Work by one of your Mile End Disabled & SLD Representatives, Katherine, has been passed at the University’s Senate!
Katherine spoke to many other disabled students and found that learning tools are severely restricted for disabled students, putting them at a disadvantage to their peers. She found there were many inconsistencies blocking their ability to lean and engage with their courses, making it much harder to progress at University.
One of the main concerns raised by students was the inconsistent use of QReview and lecture material not being available in advance for students. Many schools were found to be withholding lecture materials and not publishing them until the end of the semester (in some cases even longer) to incentivise attendance at lectures, without considering the needs of disabled students.
Katherine decided that there needed to be action to call for a policy that would aid the learning of disabled students, and felt this needed to be decided by consulting with disabled students to provide clarity about what would best assist their learning.
Katherine then wrote a paper with help from the Students’ Union that was submitted to the Student Experience Advisory Group, and Katherine presented this to a number of University staff members. The experience was daunting but Katherine did brilliantly and gained the support of a number of members of staff!
At the meeting of the University’s Senate, actions were agreed about the changes that needed to take place, including a proposition to review Queen Mary’s lecture capture policy, with encouragement for staff to use lecture capture as often as possible. It was also agreed that lecture notes should be provided in advance of lectures via QM Plus and for staff to regularly review module reading lists to ensure they were accessible. The paper also recommended that University staff should receive accessibility training, which would be beneficial for students.
The Principal said:
“The work Katherine has done to amplify the voice of the students she represents and to work with and influence senior decision makers within QMUL demonstrates student representation at its very best. Katherine has built relationships with key stakeholders in the institution and worked with Queen Mary Students’ Union and the University to achieve a great impact for Disabled Students and Students with Specific Learning Disabilities at Queen Mary”
The Head of the Disability and Dyslexia Service also said:
“Katherine’s paper on disabled students’ access to teaching and learning provided a clear and well-informed snapshot of the travails facing many of QMUL’s disabled students. Just as impressive as the paper itself was her passionate yet analytical presentation of its themes in both the Student Experience Advisory Group and the Education Quality Standards Board, where her first-hand account of the frustrations that many of QMUL’s students feel with the lack of utilisation of vital teaching resources, as well as restrictions on their availability, impressed senior staff at the University. Given that Senate have broadly accepted the paper’s main points, Katherine can feel proud to leave Queen Mary having left a genuine legacy.”
Well done Katherine!