We are very excited to welcome our first-year students and our third-year Dual Degree students to EISPS, as well as to welcome back all our continuing students, some of whom were on their Year Abroad and haven’t been back on campus for a long time. This year will be the first one during which we can return to more or less normal teaching and learning the same way that we used to do pre-Covid. There will be many more opportunities for you to meet each other, and for us to meet you.
In connection to that and writing in my capacity as EISPS’s Head of Department, I wanted to point out to you some of the changes that we made this year to hopefully improve your experience at the department.
Partially, these have been put in place in response to the feedback that we received last year, but we have also included some innovations that we have thought of ourselves. As always, do tell your student reps in case you have any feedback or you can think of further improvements, or get in touch with your degree coordinator or me directly.
Below is a rough list of what we have put in place:
- There is a new personal tutoring system, with regular, compulsory meetings over the course of the year, organised centrally by the department. In case you couldn’t go to meet your personal tutor in the induction week during the allocated time, please get in touch with them to meet up, so that they can see how you are doing, and you can ask any questions you might have. The induction week meetings had a lot of information, and limited time for questions and answers, so this is a way to rectify that.
- There are named degree coordinators to serve as additional points of academic contact with overall responsibility for the running of the degree. As introduced during the induction week, they are Dr Tom Stern for ESPS, Professor Kristin Bakke for the ESPS Dual Degree, and Dr Alessandro Spano for ISPS.
- There is a new enabling role dedicated to student wellbeing, which is filled by Li-Yun Liao in Term 1 and Dr Ala’a Shehabi, our new lecturer in Middle Eastern Politics in Terms 2 and 3 of this academic year.
- Better communication routines (e.g., for referrals) have been put in place between staff involved in student case work. This means that in case there is a student who needs extra help or attention for some reason, it should hopefully happen with fewer delays and disruptions.
- Two academic writing tutors from the Writing Lab are specifically supporting EISPS this academic year. In Term 1, they will primarily work with 1st year students, and in Term 2, they will be focusing on supporting finalists. We hope that this will be helpful and make learning the conventions of academic writing and writing the dissertation or extended essay less stressful.
- This year, we organised more induction week events than before, including a picnic for 1st years, pub outing for finalists, coffee meetings in the common room for other year groups, and staff-led walking tours.
- There is a series of check-ins with final year students coming from their Year Abroad, and more events for finalists in general (already two are scheduled for the first weeks of Term 1).
- We have started departmental-level cooperation with the brand new EISPS student society (we have already had a joint pre-arrival activity about ‘Demystifying UCL’). If you haven’t yet, please consider joining it – they have a great programme of various activities already planned. Their Twitter handle is @UCLEISPSSoc and there is also an Instagram account.
- We are trying to offer better support for transition mentors.
- We have recruited student social media ambassadors to foster sense of departmental identity and improve our social media communications. They are due to start this month, so keep an eye on what is going on. In the meantime, please also consider following EISPS on Twitter at @UCL_EISPS or on Instagram @UCL_EISPS
Finally, just a reminder that you can find the contacts, roles, and office hours of everyone at EISPS on our website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/european-international-social-political- studies/contact-us/full-contact-list-and-office-hours-202223
Dr Mart Kuldkepp, EISPS Head of Department