The Director of Education is responsible for matters relating to education, postgraduate studies, and employability.
Hi! My name is Amy Gallacher and I am your Director of Education 2020/2021. My remit covers, unsurprisingly, all things education with key areas of personal focus being postgraduate studies and employability. You can read more about my interests and goals below.
As a student representative a key part of my role is to ensure your voice is heard at all levels of the University. I also serve as a trustee of both the Students’ Association and the University of St Andrews.
I am currently involved in various working groups and committees which are working to ensure parity in the student experience for the coming academic year. Where a significant focus is on Dual Delivery and how to support students in their studies, whether that is remote or in-person.
You are always welcome to reach out to me with any concerns or suggestions for anything related to education, teaching or academia in general. My inbox is always open!
You can also follow me on twitter to keep up to date on what I am up to as well as by tuning into Sabbs on STAR to hear my weekly update!
Academic Representation – I lead the Education Executive Committee, consisting of the two Faculty Presidents and the PG Academic Convener. In addition, I train and support the 23 School Presidents and 350+ Class Reps. I also work closely with the Postgraduate Society President and the Postgraduate Development Officer more broadly on Postgraduate issues. The School Presidents and I meet weekly at Education Committee which is complemented by the School Presidents' Forum. The Rector, Deans of Science and Arts, and the Proctor also attend this committee. These platforms allow us to address major issues relating to learning and teaching in the University.
University Committees - I work closely with the Proctor’s Office and University staff on policies to ensure the high standard of teaching that St Andrews is known for is maintained and constructively built upon. By ensuring the student voice is at the centre of discussion, I work to make sure that any plans are responsive to student concerns and feedback. In this sense every student is given the chance to shape their academic experience at St Andrews as well as the long-term strategic direction of the University. I also uphold the student voice on numerous University committees, two such committees being Learning and Teaching Committee and the Academic Monitoring Group.
Transparency: I want to make sure that the work of your representatives is properly credited and highlighted to the student community. We are in the process of setting up a Facebook page where I will be posting weekly updates as well as updates from your School and Faculty Presidents. In a normal year I would’ve said my door is always open to drop in for a chat, but given the building is currently closed I will say instead that you are more than welcome to drop me a line if you have any concerns about your studies, academic progression or University policy as a whole. I will always strive to help where I can.
PG Affairs – Postgraduates make up a significant portion of our student cohort, however their voice often gets lost amongst the undergraduates’. I want to continue the work of previous DoEd’s to ensure postgraduates have the necessary feedback channels and own individual platforms both within their Schools and at a University level. A big part in tackling the issue will be to ensure that there is an appropriate number of Postgraduate class reps to give their cohort a strong voice. An aim, jointly shared with the Postgraduate Academic Convener (pgconven@), is to have at least one representative per School. We are aiming to do this in part by running PGT elections later in the semester to maximise the number of students who are able to nominate themselves, since taught masters programmes are having a delayed start. We also want to maximise postgraduate engagement at Education Committee meetings where the PG Academic Convenor will be invited as a full member to attend and raise PG relevant agenda points.
PG Executive Forums – This new forum gives postgraduate representatives, both taught and research, the opportunity to air concerns with the Deans of Science and Art to work constructively to address them. I facilitate both alongside the PG Academic Convener (pgconven@) where PG Reps from each School are invited to attend.
Events: As School Presidents’ are drivers of community building within their Schools it is important to include them in the efforts to integrate and build postgraduate community. We want to empower School Presidents and PG Reps to run events which are appealing and engaging to both UG and PG cohorts.
Additionally, this year the Faculty Presidents and I will be working to facilitate and support interdepartmental events as well as the sharing of ideas and solutions through pre-Educomm meetings and socials. If you have an idea for an event, then feel free to reach out to me, Joe (artdivfp@) or Chloe (scimedfp@) to let us know!
By creating multiple avenues which are responsive to feedback we hope to create an appealing role which gives individuals the ability to shape their School environment – even within the short time that they are here.
Careers Centre - As part of my employability remit I work with the Careers Centre to help School Presidents and Class Reps to put on engaging School specific careers events. Where each School President aims to put on at least one event per semester.
The recently formed School President Advisory Group (SPAG) works to bring the student view into the development of the Careers Centre. Three School Presidents from each faculty sit on the committee to meet to share feedback regarding Career support, events and specific School needs. The group works to ensure that School Presidents are supported in their roles as well as to ensure that the Careers Centre is meeting the needs of the growing student body.
The newly created Employability Rep position will help support School Presidents in creating and running departmental events through liaising with the School’s Careers Link and the Careers Centre. They will assist in gathering and responding to student requests and feedback, and so providing support for the School President throughout the year.
Although we remain in an unusual situation with the uncertainty surrounding lock down and remote learning through my term, I aim to address some of the ongoing issues that the DoEd faces.
Study Space – This year the discussion of study space has changed nature due to the restrictions placed on our shared physical space, however it remains an issue shared by all students. I will be working this year to ensure that as the move to the new Eden Campus progresses, we repurpose the freed space as new study spaces. I will also be working closely with the University to ensure that our shared space is as safe as possible by passing on your concerns regarding returning to use these spaces. Where possible I will be looking to expand the space available to students and encouraging the University and Schools to think creatively about the spaces we take for granted.
Lecture Capture – The discussion around lecture capture has changed massively since I campaigned last March on my desire to see it brought into every School. These last few years have seen an increase in it’s use across the University campus however COVID has brought the discussion on leaps and bounds farther than anyone could’ve imagined at the beginning of the year. By no means is the discussion over though, and over the next year I will be working to ensure that, when restrictions relax, we will still have access to lecture capture as a resource.
Library Resources – Each year brings a renewal of the discussion surrounding the quantity of resources the library offers, be it physical or digital in nature. Given the dramatic change in the learning environment, the plans I had have adapted slightly to respond to the new situation. To ensure that no student is disadvantaged, I will be working closely with Library staff and Reps to ensure that the resources are responsive to your feedback. I will also be continuing the work of previous DoEd’s who pushed to expand the resources available to students. If you haven’t been able to access books, journals or articles and feel it valuable for your course please let your School’s Library Rep or myself know by email and we will ensure it is taken forward.
I am looking forward to the introduction of the new Disabilities Rep and Online Rep roles as well as a collaborative project to introduce a student-led academic journal! Stay tuned for updates and as always feel free to get in touch with feedback or suggestions!