Update on Industrial Action – 16 March 2018

Dear Student

I am writing to you to further update you on the situation regarding the industrial action as the period of strike action by some academic staff draws to a close.

As I indicated in my previous email the University is aware that the impact of the strike has been variable across the disciplines.  As part of the University’s continued commitment to ensuring that the impact on the student experience is minimised as far as possible, Heads of School have been asked to review assessments to determine the adjustments needed take account of teaching content students have not had the opportunity to study.  Where schools have made students aware of teaching content which has been rescheduled, or has been delivered in alternative formats, this material will be eligible for inclusion in assessments.

Your personal exam timetable is available to you through MyTimetable 

Professor Peter McGeorge

Vice-Principal (Learning & Teaching)

Update on Industrial Action – 13 March 2018

Dear Students 

A national proposal, facilitated by ACAS, has been developed to end the current national dispute and strike action over pensions.  We expect the current industrial action to be suspended from tomorrow (Wednesday, 14 March 2018).  An important part of the proposal is the prioritisation that is to be given to rescheduling teaching activities cancelled as a result of the strike.  Your School will keep you informed of progress on this matter at an individual course level. 

We deeply regret the impact of the strike action and remain committed to minimising the adverse impact of the dispute.  May I thank all students for their forbearance over this challenging period.   

Professor Mike Greaves

Senior Vice Principal

Strike Action – Important Information for Students

The University and College Union (UCU) has informed the University that its members may undertake a period of industrial action between 22 February and 16 March 2018.  There will be 14 days of action during this period on the following dates:

  • 22 & 23 February
  • 26, 27 & 28 February
  • 5, 6, 7 & 8 March
  • 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16 March. 

This strike action is being taken in most Universities where staff are part of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and is in response to a number of changes which have been proposed to pensions in order to address challenges in relation to funding issues of the scheme. 

The University will remain open on these days and is committed to ensuring that no student is disadvantaged by the strike action.  We are committed to a positive student experience and will take all appropriate measures to ensure this continues to be provided. Some staff may choose to take strike action which may lead to some classes being cancelled.  Where staff inform us in advance, Schools will inform you by email of any such cancellation.  If you have not been informed of any cancellations, you should assume that your classes will go ahead as planned, although you should be aware that some classes may need to be cancelled at very short notice.

You will find the questions and answers below of help.  If you have any other queries, please do not hesitate to contact academicservices@abdn.ac.uk

Professor Peter McGeorge

Vice-Principal (Learning & Teaching)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q          Can I approach academic staff for help during the Strike and Action short of a Strike?

 

         You should continue to seek advice and guidance from academic staff as normal.  Should a member of staff indicate that they are not able to help due to the Strike or Action Short of a Strike then you should contact the Head of School.

 

Q          How will I know if my classes have been cancelled?

 

         Where staff inform us in advance, Schools will let you know by email of any such cancellation.  If you have not been informed of any cancellations, you should assume that your classes will go ahead as planned, although you should be aware that some classes may need to be cancelled at very short notice.

 

Q         Am I expected to attend classes on strike days?

A          Yes.  In the case of teaching, you are expected to attend classes which are not cancelled.  Please note any material covered could form part of future assessments.

 

Q         What will happen if my lecture is cancelled as a result of the strike?

A          You will not be disadvantaged as a result of any teaching missed due to the strike action.  Any aspect of teaching missed as a consequence of the industrial action will not form part of any assessment associated with the course.

 

Q         What will happen if my tutorial or laboratory class is cancelled as a result of the strike?

 

A          You will not be disadvantaged as a result of any cancelled tutorial or laboratory class due to the strike action.  Unless covered in other areas of the course, the material covered at these sessions will not form part of any assessment for this course. 

 

Q          Will submission deadlines for in-course assessments be changed due to the industrial action?

 

A          Not routinely.  Unless you are informed otherwise by the course coordinator, you should ensure that you meet the stated deadlines for submission of your in-course assessments.  The penalties for late submission will not be relaxed. 

 

Q         What impact will missed teaching have on the assessments for my course?

A          You will not be disadvantaged as a result of any teaching which is cancelled.  Any material missed will not form part of any assessment for the course.

 

Q         I am an online learner, what will the industrial action mean for me?

A          If the industrial action has any impact on your course (e.g. provision of course materials, access to tutor support or return of assessed work) your School will notify you.  You will not be disadvantaged as a result of any teaching content which is not delivered as a result of the strike action.  Any material missed will not form part of any assessment for the course.

 

Q          If I don’t receive feedback on my in-course assessments this may impact on my ability to prepare fully for my written examinations.  How will this affect my marks?

 

A          Heads of School will know which courses have been affected and will ensure that the examiners are made aware of this situation in determining the overall CGS grade for the courses concerned.

 

Q         Will I be able to appeal if I have not had feedback on course work before taking my examinations?

A         If the learning outcomes that are assessed by the written examinations are different to those assessed by course work, then there would be no grounds of appeal.  If, however, the examinations relate directly to the course work, for which no feedback had been provided, then this will be expressly brought to the attention of the examiners, including the External Examiner, who will be asked to take this into account in determining students’ overall CGS grade for such courses.  Provided this was taken into account, there would be no grounds of appeal.

 

Q         My course work represents a proportion of my overall course grade but only some of this has been marked.  How will this affect my overall marks for the course?

A         If a proportion of the marks are not available for a particular course, the examiners will be asked to consider whether a sufficient proportion of the assessment has been completed in order to confirm that the learning outcomes for the course have been achieved, and to award an overall CGS grade based on the percentage of work completed, so that you are not disadvantaged.  If an insufficient proportion of assessment has been completed, your overall course mark will not be able to be confirmed.  Should this   occur, you will be permitted to proceed to the next half-session or to the next stage of your programme pending the confirmation of your overall course grade.

 

Q         Can I get a refund for cancelled classes?

A         The University is committed to ensuring that students are not disadvantaged as a result of the industrial action.  The University has put in place a range of mitigating measures to ensure this, including, rescheduling classes where possible, ensuring that key material is delivered in alternate formats or by alternative staff, and amending assessments and deadlines to account for missed material.

 

In view of these mitigating actions, the University does not believe that any student will be prevented from graduating on time because of the industrial action and, consequently, there are no current plans to refund tuition fees.

Q         Who do I contact if I have any further queries?

A          If you have queries about a specific course, you should contact the relevant School office in the first instance.  General queries should be directed to academicservices@abdn.ac.uk  Students may also contact the Students’ Association.