Deciding to apply for the MPH at the University of Birmingham was a long and complicated decision, however I have been committed to establishing a career in public health for a long time and I felt that this was the right first step for me. I was delighted to be offered a place and promised myself that I would embrace the experience fully. When the opportunity arose to volunteer as a student rep, I immediately did so. I felt apprehensive about the role, however I was determined to take every opportunity to put myself outside my comfort zone in order to develop my experience and personal skills. Having worked as a nurse for ten years, I have much experience of acting as an advocate for others, and I felt that this would enable me to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.
So what have I learnt during my time as student rep? I now have a much clearer understanding of how the university works as an organization. I have been able to develop my communication skills, by accurately representing the opinions of others regardless of my own thoughts about an issue, and by practicing diplomacy without shying away from difficult discussions. Most importantly, I have had the opportunity to become better acquainted with my fellow students and to contribute towards improving the course for future cohorts.
Term two has emphasized the intensity of this course and has been an extremely busy time for many. The majority of feedback has been very positive, and Kanza, Ember and I have endeavored to accurately represent students’ views. Any comments have been taken forward to the termly Staff Student Committee (SSC) meeting. Both negative and positive feedback has been well received by the committee and has been afforded equal attention. Where problems have been highlighted, module leads are committed to making refinements in order to better meet students’ needs. There is clear intent to make alterations to both the timetable and specific modules next year, based on feedback from students.
With the majority of taught modules behind us, a well-earned summer break is on the horizon for the part-time students, and I would like to wish all full-time students the very best of luck with your forthcoming dissertation. Kanza (full-time rep), Ember (international rep) and I (part-time rep) are here to serve you until the end of the academic year. The next SSC meeting will be held on the 15th June 2015. If you have any comments or concerns between now and September, please don’t hesitate to contact one of us, even if classes have finished.
Written by Susannah Tooze, Student Rep, MPH Student (part-time)