Presidential Monthly Report (October 2019)


 Presidential Monthly Report 


Dear Postgrads, 

This document serves to highlight the activities, events and officer engagements over the month of September as far as the KPA is concerned. Myself, Currie, Sharon and the committee are looking forward to holding lots of exciting events over the course of the year for postgraduate students! 

Freshers Week...

A huge thank you to all attending and engaged postgraduate students in our Freshers Week. It was a huge success and we welcomed so many new faces to our postgraduate student union! Cheese and Wine night welcomed a whole host of students, myself and attending committee members enjoyed meeting you all! We also hosted a trip to Wedgwood which was really enjoyable, a chance for postgrads to kick back, unwind and do something a bit different! The Clubhouses' Gin It and Jazz it night was a huge success with record takings for the evening! It was so lovely to see our KPA bar thriving again, with lots of new and excited postgraduate students! As a wind down at the weekend, we took students to Hanley and Paks Foods to introduce new comers to the city. This was followed by a communal potluck dinner and film night, where we gave away free hot chocolate and popcorn. We also enjoyed all attending postgraduate contributions to our potluck dinner from around the world! 

We also circulated a survey for Freshers Week and received some fantastic feedback from you all. We gave away two Clubhouse vouchers for the value of £15 each to say thank you for your contributions! In total we had 60 participants, which is a real success, with over 65% stating that they would definitely recommend the KPA to a friend, and over 75% satisfaction with the week overall! Suggestions for events have been collated and we will be evaluating them throughout the year so we can host more events tailored to YOU! 

Call for events suggestions... Here at the KPA, we endeavor to hold as many postgraduate student inspired events and trips as possible! If you have any suggestions or ideas, please get in touch at kpa.chair@keele.ac.uk or kpa.activities@keele.ac.uk, our Activities Officer, Sophia, would be happy to help! 

The KPA By Elections...

We are currently in full swing of our By Elections for International Officer! As part of our support for the #SheShouldRun campaign, we hosted a workshop for prospective female candidates. The women on our current committee made a great effort and contribution to deliver some really inspiring information on what drove them to run for elected positions. A huge thank you to our elected officers on the KPA committee for providing their support to all interested candidates. Campaigning will begin on the 5th of November so I wish the best of luck to our candidates. We will be hosting hustings on the 12th of November at 5.15pm in WM0.01 where you will be able to find out exactly what your candidates aims are for the rest of the academic year. A huge thank you to Dee Alimi for his contribution to the KPA and its membership as International Officer since July 2019. Your support for postgraduates has been fantastic during your time in post and I wish you the best of luck with all of your future endeavors. I would also like to give thanks to our coordinator, Alison, who has been working closely with our Chief Returning Officer, Sharon and our Deputy Returning Officer, Currie, in order to carry out the election process. All of your hard work has been admirable. Fantastic work has been carried out by all involved. 

Our dedication to bettering postgraduate mental health and wellbeing....

As some of you might have seen on our social media accounts, we will be starting "Mindfulness Mondays"! These 2 hour sessions will take place at the KPA Clubhouse from 3-5pm every Monday to ensure that you are taking some time out from work and winding down. Inspired by our fantastic clubhouse manager, Jules, we will be providing free teas, coffees, cake, books and magazines EVERY Monday. We understand just how important it is that postgraduates take a break every now and then! Come and relax with your friends and enjoy the peace and quiet in the heart of your postgraduate student union. 

We also have exciting news as part of the Office for Students Mental Health Bid for the university and North Staffordshire! We now have Toni Karic, a postgraduate specific mental health and wellbeing support project officer! Toni is truly fantastic and is keen to understand the day to day challenges faced by students! As part of her work, she will be attending some of our weekly events to better get to know postgraduate students. It would be lovely to see students at our events to meet Toni and understand the value of having an officer in place to support the postgraduate body. She is keen to meet everyone! 

In collaboration, Toni will be joining us at Mindfulness Mondays every week! She will be based in the small upstairs room of the Clubhouse to chat with postgraduate students and gauge the sorts of issues that they are facing as part of her casework. She will be with us from 2pm - 4pm every week, so do come along and chat to Toni and wind down with some free cake and coffee afterwards! She is keen to get a good understanding of postgraduate specific issues and aim to resolve and trouble shoot problems as much as she can, in collaboration with the student support team and the KPA. 

Keele100...

On the 11th of November, student representatives will be engaged in an open forum to discuss and voice concerns surrounding academic and student support. We are looking for a number of PGR representatives to attend the event, to discuss concerns surrounding PGR provision. This is your chance to communicate to the university any issues or concerns for postgraduate research students - remember, if you have experienced something, chances are that other students have also faced similar issues. 

Senate...

On the 16th of October, myself and Currie, along with the SU sabbatical officers, represented the student voice at University Senate. As part of Senate, myself and Amy Holden prepare papers to report back to the university and senators on what activities we have hosted. More importantly, it is used in some instances as a student case study, so that we can voice concerns that have been raised with each union. One of our main concerns is the issue with rising prices of travel to university with the current bus system. This has been highlighted in order for liaison with First bus company. We were also given an update on the formation of the Keele Doctoral Academy, delivered by Pro-Vice Chancellor for research, Professor David Amigoni. It was noted that the KDA would be fully implemented by February 2020. Professor Amigoni highlighted the importance of bringing postgraduate practices together to standardise them and to improve the experience of research students and to improve access to training. The importance of good governance structures was noted in order to assess quality for students. It was also confirmed that Keele University had been placed tenth out of 103 institutions surveyed for PRES! 

Successful Events...

On the 14th of October, "Pretty Pricks", a florist company, came to the KPA Clubhouse to host Autumnal wreath making. It was both a lovely and relaxing event, which was well attended by a number of new faces! We provided free prosecco and non alcoholic drinks for all attendees. We have never hosted this event before, but given it's success, it will definitely be something to consider going forward! 

On the 25th of October, the Clubhouse hosted "ABBA NIGHT", which is always busy! It was fantastic this year and so much fun! I even joined in with the dressing up! - along with Clubhouse manager Jules, and kitchen manager Charlotte! An ABBA anthem filled night, which gave way to a busy evening for the Clubhouse staff! A huge thanks to our staff who managed to stay calm under pressure and provide an enjoyable service for customers! 

We have also seen huge turnouts at our weekly KPA Quiz! These have been busy every week so far and we have provided tonnes of chip butties for teams throughout the month! Special thank you to our regular quiz master, Charlie Quixley, who has been coming up with some fantastic questions for all competitors! 

Coming up...

TONIGHT, the Clubhouse will be joined by the Kieran Matthews Jazz Trio for live Jazz music! Kicking off at 7.30pm, be sure not to miss it! 

Betley Bonfire on the 2nd of November at 4pm! 

Sheffield Trip to the Christmas Market on the 23rd of November! 

Watch this space for more upcoming events for postgraduate students and make sure you are keeping up to date with our weekly digest! 

Here at the KPA, we are constantly working to ensure that we are putting on the correct events and providing our best service to our members. As you know, we have a full committee this year, who all have tonnes of enthusiasm and ideas for events! We will be continuing our coffee mornings and postgrads that lunch throughout the year, so please do keep coming along to these! We will also be working alongside the clubhouse to hold some fantastic events; If you have any thoughts or ideas for events that you would like to see, please do get in contact kpa.chair@keele.ac.uk, or kpa.vp@keele.ac.uk! We would love to see some ideas!

Meeting our PGT and PGR reps...

On Saturday 26th of October, myself and Currie had the pleasure of hosting an induction for our PGT representatives. We will be working closely alongside PGT reps to ensure that our taught postgraduates are getting the best experience at Keele University and flagging any issues that we can to education and student experience committees! 

We also had the pleasure in engaging with our PGR reps! We held our first PGR rep working group to establish the ways in which we can flag PGR specific problems and engage the university in helping to resolve them. It is fantastic to see reps working together from across faculties and understanding where there is room for improvement for PGR provision! 

Do you want to be a Postgraduate Students' Officer for KeeleSU? 

KeeleSU are currently in the process of holding their by election! They are looking for a postgraduate specific students' support officer! The ideal candidate will represent all postgraduate students at Keele, promoting events of interest to PG students and working with the KPA committee to ensure issues affecting postgraduate students are heard and addressed. If you are interested in running for election please go to keelesu.com/elections to nominate yourselves! 

Congratulations...

I would like to use this space to congratulate some of our postgraduate students in their academic achievements and contributions to campus...

I have a lot of congratulations to give this month with is so inspiring and rewarding.

Congratulations to our very own, Sophia Hayat Taha, who presented a paper and represented Keele in Amsterdam this week! 

Congratulations to Martin Goodhead and Mohammed Hanif Khan who presented at the Work In Progress seminar this month! 

Congratulations to our very own, Gabriella Gay, who performed her poetry at the 'I Am" Launch!  

Congratulations to Luvuyo Zantsi, who has submitted his PhD! 

Congratulations and good luck to all incoming ProfDocs who have recently started their courses! 

Congratulations to everyone who is teaching this semester - you are going to all smash the year ahead with your hard work and expertise! 

Congratulations to Sarah Briggs, who has just submitted her first paper and who also dedicates so much time to training new cohorts and modules on sustainability. 

Congratulations to Laura Carter, who has just had a baby girl! I wish you and your family happy times ahead!

To all of the many masters students who have just received their marks and feedback! We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and look forward to seeing you at January graduation! 

Congratulations and thank you to Joe Potts who has kindly volunteered to be a nominated KPA minibus driver! 

(If you would like to nominate yourself or another student to feature within this section, please get in touch with me at kpa.chair@keele.ac.uk)  

If there’s anything missing that members would like to have seen included or anything members are expecting to be done, you are welcome to get in touch with queries or issues. 

The committee and I look forward to working with all you amazing postgrads! Please feel free to email either Currie or I on kpa.vp@keele.ac.uk or kpa.chair@keele.ac.uk if you have any concerns, want to give us updates or simply just want a chat!! 


Best,

Katie Charlton

(KPA President)

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