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UPDATED - In Conversation With... School of Economics, Finance and Accounting

Video and Transcript Attached - A quick overview on some of the key talking points from yesterday's 'In Conversation With...' event with representatives from the School of Economics, Finance and Accounting.

Our second ‘In Conversation With’ event was with the School of Economics, Finance and Accounting.

The panel consisted of:

  • George Hulene, Associate Head of School – Student Experience
  • Philip McCosker, Associate Head of School – Quality and Accreditation
  • Diana Barbu, Director of Trading Floor
  • Tom Williamson, Head of School

Questions were posed to the Panel by our school reps:

  • Benjamin Bageya, Activity Rep
  • Alex Varghese, Education Rep

The event was hosted by Maryam Ali, CUSU Student Experience Coordinator. Below, we aim to give you a small summary of some of the conversation points from the event.

Will the school be organising guest speakers or educational trips to support students learning?

In short yes, we are actually doing guest speakers not just from the industry but also guest speakers from our research centres. We will try and link as much of our teaching as possible to what happens in research and all the research that our colleagues are doing. At the same time, we are doing everything we can to bring speakers in from the industry. We recognise how important these speaker events are for our students to be inspired. Keep an eye on all the advertisement that is going out on our community pages, in aula. Check out the community pages every day, we have a lot of information that could be missed otherwise.

When it comes to educational trips, we plan to deliver quite a lot of educational trips in the second semester. Again it’s a matter of staying on top of notifications you receive from our colleagues. The success of these trips depends on students engaging with them.

The challenge was set in the teaching and learning manifesto, this was only recently ratified and will be going out shortly. It has a commitment in the manifesto that every student, on every year from every programme will receive at least one guest speaker from the industry and at least one guest speaker from our research centres. We are making sure it's embedded and built into our programs.

Regarding trips, unfortunately during semester one some of the partners we engage with are not open yet to large trips, they are still trying to protect their work forces. We are continuing with plans for domestic trips, being offered on a school wide basis rather than course wide, so do keep a look out for those.

What support does the school have in place for students who are studying online?

What’s important is to recognise that we have put a plan together not just for this year but also for last year, our aim was to provide an experience for students studying online as near as possible to the experience they would have on campus. We looked at everything we are doing on campus, face to face pre pandemic and tried to replicate that on the online experience. For students this year all the lectures are recorded and uploaded online, they are attending bespoke seminars just for them. Online students are in a separate group in our school, we have not merged face to face and online. We have also established a system of advice and feedback to book time to meet our colleagues. Again we have split this 50/50 online and face to face for feedback.

We can never replicate the feelings people get when they are in class, but we try as much as possible through teams and zoom sessions to have those breakout sessions to give them a sense of belonging, helping them feel like they are part of the course. 

We are always looking for suggestions to what else we can do from the end users, so if there are ideas please do share these through reps, please keep the communication channels open.


Any change in staff usually has an impact on students. What can the school do to make sure that any staff changes don't negatively impact student coursework evaluation and feedback?

Staff turnover is something we don’t want to see, but its inevitable, we are a large employer and occasionally colleagues’ circumstance or opportunities change. Our role has always been to try and protect and maintain the student experience and we do that in a few ways.

The first is, in most cases, modules are taught by a number of people so that if a colleague is ill or unable to be on campus then we actually still have continuity in the programme to make sure the impact is kept to a minimum.  

The primary way we tackle this is by working in teams on almost all of our modules, and where we are not we are trying to move to that. This allows us to provide adequate cover and consistency of messaging.

If you feel that has not been achieved, please raise that and provide examples. Flag as early as possible. If something has changed and you feel concerned, speak to your reps or course team and let us know something isn’t quite going right.

We do have a lot of checks in place as well for this to make sure marking is to the same standard. For our teams and new or current staff members we get them to mark a sample of work and look at the range of marks we have received, to look at getting them to the same standard. In EFA we have very detailed marking schemes, particularly in the accounting and finance modules. Through training the module leaders and making sure the teaching teams know what they are doing, we try and ensure we get consistent marking.

In conclusion of the event the panel made it clear that ‘students need to engage’, consider us as partners, we are working together to achieve the same outcomes. We are here to help. We want you to do extremely well, that’s why we put things in place for you but we rely on your willingness to engage.

For more information on the ‘In Conversation With…’ events, there is a full schedule available here. If you missed this event, a full transcript of this can be found here. If you would like to watch the event back, please find the video below.



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