Voices

This week’s blog is a little unusual. Normally, I take the time afforded by weekly musings to explore an idea, or talk around a topic, or simply reflect on various happenings that have struck me during the week.

However, this is not a normal entry. This entry is a simple, blunt, and, in comparison to my normal 800-1000 word average, short entry. It is, in fact, a call to action. It’s also aimed primarily at our students.

At the University of Salford we have (thankfully) an amazingly communicative dialogic relationship with our students and our Students’ Union. Over the time that I’ve been at Salford, we’ve fostered a rich and many-layered multi-channel dialogue into which students, staff and the Students’ Union have invested hundreds of hours of time and oodles of energy, and I’m sure we’ll all continue to do so. Because, as the advert goes, we’re worth it. And the results of such a collective dialogue and voice are also worth time invested many times over because of the things that happen as a result of that dialogue. For instance, whether one believes that the actual questions of the annual National Student Survey really measure exactly the right and meaningful things in exactly the right and meaningful way, the NSS continues to be a phenomenal tool in opening, focusing and extending the dialogue between our University and our students. This year we had the highest response rate we’ve ever had – just shy of 80% – brilliant news for us all which means extremely robust data for us all come August. Each year final year  students spend an average of 5-10 minutes filling this survey in and then, with the Students’ Union we collectively use that gathered voice as part of institutional data and information which steers and guides us in enacting positive developments. Anyway, put simply, voiced opinion properly directed has the power to be difference-making. Granted, developments inevitably take time, but the student voice is a powerful tool in helping us prioritise actions (you see where this is going, don’t you…)

And so, to all you fantastic students who help us help you, who complete module evaluations, and experience surveys and engage in forums and work with our Students’ Union (and to those of you in direct contact with our students, please do pass this on) use your voice. Don’t let things happen to you. Make things happen through you. To do this, to change outcome, to shape the world you live in…

(Wait for it)

Vote.

Votevotevotevotehashtagvote

Get out and vote on 8th June. If you haven’t registered to vote and you’re eligible, you need to register by 11:59 pm 22nd May.

Do it. Do it right now. Stop reading my waffle, stop whatever else you’re doing, open up your browser and go here:

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

You can also find out more for registering for postal voting here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/voter-registration-forms-paper-versions

Its takes less time and less energy than the National Student Survey.

So do it. Whatever your political persuasion, do it. Use your voice. The same voice that has helped us all make strides in developing an excellent student experience here at Salford can make waves on a larger scale. But only if you direct your voice and put marks where they matter.

*Postscript: I’ve never revisited or edited a blog post after writing it- they just kinda stay put. However, I saw this picture on bookyface and thought that, in the circumstances it provided a good prod…


So do it now – c’mon – time’s a wastin’.

Tick tock, folks… tick tock….

(Go on then)

See you next week.

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Author: samgrogan

I am many sided; Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience at Salford University, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, driven Tough Mudder runner, and a lover of the outdoors. I live in the heart of the beautiful Peak District with my wife and our pets. On weekends, you'll find me out in the countryside with the dog, running or walking up a hill, or typically cooking for friends (I'm getting better, so they say) My role at Salford is one I cherish. I'm one of the fortunate few who wake up excited about the day ahead. It's really not work when it's this much fun. As part of the Vice-Chancellor's Executive Team I work alongside a gifted and dedicated team of creative educationalists passionate about being better tomorrow than we are today. As PVC SE at Salford I hold executive responsibility for both the assurance of quality and standards of our institutional academic portfolio, and its strategic direction and character. Intertwined with this facet of my role, I am responsible for strategic leadership and enhancement of the wider student experience and the development of a distinctive Salford learning environment. My overall purpose, driven by these two key parts of my role, is to develop a bold, playful learning landscape at Salford which delivers holistic sustainable success, preparing our students for life. I'm fascinated by how people learn, and how we might collectively make that experience result in a profound expansion of personal and professional horizons and an extension of possibilities for all parties involved. My greatest reward comes from seeing thresholds crossed, barriers broken, new habits formed and changes made. To this end, I'm also endlessly absorbed in considering how we might develop better, more useful ways of integrating the digital landscape and other technologies, emerging and present, into the act of learning. I think we're just beginning - a brave new world awaits... My background is in performance - Before undertaking my PhD and before spending the first half of my university career as a lecturer, programme leader and head of department, in my early career I acted, danced and made theatre across the world. This ten year experience continues to be fundamental in shaping the way I think about teaching and learning. At its best I see it as a facilitated journey of discovery, play, risk and adventure anchored in 'reflective doing'. Not 'knowing' in this context is often a signal that a useful path is being trodden - Thinking on its own is just rehearsal...

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