News Article

Adam’s experience being an Academic Board Member

Shape Our Union: Stand as a student representative

Autumn Elections are here and you can now nominate yourself for a number of different positions, one of these being the Academic Board Member role. We asked Adam about his experience of being an Academic Board Member, including what he enjoyed and also why he would recommend becoming a member to other students.

1. Tell us a bit more about yourself 

I’m Adam, my pronouns are he/him, and I study philosophy! I’m easily distracted by questions I’ve never thought about before, but I particularly focus on moral philosophy and its European history. The Academic Board rep roles rotate between undergrads, taught postgrads, and research postgrads. I’m the latter: I did my MA at King’s and am now halfway through a PhD here.

As far as hobbies, I used to be a rower, but the pandemic and living far from the river put a stop to that. This might sound like a bit of a mix, but I enjoy entomology – i.e. insects – and keeping up with the drum and bass scene.

2. Why did you decide to be a member on the Academic Board?

I decided to stand for Academic Board last year because it sounded like a good fit both for my skill set and for the amount of time I had to offer. It’s good to have a mix of skills among the student reps on the board, but great attention to detail is definitely helpful if you have it. I’m great at detail, but I’m not someone who’s naturally comfortable speaking up in meetings, and having that characteristic instead could make you a good fit for Academic Board too. 

3. What is the Academic Board?

Think of the Academic Board as like the senate of King’s. It has about 80 members, including senior management, elected staff, and elected students. It has the final say on a really diverse range of issues at King’s, from what the college’s rules for students should be to what the names and acronyms should be for departments. In the past year on the board, we’ve had strategic discussions about decolonisation, climate change, and diversity and inclusion; we’ve approved and asked questions about changes to the programmes King’s offers, and to the pay framework for GTAs; we’ve heard reports each meeting from KCLSU and from the many college committees; and we’ve done all the other little rituals of the board like approving awards of the AKC.

4. What does the role entail?

The Academic Board meets twice a semester for two and a half hours. A week before, you’re sent a very long PDF to read of all the meeting papers. A lot of those papers aren’t actually discussed, if there’s nothing controversial in them. You can send in questions or comments about the papers in advance, which I’ve found a really useful mechanic this year: my role as a rep on the board has given me an opportunity to force the King’s leadership to justify and explain things. You can also raise questions and comments in the meeting, and force items to be discussed or put to a vote. The senior management team don’t have a majority on the board, and will sometimes pull proposals if you just suggest you’ll make a fuss about them.

5. What have you enjoyed most about being on the board?

What I’ve enjoyed most about the board is getting, twice a semester, to engage directly with the leadership of King’s. I always felt taken seriously in the role and I learned a lot in it.

6. What skills have you gained from being an Academic Board Member?

More than anything, I think it’s a good role for your self-confidence. If you properly engage with it, you’ll be able to look back on a year where you dealt with hundreds of pages of papers, held your own in conversation with the most powerful people in King’s, and maybe changed something.

7. Why should people nominate themselves to be an Academic Board Member?

You should nominate yourself for Academic Board if you think you could be good at it. Someone from your faculty needs to step up, and you might well be the best of the candidates. You’ve read this far – you’re interested, go for it! It’s not a significant time commitment, and it will show you a side of King’s, and maybe a side of yourself, you wouldn’t otherwise get to see.


If you want to represent your fellow students and develop a range of transferable skills, you can nominate yourself for a position until Monday 11 October at 12pm. To find out more about the different positions you can nominate yourself for, click here!


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