The motion creating a new NPC Academic Sub-Committee passed through its second and final reading at the Oxford meeting of the NPC this February.
The creation of this new academic body within the NPC followed months of discussions about the need to increase academic service provision for member institutions.
The NPC has always provided a number of valuable academic services, such as educational sessions at the annual conference and the Guidelines series. There are also more indirect academic provisions, such as the submission of response papers to government agencies, which are intended to ensure effective advocacy of graduate-specific educational issues.
However, there were increasing concerns that postgraduates unable to attend the annual conference would have little alternative access to NPC academic sessions. It was also thought that the task of compiling NPC response papers might benefit from the contributions of an active Academic Sub-Committee.
The Sub-Committee itself remains very much in its embryonic stages. Having just been created at the most recent NPC meeting, much of its remit remains to be determined. Possible priorities for the new body will be discussed at the NPC's June meeting, after which the real work of the group will begin.
Among the options being considered is the possibility of NPC seminars to be held throughout the year. These one-day workshops would likely be speaker events addressing educational issues specific to UK postgraduates. They would likely be co-ordinated in conjunction with existing conferences or weekend workshops sponsored by other organisations, at least intially. This approach would assist with the establishment of NPC workshop events through shared marketing expenses.
The possibility of hosting seminars around the country for member institutions is another option that is currently under discussion.
Additional ideas will be discussed in greater depth at a Session dedicated to the topic at the next Annual Conference of the NPC. All ideas are welcome and encouraged, as the fixed agenda of the new Sub-Committee continues to develop in the months ahead.
The creation of the Academic Sub-Committee renders a more consistent organisational structure insofar as most other NPC Officers operate in tandem with correlating Sub-Committees. The fact that the Academic Secretary will now have an institutionalised consultative mechanism within the NPC will surely heighten the level of academic service provision afforded by the Committee to its members.