Vote for Julia again!
Thanks to your votes I came second (with over 500 votes) in the election for the President of KCLSU in April 2022!
Thank you for taking the time to read my manifesto. My name is Julia Kosowska, I am a 3rd-year EU MSci Neuroscience student, and I am running for the role of Vice President Education (Health)!
Below you can read through the full version of my manifesto. You can read through the essential ideas in the shortened version here: https://linktr.ee/juliakosowska
As Vice President of the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Scheme in the past 2 years and Conference Lead of the Neuroscience Society this year I have heard a lot of feedback about KCL and KCLSU from a large proportion of the FoLSM and the IoPPN students. Having heard from many of you, I want to represent you. I understand your message and as VP Education (Health) I will make sure that King’s College London hears it too!
Should you elect me as VP Education (Health) I will dedicate my heart and my mind to improving your academic experience at King’s College London via the following strategy:
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its result - online teaching - resulted in huge anxiety amongst students and the risk of academic underperformance. Many of us feel that KCL has not done enough to ensure that we will not be disadvantaged.
→ I will do all that is necessary to bring back the 24h examination period for written assessment and the safety net for final marks.
Insufficient feedback, or even the complete lack of it, is a common issue at KCL. This is not something we agreed on applying to KCL and accepting the offer. As one of the most well-respected universities in the UK and worldwide KCL does not hold itself to the same standard as it holds its students. Lack of feedback - especially with regard to the exam essays - effectively means that teaching at KCL is not much different from a YouTube tutorial.
→ Together with the President and VPs, I will work on pushing KCL to provide more feedback which will be more personalised and have better quality, with a special emphasis on the exam essays, detailed feedback and marks breakdown.
KCL academic staff often claim that they are not aware of problems faced by students and students’ requests. This is used as an explanation for the lack of change or action. Part of the problem is the fact that Student Reps do not have enough power to speak out for us and represent us effectively.
→ Reps need to have more opportunities to communicate with both students and KCL academic staff. Students who want to volunteer for these roles need much more training and support throughout the year to perform their duties well. As VP Education (Health) I will work on developing a program to improve and facilitate communication between Reps and the students they represent as well as between Reps and academic staff.
Open-door Policy & Transparency
Students know very little about the way in which KCLSU works to achieve long-term goals or in terms of daily basis. Very few people know that the role of the VP is representing the student union and liaising with various academic bodies via meetings. Even fewer know that because of that the VP has limited time and capacity to work directly on their manifesto. For these reasons, students’ dissatisfaction with KCLSU has been high enough to result in a score (46% and 48%) significantly below the benchmark (55% and 53%) in 2020 and 2021 respectively according to the National Student Survey.
→ As VP Education (Health) I will introduce the Open-door Policy to make myself accessible to people. I will spend most of my time between KCL campuses where students will be able to see what I am doing daily, have a chat with me or ask me questions. I will also do everything possible to increase the time I will spend working on the policies.
King’s College London:
KCL remains very vague in its reports about what has been achieved and about what the money is spent on. For that reason, students feel rightfully frustrated knowing how much profit KCL makes from student fees and how little output we can see daily. According to the National Student Survey KCL has not scored above the benchmark in any of the 10 questions. Most poorly ranked were ‘’Assessment and Feedback’’, ‘’Organisation and Management’’ and ‘’Student Voice’’ scoring as low as 10% below the benchmark.
→ KCL needs to communicate their policies, achievements and money spent more clearly and more widely. I will work hard to ensure that this information will be publicly available to everyone.
Mental Health Support at KCL is not nearly proportional to the stress we are facing throughout our education. Scheduling an appointment with the appropriate mental health counsellor takes a long time and access to these services is very limited. KCL being either aware or not aware of how serious this issue is goes wrong about fixing the problem trying to get students to relax but not actually getting to the bottom of the problem and its underlying cause.
→ As VP Education I will devote my time to working with KCL to invest more money into Mental Health Support Services to make them more accessible to students and more effective by reducing stress or anxiety.
In addition to focusing on educational aspects I will work to achieve the following:
It is important to say here that KCL is very good at remaining open and inclusive to a wide variety of students at the initial stage. KCL is not, however, as good at supporting its students throughout the entirety of its education. Many students at KCL encounter financial difficulties. An especially bad impact on many students as well as their families was COVID-19. Even if we were to disregard that fact, we need to remember that academic workload increases very rapidly between the first and final year students. Therefore, more financial support if necessary for KCL to provide to both its home, former EU, and international students.
→ The crucial question, in this case, is where KCL will take the money from?
Although establishing the new source of money could be very difficult and non-realistic there is an argument to be made that KCL should reimburse the tuition fees to the students - partially at least - as part of the justification is KCL having to rent out teaching facilities or laboratories to teach students. Since none or very few of us used these in 2020/21 the money could be refunded to students or reinvested in financial support.
At the end of 2022/23, I would like to say that we DID it! (Diversity, Inclusion & Democracy)
The goal of the student union is to represent its students to the university. Most students feel like KCLSU has represented King’s College London to students by explaining why we cannot fight for the refund of fees or not really expressing students’ frustration and anger to King’s College London. Many students felt isolated having only just started their journey at KCL. Doing an online degree from behind the screen is not a diverse, inclusive or democratic environment. We must face the reality and admit that both KCL and KCLSU failed many students in the past 2 years by promising them a high quality of education and fair representation.
→ As mentioned above, in a year’s time I want to say that we DID all we could, that we were fully committed, and that we made KCL students feel heard by their student union. Be able to say that I will work hard to ensure that the communication between students and KCLSU is democratic, and inclusive, and that is it is a dialogue. I will work hard with all KCLSU members to make you believe and realise that we are here to represent you - every single one of you!