Town Hall with Vice Chancellor Jane Harrington and GSU President Anuj Baral - Highlights

This article is a snapshot of the discussion at the town hall event, which took place on Thursday 9th November.

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Vice Chancellor Jane Harrington and GSU President Anuj Baral

On Thursday 9th November, Anuj Baral, your GSU (Greenwich Students’ Union) President and Jane Harrington, University of Greenwich Vice-Chancellor, hosted a town hall event answering your questions. 

Jane is responsible for the overall functioning of the University, including your student experience

Anuj is your GSU President, one of four elected GSU Officers representing you and your voice!   

This article is a snapshot of the discussion at the town hall event. Keep an eye out for more events in the future to be part of the conversation and to submit your questions. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to keep up to date.   

Student voice  

Both Jane and Anuj acknowledge the significance of students’ voices as a mechanism of communication, feedback and shaping of degree programmes and student experience. Whether that’s the University’s Programme committees, Student Support Desk, Programme Leaders, Personal Tutors, and NSS (National Student Survey) Task Force, or GSU’s collaboration with the University via elected Officers or Programme Reps.  

Diversity and academic activity 

Diversity is at the heart of the University. University staff are given unconscious bias and EDI training, as well as training on carrying out fair assessments in the classroom. However, Jane agrees that more work needs to be done on diversity as students come to Greenwich from various walks of life. Hence, Jane is looking to implement Canvas. It is an assessment tool from Australia that provides structured assessment support to students. On student timetables, Jane says it is highly complex, however, her colleagues are looking to make it more condensed and spread out with an aim to remove modules with low student enrolment. 

International student support  

The University provides specific support for International students, particularly around arrival to the UK and initial transition, along with study skills and wellbeing advice.  

GSU President Anuj has been working on his Working Hours campaign, which is looking into removing the current 20 hour working threshold. However, Jane’s personal view is that students should not work more than 16 hours a week as working extensive hours has an impact on studies as well as the tendency for students to be driven to low paying jobs whilst trying to adapt to this country.  

Campus Facilities 

The University is expanding its facilities. Devonport Business School and its teaching place are testimony to this. The University has recently purchased Bounty House with the plan to move the International College there and free up space at the Greenwich campus. On the other side, GSU is expanding its footprint with the expansion of its teams and the services it is delivering to students.  

Cost of living - Medway bus fare and accommodation and rent

Considering the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, both the 2022/23 and 2023/24 GSU Officer Teams have been pushing for reducing the Medway bus fare. Jane confirmed that consultation is happening on the expansion of the Medway bus service, but also stated that it costs the University more than £100,000 to subsidise the bus fare for students.  

Cost-of-living has had an impact on student accommodation and rising rents. On that, Jane, who is the Chair of the University Alliance, has been lobbying the Government and Shadow Cabinet to increase the maintenance loans of students in line with the rate of inflation. Jane also said that the University is looking at refurbishing the Avery Hill student accommodation and threw light on the bursaries and funds available to students.  

If you're having trouble with the cost of living, accommodation or rent, then do check out the support available on our GSU Advice page

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