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UCDSU END OF YEAR REPORT 2019/2020 EDUCATION OFFICER


UCDSU END OF YEAR REPORT 2019/2020

EDUCATION OFFICER

Brian Treacy


Name (ainm) Brian Treacy

Pronunciation (fuaimniú) Bri-yan Tray- See

Pronouns (optional) (forainmneacha (roghnach) He/him

Position (post) Education Officer

Date (dáta) 6th April 2020

Council Number (uimhir na comhairle) 9 (and final)



Brief Note on the Year:


I began two weeks of Union induction on Tuesday, the 4th of June 2019, and began my term as Education Officer on Monday, the 17th of June 2019. In trying to live up to responsibility and role of the Education Officer, I tried to take in as much as possible the first few weeks to months. This was through listening and asking questions at our 2-week induction training, meeting with key university staff, and reading various policies and procedures of the University and the Union itself during the Summer.  As stated in our constitution ‘The Education Officer shall be responsible for dealing with issues of academic interest, including: access to education, maintenance grants and other student financial supports; quality assurance; student discipline; library services, overcrowding and resources; examinations, assessment and associated appeals; and the general academic advancement of the student body of the University.’

This would become a mantra and philosophy for me during my term as Education and I hope the below information illustrates some of the progression outlined and required by our constitution. I am firm believer that education is the key driver for social mobility and I am very proud of the progress made by our Union this year and long may we progress. 


A. Key Annual Achievements


Student Experience Mapping Project


Action: Attended final meeting of the student experience mapping project. 


Aim and Achievement: We signed on the student experience mapping project which essential is a project which serves as an opportunity to explore and better understand the experience our students have throughout their time in UCD. 


Student Cases


Action: Student Cases via phone, email, in person, and (in the more recent future... Zoom). 

Aim: to have every student that came to the Union for help academically to get that specific help.


Achievement: Most cases are solved there or are signposted to groups in UCD better able to solve the issue. With this, many cases were escalated to Heads of Schools to ensure students received the outcome they deserved. 



Direct Student Representing


Action: Represented multiple students at university-level hearings including plagiarism hearings and disciplinary hearings


Achievement: Ensured the university staff followed university procedures carefully and were fair in their dialogue and decisions relation to students. 



Student Representation (Academic Council)


Action, Aim, and Achievement: Ensured around 20 students could sit on Academic Council for the Academic Year 2019/2020. This gave them the opportunity to see what actual policy making in the university looks like and can add to the discussion. 



Winging It


Action: Helped Campaigns and Engagement Officer, Katie, regarding the education section of Winging It.


Aim: that students can receive academic advice in relation to their studies.


Achievement: I believe the book overall was successful and students can read topics

from learning to Dublin’s night life. 


Orientation Week and Dean’s Talks


Action: Orientation Week


Aim: To help first years feel part of the UCD community and inform students of the Students’ Union through Dean’s talks.


Achievement: Gave out thousands of fresher’s bags and got chatting to the students

around UCD ensuring that they settle in well to UCD. 



EY and UCDSU Funding


Action: Met with members of EY (consultancy firm)


Aim and Achievement: Secured funding (€15,000) from them for the year ahead.



Class Representatives 


Action: Class Rep Recruitment


Aim and Achievement: to help Campaigns and Engagement Officer, Katie, in getting a high number of class reps as this is and will always be an essential element to our democratic structure.  The belief that ‘Class reps are better placed to know the concerns of their course and are the bedrock of the union’ has stayed true this year. 



UCD Job Listings Page


Action: Putting up job listings onto UCD Job Listings Page


Aim and Achievement: Students can use the page to search for jobs and get jobs (often what many students have to do to fund their time at university). 



Virtual Learning Environment - the Brave Switch to Brightspace


Action: Worked as a student representative on the Virtual Learning Environment Oversight Meeting.


Aim: Incorporate student feedback into the final implementation.


Achievement: Brightspace became the main online platform in UCD in September 2019 and will continue to be enhanced as required.



Trimester 1 exam Period


Action: Attended several exams meeting integral and external to prepare logistics for exams at RDS and Newman. 


Aim and Achievement: Had stand down at RDS and Newman where Food, pens, pencils etc. given out and support for students at stands and via email. Exam buses and communications to students were also a success.



INDEx Survey


Action: Working with Teaching and Learning to promote INDEx (survey of students

regarding their digital experience)

Aim: for the university and government to get a more accurate understanding of the

current situation of the student population’s digital skills.


Achievement:  A high % of students and staff took part in the survey, and this will go a long way to creating evidence-based policy and procedures around utilising technology in UCD in future years. 




Student Survey


Action: Working with Various groups (mainly UCD Research) to promote the Student Survey


Aim: for the university to get a more accurate understanding of the current lived experiences of UCD students. 


Achievement: We had a final response rate of 34%, which is 5,279 students. This is 11% higher than your response rate for 2019, which is absolutely fantastic and will allow the university to be evidence-based focused in enhancing their policies and practices. 



Provisional Results (change to Mechanism)


Action: I was a key student representative in relation to this year’s mechanism for receiving provisional results. 


Aim: To ensure that the flow of receiving provisional results occurs in a manner than doesn’t overload the UCD System. 


Achievement: Staggered results were given throughout the day of provisional results. 



UCD Advisory Group on Teaching and Learning Funding


Action: I was a student representative on a UCD Advisory and Consultation group on seed funding for teaching and learning projects within the university.


Aim and Achievement: Help steer the direction of the group and also provide key university themes in which faculty and students could progress on together. I also approved the successful projects. 



Presentation and Public Speaking Workshop


Action:  Arranged Presentation Skills and Public Speaking in Trimester 1. 


Aim: Enable students to learn more about improving presentation skills and in particular, public speaking.


Achievement: Had presentation skills workshops from 6pm – 9pm on 14th of November that enable students to improve their public speaking and presentation. 



Plagiarism (changing university practices to dealing with it)


Action/aim: Progressed work in relation academic integrity in UCD specifically in relation to plagiarism. 


Achievement: Sat on a committee which discusses the best way to tackle plagiarism within the University to ensure every student feels comfortable in referencing, citing, and overall in academic integrity. 



Student Representation and Engagement 


Action/Aim: Myself and Katie (C+E Officer) have done a lot of work on improving student representation in UCD and strengthening the student voice and capacity at all levels. We submitted an item to the UMT Student Experience Group agenda and presented to the group to spark a conversation on improved partnership between UCD students and the University.


Achievement: The university has given us food for thought and agreed to further the conversation in relation to student representation (particularly with class reps and how Sabbatical Officers are introduced to the various boards they sit on). 



Tribune Article Regarding Student Cases


Action/Aim: Had a full day being interview by Conor Capplis, Editor of the College Tribune.


Achievement: The interview highlights the role of the Education Officer, particularly around the vital work of student cases.



UMT Library Strategy Group


Action: Was a member of the UMT Library Strategy group which was setup to discuss a vision for the UCD Library and how this would be implemented. .


Aim and Achievement: I had several meetings with subcommittee focusing on library space and report submitted to UMT Library Group in relation to this.  With this I wrote a report on the health science and veterinary libraries regarding space and physical materials which was subsequently submitted to the UMT Sub Committee for Review.  Lots of work done in creating a vision and rigour discussions that will inform the University Management Team of what the library needs in the short term and where it needs to be going in the long term. 



Consolidating Student Appeals Mechanisms


Action: I was a student representative on the Academic Council Committee on Student Appeals and Complaints. 


Aim and Achievement: the Committee worked through the finer details of consolidating UCD’s Student Appeals Mechanisms (approved by Academic Council in November 2019) and 



Enhancing UCD’s Policies and Procedures


Action: I was a student representative on the Academic Council Committee on Student Conduct and Capacity. 


Aim and Achievement: Was part of a university group that made key changes to UCD’s a) student plagiarism policy b) Student Capacity Policies i) Continuation and Readmission Policy and Procedures ii) UCD Student Fitness to Practice Policy and Procedures iii) UCD Fitness to Continue in Study Policy c) UCD Student Code d) Gave recommendations to Governing Authority on final draft of UCD (on interdisciplinary methods to ‘building a healthier world’ and referenced that the university should  aim to tackle emerging societal issues such as tribalism and isolationism). 



Student Representatives on Boards and Committees


Action/Aim: Discussed with the university the equal role of students on programme boards


Achievement: Working with university secretariat to submit a recommendation to AC Executive Committee to ensure that policies and practices of boards and committees are student-focused and ensure equal access and participation of student representatives. 



Enhancing Learning at UCD


Action/Aim: Was a member of the Module Feedback Working Group


Achievement: Decision made that student feedback in teaching will play a critical role in the university’s promotion mechanisms with feedback being analysed on a high-level every 3 years. 



UCDSU 3 Year Strategic Vision


Action/Aim: Took part in consultation of the Union’s Strategic Plan for the next 3 years.


Achievement: Gave feedback in relation to where the Union needs to direct its attention to be successful. 



Rent Hikes and Strikes


Action: the Union staged several protests on campus in relation to the rent hikes (one at front of campus and one towards the university club)


Aim/Achievement: Attracted much media attention and also reemphasised that the Union disagrees whole heartedly with the decision by the University to increase on-campus accommodation. 



COVID-19 (Teaching and Assessment). 


Action/Aim: Part of a COVID 19 meeting held by Mark Rogers to discuss teaching and assessment implications for the coming months ahead.


Achievement: Plans were set (i.e. to move teaching and assessment to online) and discussions were had in relation to specific queries around teaching and learning. 



Key Boards and Committees in which I was a member of:


Governing Authority, Academic Council (AC), AC Executive Committee, AC Committee on Student Conduct and Capacity, AC Committee on Student Appeals and Complaints, AC Quality Enhancement Committee, University Programme Board, University Management Team (UMT) Education Group, UMT Student Experience Group, UMT Library Strategy Group,  Student Experience Mapping Project Group, Module Feedback Working Group, Virtual Learning Environment (transition to Brightspace), Boards of Studies: Academic Affairs, Boards of Studies: Global Engagement, Core Academic Integrity Model Group, Assessment Logistics Working Group, Education Group on Sustainable Development Goals, Advisory Group on Learning Enhancement Projects, Student Supports Group, Arts and Humanities Programme Board, Social Science Programme Boards, Science Programme Board, Medicine Programme Board, Law Programme Board, Veterinary Medicine Programme Board, Liberal Arts and Sciences Programme Board, Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems Programme Board, Public Health, Physiotherapy, Performance and Sports Sciences Programme Board.



Other Important Items


Presentation given to Residential Assistants in UCD on what the Students’ Union is here for and student well-being. Went to Belfast to meet with UL Students Union, Queens’ Students Union, and Ulster University Students’ Union.  Accommodation Drive to promote Digs to homeowners around the UCD area. Fresh Fest. Highlighted my concern to the university in relation to the changes to the University’s Grading Scheme. Advertised UCD Advantage Award to Union Members. Ensured Sabbats can have access to library in future years. Built strong relationship with UCD Careers. Cardiac First Response Training for UCD students. Dublin Bus Progress. 


Training Received:  


Union Induction Training, ShoutOut Training, Governing Authority Strategy Session in Wexford, ASIST Training, safeTALK Training, Montauk Training (dealing with diverse personalities), DRCC Training, Child First Training. 



B. Plans for forthcoming period (pleananna don tréimhse seo chugainn)


Attend  1) University Programme Board 2)  Governing Authority  3) UMT Education Group (two meetings) 4) Academic Council 5) Academic Council Quality Enhancement Committee 5)  Science Programme Board (items for approval online) Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems Programme Board  6) Science Programme Board 7) Academic Council Executive Committee 8) Academic Integrity Model Committee Meeting 8) Internal Students’ Union Meetings. 


Continue to try to ensure that students are not hampered by decisions made by the university during the COIVD-19 crisis. With this, ensure that adequate information is given to students in relation to teaching and assessment. 


Ensure students cases are dealt with in a consistent manner, even when operating at-distance. 


Draft and Submit Proposal to 2021 Budget in relation to the need for more funding in higher education. 


Aim to setup a focus group in conjunction with the university in relation to how students avoid plagiarism and reference well. 


Complete comprehensive handover document for next education officer and have a successful handover to my successor. 


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