Student seal of approval for UCMK

Tue 03 Dec 2013

It seems an obvious thing to say but the students are the most important people at UCMK.  For the staff and university authorities it’s vital to know what they make of us and how pleased they are with the way things are going for them at their chosen place of study.  As I write this we’re preparing to welcome the University of Bedfordshire Students’ Union Conference which is being held at Milton Keynes for the very first time.  It’s a chance to get students involved in all their union’s activities but it’s also an opportunity to find out from them where they think we can improve what we offer.  Last week we had our first campus-wide feedback session where we had some really useful and very encouraging comments from students.  A number of people said they found their lecturers were very upfront with them, accessible, helpful and easy to talk to, all of which is excellent news. 

There was also some very pleasing feedback about the social aspect of UCMK.  We’ve worked very hard on making this a place where people will want to be.  Honourable mentions included our lovely, shiny new pool table and the recent FIFA tournament which will most definitely be repeated.  On that note we’re holding a Christmas Lunch on 11th December with a slap-up meal and some carol singing.  It will be fun to see what some of our overseas students make of a traditionally British festive celebration.  It’s all about building a community.  UCMK will be home for an important period in these people’s lives and it is incumbent on us to make sure they truly feel at home.

The clock is counting down now towards the launch of MK:Smart and next week the partners will gather to dot some digital “’'s” and cross “t’s” before the hardware is installed here early in January.  It’s been worth the wait and all of those involved including the Open University, Dell and BT are itching to get started.  Once the hardware is in place on campus there will be a period of testing the equipment to ensure it’s ready for the Big Data to be gathered and analysed.  In theory this assessment period could last until November but we’re hopeful of being able to actually start the project proper some months before that.  Never before has a city anywhere in the world attempted such an ambitious undertaking cross-referencing such massive quantities of information relating to water, power and transport.  It could provide a blueprint for the way cities are designed, developed and run in the twenty-first century, and for UCMK to be home of the city’s data hub is beyond exciting. 

Finally, we held an Open Day on Saturday and it was great to see people coming to take a look round to see if they might want to apply to study here.  I would always urge anyone applying to university to take the opportunity to go to see the place and talk to people before they make up their minds.  Choosing a university can inform the whole direction of the rest of a person’s life so you have to find a course which excites you but also a place where you feel you could live for two, three or four years.  If you are looking now, the very best of luck with your search; perhaps we’ll see you here at UCMK very soon.

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