Education and Placement: Stephen Rixon on INTRA reform, financial aid and CRC

Stephen Rixon is a final year Bachelor of Education student running for the new position of Vice President for Education and Placement. He is the current societies officer in St Pats.

This role will be introduced to support student nurses, teachers and INTRA students on placement and will also target education and study issues.

If elected, Rixon says his main aims are: consistent support for students on placement, ensuring feedback on all assignments and fixing any issues surrounding online learning platforms like Loop and Moodle.

The VP for Education and Placement will be based on the St Pats campus but Rixon hopes to also have office hours on the Glasnevin campus throughout the week to avoid neglecting either campus.

Rixon is currently studying to be a primary school teacher and says he understands “the many issues students on placement face”. As students on placement are based off campus Rixon wants to ensure he engages with all and says a big part of the role will be to have support systems in place for them. He hopes to be “reaching out, keeping up ith them rather than them coming to me”.

Rixon says another issue these students face is that they receive less information than other students due to problems with mailing lists. “It is essential that we keep everyone in the loop so no matter where they are they can access it.” He wants to make sure all information given to students is put up online and made available for those on placement.

His position on USI is a positive one. As the St Pats societies officer he compared how DCU’s own socs officer, Bríd Browne, received traning while he did not and sees the training they provide as “very beneficial”.

Rixon wants to eliminate the smaller worries students may have about their studies by introducing more workshops, available across both campuses. He hopes these will be beneficial for students with learning disabilities and wants to ensure these students are getting thorough feedback so that they can see “where they went right and how to improve on it”.

Financial support for students on placement is a major part of Rixon’s manifesto and while he understands the SU have a limited budget allocated to this, he wants to “really push” this issue. Even to provide more free printing credit for student teachers who print reams of paper for every class on placement would make a small difference. “Additional printing credit would be such a help financially because you do have to just print an insane amount, between resources for the classroom and all of the stuff for your own folder.” He also wants to push for travel expenses for students travelling long distances to where they are placed.

Rixon thinks one to one sessions with first year students is important so that they understand exactly what their placement will consist of and how they can start working towards it. He also plans to campaign for courses that don’t currently have the option of placement.

Rixon addressed placement allocation issues and wants to look in to a swapping system for people unhappy with their placement. When asked about issues students face with online INTRA portals, Rixon was unsure about what he could do but willing to look into how it could be altered.

Rixon was a class rep in both his first and second years and commented that some classes in St Pats don’t even have a class rep. He also said that St Pats Class Rep Council is not at the same level of that in DCU but hopes that it “will work a lot better after the merger”.

Alana Laverty

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