My name is Chloe and I’m one of four fabulous Student Fellows who will be working with BILT over the academic year. Although this will be my fourth year at university, as I’m studying for a Masters degree in English Literature, I’m brand new to the university and to Bristol, having fallen in love with the city whilst studying for my undergraduate degree down the road at Bath Spa University. When not at university, you can usually find me with a cuppa in hand and my nose in a book, cooking up a vegetarian storm, singing my head off or jogging red-faced around the harbourside.
Even though I consider myself to be a weathered student, in many ways beginning a Masters degree, especially at a new institution, feels like starting my student experience all over again. I have the same fears I had when I was starting out at university like making friends and getting lost, only this time the fear is becoming lost in the depths of Blackboard Collaborate rather than on campus.
Something that I’ve carried with me throughout my time at university, though, is a real passion for student-centred education. In my first year, I started working for the Widening Participation team at Bath Spa and worked with pupils in schools and colleges to promote higher education and even tried my hand at teaching GCSE classes, which I quickly discovered was not for me! But it did open my eyes to issues that begin in school, such as imposter syndrome, that get carried through to university. But I believe that this can be remedied by creating more opportunities for students to engage with their courses and with the wider academic community.
It was difficult to leave that job knowing that there was still so much to accomplish so I was really excited when I came across the Student Fellowship opportunity with BILT because it felt like an ideal way to shed light on the things I’ve learnt. While universities have multiple strategies in place to let students have their say on teaching and learning, such as recruiting course reps and module feedback questionnaires, I’ve never seen anything quite like the BILT Student Fellow role, which puts students at the heart of teaching innovation and provides us with a platform to speak about the change we want to see.
So that’s how I ended up here. I’m really excited to be joining the BILT team, especially to be working alongside my ‘fellow fellows’ in order to stir things up a bit. We already have some exciting ideas in the pipeline so watch this space!