Start of term message to students from DVC (Education) and Guild/SU Officers - 21 September 2021
Welcome to the University of Exeter. Whether you are joining us for the first time or returning, we hope that you are looking forward to the term and the year ahead – to engaging with your degree programme, connecting with your peers, friends and educators, to trying and learning new things.
We know how much you value in-person teaching and we want to deliver as much of it as possible. We do need your help to ensure we can continue with face-to-face teaching, so please do follow guidance and safety measures across campus, including wearing face coverings in our buildings and teaching spaces.
Of course we cannot be certain about how the coming year will unfold, but we’re committed to doing everything we can to maintain our excellent learning and teaching. You’ll be taught by the same excellent lecturers, professors and researchers, and your university experience with us will continue to be thought-provoking, stimulating and exciting. If you have ideas which you think would help with this, and with building connection and community in your departments, we encourage you to speak to your tutors and student representatives.
Last year we heard how much our students valued in-person teaching and extra-curricular experiences, and the ability to connect face-to-face with their peers. Many also highlighted the benefits of our digitally-enhanced education – like learning at your own pace - and the ability to collaborate virtually with others. This year, we want to retain these benefits by blending them with face-to-face teaching and learning. We also want to ensure that you have agency and voice in the way we continue to adjust to the pandemic and enhance your experience. Student representatives in academic departments play a pivotal role in promoting your voice to colleagues, and in feeding back through the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union; you can find your representatives online here (for Exeter) and here (for Cornwall).
You can find more information, including links to detailed module and course information, online (undergraduate and postgraduate). Here we outline our university teaching standards, showing how we are enhancing education and maintaining the agility to respond to any future changes in the pandemic and Government regulations.
We are all committed to your academic success, and know how disrupted the last two academic years have been. Therefore, over the summer Bella and Stevie have been working closely with University colleagues to ensure that we have the policies and support in place that you need, including refining our approach to academic mitigation to give you confidence in achieving your goals. Further information is available online here, and you can look out for further communications in the coming weeks.
This year there will additional opportunities for you to be involved in projects to enhance the student experience, including paid opportunities. This will include a number of Student Panels feeding back and collaborating across the whole student experience. Look out for further information on how you can get involved in these exciting opportunities in the near future.
Finally, we also encourage you to complete the very short, anonymous, start-of-term questionnaire, which you should receive via an email to your Exeter account today. The questionnaire encourages you to reflect on what you’re looking forward to this year, your strengths and any areas in which you might wish to develop. Your responses will help us to understand students’ needs at the level of year groups and subjects, as well as signpost you to resources you may find useful.
We hope you enjoy the Autumn Term and the coming year, and we wish you all the very best in your studies. If there’s any support you need, information is available on our website via the New Students’ Guide and Returning Students’ Guide, and the Advice Team in the Students’ Guild (Exeter) and the Advice Service in the Students’ Union (Cornwall) are always extremely happy to help.
Very best wishes,
Professor Tim Quine