Ms. Anne-Michelle Slater
Our University, all universities and higher education everywhere has had to change fast. Never have universities been so spotlighted. Funding, how we teach, and our research priorities are all being scrutinised and indeed criticised. The University of Aberdeen has an important role to play as an ancient institution in a modern city. The Court, in overseeing the planning, decisions and governance of the University, has a long term and sustainable future mapped out in the Aberdeen 2040 Strategic Plan.
I put myself forward as a staff representative on the Court to voice the views of the academics, teachers and researchers at this challenging and pivotal time.
I consider I can contribute in two main ways.
First: upholding academic integrity.
We have all had to change the way we teach, assess and work due to the pandemic. It is essential that the immense efforts and creativity of staff in designing and delivering blended learning is recognised by the University’s governing body. Support for academics must be top down. In all the upheaval and change, academic integrity and values must be maintained and validated. I have extensive experience to bring to an academic representative role on the University Court: as well as teaching and researching law, I undertake interdisciplinary research, particularly with the Schools of Biological Science and Geoscience. I also teach for the Business School. I enjoy all aspects of teaching from first year legal system tutorials to the rigour of legal analysis discussion with PhD students, but 2020 has stretched us all. We must garner the positive benefits of blended learning, ensure our systems support this, but within this new learning environment, sustain academic freedom and integrity.
Second: scrutinising University governance and business development.
I bring experience of operational processes and strategic development as a previous Head of the School of Law (2012-17). Not only am I aware of the Court’s headline priorities and challenges, my current roles contribute to their implementation. As LLM Director, I am at the sharp end of the realities of international student recruitment. As Athena SWAN Lead, I scrutinise equality and diversity processes and practices for the School; as convenor of the Hay of Seaton Committee, I contribute to the wider cultural role of the University with commemorative public lectures. My responsibilities and experiences all contribute to a detailed understanding of the University of Aberdeen. This in turn enhances my ability, if elected, to ensure Court is accountable to all staff in its governance and development at this critical time.
Universities play a pivotal role in the educational, social and economic life of an area. Aberdeen City itself is at a time of change. There is much ahead for this ancient university in this changing city. I would relish the opportunity of contributing as Academic Court Representative over the next 3 years.