Welcome – or welcome back – to the University of Sussex. As the Director of Student Experience (DoSE) for the School of Psychology, I felt that the start of the new academic year was a good time to tell (or remind) you of the various things we do to enhance student experience.
All students are assigned an Academic Advisor, who is a faculty member in Psychology. She/he is often your first contact for any questions you have about academic matters. It’s really important to get to know your Academic Advisor as she/he will be in a good position to write references to support your applications for work or further study. Academic Advisors provide a fixed, reliable point of contact, and students should feel able to talk to them about their progress. Academic Advisors are not expected to solve every problem that may arise, but they can refer you to relevant university staff, including those in the Student Life Centre and the Student Support Unit (see below). We are constantly trying to improve Academic Advising arrangements, and in the next month or so will be conducting a brief survey of students to complement a recent survey of Academic Advisors.
The Student Life Centre (SLC: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/studentlifecentre) plays a key role in ensuring that the university provides a supportive and empowering environment for students. The SLC provides information, guidance, referrals and resources to help students to adapt to university life and enhance their progress through their course. The SLC can provide free expert advice on a range of issues related to personal well-being, health, financial concerns, and academic matters.
The Student Support Unit (SSU: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/studentsupport) is staffed by specialist advisors who support students who have long-standing conditions that may affect their academic and personal life, such as autistic spectrum conditions, specific learning difficulties, and mental health issues.
As the DoSE, I am a key link between students in the School of Psychology and staff in both the SLC and the SSU. I am also a link between staff members and students in the School of Psychology, and with students who choose to become Student Mentors or Student Representatives.
Student Mentors provide fellow students with support on a range of academic issues. If you love your subject and like helping others (and want to be paid to do so), then why not apply to become a Student Mentor? The position description and application form are available here: https://careerhub.sussex.ac.uk/students/jobs/detail/515063/student-mentor-school-of-psych
Student Representatives canvass the views of fellow students and can raise issues with me as DoSE. They also contribute to formal School meetings, and are active members of the Student Experience Group. Students are able to nominate and vote for student representatives who represent the views and interests of students in the School of Psychology. Nominations are now open: http://www.sussexstudent.com/student-reps/become-a-student-rep/
The Student Experience Group involves Student Representatives and senior members of school staff. It is held each term and covers a wide range of issues affecting students’ experiences of teaching and learning. In addition they contribute to planning social activities and making decisions about buildings and resources, such as establishing the Psychology student social space on level 1 of Pevensey 1 and the new furnishings in the entrance to Pevensey 1.
Good luck for the new academic year
Dr Richard de Visser – Director of Student Experience, School of Psychology