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YUSU Elections 2016: Academic Officer – Thomas Ron

Image credit: YUSU
Image credit: YUSU
Image credit: YUSU

Thomas Ron is the incumbent Academic Officer at the University of York Student Union. He is running for re-election in the 2016 union election.

Tell us a bit about you!

My name is Thomas Ron, I was a PPE student before becoming Academic Officer and I have graduated.

What societies have you been involved in since you started at the university?

I have been involved in the University of York Labour Club and the United Nations Association.  In UYLC I was Disability Officer and Campaigns and Policy Officer, which led to me playing a leading role in our general election campaign particularly in the seat of Elmet and Rothwell.  In the UNA I was Delegate Trainer and Crisis Director for our conference last year (YorkMUN 2015), a role I am repeating for our 2016 conference.

Why did you decide to run for this position?

I decided to run for a second term because I want to finish the job I started.  This year I have moved to make the Academic Officer a much more student-facing role, supporting Course Reps and getting involved with student campaigns like Lecture Capture and a lending Laptop scheme.  However, I feel there is more to do.  The university is still lagging behind on employability and with the new role of Faculty Rep coming in we will need a strong pair of hands to ensure that this position lives up to its potential.  I have had a great year as Academic Officer and I want to continue in that role so we can continue to have strong successes for all students.

What are your policies?

I have many policies.  My main ones are geared around ensuring students can get the jobs they want.  To do this I want to ensure that our departments are doing their bit.  Therefore, I will push departments to provide Years in Industry for all students along with our Careers Service so that students who want to can spend a year in a job getting solid and real experience that will put them in good stead, as experienced by Computer Science.
I also want to utilise our world class academics by creating research internships for students over the summer.  Under this scheme students will be able to work for an academic and assist in their research over the summer while being paid.  This will provide students with some major experience they can put on their CV, which will put them in good stead either for the world of work, or for postgraduate degrees, which are popular here at York.
Finally, I want students to be prepared for modules in the next year.  On average a student pays £500 per module.  For that much money students deserve to know what they are getting into.  Therefore, I will lobby for all departments to provide module taster sessions before module choices come out so students can hear about the different choices they have from staff and students.  Additionally, in the summer term I will push departments to do sample lectures that students can attend so they can see whether they have made the right choice in time to change.  Finally, I will push for all reading lists to be released before the summer starts so students can get ready for the next year.

I have a lot of other policies on my manifesto and I encourage everyone to take a look at them here.

Which of those policies are you most excited about?

The Research Internship scheme I think is something that would really work out.  We have some amazing academics who would welcome the chance to have student research.  Students can learn from them not only in the classroom but spend a summer assisting them on the cutting edge of academia.  I think this scheme would work very well for our students and allow them to spend time doing the subject they love and focusing on a particularly interesting area.

Who are you backing for the presidency?

I believe all candidates are excellent and would bring a lot to the presidency.  Therefore, I have not made up my mind yet as it is a tough choice this year.