She’s a chemist, and she causes reactions wherever she goes. For two years Beth Hill has been the School Rep for Chemical Sciences. We learned how this rep got her rep.
It’s my second year as a school rep. Why did I continue? Its knowing that I can make change. That’s one thing I lucked out with - where I am in the Uni. I have a positive give-take relationship with the lecturers I work with.
I know I can push things and get a response – I’m not coming up against a brick wall – even if I don’t get the outcome I want I get a good outcome.
This year I’m chair of the exec, which means I go on extra courses and PARPs (Panels where courses are reviewed in depth). The more you push yourself the more you get out of it!
One big thing I’ve achieved is I managed to get ‘Labs’ overhauled. (‘Labs’ are the practical lessons that science students do).
We had a bunch of issues with how they were run in the first year. There were three factors: an old practical set that no-one had gone over in five years, a first-time lecturer, and first year students.
I chased this up with a lecturer, and I brought it up with the programme lead, and now they’ve overhauled the labs! I found that out at the last SSCs (Student Staff Committees). The first years are now getting help so that they don’t get second year ‘Labs’ in their first year!
I also get to bring good news – I highlighted a module that had glowing reviews – Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research Skills, taught by Dr Ian Podmore. The amount of help and support we had from that lecturer was incredible. I highlighted that so other modules can learn from him. Ian, we love you!
Diplomacy. In the ‘Labs’ example, I had a crash course in knowing my place as a rep. I had a productive conversation with multiple lecturers in the SSCs – my module lead, one of the professors that runs labs. We had a really productive conversation about how to do that. It’s a good example of how reps can work with lecturers and those higher up in the Uni. It’s not a fight with ‘evil lecturers’! I don’t spend all my time complaining! I have lecturers who are really receptive to the rep system.
You learn how to adapt to people. For some people going in ‘all guns blazing’ isn’t going to work, and for some, it totally is! You learn – this person is stubborn, but this lecturer takes on new ideas.
Leadership. I've established a relationship with people on my course. I let them know I’m here to help, I want their feedback, I will do the work! That’s when they feel happy coming to me with issues. They know I’ll chase it up. When I have an issue I put it in a WhatsApp group with coursemates, then they type their comments, because they know I’ll chase it up.
I’ve also started mentoring first year reps. It’s nice to tell them: keep going, it gets easier!
The training sessions Maddie’s organising at the moment are really useful. They’re good for general life, not just for being a rep. I can transfer what I learned from ‘Delivering Presentations with Confidence’ to my course too.
Being a rep is great for networking. A lot of my lecturers are running placements. They know me and have seen a set of skills that aren’t just about getting grades. They can imagine how I’d transfer that to a business setting.
“Beth has been selected as ‘Volunteer under the Spotlight’ because she is one of our hardest working School Reps. She has dedicated countless hours to improving the educational lives of students at Salford. In the last year alone, she attended Programme Reviews, Student Disciplinary Panels, a consultation on the merger of the Science Schools, as well as many Student Voice meetings in her School and the Students’ Union. We even saw Beth help out during the SU Welcome Fair, inspiring new students to get involved in all the Union has to offer.” (Madeleine Colledge, Student Voice Coordinator, University of Salford Students’ Union)
Applications to be a School Rep for the 2020/21 academic year open on the 16th March 2020. Find out more about what School Reps get up to. Eager to apply? Register interest in advance
14th February 2020