Name: Amy Fox
Hometown: Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Course: Business and Law
Opposing candidate profile:
A 21-year-old final year B&L student from Westmeath, Amy Fox is hoping her experience as both a student and seasoned LawSoc veteran will help her achieve success in the race for the position of Undergraduate Education Officer.
Fox seems to be basing her campaign on improving what’s already available rather than making any grand changes. A policy not very often held by candidates, who usually make outlandish promises, and one which may set her apart from the competition.
“In terms of education, there are very few tangible facilities and services unless you come to the Education office with assessment issues… there are very few services they offer unless people turn up in times of need. So I want to take the Undergraduate Education office out in terms of education clinics.”
The clinics she speaks of were once an accepted responsibility of the Undergraduate Education Officer, but have since been left by the wayside. Fox wants to take the position and bring it back to the students. “I think a major issue, and it’s been an issue for the last number of Education Officers [in general], is being visible on campus and engaging students with the SU.
“I feel like once people can identify with a service the union provides then they can identify more with the Union and I feel that this is a particular problem with the Undergraduate Education Officer at the moment.”
It has been a common complaint in recent years that people simply never see the two education officers on campus, a problem that feeds directly into the attitude of disinterest that often accompanies anything to do with elections.
Year after year the posts of Welfare and Equality Officer and President are the most talked about positions, most likely because these are the positions that hold the most visibility. People may assume, therefore, that these positions are more important and useful. Fox plans to change this attitude. “The Undergraduate Education office needs to make more of an effort to engage with students and be visible… you also need to be a person who people feel they can come and approach.”
Hailing from Athlone, Fox is aware of the challenges faced by students settling in and getting used to the system in UCD. She is also very aware that a lot of minds can be put at ease simply by the experienced hand of an older student. Having seen the success of the peer mentor system for incoming first years in this regard, she hopes to extend the system somewhat through a project called Peer Assisted Learning (PAL).
“The idea is to use older students’ knowledge to benefit the years below them. If students from older years can, in a seminar-style format, sit down with first year students and give them pointers on the teaching and examination style of certain lecturers I feel it would greatly benefit the students.”
Aiming to affect real change within the system currently in place, Fox favours tweaking current methods so that they better serve the interests of students and hold the college more accountable. What she proposes is neither radical nor groundbreaking, but simple and easily implemented changes that could help to create more consistency and accountability in continuous assessment through her proposed online assessment calendar.
As it stands currently, lecturers are supposed to stick to the dates and weighting of certain tests they set out at the beginning of their courses, however Fox says, “In my experience that hasn’t always been the case.
“The idea behind the online assessment calendar [is] to allow students to plan their work properly so they don’t end up with lots of assignments at once and the other reason was to hold lecturers to their promises at the start of the semester so that students can prepare properly for their busiest periods.”
She has also proposed a tutor rotation system, which would stop students having all their work graded by the same tutor. This addresses the fact that “the difference in grading between tutors has been very wide” and allows for a fairer grading process, a solution that should be amicable to all parties.
Fox is also focused on class reps and their roles. She feels that reps at the moment have a poor idea of what exactly their role as class reps entails and are failing to fully represent their respective faculties as a result of this.
“The [class] reps at the moment have a huge amount of responsibility in that they deal with academic issues, welfare issues and the social aspect of their courses… We need to look at training class reps to ensure that they understand their importance and to understand that they have to be stimulated to engage with academic issues, that they can feed those issues to us.”
Fox also wants to try and create greater industry links with the college so that students can make summer placements a credited part of their degree. “What I would like to see is some sort of third semester internship in that they work a month during the summer and it is also credited as a module.” In this manner she hopes to improve the employability of graduates by increasing their experience levels while they are in college.
Game-changing or sensational are terms that will never be used to describe Foxs’ campaign. Rather she has come up with a set of well laid-out and achievable goals to improve the system already in place rather than altering it completely. Her level-headedness and non-antagonistic approach may serve her well during the campaign.
Opposing candidate profile: