Disrupting Echoes

Alkhemy

Welcome to "Disrupting Echoes," a boundary-pushing podcast by Alkhemy, where we unravel the intricate tapestry of student engagement, unions, and higher education. Hosted by our very own Alkhemy team members, Molly and Barbara, each episode dives deep into the heart of the student movement and HE, bringing to light the stories, challenges, and triumphs outside of traditional echo chambers. At Alkhemy, we're not just about following trends – we're known for breaking them. With a reputation for disruption and innovation, we aim to shake up the status quo in student representation and engagement. Join us as we explore uncharted territories in the world of Students’ Unions and University Student Engagement Teams, with insightful discussions, expert opinions, and a generous dash of respectful disruption. Our mission? To empower true student voice, champion accessibility, and radically redesign the frameworks of organisations and workplaces. Whether you're a student leader, a staff member, or just someone passionate about the evolution of higher education, "Disrupting Echoes" is your go-to source for thought-provoking content and fresh perspectives. Tune in, as we disrupt the echoes and amplify the voices that matter. read less
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Episodes

Episode 5 - What a Way to Make a Living: Working and Thriving in HE
Mar 14 2024
Episode 5 - What a Way to Make a Living: Working and Thriving in HE
Summary This episode of Disrupting Echoes delves into the nuances of work culture in higher education, examining the challenges and strategies around recruitment, retention, and promoting a positive, inclusive work environment. Through insightful discussions, it explores the significance of managerial roles in nurturing curiosity, enthusiasm, and a supportive framework for flexible and hybrid working models, while also addressing the impact of societal shifts towards work-life balance, burnout, and the evolving perceptions of work. A special thank you to our guests Levi and Vicky for their invaluable participation and the unique perspectives they brought to our discussion, enriching our conversation immensely. Takeaways Transparent communication about flexible working options is essential for attracting and retaining talent in higher education.Managers are pivotal in cultivating an inclusive and supportive work culture, crucial for navigating the challenges of hybrid work arrangements.Encouraging curiosity and enthusiasm enhances workplace engagement and productivity.Balancing the passion that drives individuals with the pragmatic needs of the business is key, especially in high-turnover environments.Addressing burnout and promoting a healthy work-life balance are necessary to combat disengagement and foster a more positive workplace dynamic. Guests VIcky Hossack, Director of Paragon People, https://paragonpeople.co.uk/ Levi Pay, Director/Principal Consultant at Plinth House, https://www.plinthhouse.com/ References and Recognition Music generated by Mubert https://mubert.com/render  https://alkhemy.org.uk/meet-our-team/ Get in contact hey@alkhemy.org.uk
Episode 4 - ReDMUnion: Reflections on #SabbLife
Feb 21 2024
Episode 4 - ReDMUnion: Reflections on #SabbLife
Summary Making memories and changing lives here at Alkhemy! In this episode we reunite Kate and Diya with our very own Molly Knight. Kate and Diya were sabbatical officers together at De Montfort Students' Union from 2019-2020, whilst Molly was Student Voice Manager. Kate and Diya have since transitioned into SU staff roles, we ask some of the controversial questions and get some great insights. From the highs of impactful initiatives to the trials that tested their resilience, this episode offers a rare glimpse into the realities of student leadership. Join our hosts Barbara and Molly, as Kate and Diya share their personal journeys, the lessons learned, and the indelible mark their experiences have left on them. Whether you're a current sabbatical officer, running to be a sabbatical officer, or someone passionate about the dynamics of students' unions, this episode promises rich insights into the challenges and triumphs of student leadership. Takeaways Respect and Tailored Roles: Essential for officer wellbeing and effectiveness, roles should evolve with student needs and institutional specifics. Training and Support: Officers require ongoing training in relevant skills and consistent support beyond induction, including mentoring for personal and professional growth. Support Structures: Implementing a Personal Assistant (PA) for administrative tasks? A neutral mentor for emotional support helps manage workload and provides guidance. Engagement and Empathy: Direct student interaction and transparent communication build trust. Empathy is crucial for understanding and addressing student concerns effectively. Workload and Priorities Reevaluation: Addressing overwhelm and imposter syndrome involves reassessing officer duties, promoting networking for support, and involving student staff for insights into student needs. References and Recognition Music generated by Mubert https://mubert.com/render  https://alkhemy.org.uk/meet-our-team/ Get in contact hey@alkhemy.org.uk
Episode 3 - Where Do They All Belong?
Feb 8 2024
Episode 3 - Where Do They All Belong?
Summary This episode of the Disrupting Echoes sees our presenters Molly and Barbara explore the topics of loneliness, social isolation, and belonging in Higher Education. The guests discuss their hopes for higher education in 2024, emphasising the need for successful operationalisation of delivery to address isolation and loneliness. They also highlight the importance of creating a sense of community and belonging in universities, particularly for students who may face additional barriers. The conversation delves into the challenges of building community in large institutions and the role of students' unions in addressing loneliness. The guests stress the need for tailored approaches and a comprehensive understanding of the intersectionality of students' experiences. They also discuss the balance between metrics and understanding impact on student experience in addressing loneliness and emphasise the importance of recognising and co-creating with the lived experiences of individuals affected by loneliness. Lastly, it challenges assumptions about loneliness and encourages individuals to consider everyone's experiences. Takeaways The key takeaways for HE staff looking to impact loneliness and create belonging are: Prioritise Personalised Engagement: Recognise that loneliness is a deeply personal issue and cannot be addressed through one-size-fits-all approaches. Efforts should be made to personalize engagement and support, focusing on understanding individual student needs and tailoring interventions accordingly. Early engagement, even before students arrive on campus, and a consistent effort throughout their University journey can help create a more inclusive and supportive environment. Foster a Culture of Inclusivity and Community: Create and promote spaces where students can naturally connect and form communities. This includes not just physical spaces like "Public Living Rooms" but also inclusive programmes and events that cater to a diverse student population, including international, mature, and commuter students. Recognising and celebrating the diversity of students is crucial in making every student feel seen and valued. Encourage Cross-Collaboration Among Stakeholders: Addressing loneliness effectively requires a joined-up approach involving various stakeholders within the university, including academic staff, students' unions, support services, and students themselves. Collaboration across these groups can lead to more comprehensive and holistic strategies that address the root causes of loneliness and foster a stronger sense of belonging among students. Implement Continuous and Integrated Support Systems: Establish roles or teams specifically focused on student belonging and mental well-being, integrating support into the curriculum and university life. Continuous support that extends beyond initial orientation periods into the entire course of study can significantly impact students' sense of belonging and well-being. Empowering students to participate in the design and implementation of these solutions ensures that initiatives are relevant and effective. Guests Marie Muir, expert in Student Engagement and Community, currently Senior CX Consultant at Huble Mphango Simwaka, HE Enthusiast and Student Engagement Expert, former sabbatical officer at Leeds Beckett Students' Union (2 years) Molly Taylor, Policy and Public Affairs Officer at the Scouts, Youth Work practioner and loneliness activist References and Recognition   Music generated by Mubert https://mubert.com/render  https://alkhemy.org.uk/meet-our-team/ Get in contact hey@alkhemy.org.uk
Episode 1 - Burnout to the Ground
Jan 10 2024
Episode 1 - Burnout to the Ground
Summary   It's Alkhemy's new podcast, Disrupting Echoes!   In our first ever episode our guests and hosts explore burnout in higher educationas well as student unions and their relevance in today's landscape. The participants discuss their hopes for HE in 2024, including addressing the cost of living crisis for students. They also delve into the causes of burnout, such as excessive workloads and lack of support. Strategies for preventing burnout are shared, including setting boundaries and prioritising self-care. The relevance of student unions is examined, considering their role in representing student voice and driving change.   Join our hosts Barbara Pereira and Molly Knight as we discuss the hot topics!   Takeaways Addressing the cost of living crisis is crucial for students' wellbeing and academic success. Students' unions play a vital role in supporting students and advocating for their needs. Burnout in higher education is a result of excessive workloads, lack of support, and blurred boundaries. Preventing burnout requires setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and seeking support. Students' unions can adapt to the changing needs and demographics of students to remain relevant. Guests   Claire Slater, Consultant, former Director of Student Life at University of Bristol Gemma Perella, Personal Development Trainer and Expert, The Self Leadership Initiative Tom Ritchie, Consultant, Assitant Professor and Director of Student Experience, University of Warwick   Chapters   Introduction and Background Hopes for HE in 2024 Burnout in Higher Education Causes of Burnout in Student Unions Preventing Burnout Relevance of Student Unions   References and Recognition   Music generated by Mubert https://mubert.com/render  https://alkhemy.org.uk/meet-our-team/ Get in contact hey@alkhemy.org.uk