Written by Leah Henrickson.
This is the first of what will hopefully be monthly blog posts detailing the activities of the DR President’s Team (President: Leah Henrickson; Vice-President: Hugh Tawell).
Note: This post refers to PhD/EngD Students as Doctoral Researchers (DR) and Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). This is because the University uses the former language, and the Union uses the latter.
The academic year is now in full swing, and this year’s DR/PGR President’s Team has now been officially in post for one full month. And it’s been a busy month, full of meetings and event planning. Vice President Hugh welcomed the new cohort of DRs at the Doctoral College Induction, and President Leah has been trying to get the President’s Team’s Twitter account back up and running. The Team has also been trying to engage DRs via the ‘Doctoral Researchers of Loughborough University’ and the ‘Loughborough Students’ Union London 2018-2019’ Facebook pages.
While trying their best to keep DRs up-to-date using social media, this post offers a more detailed rundown of Leah and Hugh’s recent activity.
First, let’s start with the fun/sociable stuff. With the help of Kamal, the LSU Postgrad EO, we’ve organised the following events:
Wallace and Gromit Postgraduate Film Night (6th November 2018, 6PM)
Are you itching for A Grand Day Out, but you’re wearing The Wrong Trousers? Did you give yourself such A Close Shave this morning that your skin feels like a Matter of Loaf and Death?…It’s time for some Wallace and Gromit!
All Loughborough DRs and PGTs are welcome to join us for a FREE screening of the first season of Wallace and Gromit (four 30-minute episodes) at 6PM on 6th November in the Graduate House training room. THERE WILL BE FREE PIZZA. While there will also be snacks and soft drinks available, do feel free to bring your own so we don’t run out. Please note that this is a SOBER event – no alcohol will be provided, and we ask that you leave your booze at home. Hosted by the President’s Team, LSU Postgraduate EO, and PhD Social & Support Network. Click here for the Facebook event.
PGR Rep Professional Photoshoot (14th November 2018)
PGR Reps get the chance to have professional headshots taken. These photos will be posted in every school to ensure that it’s clear who the Reps are. These photos can also be used for LinkedIn profiles, Facebook profile pictures, whatever. It’s one of the perks of being a Rep.
Postgraduate Union Night Out (24th November 2018, 10PM – 4AM)
Want to check out what the Union is like as a nightclub, but intimidated by all the undergrads? Just want to let your hair down and party with other postgrads? We’ve booked out Fusion (the upstairs room at the Union) on Saturday, 24th November from 10PM for DRs, PGTS, and their guests. It’s free entry, drinks will be cheap, and the room will be filled with cool people. Join us for what will hopefully be the first of a few postgraduate-specific Union nights out. Bring your friends!
Now, for the admin/process/operational stuff. The meetings we attended included:
In this meeting, we were introduced to the LSU’s Student Voice, which provides students with advice, peer support, and representation related to their academic programmes. This includes helping recruit for and manage the PGR Rep scheme. We discussed PGR Rep elections (which are run by each school), Lead PGR Rep elections (which are run online by Student Voice), and Rep training (14th November 2018). We also began what will hopefully be a prolonged discussion about the situation at Loughborough in London. London has for a short period faced a reduction in staffing, but Voice is working hard to ensure that London students have access to the advice and representation they need despite these challenges.
In this meeting, we met the Union’s new Director, who gave us a rundown of the massive structural changes the Union is currently undergoing. Kamal, the LSU Postgrad EO, joined us for this one. The LSU still hasn’t conclusively determined what new structure it would like for the 2019-2020 academic year, but it’s a structure that won’t include the Postgrad EO role. We’re currently trying to figure out how we can ensure that postgrads (DRs and PGTs) will be represented by the Union without this role.
In this meeting, we met with Duncan from the Doctoral College to discuss how we can involve DRs in the planning and running of the annual Research Conference and Summer Showcase. The Doctoral College would welcome help from DRs with things like conference bag stuffing, setup for the days, social media takeovers, etc., so stay tuned for these opportunities. We also agreed the Doctoral College would create an opportunity for researchers to present their research in forms other than posters (e.g. art pieces, displays of models, etc.) at the Summer Showcase next year. We’re hoping the chance for DRs to present their work in other ways will increase engagement, particularly from those who may find it difficult to convey their work via posters, or who just want to try out different methods of dissemination.
Doctoral College Sub-Committee
In this meeting, we were introduced to each school’s Director of Doctoral Programmes (DDPs). The DDPs, representatives from the Doctoral College, and representatives from various Professional Services all talked about issues related to the DR experience, from recruitment to experience. We learned a lot during this meeting, and are looking forward to working with those from across the institution who have vested interests in enhancing the experiences of DRs.
Well, that’s all, folks! We’re looking forward to getting to know you at the Wallace and Gromit film night (6 November) and the Postgraduate Union Night Out (24th November).
Leah and Hugh.