Emmanuel Akerele

Community Stories

Responding to COVID-19 through feedback and partnership

The Student President for Education & Welfare, Emmanuel Akerele, shares recent successes from the university community working in partnership to improve the student experience.

At the beginning of the year, who would have thought that the world as we know it would change so drastically?

In unprecedented times such as this, it is important to understand how everyone is reacting to be sure of how to help or provide support. As an Executive team at RGU:Union, we have gathered feedback through the strong rep structure put in place at the beginning of the year and have worked in partnership with a wide range of staff towards viable solutions.

Accurate, Balanced, Constructive and Depersonalized are the qualities of Effective feedback. Through proper collaboration with reps, Student School Officers and other student leaders, we proactively gathered insights into students’ lived experiences across several topics to guide and inform the decisions of the university. But it is one thing to gather feedback, and another to work in partnership.

The Student Partnership Agreement recommends a community where staff and students at all levels proactively work together to achieve set objectives. With COVID-19, the first objective was to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all members of the RGU community and secondly support the university keep to its promise of delivering quality education with the hope that no student feels disadvantaged in their academic journey. At the start of these uncertain times, it seemed impossible but as time passed and things became clearer, the use of student feedback and working in partnership helped to make these objectives achievable.

In recent weeks we have successfully represented the student voice and contributed to a range of key decisions including:

  • Transitioned to online learning and teaching,
  • Funding made available for international/EU students alongside UK/Scottish students,
  • Wilful termination of lease contracts for those in RGU accommodation,
  • Support for those with accommodation issues,
  • Provision of alternative assessments with full details on CampusMoodle
  • Amongst other achievements through active partnership in response to the student voice.


It hasn’t been a smooth ride all the way. However, one of the benefits of partnership working at RGU is that students have been involved in the decision-making processes from the outset, rather than being informed after decisions have been made. This means that there is an understanding of how and why certain decisions are made.

Partnership in action should be a university-wide, school-wide and course-wide activity. Even informal interactions between staff and students, at all levels, remain vital to responding to this crisis as one strong community.

We are grateful for the opportunity to regularly present student feedback to the university and proud that our partnership has resulted in a number of positive outcomes. We will continue to work closely with our students - and representative roles - to encourage open communication, create opportunities for discussion on the issues that matter and embed an ethos of partnership working at all levels of decision making.

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