In the past, EUSA has campaigned on a wide range of academic issues, from exam timetabling to essay feedback, library opening hours to hidden course costs. Below are some of our ongoing academic campaigns, as well as some past campaign successes.
Gender Studies - In 2014, EUSA VPAA Dash Sehkar ran on a platform of creating a Gender Studies department at the University and create a pre-honours Gender Studies course which would be available to all students and which would allow students to have a say on what topics they studied. He convened a working group of academics from across the University with an interest in Gender Studies, and in late 2014, Fiona Mackay, Head of the School of Social and Political Science announced that the School would be hiring a new academic - Meryl Kenny - whose responsibility it would be to create the course, ready for delivery in 2016-17. This year, current VPAA Imogen will be working closely with Fiona and Meryl to ensure continuing student involvement in the project and to further promote Gender Studies across the University.
Transport - For many students, the journey to class is a difficult one, often as a result of inadequate transport provision or high costs. EUSA has always supported students in campaign on transport issues:
- In 2011, we supported vet students in lobbying for a free bus to take them to their new campus at Easter Bush. EUSA reps collected signatures on a petition, which was then presented to the University, resulting in students being able to claim back a percentage of the money spent on bus passes each year.
- In 2014, we campaigned with medical students to win extended access to the NHS shuttle bus and a transport grant for fourth and fifth year students.
In 2015, EUSA ran a transport survey to gather students' experiences and identify any remaining issues with transport to class, and the results of this will feed into the University's Transport Strategy moving forwards. In the meantime, EUSA will continue to lobby for affordable, accessible and sustainable travel options for all students.
Library Opening Hours - Although there are a variety of study spaces at Edinburgh, by far the most popular is the Main Library in George Square. This means that it can get busy, particularly during exams, but also that there is significant demand for the Library to be open loger hours to allow for more flexible study. As a result of lobbying by EUSA, during exams, the Library now opens for extended hours and a significant number of teaching rooms are converted into study space. For more information on study space around the University, check out this webpage.
Open Access - Why should education be reserved for those who can afford to attend University? Why shouldn't you be allowed to check out what your friends are covering in their lectures? We believe that knowledge should be accessible to as many people as possible, and that means things like lecture slides, tutorial handouts, journal articles, and even whole courses, should be available online, free of charge and without licensing restrictions. In 2013, VPAA Alex Munyard presented a paper on the Open Access model to the University Senate's Learning and Teaching Committee while reps on our Academic Committee gained over 1,000 signatures on a petition to support lecture podcasting. Alex convened a University taskgroup to develop an Open Access strategy for the University, and in 2014, VPAA Dash Sekhar was awarded funding by the University Principal to helping identify existing Open Access projects. He also passed an Open Access Policy at the Learning and Teaching Committee, and this is being implemented with the support of Information Services. For more information on the benefits of the Open Access model, check out this handy flyer.
Bookfair - One of VPAA Dash's core manifesto pledges was to establish a second-hand book fair to help students manage the costs of textbooks. In January 2015 the fair launched with regular pop up shops in Teviot during first semester. The fair is now primarily online, and you can buy and sell used second-hand textbooks here.