Face of the Fortnight - Louise Dowson

14th August 2020

Face of the Fortnight - Louise Dowson

I became involved with the Students' Union after attending a Faculty Forum in my first year at Northampton, this started off by becoming a faculty advocate in my second year leading on to becoming a course advocate and chair of student council in my third year. 

A course advocate, is the main vocal point for their course mates, if they have any concerns or worries about the course or how it is run then they can mention these to the course advocate and they will bring this up at the staff, student liaison committee (SSLC) they attend once a term. Although, a big part of this role is addressing concerns, the course advocate will also mention to staff any compliments they have about the course as this will ensure that these things are continued. 

Through my role as a course advocate, I have been actively helping my course mates in order to ensure their voices are heard and their concerns are dealt with quickly. I have also passed feedback back to my course to keep them up-to-date with what is being done in order to ensure the changes have been made. In a recent SSLC I attended I brought up a few concerns around Module Evaluation Forms. My course mates felt that as these forms are to be completed at the end of the module the changes which would be made would then not have a direct impact on them, but instead on the next cohort. This then brought up concerns around the participation in completing these forms. Since the Module Evaluation Forms went online students do not seem to fill these in therefore the staff are unaware of any concerns. This has now been mentioned at a faculty level meeting and there will be some discussions around having half way evaluation forms which will be done on paper or will be given an opportunity in a lesson to complete. I feel this is where I have had a positive impact by being a course advocate as this is something which a few courses are experiencing and there will be a discussion to look in to changing this. 

By having the opportunity to actively work alongside staff in this role, this has improved both my confidence and communication skills as at times you have to bring forward some negative points, so it has been really important that I find the correct words to portray the concerns but with out offending anyone. I believe that these experiences will help me within my future career, when working as a team as I have the ability to communicate with a range of different people in an effective way. 

Being apart of the Students' Union as a whole has helped me grow in to the person I am today as I have been able to take on new responsibilities thus improving my skills which I can transfer in to other roles I may do in the future. By being apart of the Students' Union I have been given support within my role in order to do it effectively and to my best potential. If there was something which I felt unsure about, I could go and speak to one of the Sabbatical Officers or the course advocacy team to find a way to deal the with task in hand. However, on a personal level being a part of the student’s union has allowed me to feel apart of a team which has really helped on those days when I feel homesick or struggling with work load as they are always there to listen. 

-Louise Dowson 


If you are interested in becoming a course advocate please click here for more information.