Stephen Crosby, a final year Politics student, is one of two candidates in the Undergraduate Education Officer race. The Tribune spoke to Crosby about his campaign.

Final Year Student Guide

Crosby wants to create both Freshers and Final Year guides for students. He explained it was based on discussion with students in the run up to the campaign. ‘I noticed that Freshers found that UCD can be quite welcoming in the initial stages but there is a lot of information, and then on the flip side there’s a similar amount of information when you’re in your final year.’ As a final year student, he said the amount of materials on jobs and internships is ‘a little terrifying.’ The final year guide ‘is really just funnelling all the information that is already available and just giving it to the students in about two pages.’

Resit and Repeat Fees

Crobsy stated that ‘in the ideal world we wouldn’t have any repeat or resit fees. In the ideal world everyone would be allowed to perform to their best and complete the learning outcomes and just succeed.’

He is happy the university is ‘finally sitting down and talking with students’, referring the committee which is currently discussing repeat and resit fees. Asked if he was elected and was attending the next Committee meeting, Crosby said he would outline the situation students find themselves in.

‘Students might just be on the threshold of being able to afford to go to college, they’re working part-time to fund themselves, and then suddenly because they slipped up, or something happened outside of college they’re slapped with this bill, and if UCD really wants to commit to caring for the students and ensuring the best possible outcome for students, then they just definitely seek to reduce resit and repeat fees.’ He noted it’s a long-winded process ‘but there’s much more momentum than there used to be.’

For grade capping, Crosby is a ‘big fan’ of the driver test model. He thinks that if you fail and repeat, you should be allowed to get the right grade. ‘I think that there is currently a case where again if a student slips up dur to stress or something that happens outside UCD, their GPA can be permanently marked down, purely because they made one mistake, and I don’t think that’s particularly fair.’ However, the new Academic Regulations could be approved before he is elected.

Alternative Careers Fair

Crosby’s Alternative Careers Fair would allow students to come in and see people ‘who are successful in areas which might not relate to their degree and how they got there and that kind of stuff.’ He said it would be organised using a mix of using SU connections, School connections. He said it would ‘probably be mainly an SU event, I would have to lay out a framework with the Careers Development Centre because they do brilliant work at the minute.’

The Undergraduate Showcase – Crosby’s ‘passion project’

The Education Officer sits on a panel which picks four UCD students to take part in a Universitas 21 conference each year, whereby they get to present their research at a conference. Crosby’s Undergraduate Showcase idea is based on participating in the project last year. He wants to host an event similar to it for UCD students. He praised the work done by students but said ‘I don’t think they get to show it on a campus wide level.’

The Undergraduate Showcase would be ‘an open competition, maybe a set number from each School, students would get to submit [their work], there would be a panel, we’d get experts and that sort of stuff, they’d get approved and then a certain number of them would have to do either a powerpoint presentations which are about 5 minutes each to an audience, or they’d have postering sessions where there’s sort of high-quality glossy graphics describing their research and they stand there and describe their research to passers-by, even in the Old Student Centre atrium.’

He wants to ‘promote academics in a way that is ‘different and fun, and gives students a chance to show off the pride in the work they have, because I know plenty of students who have got strong passions for what they’re doing and they have pride in the essays and research they do, they don’t get to show it to anybody. So I just want to be able to give people the ability to do that.’

Crosby would engage with the people on the current panel Universitas judging panel, and said the UCD International office would help deal with it as they send students abroad, so it would involve discussions with them about how to do it, and looking at how Universitas organise it ‘on the ground.’ Having gone to Edinburgh last year with it, he has some ideas about its logistical operation. He would get class reps to help promote it.

Union Engagement

Crosby said that the SU has become ‘more outside of the corridor’ over the past two years since he first became involved. He wants to ‘continue on that work and see how we can engage more with students in a way that helps them with their exams but also lets them relax a small bit as well.’

Arts Degree Changes

He noted that the new four-year course with mainly 3rd year for internships. He said it will be ‘quite interesting’ once the first-year group get to that stage. ‘For incoming first years it’s letting them understand the split’ between the new degrees. He thinks it will benefit students.

Management Boards

Crobsy said he was looking forward to being part the University Management Team (UMT). He knew only the President sat on FRAMC, the Finance and Asset Management Committee, and said he would like to be on it to see UCD’s finances ‘because it’s an argument always used that they need to make more money and can’t fund certain things.’

When asked if he had any further comments to make, Crosby stated he wanted to encourage students to get out and vote. ‘I think there’s been good engagement lately, you know for better or for worse, it’s been an interesting time in the Students’ Union.’

Crosby said he prides himself on being ‘hard working and dedicated’ and would endeavour to achieve everything on his manifesto. His Undergraduate Showcase and Alternative Careers Fair are both ambitious plans. Voters will have to ask themselves whether they believe he can achieve his visions amongst all of the other tasks that come with the job.


Cian Carton – Editor