A bit about me...
What is your role?
In my role as your Education Student Leader, I am your elected go-to-officer for anything that relates to your studies from an academic point of view. For example, if your timetables are clashing, I would be happy to lease with the relevant admin people in your school in order to make things easier for you. I am here to listen and make sure that academically, all students can reach their potential without any barriers.
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I am a law graduate from Birkbeck, University of London expecting to attend my graduation ceremony in November/December. I was born in Ecuador but have lived most of my life in London. This means that I have 2 passports (British and Ecuadorean). I am bilingual in Spanish and English and have worked as a linguist (interpreter) in medical, social work, and police settings for many years. Being self-employed on an ad hoc basis meant that I could also pick up different jobs for example as a ticket officer in festivals which was really fun as I would get to see my favourite bands when not on shift. Also, I got to work with students who have hearing impairments and take notes for them while they were at lectures. This was great as it gave me the opportunity to learn about various topics without enrolling as a student!
Why did you run in the elections?
Even before being elected, I have already achieved successful outcomes for my classmates and me. For example, for the previous academic year in the Law school for the Trusts module. I did this by reducing 4 questions to 3 questions in our assessment. I did the same thing for the Legal Theory module in 2022 so we were assessed on 3 questions instead of 4. I also managed to push the date for the exam for Intellectual Property in 2021.
Making these changes and seeing the impact it had on not only my academic performance but that of my peers was very rewarding. I would love to do the same for anyone who believes something like this needs to be done for their assessments. I should add that this was during the lecturer's strikes where we did not attend all lectures and we were being assessed on topics we were not taught on.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself?I love music, dancing and singing but very shy about singing in front of strangers… I also have started a book collection with the authors signature adding ‘signed, sealed, delivered for Ellie’.
- Altering the AI policy to work better for students. I would like to ensure that the AI policy is given enough consideration to take into account students with all levels of ability in order to provide fairness. This would be done by meeting with the drafting members of the AI policy and other officers - especially the disability officer.
• There is a working group in place which has been set up after meeting with various college key players in drafting the AI policy. (Term 1 Update)
- Create guidelines for lecturer’s assignment feedback. When feedback to our assessments is limited, how are we supposed to improve when we do not understand what we can do better or what we did wrong? With this in mind, I would like to create guidelines for lecturers so that students get feedback relating to assessments giving opportunities to improve grades in future assessments.
• After raising the current state of some feedback given, especially relating to the law school, a 10 step plan which was written and accepted years ago has been brought back to the memory of college leaders and is being looked at by them to ensure feedback is in line with what students need.(Term 1 Update)
- Campaign for suitable timetables with consideration to travel time for each term. During my studies, I had 1.5 hour lectures one after the other. On certain occasions I had to be in the main Mallet Street building and straight after in the Euston Road building. I thought this was unfair as the walk would take up to 15 minutes. I did not think this was fair and it would definitely not be fair for students who may have mobility issues. For this reason, I would like to ensure that at least every subsequent lecture, should take place in a nearby classroom. This would avoid missing the start of a new lecture or having to rush from one to the next lecture.
• This is an ongoing point. Meetings have been held to discus the use of the Euston Square Building and I have raised the timetable conflict which exists when commuting to and from the Malet Street building and Euston Square. (Term 1 Update)
- Adjustments on assessments covering topics that are not taught due to strikes. As your student officer, I will liaise with our students, lecturers, and the heads of Birkbeck to come to the best outcome for students, so that the best decisions are made. This would require collaboration on your side so when you are supposed to be assessed on something that you were not taught. Then I could write to the decision makers who can get reduced questions or more fairer ways on how you are being assessed.
• Since the strikes are now on pause, this point is not relevant; however, if the strikes were to resume and students were to complain in relation to strikes I would be happy to ensure this point in my manifesto is carried out. (Term 1 Update)
- Creating an education learning page for education-focused events and resources. This would give students clear guidance on who their relevant Learning Development Tutor are. Also, clear access and links to pre-recorded sessions on academic goals. For example, how to be more critical in essays or how to reference correctly. Also, links to future sessions are provided by the Learning Development Tutors. More information on what is and how to access Studiosity, its limits and how to use it.
• I have added two tabs on our website. For the first one ‘Succeeding at Birkbeck’ is a guide to studying in Birkbeck with tips given for students to academically succeed at Birkbeck. This includes a picture of the academic skills book display which I put together in the library. The second tab ‘Subject-Specific Tutors and Resources’ which is a page which gives information in this topic for all students in the university about who their Learning Development Tutors are. It also includes useful online resources for students to progress academically. (Term 1 Update)