The role of vice-president for academic affairs is hotly contested this year, with five candidates in the running for the position.

David Anderson is a third year PhD student and part time lecturer at the university. He is a rep for postgraduate students in the business school, the student experience committee and the graduate school.

In an interview with The Linc, Anderson identified lecturers as the key to dealing with cuts to funding, saying “lecturers need some kind of support in how they can be innovative”. He also stated that “academics need support to help the student experience develop”.

Anderson believes that Blackboard has “a lot of potential” but currently students have a “mixed experience” depending on how their lecturers use it. Anderson said that if elected, he would “help foster academic group development”, a concept which in his manifesto he says will allow students to meet course-mates, and would be “led by students to support students”.

Jack Dobson-Smith is a second year journalism student and a “seasoned campaigner” as he states in his manifesto. Although new to the world of the SU, Dobson-Smith says in his manifesto that although “the campaign continues on the streets, it’s time to take it to the university board rooms and champion our voice as students”.

When interviewed by The Linc, Dobson-Smith said he aims to “increase access to facilities that we already have”, despite nation-wide education cuts, and “look at ways in which the university can increase its budget”.

Dobson-Smith also outlines prospective plans to “push to get as many university work submissions made online… which saves money and also helps the environment”.

In his manifesto, Dobson-Smith said that “module handbooks should be provided as part of your course instead of an extra you have to pay for”, which would involve the university paying the fiscal and environmental cost of university-wide module handbook distribution.

Jennine Fox is a third year sports business management student and the current Sports Officer for the SU. She is also president for the Women’s Rugby Union club at the university. In her interview with The Linc, Fox said “it’s important to be realistic” with regard to budget cuts and extending opening time of buildings such as the library and the MHT.

Fox said she wants “a written agreement from the university for Wednesday afternoons off” to enable “Opportunity Wednesdays” as outlined in her manifesto. Fox states in her manifesto that “interview workshops and careers seminars should be properly promoted throughout the year” to enhance student employability, one of Fox’s main polices.

She said that “the way that I would propose to improve your [student] employability is to get involved in extra curricular activities”. Fox said that online submission should not be a fixed system but instead advocates “a policy… where it’s down to the student’s discretion” to submit work online or on paper.

Joe Hicks is a second year business studies student. He was a business school liaison rep last year and is the current campaigns officer for the SU. In his manifesto, Hicks states that he is “the ideal candidate” for academic affairs, and goes on to say that “actual student opinion” is central to his policies.

In a radio interview with The Linc Hicks said that he would “see what the university is going to do and see what students would want the union to do” before taking decisive action. When asked what needed to be done to keep up the academic standards at Lincoln, he said “it’s very hard to say, we don’t know for certain how these cuts are going to affect the university”.

Hicks also said the SU needs a find a “better way for students to talk to the university”, implying that the student rep system, of which he was a part of last year, is not up to job. He also said “the blackboard system is great”, and feels there is little to be done to improve it.

James Spittlehouse is a third year law student, and is currently a senior school liaison rep for law. The student rep system is something that Spittlehouse strongly supports: he states in his manifesto that “student representation is where it happens”.

When interviewed by The Linc, Spittlehouse continued to show his support for the rep system, saying “student reps are vital”, and would “give them as many powers as possible to get their voice heard” if he were elected.

Online submission is an area in which Spittlehouse is less committed to. When asked about e-submission, he said “is it actually going to happen? Yes it could, if students want to do it”. He said that there would need to be a “transition” period if online submission was rolled out university-wide. Spittlehouse also states in his manifesto that “feedback is an area for improvement”, and if elected, he claims he will “ensure that improvement is brought to this area”.

To listen to the full interviews with the candidates running for academic affairs:

[audio: Affairs altogether.mp3]