MSC Keele University - 2nd September 2007.

NATIONAL POSTGRADUATE COMMITTEE

1st Meeting of Management Sub-Committee

Held on September 2nd

At Keele University

In Attendance

  • Duncan Phillip Connors (DPC)
  • David Thurkettle (DT)
  • Will Cooling (WC)
  • Armineh Soorenian (AS)
  • Matt Gayle (MG)
  • Andre Oboler (AO)
  • Victoria Townsend (VT)
  • Sarah Weeks (SW)
  • Simon Felton (SF)
  • George MacFlarene (GM)
  • Tim Roll Pickering
  1. Year´s Strategic Plan

SF says that it is vital that we lay out a strategic plan that will cover all the NPC´s activities for the forthcoming year and that pulls together all the ideas discussed during the 1st September by the MSC.

DT says that we need a clear idea of what we´re going to do this year and action people to do it.

  1. Training Conferences

DT says that he liked the idea of a training conference for SU sabbaticals, as suggested by WC during the 1st September. DT says that we need specifics to carry the idea on.

VT says that QAA, OIA, Wakefield and Shellmore would all be appropriate speakers for the training conference and that the aim should be to highlight postgraduate issues to SU sabbaticals and offer them guidance.

MG says that in addition to inviting external speakers, the experiences of the MSC should also be used and that there should be a focus on highlighting the work of the NPC to SUs.

DT and SF discuss whether it would be possible to get the OIA involved; SF believes it should be, if we give them enough time.

The MSC agrees that there should be a 10am start and that the registration fee should be as minimal as possible.

The MSC discusses where it should be held; with Birmingham, Salford, Keele and Nottingham considered. It is decided to hold it in Salford proving VT can arrange it. If not, WC to look into using Nottingham as a backup, DT to look into Keele as a backup and SF to look into Birmingham as a backup.

The MSC discusses what date it should be held, October 30th is decided upon. The event will be `Postgraduates and Students´ Unions´. VT shall be responsible for the venue and hospitality, whilst SF and DPC shall be responsible for arranging speakers and sessions.

  1. General Meetings

The MSC agrees that there is no point in having general meetings for the sake it as it creates disillusionment and wastes affiliates and MSC members´ time. It´s agreed that there should be a greater focus on training at general meetings and that each general meetings should be based upon a theme.

1.3.i. First General Meeting

The first general meeting should be used as a taster to general meetings and the NPC for those who have joined or got more involved as a result of the training conference. There should be a focus giving affiliates the time to talk to each other and the MSC about the challenges they face.

Linking into this there may be a focus on best practice with PRES and QAA involved. DCP and SF also suggest that if we successfully develop a best practice guide and/or league table then this could be incorporated into the event. DCP and SF to look into this in more detail.

Nottingham is chosen as the venue, with the date sat as 24th November.

1.3.ii. Second General Meeting

The MSC agrees that there should be an international students theme to the second general meeting with UKCOSIA involved and MG and AO reporting on their projects. It would be a two day event and take place in Glasgow.

The date is sat as 16/17th, however there is flexibility in that if AO cannot make it.

1.3.iii. Third General Meeting

The MSC discusses where to hold a general meeting at a Welsh venue but decides against in preference to holding a Welsh-only event that is more tailored to there needs and getting them involved in the NPC.

WC suggests that a new affiliate should host a general meeting, the MSC agrees. DMU is suggested due to the favourable response their delegate had to the AGM/Conference. The MSC agrees, and reserves approaching Leicester as a backup.

The theme of the general meeting shall be `Postgraduates: Taught or Research´ and focus on the different experiences that the different types of postgraduates have. It shall be held on the 31st May

13.iv. Annual General Meeting

The MSC discusses possible themes for the AGM; DT suggests Widening Participation/Opening Access as the theme. The MSC agrees to recommend this to GM.

The MSC agree to once again hold the AGM in August

13.v. Schedule

DT asks for everyone responsible for organising the three ordinary general meetings to confirm the venues by the 10th September

  1. Management Sub-Committee Meetings

The dates that are set for MSC meetings are:

25th November

15th February

1st June

  1. Communications Strategy

DCP and SF begin the discussion saying that we need to develop a communications strategy that allows us to better communicate to our affiliates and ordinary postgraduates.

WC suggests organising national and local networks for postgraduates and SU officers. It is also suggested that we better use local affiliates to encourage universities that are not affiliated to get involved.

The need to show affiliates what we´re doing was stressed repeatedly by various MSC members. Suggestions about how to do this were:

Revive the Postgraduate News electronic newsletter; MSC agrees to this and agree to DT´s suggestion that all of them submit an article by the 14th September. Word limit is 300words.

DCP suggests that he goes round and talks directly to Students´ Unions; whilst the MSC believe that he should be available to go and visit Students´ Unions there are other ways of communication (telephone, electronic, other MSC members, other local affiliates) that should also be used.

MG suggests that we should look at reworking the policy response papers so that are able to be published; DCP to look at reworking the policy responses in this way. SF to look into developing the AGM papers into a pamphlet.

DCP is to look at revising the guidelines series to create a new Postgraduate Book and updating individual articles and putting them on the website. DT asks MSC members to read the articles and decide which ones should be prioritised for re-writing by 14th September. MSC agree.

DT suggests to AS that she writes a `guidelines´ article on disability. AS agrees.

SF offers two chapters of a book about postgraduates and postgraduate education that he has co-authored. *Can only be used for the website due to copyright.*

  1. NUS

DCP says that we must consider how the NPC can work with the NUS and what relationship the two organisations may have; especially given the unique circumstances concerning the governance review.

DCP says that we should be more involved in NUS training and liberation campaign events.

The MSC agree to invite West Streeting, NUS VP for Higher Education to the next MSC meeting for further discussions on this issue.

  1. Affiliation Fee Reductions

DCP repeats the idea mentioned on the 1st September of reducing affiliation fees for first-time affiliates as a way to broaden the affiliate base of the NPC. The MSC discusses this are unable to reach a conclusion about whether to implement such a system due to concerns raised by DT and VT of whether this would offend current affiliates. Instead DCP is to go away and negotiate with possible new affiliates and try his best to get them to pay the full affiliation fee. WC asks TRP to bring (on behalf of finance sub-committee) to the next MSC meeting a presentation on the affiliation fee structure and any issues it raises.

  1. Finance Sub-Committee Report

TRP presents the financial report on behalf of FSC. This report is accepted.

  1. Summary

  • Agreement to hold a training conference at University of Salford on the 30th of October for SU Executive Officers
  • VT to arrange venue (or pass responsibility to WC or SF if there should be any difficulties)
  • SF and DCP to arrange speakers and workshop sessions
  • The 24/11, 16&17/2 and 31/5 are dates of this year´s general meetings
  • The 25/11, 15/2 and 1/6 are dates of this year´s MSC meetings
  • DCP to organise travel for the 15-18/2 General/MSC meetings
  • All MSC to submit articles for PN by the 14/9; word limit of 300words
  • DCP and SF to look at reworking submissions and other NPC publications to make them more accessible and mainstream publications
  • All MSC members to review the guidelines series and decide which ones should be prioritised by the 14/9
  • For DT/DCP to invite Wes Streeting to the next MSC meeting
  • TRP to arrange for a presentation from FSC about the affiliation fee formula for the next MSC meeting

1.10. Date of Next Meeting

25th November at the University of Nottingham