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The Staff/Student Liaison Committee meeting was held on Wednesday 12th December
2007 at 2.00pm in Lab B:06, Zoology Building, Old Aberdeen.


Staff: Professor M Cotter, Professor G Hawksworth, Dr F Bowser-Riley, Dr A Jack,
Dr P Kippelen, Dr L Mahady, Dr G McEwan (Convener), Dr A Ratkevicius, Dr M
Scholz, Dr D Scott, Dr R Scott with Ms J Reid
Second Year: Julia Gesicka (SR2002), Abigail Grove (BI20B2) Carrie Smith

Third Year: Lindsey Coleman (BM3006), Jayne Reid (BM3006), Christian Burgin
(PA3003), Abbie Fraser (PA3003).
Fourth Year: David Cowe (PA4302), Claire Hepburn (PA4302), Rhiannon
Thompson (PA4005), Danielle Knox (PY4302), Stephen Temple (SR4020), Debbie
Thomson (BM4004), Karyn Urquhart (BM4005), Iain McNab (BM4004 and
Staff: Dr Ruth Ross, Dr Ann Rajnicek, Dr Ian Stewart

Students: Sarah-Jane Edgar (BI20B2), Shaikha Zain Al Sharif (PY4302), sent
replacement – Danielle Knox


Brief notes of meeting between Dr Ian Stewart, Co-ordinator BM2009 and student
reps Faith Johns and Sam Ashraf, Tuesday 11th December 2007 in Anatomy LT,
Marischal College.

Dr Stewart explained that he was unable to attend the Staff/Student meeting on
Wednesday 12th December 2007 due to ongoing teaching commitments that
afternoon. He would prepare some notes of the meeting (below) and forward them to
the meting Chair, and copy to the class reps.

The reps indicated that they had received a number of comments from their
classmates and that the course was generally received well by the students with
particular note being made of the value of the tutorials and the support offered by the
demonstrators. The fortnightly tests were also “enjoyed” in the sense of their value in
support learning.

There had been requests from more/extended lectures and comments that not all the
class material was covered in the lectures, and also requests that the lecture content be
placed on WebCT. IJS advised that the course was intended to be a practical-based
course and the lectures (short talks) were intended more as introductions to some
aspects which had historically proven difficult for many students – they were not
intended to be lectures in the usual sense. IJS indicated that the emphasis on a
practical course would be retained and it was agreed that this was a strength of the

There were comments regarding crowding at stations in the DR, and to some extent,
that many of the specimens appeared to be well worn. The crowding was accepted by
IJS and was undesirable. The staff wished to provide more specimens, but the staff
resources were not available to maintain the required number. IJS indicated that the
numbers of students taking the BM2009 course, and other courses using the same
material, had increased in recent years but without a parallel increase in resource to
maintain the stock of learning material. IJS explained that the worn nature of some of
the specimens was because they had been well used, rather than being “old”, and this
was a reflection of the shortage of resource.


Students had thoroughly enjoyed the course and found the topics very interesting.
The practicals had also been found to be very good and the tests at the end of the
practicals had been very useful. The rep commented that she would have preferred
even more practical work on the course. The poster presentations had been
particularly useful. The MCQ tests on WebCT had been appreciated by students.
However, there was some discussion on the merits of putting all lecture materials onto
the WebCT site with positive and negative aspects being noted. The rep commented
that having two lectures timetabled back to back was not ideal. Dr Ratkevicius agreed
that this was not ideal but explained that it was due to timetabling constraints.


In general the course had been enjoyed by students. The lectures had been good and
the course had been well structured. There was some discussion on the text book with
varied opinion on its usefulness. However, Dr McEwan pointed out that while
lectures were the definitive source of examinable material, the text book was a useful
back up source. The practical content of the course was discussed at length. The
usefulness of the microscopy practical was discussed with mixed opinions being
expressed. Dr McEwan explained that due to the size of this class this practical
provided a convenient (and useful) exercise to get everyone organised at the start of
the course. The SIMNERV practical had been useful as had the associated write-up
session. In general students had appreciated the opportunity to produce full lab
reports. The laboratory report evaluation sheet had been found to be very helpful.
There had been a good appreciation of the mid term examination. The rep
commented that it had been a useful “wake up call” for a lot of students in the class
who hadn’t previously appreciated the detail of study required for the course. There
had been a few problems with sound in the MacRobert Lecture Theatre. Dr McEwan
had already raised this but would follow it up with the AV technicians.


Professor Cotter commented that the SCEF analysis had revealed that student opinion
of this course was largely polarised with some students seeing it as essential while
others viewed it as trivial because they felt that they already had the skills being
taught. There was some discussion as to whether an exemption scheme, which would
involve passing each test in advance of the workshop, might be an improvement for
the latter group of students. This would enable staff to focus more attention on the

former group. Reps present thought that this might work. The reps had enjoyed the
pre-workshop lectures and had enjoyed using PRS although there had been some
problems with the handsets.


The course had been thoroughly enjoyed by students. The reps reported that they had
received no bad reports, only good ones. The practicals had been particularly enjoyed
and the course co-ordinator was praised for providing such timely and valuable
feedback. Dr McEwan thanked the reps for their comments on feedback as this had
been despite a significant increase in the student number on this course for this year,
reflecting a significant increase to Dr Jack’s workload. Students had also enjoyed the
problem solving and statistics exercises which they had found very useful. There was
some discussion on the most suitable text book for the course but it was agreed that
there probably wasn’t one text which would adequately cover all the material. There
was also some discussion on the provision of lecture notes and on the format these
should take. Finally there had been some timetabling clashes for BMS Molecular
Biology students. Dr Jack commented that this had always been the case but that
clashes were minimised and, where they occurred, they didn’t have a huge impact.


Students had found this course enjoyable but it had been blighted by organisation
problems. These largely centred around timetabling issues. Professor Hawksworth
explained the background to these issues. There was some discussion on the
Pharmacokinetics teaching of the course which the students had found challenging.
This was in part due to the lack of a suitable text book for certain aspects of
pharmacokinetics teaching. Professor Hawksworth agreed to produce material for
this part of the course which would aid student understanding in the future. Professor
Hawksworth also stated that the understanding of Pharmacokinetics could be
improved by the introduction of tutorials which would require additional staff input.
The practicals on the course had been OK but it was felt that the practical schedules
were somewhat vague and didn’t provide enough advice on the preparation of reports.
There had also been some problems with certain lectures not being mounted onto
WebCT and with other notes being incomplete. Professor Hawksworth stated that she
would look into this. Finally there had been a suggestion that a reading week might
be helpful. This was discussed.


Dr Scott present but no reps.


Dr Scholz present but no reps.


No reps were appointed.


No reps were appointed.


No course co-ordinator or reps attended.


Enjoyable course no problems highlighted.


Students found this to be a very good course. They had particularly appreciated the
data analysis session which had enhanced their confidence in handling this type of
material. There was a suggestion that some time be allocated for discussion of the
answers. Professor Cotter stated that she would be happy to arrange this in the future.
The practical component of the course had been very good. However, it was
suggested that the practical write-up could be given a higher proportion of the final
continuous assessment mark.


Feedback on the course had been very positive. Students had appreciated the lectures
and the tutorials on data analysis. Case studies had also been appreciated. Students
had also found the presentation exercise useful and helpful. Reps requested that in
returning marked work, that the grade be entered at the back to protect confidentiality.


Feedback on the course had been generally good. The students appreciated the
quality of the external lecturers who teach on this course. They also appreciated the
focussed nature of teaching delivered by these lecturers on Thursdays. Students had
appreciated having a choice of essay rather than having one allocated to them.
Practicals had been OK but it was felt that the time between the practical and the
tutorial session was too long, with the report deadline closely following the tutorial.
They suggested that the tutorial should be immediately following the practical which
would give the students longer to write up.


Students found the course to be very good with lecture and practical component being
appreciated. The students had appreciated the spacing out of their workload, with the
titles of essays being given out well in advance. They had found the data analysis
session to be very helpful but asked if this could be extended. Dr Scott and Dr
Bowser-Riley stated that this could be done in future. The viva exercise had been
perceived as a very positive one and students appreciated the experience. The
Foresterhill Lecture Theatre (LT3) had been extremely cold on occasions. Professor
Cotter stated that she would contact the appropriate authorities to try and have this
situation rectified. Finally students commented that there is a lack of computing
facilities on the Foresterhill site. Again, Professor Cotter said that she would pass this
information on to the appropriate people.


Students had really enjoyed the course and felt very positive about their studies. The
introductory session on essay writing had been particularly appreciated and the
formative feedback provided by Dr Mahady had been excellent. The students had
found the presentation exercise challenging, but now felt well prepared for the exam.

The course rep went on to comment on the delivery of the Health Science course
which Sports Studies students had also taken this term. There was strong feeling that
this course, despite having a very large proportion of Sports Studies students on it,
had very little, if any, emphasis on sport. The students felt that this impeded their
engagement with the course material and hindered their potential achievement.


Dr Bowser-Riley present, but no reps.


Dr Bowser-Riley present, but no reps.

All level four reps present expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the first
semester of their final year.