Uoc - Question Time!

29 June 2020 University

Uni Of Chester | VC Question Time

The president of the Students Union and the Vice Chancellor recently went live on the gram to answer some iof your questions regarding Covid and its impact on the Uni. In case you missed it, we’ve watched and made note of most of the questions and answers to help keep you in the loop!

 

  1. Why is there no discount on fees?
  • More cost has gone into online support than would have usually gone into face to face teaching, courses are still being taught properly to students and course objectives being met. Tutors are still available for support round the clock, so the Uni feel there hasn’t been a disruption to learning.

 

  1. What support is available to International students?
  • International centre is helping students to travel home and supporting their accommodation in the interim.

 

  1. When can we expect a definitive plan of what next academic year might look like?
  • Likely to migrate over to a blended approach to learning for the whole year, a mixture of online and face to face teaching where appropriate. Social learning in smaller groups rather than large lecture theatres has been found to be more effective anyway so this won’t have a negative effect. CSU working hard to sort extracurricular activities and make them compliant with regulations, 20 sports so far have been decided on with methods to make them Covid secure.

 

  1. Will November and September graduations be going ahead?
  • September graduation looking the least likely as things stand, things may have improved by November but we will have to play this by ear and keep an eye on Government advice. May postpone and encourage students to come back at a later date for graduation ceremony.

 

  1. Will final year students have a chance to celebrate?
  • May organise something for students if and when it is safe to do so. The uni may organise a get together for final year students to meet up and celebrate and stay in contact once this is safe to do so.

 

  1. Will uni facilities be open over summer for Masters and PhD students?
  • Research labs trying to open over summer, as the priority is those students who require physical labs etc rather than just library research. All post grad students will have extensions on work deadlines automatically of 3 months, with further extensions assessed one a case by case basis.

 

  1. Has the pandemic changed the future of working within uni?
  • Working throughout the pandemic has shown that a reduced amount of working hours on campus are actually necessary, so its likely that there will be much more working from home. It may also enable students from much further away to attend the uni without having to move here, as course may e much more accessible online.

 

  1. Will professional courses and work placements still be going ahead over summer?
  • The uni is working on online virtual placements, which are real time and still recognised as work placements. Employers pledge group are looking into reliable and recognised employers to partake in the scheme and offer these virtual placements. These means they will still be run by same people, and offered over summer. Professional courses are dependant on the rules of the profession so we are unable to judge this or make promises at this time.

 

  1. Will there be any financial support for post grad who fund themselves?
  • Extensions for post grads 3 month as standard, gives them more time to spread the cost and finish the course. Hardship fund applies to post grad students as well so those in need may be able to acce4ss this by contacting the uni support team.

 

  1. Are students going to be consulted before any decisions are made?
  • Want more student involvement, so aiming for more user groups throughout all departments at the uni for more engagement. Aiming to have more student involvement at the beginning of discussions rather than waiting until the end. Get in touch if it sounds like something you could be interested in.

 

  1. Will there be any improvements to communication with students, as it is common for emails to go unanswered for 2 weeks+?
  • Timely responses to emails are necessary, the deans of different sectors will be keeping an eye on this to ensure responses are fast and efficient. Introducing a 5 day rule may slow down some of the faster replying tutors so hesitant to do this, but will be mentioned to the deans at the next meeting.

 

  1. What is the uni planning to do regarding the BAME attainment gap?
  • It is important to have students in task group to look at data and help come up with ways from their point of view to help achieve the aims. Government has given the uni a couple of years for the gap to be closed completely, but it is likely that with this teaching methods will change.

 

  1. How does the uni plan to ensure diversity and inclusion?
  • Large focus to be placed on this post Covid. First step is to learn more about the groups and their needs, and what can be done to help (includes commuters, carers, adult learners, socio economic etc). Likely to have an influence on curriculum, not only how things are taught but what is taught as well.

 

  1. Will more more money be put into the athletics union?
  • £200k was invested into the union last year, same amount again this year should be enough to ensure that the union is properly funded.

 

  1. Will more money be invested into the CSU?
  • Uni will undertake a benchmarking exercise and check whether or not they are underfunded as there is disagreement in this area. The shop and bar cost falling back to the uni will definitely have helped to give the SU a boost but this will all be reassessed.

 

  1. Why is there not a No detriment policy in place for masters students like there is for undergrad?
  • Masters students are not as close to finishing their courses as undergrad. This means that they have not done that much work so there is not much to judge off so far. They also have more time as well as extensions to complete the work so they are able to still achieve high grades.