The Power of Student Voice

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Daniella Quill in front of the University building at Kedleston Road

The Power of Student Voice: an update from your Union President, Daniella Quill

As we slowly adjust to the new normal and begin preparations towards what we anticipate the future of learning will look like, it’s important to reflect on how difficult but also how extraordinary these uncertain times have been for us all. We have discovered areas in which we have had to work at pace, reacting and adapting, to ensure there is no detriment to students. This is alongside upholding an excellent standard of learning and teaching through remote working, to ensure we continue to deliver an excellent student experience.

Collaborative working has been the driving force for making those challenging decisions. As a representative, I have taken pride in leading the way on behalf of students, to ensure the Union and University continue to collaborate with the student body in making those vital decisions.

Student voice is powerful, and this has been shown through the changes that the University has made in response to feedback. The introduction of a no detriment policy was shaped from thousands of students asking for a policy aiming to safeguard their opportunities to succeed. The University listened, responded at pace, and subsequently implemented a policy. This is an example of a powerful student-led change across the institution. This hasn’t been the only change we have seen in these past months; smaller communities have been vocal in their response to moving to remote working.

Student parents and carers have faced challenges as they transition to working from home, due to additional responsibilities of home schooling or full time caring. The Officer team and our  representatives have been supporting those individuals through this difficult time and have lobbied for students to get access to technology to help complete their studies. Their feedback was listened to, and a laptop loan scheme was introduced. This saw over 200 laptops delivered to students, many being student parents and carers.

Although challenging for us all, we are determined that when we look back on these difficult times we can be proud of how our students, the Union and the University have worked together to pave the way for students to succeed in what has been a tough year. As we start to see students celebrating their achievements, we are also beginning to celebrate success by hosting our virtual awards over the next two weeks. Hundreds of students and staff will be joining us at our annual Education Awards and our Sports Awards, in collaboration with Team Derby.

Looking forward to the next chapter, as we continue preparations for the next academic year, it’s important to use these reflections to continue working in collaboration with students by using the power of student voice to pioneer student led change.

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