working with your academic reps, we have been looking at the provision of face-to-face teaching for this year. As a result of this, the Provost’ Leadership Forum agreed that all faculties and departments should review their current face-to-face activities and provide more opportunities for students who are in London. We know how important face-to-face teaching is, and we want to return to as much face-to-face as possible.

Value for money

We continue to hold UCL to account to make sure that your experience lives up to what was promised at the start of the year. However, we know that there will be instances where students will rightfully feel that the academic standards they have come to expect, could not – or have not – been met. If this is how you feel, you may have valid grounds for a complaint. Use the UCL Students Complaint Procedure to make your case, with the support of our Advice Service. Our Advice Service is a phenomenal resource, independent from UCL and available to support any student through the entire process. It is also important to note that, as part of the guarantees of a fair hearing, a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer will always be one of the panellists at the Complaints Panel Hearing if it needs to reach that stage.

Fair pay for PGTAs

We are working with UCL HR on a range of issues faced by Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PGTAs) around their employment. You can check out the PGTA Code of Practice that we developed with UCL.

Lecturecast

We’re continuing to work on the recording of lectures, striving to make sure that teaching is as accessible as possible for all students.

The future…

We have begun to work with UCL on their planning for the 2021/22 academic session, including likely scenarios for how the university would operate. If you have any thoughts on this, please share these with your reps so they can feed into decisions

And finally…

Thank you for your feedback throughout the term, it all makes a difference. Without students’ voices, the experience at UCL could be very different. A massive well done from all of us on getting through Term 1 and we look forward to continuing to help you make the most of your time at UCL in 2021.

If you’re interested in taking on a leadership role next year and helping to set the course for UCL in 2021-22, let us know.