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Officer Update - Tuesday 5th January 2021 

Wednesday 06-01-2021 - 08:54
Su officers

Today (Tuesday 5th January 2021) your elected Officers took questions to Jane Owen-Lynch, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning for the University of Huddersfield. The Pro Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning oversees all education at the University. As the lockdown was only announced on Monday, and the Department for Education is yet to announce official guidance, the University is still putting together all its plans and communications. 

The below questions were asked by your elected officers and came directly from students. We've typed up our notes from our conversation and pulled together some extra information we hope you'll find useful.

Over 400 of you have voted on the Big Idea about the Safety Net policy, we’re working on a proposal for this and will keep you all updated as soon as we know more.

What will be happening with access to specific equipment and facilities eg. practicals, Fashion Design or Photography Studios? Can I access campus to use them, or will deadlines be changed? 

Studios and facilities that are not for critical worker courses can’t be accessed due to the current government guidance. As there will be different requirements for different students, specific information will be at a school or course level, please wait for more information. 

Practical elements of courses are currently being planned. Some practical elements may be moved to term 3 when restrictions will hopefully be lessened due to the lockdown and the vaccine roll out. This will be prioritised for final years, as first and second years will be returning next year, and practical elements could be completed then. 

Guidance for assessments is similar; either they will be carried out at a safer time or they will be held online, it is impossible to give a blanket answer as courses are assessed in different ways and some courses are accredited by professional bodies, meaning that external organisations define the types of assessment required for a degree to be recognised (such as Law and Nursing). You should refer to your Course Leader or the University FAQs if you're unsure.

Which courses will be returning to campus as originally planned?

More emails will be coming out from the University and possibly from your school, but the list in the initial email from Vice Chancellor, Bob Cryan, is believed to be the complete list. If you are not sure if you are due back on campus, please contact your school

Can we expect a reduction in tuition fees that doesn’t affect the pay of our teaching staff? 

The University stands by the approach that the same learning outcomes are being reached whether you have learning blended or are fully online. They believe that you will reach all your learning outcomes, even if certain elements must be moved to safer times in the year, and that teaching quality is as good as in person. FAQs about the University regulations can be found online.

Seeing as our students don’t qualify for having dependents in school (the way NHS staff etc do) are the students with dependents able to expect more support from the university to help accommodate this? 

As learning is online, most of it is flexible. When there are difficulties, there are extensions and Extenuating Circumstances. For individual circumstances please do speak to your academics or the support services. The Students’ Union Advice Centre can give you independent support on this and explain the processes in more detail. 

Will there be an update to the current Safety Net policy? 

Regulations for assessment in periods of emergency, with specific relatation to Covid-19 can be found in section E2.13 of the Regulations for Awards (Taught courses)

The purpose of the safety net was to ensure that grades achieved during the disruption of Covid-19 towards the end of the 2019/20 academic year wouldn’t negatively impact a student’s overall degree classification whilst at University. This was due to the short amount of time the University had to move teaching and assessments online due to the lockdown. This academic year (2020/21) the safety net will apply in the following way to undergraduates:  

  • If you were a 2nd year in 2019/20, your 2nd year grades won’t negatively impact your final overall grade. If your 2nd year grades would have a positive effect on your overall classification, they will be included in the calculation. (Courses with external accreditors/regulators may not be covered by the safety net) 
  • If you were a 3rd year in 2019/20 on a four-year course, then your 3rd year grades won’t negatively impact your final overall classification. If your 3rd year grades would have a positive effect on your overall grade they will be included in the calculation. This includes sandwich year grades, if these count towards your degree classification (Courses with external accreditors/regulators may not be covered by the safety net) 
  • If you were on placement in 2019/20 and your placement year does not contribute to your classification, then the safety net doesn’t apply to you as you didn’t take graded assessments at the end of the 2019/20 academic year.   

Grades achieved this year (2020/21) will be part of your final overall classification. 

How will the University communicate with students during this lockdown?

Any updates we have will go in our FAQ’s here. We want to ensure we are only sending out important updates to students so that they aren’t lost in inboxes. We have been answering all queries students have, please visit the FAQ’s to find a suitable email if you’d like to contact a specific department or University service. 

What is being done for students in accommodation who feel that their mental health and well-being is dependent on being able to return to the university campus? 

Wellbeing services are available at the University and Students’ Union. The University has to follow government guidance about returning to campus, but the library will be open to any students who need access for as long as possible. 

Are there any conversations going on whether international students can learn remotely from their home country especially if the student course is not on one of the 6 bullet points mentioned for the time being due to a National Lockdown in the UK? 

There is information for international students available in the FAQs, alternatively, you could join a drop-in session:

International Student Support Drop-in sessions: Monday - Friday 10.00am - 11.00am (UK Time) Join the drop-in during the times above or use Zoom Meeting ID: 959 642 421 (no password is required).

We know this is a really tough time for you all; whether you’re a first year who has just joined us, or a final year about to finish, we’re here for you. We will not stop trying to help, so please get in touch with us or find us on social media. 

Adetayo, SU President 

Lucy, Activities Officer 

Bethany, Community Officer 

Tom, SU Education Officer 

Nurin, Equalities Officer





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