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In Conversation with… SU VP Science and Engineering Candidate, Tayyib Saddique

Q: To begin, I really wanted to commend you for your  hard work in coming this far and for showing such an interest and passion for the Vice President Science and Engineering role. As you already know, many other candidates are applying for this role, but only one will be elected. Can you tell us why you believe you are best suited for this role, and what you can bring that is different to other candidates?

A: Having studied for the last four years at Queen Mary and interacting with plenty of students across different departments, I’ve learnt what needs to be changed and improved upon. I’ve actively taken the time to engage with students from different schools to discover what actually matters to them and the issues they’ve experienced, whether it was the impact of the UCU strikes or the poor introduction of January exams.

Plenty of students also feel as though they don’t know what the Union does for them and that they have no voice. The Union needs to work for all students, so understanding real issues experienced by students is vital so that the student voice is genuinely empowered.

Q: A major part in becoming Vice President, and being a successful one, is understanding the needs and demands of the students. More importantly, contributing and influencing the University’s learning and teaching, both through participation in committees and other meetings with key University staff – to ensure that student interests are represented. How will you effectively address issues that are raised by students in these meetings? How will you also reassure students that these demands are met?

A: The student voice is what governs the direction of the Union so ensuring that the student voice is valued in meetings is incredibly crucial. As VP Science & Engineering, I won’t be afraid of challenging the University and I will be doing anything in my power to ensure that student voice is being heard and that real change is delivered.

I want to also improve communication between the Union and the student body by remaining as accessible as possible so students can raise their issues with me more easily. I will also reassure students that demands are being met by providing thorough updates to our course and school reps in the SSLC committees and through Student Council Meetings.

Q: As with any job, the role of Vice President Science and Engineering is one filled with commitments, dedication, passion and drive. How will you reassure students that you will remain motivated in your role; continuously representing the student body to your highest standard and always striving to implement new policies? Do you have any past experience in this field?

A: I’ve actively engaged in Union matters, representing societies on the Society Board whilst helping improve the management of societies. I’ve worked as Student Ambassador previously and managed several societies despite mounting academic pressure. I’m genuinely passionate about creating a difference to your student experience so I know I will remain dedicated working to improve your education if elected as VP S&E.

I will do whatever is possible to ensure that change is delivered to better support students throughout their time at university. Too many students feel as though their education is not worth paying more than 9K annually considering poor quality QReview recordings and inadequate university facilities (yes, I’m pointing at those water fountains and the revolving door in the library).

Q: As Vice President, you would be the lead voice in developing and implementing Students’ Union policies regarding the quality of education and faculty matters.

Are there any new fundamental ideas you have proposed for this, and will you continue to retain some of the former policies of the role or completely renew them?

A: As part of my manifesto, I do have a few new ideas that I want to implement as VP S&E.This year was the first year that January exams were held at university and for many students, it was their first experience doing January exams, yet there was a lack of adequate support available. Extending library hours over the Christmas break and installing a revision week to support students for their January exams is a key pledge of mine, which I’m excited to deliver. I also really want to bring back “Career Week” which was a campaign initially lead by the ME Societies Officer, Adnan, last year. Organising a week dedicated to career progression will allow students to develop new skills, gain insights into potential career pathways and actively think about their future careers.

I do hope to continue the work of VP Education, Annika in introducing new learning technologies but also improving current technologies, for instance using Kahoot instead of clickers and improving QReview recordings (so students can actually see the whiteboard instead of a muffled video recording). Of course, it doesn’t quite end there though, I have plenty of ideas which you can see in my manifesto.

Q: As the representor for student’s education, such as; teaching quality, library provision and feedback, the Vice President Science and Engineering has many matters regarding their role. The most significant being a campaigner for a better-quality education for students, for each student to reach their full potential with quality teaching.Do you believe there is a lack of relationship between student and staff at Queen Mary? If so, is it important to gain an improved relationship between staff and student?

A: There certainly is a disconnect between students and staff within the university and that disconnect needs to be bridged to ensure that every student has a voice. Too many students feel as though they have little to no voice or representation when it comes to addressing the issues that really impact them.

I want to ensure students can address their issues to course and school representatives by improving communication and accessibility between students and our reps. I also want to ensure that our reps are supported in campaigning for change, providing them with more frequent drop-in sessions.

As VP S&E, I also want to campaign to increase student consultations, so students have the opportunity to address issues about their academic experiences to teaching staff. Encouraging departments to engage directly with students through focus groups will definitely give students more say about their degree and their experiences, empowering the student voice.

Q: Thank you so much for taking your time in answering this interview, as a way to end these questions with some humour and to understand the real you; If a zombie apocalypse occurred, what top three things would you scavenge first?

A: First aid is obviously an important one. Plenty of KFC (everyone who knows me knows that I can’t stop myself) and probably a crossbow.

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