Candidate for the position of Vice President Education



Ensure inclusive representation: #SelectSmith for VP Education


My name is Natalie Smith, and I'm in my 4th year of a joint Honours Religion and Sociology degree. I have several years of experience representing students in my capacity as faculty officer of the Literature and Languages department. I'm passionate about accessible higher education, and will work to ensure a learning environment that is inclusive for all.


Prioritising accessibility and inclusivity

Support survivors of sexual violence: Co-ordinated, structural support within the University is vital in the aftermath of abuse. If elected, I will prioritise implementing solid, cohesive academic support, and work towards ensuring that people don’t have to be in seminars with their perpetrators.


Eliminate hidden course costs: University is expensive enough without unexpected fees. To secure a quality education for all, I will work to eliminate costs associated with mandatory field trips and expensive reading material where possible, and ensuring transparency and advertising of student hardship funds where they remain.


Expanding mental health assistance: To get the most out of the student experience, assistance needs to be in place for students experiencing mental health difficulties. I will work towards bettering mental wellbeing, and will engage with appropriate services to ensure that students are properly assisted. Additionally, I will ensure ARUA’s aren’t ignored or questioned.


Delivering quality education

Improved study spaces: Potential study space within the university is under-used. Ensuring that empty rooms are available for use at flexible hours will be key to my work, something especially important during exam time. Additionally, I will seek to create study spaces specifically for students writing their dissertations.


Maintenance of rooms: Seminar rooms and lecture theatres are environments meant to facilitate learning, and yet many are poorly maintained – the leaking ceilings in Pathfoot are unacceptable! In upcoming university redevelopments, I will emphasise the importance of targeting this.


Course Changes: Large, organisational changes to our degrees should not be done without consulting us. Work needs to be done on the way in which the University implements and communicates structural changes. 


Amplifying student voices

Undergraduate and Postgraduate course representation: I will continue to work in close connection with faculty officers and course reps to ensure that student voices carry on shaping the educational experience at Stirling. Additionally, I will emphasise the importance of engaging currently underrepresented postgraduate students.


Recognise teaching excellence: The RATE-awards is a great platform for students to express what works for them in terms of teaching. I will continue engaging with the RATE-awards to ensure that best practice in teaching continues to be highlighted.


International students: Studying in a foreign country brings a unique set of challenges, and with international and EU students being underrepresented within the university context, it is important that these voices are heard. In the current political climate, it is more important than ever that we engage with international voices. If elected, I will make this a priority, and in conjunction with this, work to create educational support specifically tailored to international and EU students.