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Experience of Induction - Chemistry 1st year Class Rep

Mon 14 Dec 2015

As a class rep for Chemistry 1a, I attended the induction meeting of the School of Chemistry that was held on the 16th of October. The meeting took place in the School of Chemistry Joseph Black building in King's Building campus. The staff members introduced themselves, after which the class reps took turns to say who they are and what course they represent.

 

The induction was a great even for several reasons. First of all, it was a chance to meet the key staff members to which I could turn to with any issues. I met Dr Bailey and Ms. Burns, the academic organized in the CTO, who are both dealing with the school class reps and helping them with any issues. We were informed about their expectations from us - attendance to the SSLC meetings and feedback collection throughout the course to get a full picture of the student opinion for every element in the course. They informed us about the informal staff-student meetings that occur outside of the SSLC and where we can raise pressing issues or any concerns whatsoever, as well as about all the resources available to us on the EUSA website. Meeting the staff and hearing their expectations and their readiness to act on our feedback was extremely valuable as it underlined the main responsibilities of being a class rep and the importance of being serious about it since it will actually lead to a positive change and the feedback we provide will be taken into account. The staff pointed to some crucial areas we should pay attention when gather feedback and to the significance of being impartial when doing so.

 

Moreover, the induction meeting allowed me to meet the other class reps and the school rep. This was valuable as we need to work together to bring positive changes for the school overall, not simply for our course. It was agreed that additional meetings of the class reps and the school rep will be held outside of the ones scheduled by the staff so that we have the chance to discuss and propose common solutions to all-school issues.We established thus afterwards a Facebook group for all class reps in the school, which we use for communicating and coordinating events.

 

Overall, the induction meeting was a good start to being a class rep in the School of Chemistry. It underlined the main responsibilities we have and also how to perform them in the optimal may in order to improve the learning environment for both students and staff.

 
Experience of an SSLC - Chemistry 1a Class Rep

Mon 14 Dec 2015

As a first year class rep for Chemistry 1a, attending the first SSLC meeting of the Chemistry school was both very productive and exciting. I had the chance to learn from the other class reps and get familiar with the problems they have in upper years of the course. This was extremely valuable as it gave the opportunity for being pro-active and avoiding those issues in our course next years. For example, upper year class reps have shared that they feel tutorials every second week are insufficient, but yet there is poor attendance to them anyway, which leads to the conclusions that students should be prompted to attend all of the tutorials available to them to get good exam preparation. Also, listening to other class reps developed my ability to be an active listener and take the maximum of what others are sharing. We also discussed some overall school issues like the shuttle bus availability and creating surveys for the whole school to get information about common issues.

 

Regarding Chemistry 1a course, there were several important issues I wanted to share with the staff. Some of the lectures were missing on Learn and were being uploaded only after the lecture, which prevented students from printing slides beforehand and getting acquainted with the material in advance. With tutorials, there was only one issue regarding the tutorial in organic chemistry which was too long to be completed in the given time. Moreover, regarding labs, there was insufficient time to complete one of the experiments and the pre-lab exercises for week 6 onwards were missing on Learn.

 

The most significant concern of the students in the course was however the upcoming exam as it is our first exam in the University and a lot of students are still not confident with the material and the exam requirements. A project I wanted to introduce and put in action was organizing a Questions and Answer session before the exam with the professors where students have the chance to drop-in and clarify any issues they have with the material or the exam. The staff responded extensively to all of these concerns. The course organizer promised to supervise that all lecture notes are uploaded on Learn at least 24h before the lecture itself, as the University policy requires. The tutorial that was too long is to be revised for next year. The lab organizer replied to the concern about the lack of time for the experiment with the reassurance that the marking scheme for this experiment will be adjusted to compensate for the issue. The pre-lab exercises for all the following weeks were also uploaded on Learn the following day. The course organizer agreed that a Question and Answer session is suitable to address any concerns first year students have about the exam. It was agreed that we will work together to schedule the most convenient time for the meeting to take place, and he also promised he will address the whole class regarding the exam as it approaches.

 

The organization of this session is now beginning as a collaboration between me and the staff. That is a valuable project that will help not only the students, but me as a class rep since it will develop my ability to seek the appropriate support in the process. Thus, the SSLC was extremely productive for Chemistry 1a course as all concerns were addressed and acted upon. The results from the meeting were reported back to the class vie the Facebook group and in-person communication and the students were positive with the outcomes.

 
 

Welcome to the School of Chemistry Representation page.
 

Here you will find useful information about your School’s student representation system.
 

First of all, let us introduce you to your School Representatives. Each School has two School Reps whose role is to listen to you and bring any issues you raise to the relevant staff and committee meetings, such as the Student-Staff Liaison Committee or your School Council. In Chemistry, the Undergraduate School Representative is Paul Appel. Feel free to get in touch with Paul if you feel that you have something important to say to the School! Your School also contains Class Representatives who work very closely with the School Representatives, EUSA and the staff to ensure you make the most out of your courses. Potential areas Class Reps may engage with are issues with feedback, course content, and suitability of assessment.

 

Whether you are looking for support in your studies, meeting like-minded students, networking or keeping up-to-date with your field of study’s latest news, academic societies are great to get involved in. In the School of Chemistry you can find ChemSoc. This is the oldest chemistry society in the world. They hold both social and academic events and are a great way to socialise with students from other years in your School.

 

Also look out for the Chemistry Academic Families, a network where you can socialise with other students across the School of Chemistry. It's a great way to find out more about your courses and get some support from students that have been through the highs and lows of a science degree. There will be socials and other events organised by the group, find out more here:

 

http://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/support_and_advice/peer_learning_and_support/get_peer_support/find_a_project/organisation/ChemFamilies/

 

If you believe something is missing from this page, please contact schools@eusa.ed.ac.uk

Undergraduate School Representative