The School of History, Classics & Archaeology held their school-wide Student-Staff Liaison Committee on 15 November 2016. I attended the meeting as the sole class representative for Archaeology Honours Years 3 and 4.
The Undergraduate Director provided an update about what’s new for HCA 2016/2017. Of particular note was the modified 100-point scale marking scheme adopted for the entire school, and the new automatic (formerly manual) sign-up for tutorials at sub-honours level.
Then, the EUSA School Convenor and Vice Convenor proposed autonomous learning groups as a new model of peer learning moving forward; the staff seemed enthused by the idea. The premise is to have primary readings mandatory for all students and then assign secondary readings for small groups to engage with - and summarise for the rest of the class, if needs be. More to follow on this in future meetings.
Other representatives raised concerns about a lack of appropriate space for tutors to give one-to-one, face-to-face feedback; while the Undergraduate Common Room is ideal for informal, casual conversation, feedback about one's assignments should be delivered confidentially in a more private setting. The staff acknowledged the point, but stressed that tutors already have the option to book a small teaching room/seminar room for this purpose. Tutors will be reminded of this.
The respective societies for History, Classics, and Archaeology gave a brief update about how their year is unfolding so far. They mentioned upcoming events, planned trips, etc. And here is where I contributed to the committee. The students I represent, if they want a successful career in archaeology, require a certain number of fieldwork hours. The Archaeology department, however, directs students toward sponsored field schools, which are expensive and require flights, luggage, visas, etc.
I proposed that the students would benefit from more contact hours with HCA professionals (eg archaeologists, archivists, curators, classicists); moreover, fieldwork opportunities need to be better advertised and more budget-friendly. The ArchSoc Secretary collaborated with me on this point. A representative of the Archaeology department at this committee, acknowledged the point and agreed.
Talks will be arranged to discuss the fieldwork issue further, with the ArchSoc acting as an intermediary of sorts. In the meantime, ArchSoc will continue to advertise more local fieldwork opportunities and internships for the students at this school - available to view on their website and in their regular newsletters. I will remind the students I represent that if official channels fail them, turn to ArchSoc for more affordable alternatives to fieldwork abroad. The meeting ended shortly after.
I will communicate the proceedings of this committee to my fellow students in-class and indicate to them that they will be able to access the minutes of the meeting, if they so wish.