Postgraduate Officer candidate Allan Stevenson: Faculty assistants, working groups and postgraduate representation

By Fionnuala Walsh

In his second year of running for the role of Postgraduate Officer, Allan Stevenson is a postgraduate student studying a Masters by research in cyber-bullying. This is Stevenson’s sixth year of studying at DCU after getting his BSC in Education and Training, and he shows an understanding of student life for both under and postgraduate students.

Stevenson’s manifesto outlines his plan to establish a new system of postgraduate assistants for every faculty in the Student’s Union. He says that having an assistant in each faculty will promote dialogue and decrease the divide between post and undergraduates.

“Faculty reps find it difficult to get engaged with postgraduates. They are very difficult to get engaged with. Postgraduates are more likely to approach a postgrad than an undergrad” he said.

Stevenson wants these assistants to become a part of the postgraduate working group established this year. This “mini executive meeting” would bring together each assistant from each faculty and they will be able to “bring their problems and we can all sit down and discuss the problems and how we can address them”.

In terms of welfare for postgraduates, he plans to introduce time management and stress management workshops, as well as workshops that would enhance the academic outcome of a thesis.

Stevenson also wants to improve social contact for postgraduate students, by organising coffee mornings where they can meet up with each other and a new buddy system for new postgraduates moving into campus accommodation.

He hopes this will facilitate “mingling and getting to know each other and hopefully have a better time, a good experience in DCU. Not just to come and study and go home.”

The new faculty assistants plan is an alternative to last year’s plan of creating a postgraduate students union. “I got shut down many, many times, for funding, because they didn’t believe there would be enough support for it, so my plan B now is to do the assistants” he said.

Stevenson acknowledges that to change fundamental parts of DCU, across all campuses, he needs to work on a long term strategy. “Small steps, build it up as an alternative. Once we’ve got a good strong standing then we can push again. So maybe it will be a three year project, it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Stevenson believes that his six years in DCU makes him a good candidate to continue to represent postgraduate students, as well as facilitating postgraduates to represent themselves and other students. “I get on very well with staff of DCU as well as students. I’m approachable and I’ve been able to make a difference for various postgraduates,” he said. “We’ve got slightly more representation but not enough though. We need more postgraduates representing not just themselves but also fellow students.”

“There are still a lot of things I’d like to accomplish getting more representation for postgraduates. I feel as though now I’ve got my foot in the door with some of the faculties and the governing authority, and I can now progress and get more and better representation for postgraduates.”

Fionnuala Walsh

Image Credit: Fionnuala Walsh