To all Postgraduates.
As I write this report I find it scary to think that we are already one month into the new academic year, where has that month gone? But what a month it has been! There are so many exciting things to report on and I hope I represent the work myself, the KPA Committee and the postgraduate community have done justice.
So, what is this presidential report? When I took office as President back in July I set myself a new academic year challenge that I would write a monthly report to you, the KPA membership, to keep you up to date with the work that your Committee has been doing. As would be expected, this will only be an overview of all the work we do, so if you do have any questions on anything that comes up in this report, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me to learn more! So, what have we been up to?
What is the KPA?
Hopefully, by now, all of you will have come across the KPA and been told multiple times who we are and what we do. However, in case you haven’t come across us yet, I’ll just briefly explain what the KPA is and what it does. The Keele Postgraduate Association (KPA) is an independent students’ union at Keele University that specifically represents the interests of postgraduate students to the University. All postgraduates are automatically made members of the KPA for free upon enrolment, giving you access to all the services and representation we provide. Each year, the membership elects a Committee to represent them and their interests to the University and you can learn who your current committee is by going here: http://kpa.org.uk/meet-the-committee-2/.
Want to learn more of what the KPA is and what it does? Follow the link below and have a bit of an exploration of our website! http://kpa.org.uk/about-us/
Now onto the nitty gritty, what has your Committee being doing for you over the past month? Well, most of our work has consisted of raising the profile of the postgraduate community and its unique needs with the University. The Committee and myself sit in a variety of meetings, so you can rest assured that in University discussions the postgraduate voice is being raised. Below are some highlights of some of the work we have been doing over the past month:
- Welcome Week and Induction: Overall, Welcome Week and induction went relatively smoothly, and I hope you all had a good time, got the information you needed and settled into Keele. There were, however, some problems with the induction for postgraduates this academic year. Some we had already identified, others you came to us with. I just want to reassure you all that any concerns you have raised on postgraduate induction have been taken on board and are being presented to the University to be improved on for next year. If you do happen to have any more feedback on University induction, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
- Overnight Vacation Study Space: For those of you who were here over summer you will know that we worked with the University to establish an overnight study space for when the library ceased its 24/7 provision. This was a huge success and we estimate that about 2000 study hours occurred in these spaces. This was the first time anything like this has happened and, as can be expected, there were some hiccups. We have taken the feedback from students and staff on board and we are already in discussions with the University about how we can provide a better overnight study space service for next summer, with the potential to roll it out in the other vacation periods. I don’t have any concrete information yet but watch this space!
- Equality and Diversity: The KPA has committed itself this academic year to improving the equality and diversity both within the KPA and the University. Key to this is understanding the specific issues that some of the specific groups at Keele face and helping them overcome these where we can. These campaigns are, at their core, community campaigns. So, if this is something you are interested in please do let us know as we could always do with some help. By working together, we can make a real difference here at Keele.
- By-Elections: At the time of writing, the By-Elections are still ongoing. Nominations have now closed and candidates standing for Student Trustee, International Officer and Equality & Diversity officer are looking for your votes to represent you and your interests. Do keep an eye out for their manifestos and do come and ask them questions at hustings on Monday 5th November at 5pm in CBA1.023. Voting will open at 7pm on 5th November and will close at 5pm on Wednesday 7th. So keep an eye out for the ballot paper in your email inbox and do make sure you vote for the candidates you’d like to represent you!
- Mental Health: This academic year the KPA have pledged to raise awareness of and tackle postgraduate mental health. Some of you may have seen research in recent years that has highlighted that postgraduates, when compared to the rest of the student body, disproportionately suffer mental health issues, especially at PGR level. Whilst it is sad to see the results of the research, the good news is that the University and the KPA are taking the findings seriously and are working together to tackle this issue. As always, the best way to do this is together so keep your eyes out for some upcoming postgraduate mental health events!
- National Voice: Not all problems facing postgraduates are under Keele’s control, some of them are down to government policy. In this light, it’s important that the KPA contributes to the national voice that speaks to government on postgraduates behalf. With this in mind, the KPA officers have been establishing relations with other postgraduate officers across the country, discussing the issues that face postgraduates and sharing ideas on what we can do for postgraduates. We hope that this work means that your voice is sufficiently represented in any national discussions and that we come back with some ideas of ways that we can improve your experience here at Keele.
These are just some of the things that we as a Committee have been working on to help improve your experience here at Keele. It is by no means exhaustive but if you do have any questions on the work we have been doing please do not hesitate to contact us, we would be more than happy to answer any questions!
Got some areas that you think we should be working on that we are not already? Get in touch with us and let us know! We’re here to represent you and your interests so if there is something you think we should be working on let us know! Got ideas of events and activities we could be doing? Want to host an event? Or just want to get involved with our work? Also let us know!
The past month has been busy and exciting but also fruitful. I am certainly looking forward to November and to continue to represent you to the University. If you do ever have any queries or concerns about your time here at Keele do not hesitate to contact myself, I am more than happy to help. Together we can help the postgraduate community thrive here at Keele.