Every March, University of Dundee students vote for their Dundee University Student Association Executive team (DUSA Exec).

After taking office on the 1st of July, the DUSA Exec Team has to draw up their goals and action plans for the year, established from the needs of the UoD students and the policies they voted for. This year we decided to focus on four themes which appeared consistently across the running policies of the whole team. The themes are as follows:

After long discussions and analysis of every officer’s policy, as your 2018/19 DUSA Executive, we have developed a collective action plan to help us execute this Manifesto.

In developing this Manifesto, full consideration of DUSA’s Charitable Objectives was exercised. As a result, reference to the numerical list below will allow for direct relation of relevant charitable objectives to specific aims within our action plan.

  1. The prevention or relief of poverty
  2. The advancement of education
  3. The advancement of health
  4. The advancement of citizenship or community development
  5. The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science
  6. The advancement of public participation in sport
  7. The provision of recreational facilities, or the organisation of recreational activities, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the persons for whom the facilities or activities are primarily intended
  8. The promotion of equality and diversity
  9. The relief of those in need by reason of age, ill health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage

Community

To maintain a safe and connected student community,empowering relationships that welcome our diverse membership which forms connections for life.

Our student body is a vast and diverse group, with students aged 16-60+ coming from all over the world to study with us. DUSA wants to continue working closer with our wider community through ‘Raising and Giving’ (RAG) to embrace our students becoming volunteers and fundraising Dundee wide.

Through our commitment to educate and raise awareness of Zero Tolerance, we would like to uphold a safe environment while recommending and encouraging further implementation of this policy throughout the city.

Action Plan:

  • Continue our work across the whole student body but further engagement with different student demographics, which has been a challenge for DUSA in the past. We have identified a variety of students that we do not engage strongly enough, and with whom we would like to establish a greater rapport:
    1. International Students
    2. Widening Access Students
    3. Ninewells and Kirkcaldy Students
    4. Postgraduate Students
    5. Distance Learners Students
  • Increase awareness of the Zero Tolerance policy to our students and work alongside the local Students’ Associations i.e. Abertay Union and Dundee and Angus College to develop the policy further.
  • Create an Executive Video to promote all our DUSA Services with the aim to be shown in as many classes as possible.
  • Employ RAG’s objectives to work with the wider Dundee community.

Employability

We will endeavor to create a network which bridges Dundee University alumni and local volunteering opportunities with our student body while developing DUSA’s relationship with the many support services provided by our University.

Moreover, we will continue to hold our own events in order to illustrate transferable skills for employability and give due credit and acknowledgement to different career paths. All while placing a strong focus on the skills students gain through extra-curricular activities.

Action Plan:

  • Connect our students with local, national and international networks to increase their employability and opportunities. This year we want to champion connections between our students, our alumni and volunteering prospects to seek support and broaden the horizons of our students. The aim of this is to encourage our students to be more confident in their abilities and employability prospects.
  • Run a campaign of success stories of students who succeeded in extracurricular activities and alumni journeys.
  • Strengthen DUSA links with different University Departments to promote employability to all students, through collaborations across the board.
  • Raise the profile of extra-curricular activities and transferable skills through events and empowerment of the student volunteer roles. Enable our students to understand the benefits and unique advantages participating in student activities while being in academia. We are employing a Volunteer Developer as part of our team, with the mission to create an accreditation system for all our volunteers.

Representation

To empower our student representatives to be able to engage with the wider student body and effectively contribute to improving the student experience. This work will aid in making all student members aware of our representation system.

DUSA will aim to support each representative to engage with the student population and be the advocate of their needs to key decision makers. We also want to make sure that students, Undergraduate to Postgraduate, know how and where to access this support throughout the year. We want our students to drive the change they want to see across our Campuses.

Action Plan:

  • Clarify how the representation system works for our students, both academically as well as pastorally. Working with the University we would like to clearly outline how the representation system can be utilised by students to improve the learning experience while clarifying with each of the schools, the role of the School Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Class Representatives.
  • Work with the University to tackle the feedback loop by embracing the power of Class Representatives and the use of the University Feedback System.
  • We are improving our current Rep training while developing it for online. Moreover, we are working with sparqs on creating PGT specific Class Rep training.
  • Make being a student representative more appealing for all students to engage further with the educational experience. As well as acknowledge the work of our representatives through the development of the open badges.
  • Explore options to improve our disciplinary process through advancement of technology and collaborating with the University on upgrading our disciplinary procedures.

Welfare

To encourage our members to make healthy lifestyle choices, balancing their education with social/personal life and keep mental health values at the forefront of decisions made.

When focusing on welfare, we decided to brand our welfare campaigns as Healthy Self. We feel this is an easy identifier at events we are doing to promote mental health and wellbeing. We would like to work with the University to combat Mental Health alongside focusing on Zero Tolerance, Sexual Health, Healthy Relationships and Unhealthy Habits.

Action Plan:

  • Raise awareness of healthy relationships and practices that could be beneficial to a student’s life.
  • IIncrease awareness of mental health support across all campuses and work with the University to develop and implement the Mental Health Strategy.
  • Provide mental health awareness and Zero Tolerance training for society committees and other student groups.
  • Identifying and raising awareness of unhealthy habits which students develop at different times throughout the year i.e. fresher’s week, exams, deadlines.

Measurement and Conclusion

The above themes and subsequent action plans have been carefully researched and based on important data from sources such as the National Student Survey, Qualitative Student Feedback, Representation Survey and the Student Matters survey.

Every campaign or project we run aims to directly impact our students. There are many existing campaigns/projects which are essential to DUSA’s Operations. Included in these are; LGBT+ History Month, Winter Market, Academic Skills Week, Elections, etc., which we will continue to run alongside our Manifesto stated above. At the same time, we are aware that priority issues may arise which we are prepared to factor in to our calendar of events as the year throws up student issues.

Finally, we will try to provide realistic success measurements for every campaign or project we run. On our Interim Report, AGM and Annual Report, we want our students to be able to identify any impact on the student population created by the Executive, by showing them exactly what we got up to.

Each respective DUSA Executive team member now tries to collate their own pool of information to add to those of years gone by, and as a result we are able to better understand what has and hasn’t worked in the past. We will utilise this information as much as possible to deliver higher impacting events and campaigns, and consequently document their impact and data for the benefit of future Exec teams.