Introduction

Each year, eight students are elected to form the Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) Executive, who are tasked with improving your student experience and ensuring your voice is being heard at all levels of the University of Dundee.

As a student at this university, you are a member of DUSA and our purpose as a charity is to represent your interests and provide services which support you in achieving your goals.

The 2020/2021 Executive have produced this document to outline their strategic priorities for the year, which have been identified by you as being important to improving your time at university through the Elections process in February 2020. This manifesto highlights the key themes that were inspired by each team member’s original campaign policies, as well as the relevant action plans.

All policies identified in this manifesto support DUSA’s charitable objectives and have been chosen as we believe they will help the student body in dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on the student experience.

This manifesto has a clear vision of what we want to achieve, and it has been separated into four key themes for the year. Each are essential for enhancing and supporting your year at university, and as a student-led organization, we need your support in helping this become a reality.

Our Vision

To foster an organizational culture that supports our students’ journeys through their education, no matter whether they are on campus or online, and to strive to make their student experience the best it can be.

Our Mission

To build, support and connect a community of students which captures and harnesses their talent, ambition and innovation to build a better university, now and in the future.

Our Ambition

COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented year which encourages us to further reflect on how we continue to improve your journey through university. It has only made our purpose of supporting you each step of the way, that much stronger.

This year, DUSA will ensure that our Association builds a better experience for our student body, whether you are studying at one of our campuses or digitally. Our student community is a strength which we want to grow in this challenging time.

We will continue to champion our diverse and changing student community, which allows for collaboration and new perspectives. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion will be at the heart of all we do, and where we don’t get it right, we will listen, learn, and work to do better.

In this new environment, we want DUSA and the University to improve their digital offering, so all students, no matter where you study, have the same opportunities for engagement, support and personal development.

Our relationship with the university is crucial to the work we do. We will continue to cultivate and grow this strong partnership to advocate for the values of equality and sustainability in the work that we do. Transparency and communication between DUSA, the university and the student body will be key to ensuring a successful and beneficial working relationship.

We want the Student Representative Council, School Representatives and the general student body to take an active role in helping us achieve the goals set out in this document by sharing feedback, coming together and working with us to build a better university.

DUSA’s Charitable Purposes

  1. 1)  The prevention or relief of poverty
  2. 2)  The advancement of education
  3. 3)  The advancement of health
  4. 4)  The advancement of citizenship or community development
  5. 5)  The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science
  6. 6)  The advancement of public participation in sport
  7. 7)  The provision of recreational facilities, or the organization 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. 8)  The promotion of equality and diversity
  9. 9)  The relief of those in need by reason of age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantages

Measurement and Impact

Measuring the impact of our work is a key issue for the Executive and DUSA. Each of the key themes in the following pages contain action trackers, which state why and how we plan to achieve our goals in these areas. We will measure the results of these by establishing whether the main goal was achieved, the level of student engagement with the initiative compared to that of previous years, and general feedback from the student body as a result.

Furthermore, we will work with DUSA’s new Senior Management team to create new and innovative ways to ensure that our campaigns, events and other work is continually improving as we move forward. This will involve reviewing our current measurement structures and looking at best practice of similar organizations, ensuring that it is of a high quality.

Communication

DUSA’s role at the university is to represent the students, and ensure their voice is heard at all levels of the university. We have a range of operational services available, but these have come to define the organization. We want to revamp the image and reputation of DUSA, to ensure that we are seen as a charity that is here for our members. We want to stimulate discussions and encourage feedback to ensure that students are at the heart of all positive changes within DUSA and the university.

Action

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Relevant Charitable Purpose

Reasoning

Create a Communications Strategy which ensures that our students are fully aware of the range of support services we provide.

The advancement of education

Supporting access to academic and welfare services

The advancement of citizenship or community development
Helping build a community whether you are on campus or learning at a distance

We will build a network of online spaces and forums which will increase our ability to talk to you and discuss matters which are important to you and your education.

The advancement of education

Better communication allows DUSA to collate and feedback your experience to UoD and aid in enhancing your education

The advancement of citizenship or community development
The virtual spaces will allow students from all locations to connect, discuss important issues and share experiences

Welfare

DUSA offers a free, confidential advice service through The Hive. It’s a key resource for students needing academic advice, housing guidance and welfare support, and we will continue to promote and champion the service this year. We will be looking to significantly restructure The Hive, in order to increase the quality of the support we offer and as we are conscious that there may be a range of reasons why a student may not want to physically meet, our services will be offered both online and in-person.
The Hive advice service can be accessed online, by emailing advice@dusa.co.uk or housing@dusa.co.uk.

Action

Relevant Charitable Purpose

Reasoning

To collaborate with our University in creating a Mental Health Charter, allowing us all to cement, champion and improve our mental health support offering to you.

The advancement of health

Mental Health can be a barrier in preventing students reaching their full potential, and we want to offer as much support as we can to help you flourish.

The advancement of citizenship or community development
Providing support for the students that need it, as well as pre-emptive self-help support will lead to easily accessible resources.

Restructure DUSA’s Hive advice service, increasing student engagement with the service and the quality of the support that we offer.

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The advancement of education

Continuing to offer Academic Support, especially in this new environment, will ensure less students are affected academically by COVID-19.

The advancement of health

By increasing our Housing and Welfare provision, we can support more students to have a healthy, fulfilling education.

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Create easily accessible digital welfare provision, in the form of an online Welfare Guide and associated campaigns.

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The advancement of health

We want to make sure our welfare support is easily accessible by all students who need it.

The advancement of citizenship or community development
By offering the same level of support digitally as we do in-person, we can help make sure everyone feels supported and part of a wider community.

Engaging Communities

We want to create a close-knit community on all of our campuses and ensure we include the students that are studying at a distance. We are aware that there is a lot of work to be done! DUSA has taken steps to develop a better relationship with our students but we want to do more to engage our Postgraduates, International students and distance learners. We want to support and champion every student, so we are committed to increasing our engagement through new and innovative channels.

Action

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Relevant Charitable Purpose

Reasoning

Improve the support materials for student societies on the DUSA Website, allowing us to continue to champion the amazing work that they do and the impact that they have.

The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science
Societies achieve so much throughout the year, so by increasing the level of support available, we can help them continue to grow.

The provision of recreational facilities, or the organization of recreational activities, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the persons for whom the facilities or activities are primarily intended

Student groups and societies are a key part of the student experience, and even more-so as a result of COVID-19. We want to make sure students have the same opportunities to engage, network and grow, regardless of where they learn.

Utilize RAG fundraising events to appeal to different student groups, allowing us to increase our engagement with all students.

The advancement of citizenship or community development
Helping the community is a great tool to unite different student groups under a common cause.

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The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science
By introducing revamped, new and innovative fundraising events to the student body, we can give them new opportunities to have new experiences.

Develop the Hive spaces at Kirkcaldy and Ninewells to offer more support on all of our campuses.

The advancement of health

Expanding and increasing our provision at all campuses will increase the number of students that we can support.

The advancement of citizenship or community development
DUSA struggles to engage with students that aren’t on the city campus. We can do a lot more to help these students feel included in the wider university community.

DUSA will undertake a range of activities and campaigns that help promote, not only the benefits of volunteering, but also the opportunities available to our students.

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The advancement of citizenship or community development
We hope to harness the power of our diverse student body to create a positive impact on the local community around us. This can also allow students to create a new network of people around them as they go through their education.

The advancement of education

Volunteering allows you to enhance your transferable skills which can improve your contribution to your education and career aspirations.

Representation

DUSA is committed to supporting and enhancing a strong partnership between students and staff. Having a strong and effective representation system that ensures collaboration, communication and improvements across all ten academic schools. We must ensure that students can enhance their own learning experience, especially as modules are delivered in the new blended format. We will do this by championing transparency and feedback between the university and the student body. We will also ensure that our student members can drive forward change within the association and we review and amend our own structures to make sure they are fit-for-purpose.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are at the heart of all that we do. Where we don’t get it right, we will listen, learn, and work to do better in representing our students.

Action

Relevant Charitable Purpose

Reasoning

Restructure the Student Representative Council, to increase the numbers of students that engage with the council, making it more reflective of the student body and how they feel.

The advancement of education

Giving students a bigger impact on how their education is given, will increase their engagement with the processes in place.

The advancement of citizenship or community development
A sub-committee structure will clarify the role of the council and allow for direct feedback to be given in specific areas.

Create an Action Tracker to lobby and work with DUSA and the University, to ensure both organizations are accurately representing and supporting black students, as well as the rest of the student body.

The advancement of citizenship or community development
We must ensure that we support all of our students, and we must work to resolve the issues raised through the Black Lives Matter discussions with the student body

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The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science
We must ensure that these conversations keep happening, and that learning and improving is embedded into the university culture.

Adapt the School Representation Structure to suit the needs of students in the new teaching format, allowing for a real, constructive partnership between the university and the students to flourish.

The advancement of education

Giving students a bigger impact on how their education is given, will increase their engagement with the processes in place.

The advancement of citizenship or community development
Clarifying the representation structure will ensure higher-quality feedback is given quicker, allowing for more urgent and meaningful change in the new blended format.