What's Tim been up to?

Many of you are probably wondering about what I get up to day by day aside all the things you hear about through the email list and things covered in the articles in this newsletter. I thought therefore you might want to find out a bit about some of the other things Ive been getting up to. There is of course all the administration dealing with anything up to 60 emails a day answering enquiries that people are sending me from around the UK. As Im always easily reachable by email wherever I am, its a great facility to be able to communicate with everyone I need to as effectively as possible and save time for other important things. Once thing I have been working hard at is keeping all administrative work down to a minimum so I can block out time to work on important things like publication writing, projects and much more. Here are some of the interesting things Ive therefore been working on:

  • Visiting institutions has been something I have taken the opportunity to do as much as possible and continue to do so. London has been a key target there through working with University of London Union to help set up a postgraduate network, which will help NPC have a base in London for my successor. Also I have visited cities in the far northern parts of England including Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester and plan to visit more in the future including Scotland and Wales.
  • Expanding resources for student representative bodies is something I have been yearning to do for ages, which I do around the holiday periods when there are less meetings on etc. Obviously the more literature I can produce, the more impact and benefit this will have nationally. At present I am writing further resources to "upgrade" our resource folder. I plan to complete this by the summer, where I will be able to send out an "upgrade kit" to affiliates to add the new sections to their existing resource folder. That is indeed the intention of the resource folder, which is also available on the website. Further to this I am re-drafting a guide with NUS entitled "Increasing involvement of postgraduates in your students unions". Using this guide with the help of NUS I hope to promote the point that involving postgraduates is an important dimension of equal opportunities in student representative bodies. This will hopefully help us to reach many student bodies (and indeed many thousands of postgraduates).
  • Working on eurodoc related business, as coordinator of the supervision and training workgroup. My plan here is to develop a charter for supervision and training across Europe that all countries can recognise. This has involved collecting information from across EU countries and trying to bring it together to get a common understanding of expected standards in different countries.
  • Working on conference planning, to invite speakers, plan the programme and all the other little details that our big event involves!
  • Working with the Quality Assurance Agency to rewrite the code of practise for research degree programmes. This has begun in a working group that myself and Jen Crowe of the University of Birmingham are attending (where Jen is the official representative). From attending the workgroup, the opportunity arose to emphasise the need for effective complaints procedures in research degree programmes and also induction programmes. We have been granted permission to write parts of this code where our interest and experience will benefit, which is an excellent opportunity for NPC. I myself certainly walked out of that meeting saying to myself "its at times like these I know why NPC needs to exist". Without our presence there, the needs and interests of postgraduates would not have reached the right people.

At present I am getting pen to paper on all the things that have come my way and other peoples way as to what would be useful for NPC to do. As ever there is a limit as to what we can do but I am keen to identify what the priorities should be. Two things I am fervently keen to do is expand NPCs horizons towards identifying the needs of part time postgraduates and those in teacher training. This is something on the agenda for the future.