Oxford University Student Union
ANNUAL REPORT 2012/2013 Student Engagement & Representation Student Training & Support Improving the Student Experience OUSU and the Community Looking Ahead
Y3ar in numb3rs
saved each year on common rooms’ Sky TV subscriptions
892% of students who have interacted with OUSU report satisfaction, according to the International Student Barometer
nominations in the second annual OUSU Student-Led Teaching Awards
students helped by the OUSU Student Advice Service
£91,725 raised by Oxford RAG for charity
houses visited by the OUSU Community Wardens
careers Guides produced for final and penultimate year students – the UK’s only joint Careers Guide between a Student Union and a University
j £150,000 saved for students on a year abroad in 2013/14
y 1 New
university-wide campaign launched to raise awareness about sexual violence in our University
Student Development Ambassadors recruited with the Development Office
shortlisting for UK Adult Sexual Health Project of the Year - OUSU’s Sexual Consent Discussions
funding increase from the University in next year’s OUSU budget
Message from the President Welcome to OUSU’s Annual Report for the 2012-2013 Academic Year! This report gives an overview of many of the projects OUSU has worked on over the past 12 months, and the results we’ve delivered. I hope you’ll find in here some things you already knew, some you didn’t, and some you might like to be involved in next year. The 2012-2013 Academic Year has been one of immense success for OUSU, as the numbers on the previous page show. The range and scale of OUSU’s achievements – won through hard work and collaboration with students, the University, the Colleges, the City Council and others – is something of which we are immensely proud of. The success of a Student Union isn’t built on just one year’s activities, though, and we now look forward to advancing many of these projects over the coming years. We hope that, whether student, academic, administrator or other, you will join us in this happy endeavour.
David J. Townsend, President Academic Year 2012-2013 Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 3 www.ousu.org
892% of students who have interacted with OUSU report satisfaction, according to the International Student Barometer
Student Engagement & Representation
OUSUâ€™s core purpose is to engage and represent the student body of Oxford. We believe that Oxford should be open to talent regardless of financial background and that, as a global university, the international student experience should enrich the entire student body. We also believe in students as partners in education, and have advanced student involvement in the decision-making structures of the University. Access and Student Support: * Target Schools, now in its 30th year of successful operation, set up a year-round Shadowing Scheme to allow almost 200 secondary school students to spend time accompanying an Oxford Undergraduate to lectures, libraries and tutorials to get a taste of Oxford life. * OUSU operated the first ever joint access roadshow between its Target Schools Campaign and Hertford College, to best leverage student volunteers and College resources. * Working with the National Union of Students, OUSU signed up Andrew Smith MP (Oxford East), in whose constituency the majority of Oxford students live, as an advocate for a Postgraduate loan scheme. Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 4 www.ousu.org
* Concerns about tertiary education funding were also expressed when OUSU led 60 students to London to march with the NUS in favour of fair access to university education and fair involvement of students in the shaping of national university policy. * OUSU recruited 35 Student Development Ambassadors to help drive forward the Oxford Thinking development campaign, including the flagship £100M Postgraduate scholarship scheme. * OUSU launched the Online Access Hub, bringing together details of student volunteering opportunities with outreach work across the Collegiate University. * Working with OUSU’s Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality and the University’s Equality and Diversity and Student Support teams, OUSU has developed plans for a Race Summit to help provide fair access to BME candidates. * OUSU oversaw the awarding of three Reach Oxford Scholarships, an OUSU initiative designed to promote access to Oxford for students from developing countries who have the academic talent but lack the financial means to study here. * This year 7 JCRs used OUSU briefings to hold their own common room discussions about student support services, engaging around 400 students across the University who fed back their results to OUSU and to their own College. Social Events and Networking: OUSU organised 4 Oxford Women social and networking events and, in celebration of International Women’s Day, organised the OxFem Festival and the Women’s Garden Party: a University-wide event for
women to celebrate women and women’s achievements in the University. Academic Representation of Students: This year, OUSU and the University agreed to recommend that all Faculties and Departments include students on their major governance boards. This has seen the establishment of Joint Consultative Committees, and Student Representatives on Department Academic Committees and Department Boards. Internationalising the Oxford experience: OUSU’s International Students’ Campaign held an International Students’ Fair bringing together 1,400 students, academics, University staff and members of the local community to celebrate the international experience at Oxford. Elections and Voter Engagement: The turnout in the annual OUSU elections continues to grow, reaching 21% in the last election in Michaelmas Term 2012, up from 19% in 2011 and 13% in 2010. Increased student engagement was achieved by updating Election Regulations and with greater use of social media. Appreciation: OUSU returned a satisfaction score of 92% in the International Student Barometer 2012 (up from 88% in 2011) placing OUSU alongside other high-rating student-facing services in the University, such as the Student Information & Advice Service.
Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 5 www.ousu.org
Student Training & Support OUSU believes in unlocking the potential of Oxford students as leaders. We organise a large range of training activities and workshops to enable common room officers and students at large to advance student interests throughout the University. OUSU also believes that a student’s experience at Oxford needs to be underpinned by strong support for their health and welfare, and we work directly and through common room structures to make sure that every student is supported to make the most of their Oxford experience.
Students helped by the OUSU Student Advice Service
Training Student Leaders: * OUSU organised 4 workshops on ‘Making Change Happen’, to provide students with different practical approaches to creating social change. Attended by a broad range of student societies, the workshops were delivered by the National Union of Students, People & Planet, Teach First and Citizens UK. * OUSU ran the second Annual Women’s Leadership Development Programme, involving 9 facilitators and 25 participants. This programme organised training on leadership, assertiveness, public speaking and negotiation, and explored the practical application of the skills. * OUSU ran 3 Women’s Representative training sessions on goal setting and issue based problem solving. * OUSU oversee several ‘Campaigns’, student action groups working either to represent particular minority groups (e.g. Women’s Campaign, Disabled Students) or for a particular social end (e.g. Living Wage). Recognizing the value of these Campaigns, OUSU worked with Campaign Chairs to train them as effective leaders, both within and beyond their own campaigns. * OUSU’s Environment & Ethics Campaign successfully ran its annual Campaigners Connected dinner, allowing representatives from student and community groups to come together and share information about their work.
Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 6 www.ousu.org
Working with Common Rooms and Student Academic Representatives: * OUSU worked with MCR and JCR Presidents to boycott Sky TV until all common rooms were given the proper charitable subscription rate: the success of this OUSU-led negotiation will save common rooms across the University around £300,000 each year. * OUSU led general training sessions for new common room Presidents to better prepare them for their new role. * OUSU ran 7 rent negotiation training sessions for MCR and JCR Presidents, providing them with background information about College finance and student costs. * OUSU worked with common room Charity Officers to train them on events management with a particular focus on charitable fundraising in their College. * Working with common room Welfare Officers, OUSU provided termly student support training, covering active listening skills and teaching techniques for responding to everyday college welfare problems. * OUSU developed new Equality & Diversity Training for whole common room committees as a way of spreading and embedding good practice. * OUSU established an online document repository to allow Common Room Officers to easily share material related to negotiations with College * OUSU developed an initiative to encourage common rooms to take part in the Student Challenge Fund (studentdriven matched donations), and 9 common rooms took part in the scheme in 2012-2013.
* OUSU produced a new JCR Academic Affairs Guide. As a result, 18 JCRs have adopted the OUSU model for Academic Feedback Sessions within their College. * OUSU offered tailored training to Division Representatives, and organised the first meeting of Departmental Representatives to discuss their information and training needs, and OUSU’s role in meeting them. Health & Welfare: * OUSU trained over 55 facilitators to guide Sexual Consent Discussion Groups in more than 26 commons rooms and sports teams. These Discussion Groups were shortlisted by Brook and the Family Planning Association for the UK Adult Sexual Health Project of the Year. * OUSU produced and distributed resource guides on harassment and sexual violence to students and College welfare teams, in addition to running a sexual violence awareness-raising session for the OUSU Women’s Campaign and the University’s Harassment Advisors. * OUSU launched It Happens Here, a campaign to raise awareness about sexual violence in our University and to advocate for training and education for welfare teams. Student Parents: OUSU held 4 Student Parent Socials, bringing together student parents from across the University for fun, networking and discussion on issues important to their experience at University.
Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 7 www.ousu.org
Improving the Student Experience
OUSU is committed to improving all aspects of the Oxford student experience, from pre-arrival, to on-course, to post-departure. We believe that support and service provision at each of these stages is essential to making sure that every student can make the most of their Oxford experience.
j ÂŁ150,000 saved for students on a year abroad in 2013/14
Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 8 www.ousu.org
Before Students Arrive: * OUSU worked with the Graduate Admissions Office to improve the information provided to prospective students. * OUSU developed a new Disabled Studentsâ€™ Guide looking at the disabled studentsâ€™ experience of studying here, and signposting them to support and services. * OUSU organised a Peer-Mentoring scheme, where incoming students who have disclosed a disability can sign up to be put in contact with a current student who has faced similar challenges. While on Course: * OUSU rolled out new Student Engagement Surveys to provide objective evidence to inform the future work of OUSU and the University on improving course quality.
* OUSU successfully lobbied the University to reduce course fees for students on their Study Abroad year in 2013-2014 by nearly £3000 each, representing a saving of £150,000 for students across the University.
* OUSU created a new Student Handbook to give students information about what the Student Advice Service does and whom to contact within it.
* OUSU coordinated and hosted 2 sets of Student-Led Teaching Awards helping to shape teaching and demonstrate the appreciation of students.
Examinations: * OUSU ran a six-part seminar series through the International Gender Studies Centre at Lady Margaret Hall on Oxford gender gaps, identifying that marks in Preliminary Examination and confidence levels are the only determining factors for performance in Final Examinations. These findings will allow OUSU and the broader University community to more closely focus their efforts to close the gender gap in the future.
* The OUSU Student Advice Service helped 438 students this year with problems associated with academic complaints, discipline, mental health, disability, and harassment.
* OUSU brought Girl Rising, a documentary about the impact of a girl’s education on her life and community, to Oxford for its first screening in England with two showings seen by 250 students.
* OUSU sat on 5 Departmental Reviews in the past year (Economics, Experimental Psychology, Oriental Studies, the Oxford Internet Institute and Statistics) as the representative of those who research and are taught in those Departments.
After Oxford: * Launched the first OUSU Careers Guide, a joint venture with the University’s Careers Service. 10,000 copies of the Oxford Guide to Careers were distributed to every final and penultimate year Undergraduate and Master’s student. * OUSU collaborated with the Careers Service to organise weekly workshops to support students interested in working in the Third Sector, covering topics such as utilising voluntary experience in the job search, how to find suitable jobs in the Third Sector and how to network effectively.
Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 9 www.ousu.org
OUSU and the Community This year OUSU has dedicated a lot of time towards establishing a strong sense of partnership between students and the local community, by ensuring that students are well represented in local community forums and that initiatives are taking place to encourage a sense of community in residential areas with students, and by increased charitable involvement. Students and Permanent Residents of Oxford: * OUSU started a year-long Community Warden scheme, with 8 students employed on a part-time basis to liaise with members of the community in Jericho and East Oxford. Feedback on the scheme, from City Councillors, permanent staff in the Council, and members of Residents’ Associations, has been very positive.
* OUSU, in association with students, permanent residents, Colleges, the University, Brookes University and the City Council, has coordinated the twice-termly Oxford Student Community Partnership Group to promote communications between the interests represented and the Oxford community. * OUSU has cultivated links with City Council through regular meetings with Councilors in the wards with a high density of students, introductions at Full Council and by representing students at the Council’s Area Forums. * OUSU has worked with a number of Council departments over the year, such as the Safer Communities team, the Community Response Team, the Waste & Recycling team, and the Thames Valley Police Advisory Board. Students Active in their Community: * OUSU’s charitable fundraising arm, Raise-and-Give (RAG), raised £101,148.25.
* OUSU’s RAG organised 22 fundraisers including the RAG Ball, Jailbreak, a skydive, Blind Date, and a dodge-ball competition raising money for 32 different charities, including Jacari, Oxford Crisis Skylight, Helen and Douglas House and the Against Malaria Foundation. * OUSU launched a new magazine on environmental and ethical affairs, to connect global issues with students’ everyday lives. The publication involved students from a range of environmental and ethical organisations in Oxford as writers, photographers and editors, and will be a termly publication by OUSU.
Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 10 www.ousu.org
* OUSU worked with the Oxford Hub to pilot the Oxford Volunteering Showcase, an opportunity to show the range of work students undertake while at Oxford to make a positive contribution to their local community. * OUSU is currently working with the British Heart Foundation to reduce the amount of end-of-year waste which ends up in landfill; the scheme simultaneously raises money to fund medical research at Oxford. * OUSU coordinated and facilitated sexual consent discussions within the student body. * Following an invitation from Oxford & Cherwell Valley 6th Form College, OUSU and the Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC) ran Sexual Consent Discussion Groups with 8 volunteers running sessions for 45 students. The Discussion Groups were successful in encouraging the students to talk about sexual communication as well as exploring common societal myths around sexual consent. Bringing the Community into College: OUSU has worked with common rooms, the Sports Federation and the Local Council to allow school groups access to College sports grounds. Making the University a Living Wage Employer: OUSU has worked successfully with the Universityâ€™s Personnel Services to ensure that all directly employed University staff are paid at least the Living Wage. Discussions are on-going to extend the Living Wage to all contracted and College staff.
Oxford as a Hub, not a Bubble: OUSU tries to make Oxford an outwardlooking global hub for its student body. On the invitation of Aung San Suu Kyi, OUSU led the Oxford Student Delegation to Myanmar in March/April 2013, in collaboration with the Oxford Hub. Nine students travelled to Myanmar to engage with student leaders and community volunteers, and to build partnerships between Oxford and Myanmar. These partnerships have already resulted in a return delegation from Myanmar to Oxford, and a number of other academic, community organising and student unionism projects. Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 11 www.ousu.org
M Looking Ahead In the year 2013-2014, OUSU will be focusing on a number of key areas.
Academic Representation: OUSU will expand its support for Student Academic Representatives, especially at the Departmental level.
Financial Access to Oxford: OUSU will continue to work with the National Union of Students to advocate for a postgraduate loan scheme.
OUSU will improve its representation of and services for part-time students. We will explore ways of creating a closer relationship with students in the Department for Continuing Education.
OUSU will continue its collaboration with the Oxford Thinking Campaign to recruit Student Development Ambassadors and draw in philanthropic support for scholarships and bursaries, at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 12 www.ousu.org
6 OUSU: OUSU will recruit two new permanent staff members in the key strategic areas of communication and operations management, to support the work of engaging with the student body and to help deliver the major projects (like OUSU Freshers’ Fair and the International Fair) that students value from OUSU.
funding increase from the University in next year’s OUSU budget
Sexual Consent Discussion Groups: OUSU takes forward its successful programme of Sexual Consent Discussion Groups, with new facilitators being trained in preparation for Michaelmas Term.
Links to the Oxford Residential Community: OUSU will continue to foster and maintain strong links with stakeholders in the local community to ensure that students are well represented, and that a strong sense of partnership is created between students and permanent residents. OUSU will be working in association with the NUS to devote more time to engaging students in environmental and sustainability work, an area currently under-resourced.
Annual Report 2012/2013 Page 13 www.ousu.org
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