What are you looking forward to the most about your new role?
I’m just really looking forward to starting the role. This is a really important year for the University in terms of teaching and learning because of the Higher Education Review. I hope this is a year where we can get a lot done – there is already some great teaching taking place in the University but I want to lay the groundwork to make things even better for students.
What sorts of issues do you hope to address in your year as Education Officer?
I really want to make a much bigger thing out of the Teaching Excellence Awards because I think that the staff at Newcastle work tremendously hard and we need to acknowledge really excellent teaching when we see it. I’d like to open nominations for awards earlier this year and work harder to encourage students to nominate outstanding teachers in their Schools. I’d also like to publicise the whole Teaching Awards event much more through social media and to really promote the good teaching going on across the University.
I’m also particularly interested in ReCap as a resource for students. It was something that was really useful to me as a student, I used to work so hard in the lectures on my course to really follow exactly what the lecturers were saying and take it in and then use ReCap later to take notes. I just really didn’t want to miss anything! I know some staff have reservations about the system but I really want to work with them too to put the student case and also to see if we can find a solution which addresses their concerns.
What is the single most important thing you hope to improve?
I’d really like to address the issue of exam feedback and to make a lasting and positive change on that. I found it really frustrating as a student that I often couldn’t view any feedback on the exams I sat, much less get hold of the past papers without great difficulty. I think it’s really important for students to get feedback on all of their work, even exams, so that they can improve or even so they can see where they went wrong. I’d also like to see a more consistent approach to exam feedback when it is available, sometimes you get a little and sometimes a lot – I suppose it’s difficult for staff to know whether students will see it or whether they are just pouring words into the void and that might be discouraging – but I think it would be really good to address this issue across the University and see if we can get some sort of consistency. Just access to decent feedback on exam assessment. It’s that simple.
You can contact Matt through firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about his manifesto and his interests and approach as a Union Officer here.