Music and Performing Arts Union School Committee Meeting
21st November 2011
In attendance; Chair Richard Bidgood – SU president, Reps: Keziah McCarthy, Ruth Sanders,
Heather Copeland, Alex Shaw, Chris O’Connor, Sophie Ryall, Ben Staples, Pete Horne,
Nicholas Toop, Stacey Jackson, Roseanne Aylward, Stuart nelson – Department rep, Joe
Bennett – Head of School, Claire Edwards – Student Engagement Assistant.
Head of school updated reps with events in the last week. There is a new theatre production centre
called Ashman’s Yard on Locksbrook Road, Bath. This is a facility which could be used for theatre
production and set building.
The school has bought a transit van; the school has designated drivers. This vehicle is not a resource
for individual projects and can be used for transporting kit between campuses.
Letters regarding Attendance
Reps reported back that students have been receiving attendance letters. Reps asked for a way of
having a system in place in order to sign in if coming into a lecture late. JB clarified that the university
has a duty of care if students do not attend 3 lectures a letter could be sent which may be a safety
trigger which will alert Student Services and the subject leader. The university doesn’t have a single
form of registration as this is at the discretion of subject leaders. Reps asked if they could have
something on the door to sign in to stop this happening. JB will approach Charles Wiffen regarding
Group work Grades
Reps were concerned that everybody gets the same mark in group work even if one person doesn’t
make much effort. JB has previously asked for individual bibliographies however as detailed in the
module guide this will say either group-work assessment or individual assessment. Some group
works may be industry focused modules of assessment therefore marks tend to be awarded to the
group as this would be in the professional world and there is no single fair guarantee.
Reps commented they are still awaiting results from two presentations and wondered when they
would receive feedback from CMT. JB said that feedback should be within 15 days of meeting an
exam board. Feedback takes many forms, if concerned please talk to the module leader first. Other
reps commented that they have arranged individual tutorials in the past which have worked well in
order to get information.
CMT students asked if there was any information on personal tutors since the departure of Andy
West. JB advised that this will either be Chris Blunden or Tim Dickinson. Please check with Student
Services as they may be able to help.
One Rep commented that they hadn’t completed a module whilst studying Foundation at Weston
College. Students have handed in coursework so could they complete the exam. JB advised that
partner colleges deliver these courses. As students have started at Bath Spa the University’s contract
in effect ceased. This will not affect your end grade as all top up courses are calculated on modules
in year 3.
In the Mod Guide there appears to be a deadline set for 5 songs which gives students less than a
month to complete. There are also errors with dates for example not having the correct date or no
date at all. JB’s response: could reps please notify Davey Ray Moor. Action: Reps
Reps asked if there was any way that they could be entered for stage combat outside of assessment
in order to top up. JB will make a note to investigate further. Action JB
Reps asked if it would be possible to book out Burdall’s Yard. JB fed back that it is frustrating;
however, they are not legally in a position to let students have this facility unsupervised. There is a
tough policy on no lone working and health and safety. The school has invested in technicians to staff
it but we do not have a finite resource. The school has been looking into training students as first
Reps fed back that studios were cramped for example UTG07 – it is hard for the lecturer to project
their voice and students cannot hear. JB will make sure this information gets back to Estates and will
also investigate a shoe-less policy as reps commented on the state of the floor.
Music Reps commented that CM students can book band rooms however, this is not vice versa for
music. JB has tried to develop a room policy which meet course needs. He suggested trying to avoid
peak times: morning slots are often free, the school carries out room audits – the last room audit
flagged up that 70% of rooms were occupied. Other Reps also fed back that they had tried to gain
access at weekends however both times the rooms were locked. JB said that technicians should
always be around even at weekends and the school has put mobile numbers up of the technicians on
Students fed back that in order to submit their compositions they have to print out in pdf walk to the
library in order to get a better quality. Would it be possible to get a printer in the Mac Rooms so that
files do not have to be changed? JB said that Minerva should be more than capable of handling the
information and should be able to do anything in a digital upload. The school would prefer to
decrease printing costs if concerned please talk to your module coordinator to see if it is possible to
upload the information.
One Rep reported that students studying both music and education can’t access all the resources for
example music in the west essay writing. JB said that it is not possible for students to see a module if
they are not studying that module. However, if they are studying a specific module then the
information must be provided.
JB reminded students that the library has Harvard Referencing guides and software access.
Third Year Reps fed back that they have only just been told how to access on-line e-journals, and felt
that these library tools should be taught sooner. JB said that as of 2 years ago more electronic
journals are available in the library, the school has a long term project to improve user-interface so
that these resources are available to all students. Students asked if there could be compulsory
lectures regarding the information and tools available in the library. Reps also asked if it’s possible to
have refresher sessions. JB said this was a good point. Information on resources can be accessed
online, however Richard Taylor – the MPA librarian will be able to give talks to both year groups and
Reps reported that they hadn’t been advised they were taking part in a choir/orchestra concert on the
14th December and came across it on accident. JB asked Reps to follow this up with Charles when
he returns. Jan, the Music Secretary, may also be able to advise where people are. Action Reps
Email response times
Reps commented that on some occasions they were waiting a long time to get an email response
from lecturers. JB said that the school empowers colleagues to respond: 100% of staff have a
laptop. Other reps suggested having mobile numbers as they have been given these by their
Outside instrumental teachers
Reps fed back that there was inconsistency from outside instrumental teachers. JB said that Charles
will deal with this on his return.
Professional development modules
Reps fed back that as part of their professional development module emphasis was on work
placements during the summer. Reps asked if it would be possible to ask other tutors for any of their
contacts. JB responded to say that this needs careful consideration. Having a dedicated department
would incur a big cost. It is not an easy answer as staff may need to do less elsewhere if taking this
on. Other reps fed back they have attended networking events and also got in touch with previous
students who have graduated. This is good for establishing contacts. JB highlighted the educational
benefits of researching and developing these contacts individually.
Reps fed back that students are allowed to miss lectures however, they are given the impression that
they will miss out. Some lecture notes do not seem to go up on Minerva so students feel they cannot
catch up if taking part in extra-curricular activities. JB said that resources need to be available on line
in order for students to catch up. The school needs to insure that students go without penalty as long
as they are willing to catch up. JB will feed this back. Action, JB
Students’ Union Reception
Reps fed back that SU Reception staff had been abrupt. Action, RB to feedback.
Theatre production students felt that at the start of the course the modules were very disorganised.
Dissertations have only just been discussed in Week 7. JB has been in touch with this course and is
aware that as a small course the school should be able to communicate with students.
Monitor set ups
Reps reported that in both rooms TN115 and TN116 the sound quality isn’t good. JB said that this
has been a problem: this is the 3rd set of monitors used in these rooms as the frequency response
isn’t good. JB will make sure one of the tech team knows about this. Action JB.
One rep asked if it would be possible to get a blackboard app in order to have continuous updates on
the phone. JB said that the university is working on this and are evaluating if this would be useful to
students. The school should hear around January or February.
Reps fed back they had been really pleased with the five new staff who have joined the university.
Students were feeling really positive. JB agreed that they had a good team of new staff.