Back in February, students passed a motion at the RGU:Union Annual General Meeting that RGU:Union should lobby the university to 'move the academic calendar forward, and have exams before Christmas'. An ammendment was passed to the motion asking that RGU:Union aim to seek feedback from a wide population of students before taking action further. This motion was passed on to the Executive Committee of RGU:Union, who actioned the launch of a survey to gather further student feedback. The survey had 630 responses and will now be used to present to the University to make the case for moving the academic calendar forward.
In March, Academic Council at RGU was due to approve the academic calendars for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, however, I stepped in and blocked the calendars being passed, as it would mean that any lobbying would mean the new calendar couldn't come into effect until at least 2019-2020. Since then, we have conducted our survey, and are prepared to take the case to the university, and provide student feedback. The university reviewed the academic calendar in 2014, and decided that the would be no benefit to the change, however this review had almost no student input. RGU:Union has been reviewing the papers from 2014, and considering student feedback on all of the points made.
Last week, Academic Council met again, and it was decided that due to the motion presented at the AGM, the obvious demand from students, and the arguments made by elected officers, that a Working Group would be established over the summer to reexplore all the issues, consider student feedback, and make a decision to present to Academic Council, most likely in December 2016. RGU:Union will be active members in the working group, and we are positive that there is a strong enough case for the change. The fact that the university senior management have discussed the issue, and set up a Working Group, gives the sense that they are open to the change.
I also want to share the results of the survey that was conducted, and will be presented to the working group.
Annual General Meeting Motion Vote
- At the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 18th February, over 120 students voted on the motion.
- 65% of students voted in favour of the motion
- 35% of students voted against the motion
Student Feedback Survey Results
- Over March to May, students participated in an online survey where they were asked 'Would you like to see the academic calendar moved to have assessments before the winter break?'
- 630 students participated in the survey, providing both a yes or no vote and reasons for their decision
- 72% of students completing the survey voted 'YES' that they wanted the calendar moved
- 28% of students completing the survey voted 'NO' that they didn't want the calendar moved
Combined Student Feedback Results
- The results of both sets of feedback were combined to give proportional results based on the number of students overall voting either yes or no.
- 71% of students said 'YES' they would like the academic calendar moved
- 29% of students said 'NO' they would not like the academic calendar moved
Reasons for Decisions
Students identified a huge number of reasons why they voted yes or no, some of the key factors which shall be presented to the working group are:
- Wellbeing of students over winter break, to relax rather than worry about exams;
- Impact on international students and difficulties booking flights, and visiting home;
- Improve performance in exams having assessments closer to taught modules;
- More in line with universities in Scotland, assisting in graduate employablity, extra curricular activities and community events
Thanks to all the students who provided feedback or came along to the AGM, your elected team are passionate about representing your views, and hope that in the months going forward, we can present as strong a case as possible that will improve the experiance for the majority of students at RGU.