Fifth year medical student, Sharon Ryan is running for the position of Education Officer in the upcoming SU elections.
A Kildare native, Ryan explains that during the course of her time in UCD she has learned which initiatives work and which ones don’t.
“I’ve been in UCD for the last 5 years and during this time I’ve both seen first-hand the problems students meet as they go through their education in UCD. I want to make a student’s academic experience in UCD as smooth a journey as possible,”
When asked about what changes she would make to the way the Education office is currently being run, Ryan states that she feels that the education officer could engage in a better way with students from the different faculties around campus, so they in turn engage better with their degrees.
If elected to the Education office, Ryan hopes to introduce a repeat fees insurance scheme, where a student can buy into the scheme for €30 at the start of the semester, and if they were to fail an exam there would be pay out of €110 put towards the cost of the repeat fee.
“This will bring the cost of repeats on students down in line with other colleges around the country and significantly decrease the financial burden on students,” she says,
When queried about how such a scheme would be funded, Ryan had this to say:
“This scheme would be self-supporting, where the funds paid in by students be used to pay for those students in the scheme who do fail a module at the end of term.
Within Arts 60% of students are worried about failing modules and 18% fail an exam at the end of term. Based on the income and costs I’ve mentioned already, the scheme has the ability to support up to 37% of those in the scheme failing, which is far above the expected 18%.
I would hope to introduce this during my year in the position. This scheme has one benefit on previous proposals to reduce the cost of repeat fees in that the university will still be receiving €230 for each repeated module. This will eliminate a large amount of the difficulties that could be met along the way and, in my opinion, makes it a feasible plan that could be possible to implement within a year given the right supports”
Ryan also mentions in her manifesto that she aims to introduce mid-semester repeats, a practice she says will “allow students to progress through each stage of their course as smoothly as possible, which is a huge problem since the phasing out of compensation,”
On the topic of grants, Ryan proposes the introduction of SUSI clinics at the start of semester one, to ensure that students are kept up to date about what stage their application is at and what is needed to be done to speed up the process.
When asked why students should vote for her, Ryan had this to say:
“I’m coming into this job without any UCDSU experience. This means that I know exactly how the large majority of students see the union and will work to ensure there is better engagement and awareness of the Education Officer and the services they offer. I’ve researched the promises I’ve made in my manifesto and believe they are all achievable in this office. I will tackle any issues that appear head on. Above all, I know that I will put students first,”