Action Plan

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1 SAMHÄLLSVETARKÅREN VID LUNDS UNIVERSITET Action Plan Approved by the Executive Council on May 30th, 2013

2 Table of Contents 1. Purpose Introduction Areas of Focus Communications and Organisational Development Programme Associations and Sections Local and National Student Collaborations Labour Market External Relations Union House and Other Facilities Elections External Founding A Transparent Organisation Social Activities Active Members in Our Organisation Identity of the Social Sciences

3 1. Purpose The Action Plan of the Social Sciences Student Union at Lund University (henceforth called the Union) is decided upon annually by the Union s Executive Council, together with a budget. Along with the steering documents (e.g. the Statutes, By Laws, Equality Plan, Opinion Programme and other policies), The Action Plan and budget are the Executive Council s primary tools with which to steer the Union and the work that the organisation does. The Action Plan informs the Union as to which topics are especially important to work with during the fiscal year with the purpose of guiding and supporting the Union s elected representatives during their terms of office. In the beginning of the fiscal year, the Board together with those responsible for the Education Committee, the Event Committee and the Labour Market Committee shall concretise the Action Plan. To concretise the Action Plan means to create a plan consisting of the following things: how to achieve the goals outlined in the Action Plan, who is responsible for what, and what is the timeline for making it all happen. The result of this plan, which we call the concretised Action Plan, will be presented to the Executive Council at one of their first sessions of the fiscal year. During the end of the fiscal year, the Board is responsible for the creation of an Annual Report which shall describe the accomplishments and progress of the year in relation to the Action Plan. 2. Introduction In this Action Plan, the 18 th Executive Council has decided to use the structure introduced in the Action Plan for the fiscal year 2012/2013. This structure is quite different from the one used before 2012/2013, particularly the way the chapter: Areas of Focus is used. Before, the Action Plan had consisted of a high number of Areas of Focus which included areas like gender equality and equal. However, the structure of the Action Plan for the fiscal years of 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 are written with the mind-set that such areas are values that should always steer the work of the Union. Furthermore, we would prefer to encourage the active implementation of the Union s Equality and Equal Treatment Plan as well as our Statutes and By Laws which, together, explicitly state these fundamental values and how to work with them. In other words, the Union should always be held responsible for not actively working with and for equality and equal treatment. 2

4 3. Areas of Focus 3.1 Education and Student Welfare Education Quality High quality and a comprehensive perspective within the University s educations are essential for competence and competitiveness within the fields of Social Science. The Union should work toward a high educational quality through evaluation, education and outreach. The Union should facilitate possibilities for students to make their voices heard, to influence and to improve their education. To create these possibilities for students, the Union needs the Education Committee to have a functioning structure in the form of a forum and meeting place for all Union representatives in their dealings with educational matters. The Education Committee should be a guiding force for the student representatives, a body that ensures that all representatives receive relevant knowledge, hosts meetings regularly, and increases its flow of information between the different parts of the committee. According to earlier research done by the Union, there are too few places to study at the Faculty. This is a growing problem for students represented by the Union. More accessibility to study places will facilitate an improvement in the learning process and an acknowledgement of the student s need for a work place. Therefore we must see to it that the Study Center is built in a manner that suits the students needs. During the last several fiscal years, there has been a continual dissatisfaction amongst students regarding the SIMM-courses. The work with improving them has begun, but it is an endeavour that should receive an increased level of attention and work in the following fiscal year. During the last two fiscal years, there has also been a new grading system implemented throughout several departments at the Faculty which will be evaluated by the Faculty during the coming fiscal year. In this evaluation, it is very important that the students voice is raised and taken into account so the grading system continues to improve in a way that benefits the learning process for the students. During the fiscal year of 2013/2014 the Union wants to: Implement and improve the new structure of the Education Committee to strengthen the student voice toward the University and other relevant bodies. Take an active role in the work regarding the building of the Study Center and continuously investigate other options for the creation of good study places. Monitor the changes to the SIMM-Courses and work to improve them further. Gather opinions and be an active part of the evaluation of the newly implemented grading system. 3

5 3.1.2 Legal Rights and Due Process The Student Rights List has changed during the last fiscal year. Therefore, it is important to supervise the implementation of the list and to see to it that it is respected by the University. Information regarding the list should be disseminated to the students so that they are familiar with their rights. The Ombudsman of Students is a vital part of the Union s work in ensuring that the student rights list is followed. The Union should be an active and supportive function for the Ombudsman of Students to give the Ombudsman of Students the best work conditions possible. It is also vital to establish contact between the Ombudsman of Students and the students that the Union represent. In accordance with the Student Rights List, all students have the right to be graded without bias. Anonymous exams are imperative for ensuring that grades are based soley on performance and not influenced by other factors. During the last fiscal year, the work began to implement anonymous exams, but due to various obstacles, there are still more steps to be taken in achieving a Faculty-wide implementation of anonymous exams. See to it that anonymous exams are implemented at the Faculty of Social Science at large. Ensure that the University abides by the Student Rights List. Support the work of the Ombudsman of Students. Spread information about the Ombudsman of Students to the students Life after Your Studies The Union recognises the importance of a close collaboration with potential future employers of our members. It is important for the Union to make our members aware of the different tools available for them to turn their ideas into practice. It is also important to have a close connection with the Departments, the Study Counsellors, the Sections and the Programmes Associations when it comes to matters of Labour Market connection. This is due to the current societal and economic situation resulting in difficulties for our students in finding jobs within their fields of study upon graduation. The Union s research on this matter reveals that students have a strong desire for internships. Therefore, internships should be among the tools used by the University to support the students transition from Academia to the Labour Market. The Union should continue its work to establish the Career Counsellor s position at the Faculty and see to it that the position is created in the best interest of the students. The Union must ensure that its input is taken into account in forming the position. Establish a closer collaboration between the Union, Departments, Study Counsellors, Sections and Programme Associations regarding matters of labour market connection. 4

6 See to it that the University expands and improves its students connection to the Labour Market. Make our members more aware of the tools available to help them turn their ideas into practice. Increase possibility for internships and internship support provided by the Faculty. Take an active role in the process of creating the Faculty s Career Counsellor s position. Raise the debate about internships and their effects from a critical point of view 5

7 3.2 Communications and Organisational Development Programme Associations and Sections The Union should continue its collaboration with Programme Associations and its creation of Sections in order to strengthen its connections to the student body and the faculty at large. In creating sections, the Union aims to grow closer to the students and expand student influence. Programme associations, while not part of the Union, provide students of the Social Sciences a forum to participate in activities related to their study discipline. Their contributions to providing a good study experience and their proximity respective student groups make them a valuable asset to the Union. In collaborations with programme associations, it is important to keep in mind the Union s aim to decentralise the organisation and create sustainable sections. Create effective communication channels and discussion forums between Programme Associations, Sections and the Union. Continue work to responsibly create new sections while continuing to support and develop more sustainable routines with existing sections Local and National Student Collaborations The Union should strive to have a healthy and productive relationship with the student unions of Lund University and their collaborative organisation LUS (Lunds Universitets Studentkårer). As a member of Studentlund, the Union should also strengthen its presence in relations with the nations and Studentlund as a whole. By extension, the Union, to the best of its ability and in accordance with its Opinion Programme, should work to make our University s student unions a strong collective voice within the national student organisation SFS (Sveriges Förenade Studentkårer). In addition to these on-going collaborations, the Union should develop a connection with other student unions of social sciences to exchange useful knowledge and work with issues particularly concerning students studying such fields. All of our work related to these forums must be reviewed to ensure that it is done with the highest degree of transparency, effectiveness and respect for our Union s Opinion Programme. When representing the Union in these situations, the Union s representatives must always be mindful of the fact that they speak for our students and should carry their best interests at heart. Continue to strengthen our work within LUS and SFS in a responsible and steadfast manner. Increase the nations and Studentlund s understanding of our opinions and our work. Create a network and dialogue with other student unions of social sciences to exchange ideas and promote best practices Interaction with Members The Union s active members are the organisation s most valuable resource - this must be an underlying factor in every aspect of the Union s work. The Union currently offers training for new members elected to trustee positions and this work must be developed and evaluated. These 6

8 training programmes are meant to help the trustees become comfortable within their new positions and provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to make informed decisions. This should also strengthen trustees ability to counteract actors, should the actors attempt to use suppression techniques against trustees. It is also important to create a stronger sense of belonging and collective identity among members of the Union to enhance members interest, engagement, and sense of ownership of this Union. An important part of this is understanding how the Union works and how it is structured, which is why this has to be better communicated. It is of high priority to increase and improve the communication with the Union s members overall. It is important that we inform our members to a greater extent about the Union and the work the Union does. It is for the members that we perform our events and activities, and so it is our duty that our members are aware of them. Therefore, the Union needs to find more and more effective ways to communicate with our members in order to be more available for them. Develop, coordinate and evaluate the Union s training programmes and properly incorporate this work into the hand-overs for the next fiscal year s active members. Actively work toward union-wide identity building. Develop and maintain more effective and transparent communication channels between potential members, current members and the Union. Develop more and more effective ways for communication with members Labour Market Today, the identity of the social scientist can seem rather unclear. It is important to clarify that identity, both for the confidence of the students we represent and in order to improve the communication of what we can do to the labour market. We must develop the labour market s knowledge of the social sciences, its disciplines and the important role the social sciences play in society. That is why the Union should engage students in work relating to identity building towards both a common and specialised Labour Market. We also strive to offer our members an array of events and activities to prepare them for their future. One way to improve this work is to create and maintain an active alumni network and to connect students with alumni. Another way is to develop a Career Fair with a focus limited to the students that the Union represents. A Career Fair geared toward social scientists alone would help strengthen the identity of the social sciences for both students and potential employers. Continue to develop our labour market work and coordination by arranging relevant events and activities. Arrange a Career Day specifically for students of social science. Ensure that the department and the Faculty improve its alumni networks and coordinates this work with the Union. Work on creating a specific Union actives alumni network. 7

9 3.2.5 External Funding Since the discontinuation of mandatory student union membership in Sweden, student unions have faced financial difficulties and insecurities. This means that the Union should explore more external funding opportunities to ensure it maintains a high standard in the work it provides. Future decisions may also mean that the Union will receive less economic support from the University, which is why we should investigate and potentially coordinate other resources. External funding must be handled with caution and care in terms of the types of parties the Union associates with. Therefore, the Union needs a clear plan for how to handle external parties grounded upon the Union s values and outlining the Union s requirements of the parties before such agreements are made. After this plan is created, the Union should start to actively reach out to external parties that are beneficial for the Union s work at large. Create a plan for how to handle external funding. Actively work with external relations, focusing on stabilising the Union s economy with the help of external funding Union House and Other Facilities Samvetet (the Union s headquarters) is an important asset that the Union must maintain and protect. All renovations and purchases intended for use in the Union s daily work should be safeguarded for adequate work-environment conditions. When possible, Samvetet should always be available as an open space for our members and active members. The Union should also continue to investigate the possibilities to expand and/or move its work and activities to a location that would better suit its needs. This work should ensure a good work environment for the Union s full-time financially remunerated persons, active members and students as well as an inviting space for representatives and members to be. In line with enhancing the students environment as well as the Union s resources, we should further investigate the possibility of working with the Café to be located in the new Eden. The Union should, if possible, be the primary organisation behind the Café. This gives the Union two different tasks (1) lobbying toward different parties to ensure that the procurement is created in a beneficial way for the Union and (2) adapt and prepare the organisation for operating a Café. Keep Samvetet tidy and the facilities, along with the materials and furniture within, in good condition. Continue investigating possibilities to improve and expand the Union s facilities. Continue the work in preparing for a Café operated by the Union Elections A high turnout rate in the elections gives the Union democratic justification. The Executive Council elections are the primary opportunity for all members to influence the Union s work and are, therefore, paramount to the Union s constitution and continued existence. The Union must always be mindful of how its elections are carried out. Our election system should be 8

10 continuously reviewed to ensure that as many members as possible participate and can make informed decisions. It can never be assumed that the current manner of handling the elections is the best one. Evaluate Executive Council election practices and examine alternative forms of vote casting. Improve the election s marketing and turnout External Relations It is important that the Union continues to be an active presence through conventional and new media outlets. If the Union is not heard, the organisation or its work can go unnoticed. Thus, the Union should continue its work on a strategic communication plan to guide how the Union should work with all forms of communication. It is highly important that this plan, in accordance with chapter Interaction with Members, incorporates effective strategies for outreach to a wider sphere of Union members. To be a strong counterpart to the University and the Faculty, but also toward other parties handling student matters, it is important that the Union actively engages in societal debate when student matters are discussed. The Union should, in accordance with the above mentioned plan for strategic communication, never be afraid of initiating debates on important student matters in the media. The Union is an organisation with strong opinions in matters that, at times, are neither lifted by the University nor other student unions. In such cases, it is up to our Union to ensure these opinions are not forgotten. Create and properly implement a plan for strategic communication Be an active and strong part in the societal debate regarding student matters A Transparent Organisation To be a responsible representative of the students at the Faculty it is highly important that the Union s decision-making processes are accessible and transparent. Therefore, the Union must find ways to ensure that the members both understand the decision-making process and how to be a part of the mentioned processes. In order to spread awareness of how the decision-making processes work within the Union, we need a clear way of showing how the organisation functions. A more transparent organisation is a more accessible organisation and one that invites more and stronger engagement. Investigate and implement ways to increase transparency in the organisation. Create a clear and accessible organisational map enabling a transparent Union structure for members and other interested parties. 9

11 3.3 Social Activities Active Members in Our Organisation We appreciate our active members and all they do for the Social Sciences Student Union at Lund University- without them we could not survive. Our active members are the faces of our Union. They bridge our communication across internal and external borders, evaluate our work with critical eyes and develop our vision for the future. That is why we want to ensure that they are appropriately honoured with thank-you activities such as dinners, mingles and parties. These activities also create new forums and space for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and networking. We are in the firm belief that our active members and thank-you activities are a vital piece of our puzzle. Kicking off a work group by going on a retreat is an excellent way to get to know one another and improve group dynamics. Retreats develop and motivate groups within the Union, therefore, we support and facilitate these forms of team-building. Create and develop social activities that encourage, motivate and thank our active members. These activities should also function for attracting new active members. Organise retreats for all of the Union s bodies Identity of the Social Sciences Creating a living and active history through maintaining healthy, inclusive traditions is a great way to create a common and open identity for our student body. This should be accomplished through strong, popular and inviting annual events that our members look forward to and talk about for years to come. It should also be accomplished by further developing the Union s arrival activities so that new members feel welcomed into the Union and the Faculty. Besides the annual events stated in our statutes, we also support the creation of new events of different sizes and forms and encourage the Union to take an active role in the Lundakarneval These events should also be evaluated to ensure that they indeed strengthen our identity and support our values. Create a bigger and better Carpe Conscentiam. Create a bigger and better Slaget om Samvetet. Continue, develop, and evaluate traditions and annual events. Develop and implement better welcome activities Reoccurring Events One way to have a good relationship between the Union and our members is to have reoccurring events. These events keep our members coming back to us and remind them that they are always welcome. Reoccurring events help us network with our members and recruit new active members. It is important in planning these kinds of events that regularity, routine, organisation and inclusiveness are always in mind. It is also important that students recognize the Union s reoccurring events and know what is happening, where and when. Sambar, the Union s pub 10

12 operation, attracts students to the Union and to further engagement in Union work. Sambar is an integral part of our work with reoccurring events and should be maintained and improved. We also encourage reoccurring outreach events to increase our visibility as well as social events that connect to our opinions and educational work. Continue to improve Sambar. Create ongoing social events that reach out to students, increase awareness of our Union s opinions, and connect to our educational work. 11

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