On Monday 3rd October, DMU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dominic Shellard announced exciting and positive changes to the student experience as part of the #LoveDMU initiative.
Standing in front of colleagues and students from the University, Professor Dominic Shellard started the event addressing the student experience and how it is ‘the heart of everything we do at DMU’.
‘We have unique volunteering experiences through DMU Square Mile and DMU Local. We have very strong connections with companies and communities, both here in the city, and in the county as well.’
‘If there is one thing we mustn’t do, it’s rest on our laurels. We can always do more. We want to do more as a University.’
The Vice-Chancellor has worked closely with De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) President, Daniel Winney, to make sure the voices of students were heard and the changes made benefitted and made a difference.
‘We have also listened to the feedback in the National Student Survey. We want to do even better next year than we did last year.’
‘So I’m delighted to be announcing today with Dan, your students’ union President, the following new measures.’
Significant Investment in the Student Experience:
- Opening the Library 24/7 and 365 days of the year other than in exceptional circumstances.
- Enhanced IT support for Apple Mac users.
- Electronic submissions of all student dissertations.
- Up to £1m additional investment in DMUSport.
- £615k for #DMUGlobal bursaries for international experiences – £150 for Europe and £400 for International.
- £25k for disabled students on #DMUGlobal trips for any additional costs they may incur.
The DMUDifference – a range of support measures for those students facing higher, unavoidable costs:
- £500k to reduce unavoidable and unique costs in those programme areas where they are greatest. Examples might include, for illustration only, additional materials required for some Art and Design programmes and specialist printing costs.
- £40k to support the purchase of equipment, project materials etc and Formula Student costs for Engineering students.
- £45k to support placement travel costs for Audiology and Youth and Community Development students.
- £200k to support Nursing/Midwifery/Speech and Language Therapy Students for the cost of uniforms and Occupational Health checks.
- £100k to support the purchase of workshop materials in Arts, Design and Humanities.
President Dan Winney, who, as part of the Students’ Union, has lobbied for many of these changes on behalf of the student body.
‘As an executive team, we have made it our absolute priority to address the hidden-university-costs problem that students have, but also, looking at ways we can enhance the student experience.’
The extended campus Library opening hours had been announced previously. The support it has provided for many students, particularly post-graduate and nursing, has been invaluable.
Nursing student,Tiffannie Mercedes Roberts, had felt her education was being confined to the hours the Library was available. She spoke during the event on behalf of many nursing students.
‘Not having 24/7 access to the library gave me anxiety. With lectures running from 9 till 5, leaving us with just 4 hours per day to write these assignments. In that time, I did not have a laptop, and I knew a few others didn’t too.’
‘The library being open means so much to us, the nurses, as we no longer have to struggle around lecture times, placement times and work. Putting a restraint on the library, once meant putting a restraint on our education. But this is no longer the case.
The library is now available, freely to use with no restraints. We (the nursing students) are grateful to the university for understanding and hearing the student voice.’
Additionally, a major complaint on campus has been surrounding students paying for printing.
‘The electronic submissions of dissertations will save students hundreds of pounds in the vital period of their university life in a time where they may not have that money and are under an increasing amount of stress already with the work they have.’
Winney, goes on to say that they will continue to work closely with the University to support students in the following year benefit from electronic submission.
The university previously announced a £1 million investment into coaching and support for sports teams.
The support thus far has been extremely beneficial, according to many of the sports teams members. At the event today, Accounting and Finance student, James Fitzgerald, spoke on behalf of the cricket team and his experiences as a member over his four years at De Montfort University.
‘(During) my first year at University, the cricket facilities were really poor. We didn’t have a place to train, no coach, the sessions weren’t organised.’
‘Since last year, with the partnership received by Leicestershire Cricket Club and DMU, it has been a complete change. Now we train twice a week and we’ve got a coach, Dips Patel (Head Coach at Leicestershire CC).’
‘The funding received by Dominic has really, really helped to improve not only people’s performance but also confidence when it comes to cricket.’
For more information about changes and investments, please visit dmu.ac.uk/loveDMU.