SRC 2014 interviews Education: Cal Davies

Published

Sam Wigglesworth

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Caelum Davies is a 2nd Year Maths, Public Policy and Politics student and he has two years’ experience on the SRC. Davies believes that this experience on the SRC combined with his passion for education policy means that he is the right person for the position of VP Education, and sums his campaign up with “Yes we Cal”.

Guardian: In your manifesto you talk about getting class reps and SRC reps working closer together. Do you have any thoughts on how you’re going to do this?

Davies: Since writing the manifesto, Oli Coombs has already started a policy guide to try and bring the two closer together. I would look over that with him in the interim period if I got elected and work towards implementing it. Given that we have some enthusiastic class rep trainers already, I’d see if they can help us shape the policy and then make sure we can roll it out pretty quickly, but focusing on particular schools to make sure it is working. I know a few schools have already got in touch with the SRC saying they would be interested in trying to improve the class rep system and improving representation. The few class reps I have spoken to have also said that they really want to be more in the loop, because at the moment, the class reps do so much, they change a lot and a lot of students know their class representative over their school representative. However, it’s the School Rep who has a lot more power to actually change things as they attend higher boards and higher committees in the University. It would be really good if we can just bring the two together and make sure that the School Reps are meeting with the Class Reps and that our Class Reps are trained into the system slightly better, making sure they know their part in the SRC.

Guardian: In your manifesto you talk your project regarding ‘student led service learning’ and how, if elected, you will seek to promote it. Why do you believe that this is important to pursue?

Davies: I believe it’s something we need to look into more. Oli and myself have been accepted to the Learning and Teaching Conference at the start of April to present our project, so between now and then we will be doing a lot of research, seeing if it’s viable and whether it’s workable. If the feedback at the conference is good, then I will pursue it. We see it around the world, a lot of community based learning – it really helps the area around you, and I think that Glasgow University is pretty special given that it is in the heart of the West End, it’s a real part of Glasgow. It also gives students a lot of valuable skills. A lot of employers want these tangible skills if you can say you have been in that industry and done the job you’re employing me for. And, if you’re able to back it up with learning inside the classroom, then that can only be a great thing.

Guardian: What do you think the key interests of students are with regards to the expansion onto the Western Infirmary site and how do you seek to promote them?

Davies: I think one of the key problems that students will face will be schools bickering over where they want to be and what they are doing – infighting between Colleges and the Schools surely can’t be a good thing for students. I think student’s really want to prioritise having the best services and facilities, so having more group learning spaces, having more open spaces or social spaces. Also bigger and better lecture theatres, more efficient lecture theatres. The priority at the moment is just making sure that when the initial proposals come out, we are able to look through them and make sure the students are aware of how they can give feedback on the proposals, so we can see what students are really wanting. It’s all well and good for me to say, ‘this is what students want’, but it would be really good to make sure students participate. It was really great to see how many students submitted back feedback questionnaires after the last proposal stage in the whole consultation process. We also need to make sure students know that change can be good, even if we don’t want it. So the main thing is making sure we are listening to students and making sure that the Schools remember it is about education and student’s experiences at the end of the day.

Guardian: Do you think the skills you have acquired liaising with the School of Maths and Statistics are transferable to other Schools?

Davies: I believe so. I have been fortunate enough to attend Learning and Teaching committees at the School of Maths and Stats and I’ve been able to see how meetings work. I’ve also been elected to a higher committee, so I’m on the University-wide Learning and Teaching Committee, something Oli [Coombs] also does, so I do have the skills. With regards to the wider representation, I was First Year Representative so I was already representing an entire year. I do think having the educational skills I have got from Maths and Stats rep are good, I have them on paper and wider representation. I think that I am able to deal with the academic problems all students will face.