What’s the General Secretary been doing?

Much of the work of the General Secretary is invisible to students and student officers, meeting universities and organisations and attending meetings to ensure students views are represented. Recently the NPCs work has been very visible in a number of areas.

The NPC has continued to gain press coverage with an article in the Sunday Telegraph on Postgraduate Funding and articles in the THES about postgraduate issues. The NPC has also been a witness for a supervisor in an industrial tribunal. This was a very demanding position but one where the NPCs breadth of experience and advice could be harnessed to defend the rights of a supervisor accused of improper relations with their students. The case threatens to challenge the close working relationship between supervisor and student and I was extremely pleased to be a witness to highlight existing and good practice in regard to supervision. The tribunal is ongoing but I hope to report a good outcome soon.

The NPC has also been working with the National Union of Students and Association of Managers in Student Unions (AMSU) to highlight the way the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) can work with the student movement and integrate and embed themes of quality and student learning in institutions and student bodies. Wes Streeting, VP Education and myself alongside other NUS staff attended the QAA Board Meeting in February to present these ideas and to discuss the QAA taking on a greater student led engagement. The presentation was received well and the QAA will be expanding its engagement, firstly with the creation of a Development Officer position for liaison with students.

The final very publicly visible activity of the NPC was hosting the Eurodoc (a federation of associations of doctoral candidates and young researchers) Annual Conference in London in March. This attracted delegates from over 25 European countries and presentations from UK bodies and European organisations concerned with the development of the student experience. What was particularly exciting for students was a view shared by Mr Cornelis-Mario Vis from the European Commission DG Research on the European Charter and Code being more legally regarded and not voluntary. This is exciting for students as the Charter and Code offers guides to institutions on what they should be doing to support research.