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We need more say in how our degrees are run

26th June 2012

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Many say one of the most important experiences of university (other that getting a degree, of course), is to learn new life skills and how to work as an 'individual.'

This often leads to a rather hands off approach by the university, thus incurring a somewhat distant relationship between students and lecturers, leading to questions of whether or not this is morally right, with regard to support. Additionally, one could beg to question whether or not students actually have the right to more involvement in their degree and thus contact with lecturers and their relevant department.

Although still often seen as an experience for the privileged, one could argue universities are in fact merely providing students with a service of education. In this vain, therefore, the university should provide the pupil with some degree of 'customer service' within their degree. Essentially, this would regard a more integrated approach between staff and students.

At the moment, it seems that for many, the likes of student reps are either there simply as a rubber stamp. Perhaps the case is that students simply don’t know how to get involved, or feel their input will not make much difference in such a vast institution.

Referring to the much contested issue of fees, now, more than ever, it seems necessary that students have more say in how their degrees are run. With the rise in fees beginning this September, the new intake of students surely deserves value for this huge sum of money. Arts and social sciences students are paying the same amount of money as their science counterparts but for far less contact time and use of resources. The time spent in a taught environment, therefore is valuable and students should have more say as to how this is structured.

The final thing that is of concern with regard to students having more input in their degrees is with lack of organization and communication within departments. For instance, one department may put all their essay deadlines on the same day, with 12,000 words in for submission. One lecturer argued this was reasonable, as this sort of deadline would be faced in the 'real world.' Quite frankly, this does not seem realistic. I understand there has to be an element of time management, but however hard you try, normal reading is forgotten about at the end of term when all these deadlines are in – where is the educational benefit in that?

Further to this, cross department, or cross school communication is necessary for the likes of joint honours students and their deadlines. Students, therefore should have more involvement to rectify these structural problems and improve their university experience. It seems this lack of communication could be easily solved, thus reducing stress for students, for whom university is ultimately serving a purpose.

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