May 18, 2006

SSLC MEETING MINUTES for 17 May 2006

POSTGRADUATE SSLC MEETING MINUTES: 17th May 2006

*Attending: Richard Dyer, Rachel Moseley, Richard Perkins, David McGowan*

1. AUT STRIKE. General feedback from students has been in support of the staff strike. However, there were some concerns about the resubmission process if the essay feedback is delayed by the strike. It was stated that students would be given the same amount of time to resubmit an essay at a later date if these delays are incurred. However, it now appears likely that the essays will be marked within the normal timeframe.

2. EQUIPMENT. It was confirmed that 5.1 surround sound equipment is due to be purchased for 043.

3. POWER ISSUES IN 001. There have been a number of problems with the power failing in 001, and reports of this have increased over the past couple of weeks. During the Easter vacation, we spoke to Douglas Wright, one of the Humanities building porters, who forwarded our concerns to the Estates office. We were given an emergency number (x22567) to call if the situation repeated itself. A poster listing this information was placed in 001. However, the instance of a non–critical power failure is considered a level 3 problem, meaning that it should be repaired within 36 hours, not including weekends. Although most instances have been fixed much more quickly than the quoted time, the lack of support on evenings and weekends in particular have been disruptive to some students' work.

An official email was subsequently sent to the Estates maintenance department requesting more concrete information on the problem and their progress in resolving it. Timothy Budden responded on May 4th, 2006, stating that they have tested the equipment in 001 without problems, and are now trying to identify faults in the mains. It was suggested that students may be bringing additional electrical items into 001 (or one of the surrounding rooms) that are causing the power to trip. He has promised to respond again if further information becomes available. However, David McGowan noted that the power cut out in 001 on Sunday 14th May at approximately 4.30pm. As far as can be ascertained, none of the surrounding rooms were being used. Furthermore, only the television was being used in 001 (with the DVD and video equipment on standby). This would appear to disprove the theory that the faults were being caused by unapproved appliances being brought into the rooms.

It was suggested that the Postgraduate SSLC Rep should be contacted in an attempt to push for a resolution in this matter. However, it also became apparent that the film studies staff were unaware of any of these power failures, and requested that these matters should be discussed internally within the department first. The film department will investigate the matter further before additional action is taken.

4. REPURCUSSIONS OF THE POWER ISSUES. The lack of power in 001 has been a problem, as it is the primary site of video dubbing for MA and PhD students. It was noted that postgraduate students are allowed to use 055 for dubbing, and may wish to book this room instead while the problem is being investigated. The possibility of making duplicate keys available from SSLC reps to allow for greater access to rooms out of office hours was rejected due to a possible insurance risk. Room keys must be signed out from the office due to the value of the equipment contained within. [The following was mistakenly omitted during the SSLC meeting, but discussed at the staff meeting: Suggestions to temporarily move the equipment to another room, or make a key for 055 available in 001 in the event of a power failure, were also vetoed due to impracticality and security implications for the equipment].

5. LOG BOOKS & STAFF/STUDENT TRAINING. Following the problems in 001 (and the issues with projection equipment earlier in the year), it was suggested that log books be made available in each room. If repeated problems with a piece of equipment arise, a detailed log of these faults should hopefully strengthen the department’s case in requesting assistance in fixing and/or replacing the offending technology. It is also hoped that the books could serve as a knowledge base, in which users can record how they solved or overcame particular problems.
It was suggested during the MA course review on Wednesday 17th May that staff assigned to a particular room at the beginning of a teaching year should endeavour to become familiar with the equipment in order to minimise disruption during class time. This was agreed upon during the SSLC meeting, but it was suggested that students also receive training with DVD and video projection equipment to facilitate its use in student presentations and screenings.

6. ROOM AVAILABILITY. There has been some concern regarding opportunities for postgraduate students to book departmental rooms over the summer vacation, most notably the dubbing facilities and image capture. However, Tracey will still have office hours during the summer, and other staff will be available to cover holidays and absences. As the regular hours may change slightly, however, Richard Dyer will ask Tracey to email her office hours for each upcoming week, to ensure that students can co–ordinate their trips onto campus accordingly.

7. THE FUTURE OF SSLC. With the teaching year drawing to a close, a number of ideas for improving SSLC in subsequent years were discussed. It was suggested that SSLC rep elections should be held later in the first term by a proper ballot, and that more information should be provided in the student handbook to encourage greater participation. It is also hoped that a more democratic process of communication between students and staff can be fostered, with technology such as the Warwick blogs and forums (which failed to generate much interest this year) used more effectively. Following the productive meeting concerning the AUT strike, it is hoped that more students can be encouraged to attend SSLC meetings to ensure that a wider diversity of viewpoints can be discussed.
In addition, the MA course review praised the manner in which the department encouraged interaction between MA and PhD students. It was therefore suggested that the MA SSLC meeting should become a unified postgraduate SSLC, with the PhD reps and students also invited to attend the meetings. This will take effect from the final SSLC meeting of the year (in week nine).

8. BFI LIBRARY CARDS. Following the memo from the BFI library stating that only one student at a time can use the institutional pass owned by the University of Warwick, the possibility of purchasing a second pass was discussed. However, there were some doubts as to whether it is even possible to buy a second institutional pass, since the BFI encourages heavy–users to take out their own individual pass at a reduced student rate. It also became apparent that there have been very few instances in which more than one person required use of the card on a particular day. It was therefore concluded that the department should simply encourage students to book the card in advance to avoid any clashes, and promote greater communication between students when the card is needed by two (or more) users within a short timeframe.

9. SLC 24–HOUR LOAN PERIOD. Richard Perkins noted that the library is currently canvassing opinion about switching SLC to a ‘true’ 24–hour loan period (i.e. a DVD issued at 5pm one day would be due at 5pm the next, rather than 11am). This would also enable students to renew SLC items online rather than having to renew them in person (as long as the items were not recalled by another user). It appears that the proposal is generally receiving positive feedback, and the library is considering implementing this system at the beginning of the 2006–7 academic year. Anyone who wishes to register their support or disapproval of the proposal should contact Richard Perkins.


March 05, 2006

SSLC minutes from 1 March 2006

In attendance: Richard Dyer, Rachel Moseley, Richard Perkins, David McGowan, Tom Pointon (chair), Jason Simpkins (minutes)

1. General comments
– Rachelís name should not be spelled wrong (nor should anyoneís)
– Stella Bruzzi has been officially appointed to fill Ginette Vincendeauís place as lecturer and department chair

2. AV equipment
– There has been some dispute with AV services over the responsibility for projectionists Richard and Michael, which has postponed their subsequent training on the video equipment in the classrooms. RD is discussing this with employment.
– RD has been in contact with Steve Allen regarding getting new sound equipment for H043.
– JS reported that there have been at least two occasions recently in which an undergraduate student was allowed to use the dubbing equipment in 001. This permission was granted by Steve Allen, ostensibly because a VCR from the system in 055 was removed for use in 042. It was clarified that 001 is specifically for postgraduate student use and that this point should be brought to the attention of the faculty.

3. Library
– The 24 hour SLC loan period remains a primary suggestion from the research students. TP has been in touch with library administration to expedite the changing of library policies regarding the SLC. JS evoked the possibility of the library overriding fines from Film and TV students checking out films, but this was considered suitable only in extraordinary circumstance.
– RP reported that his suggestion to remove the covers from the DVDs to avoid overuse is being considered. One concern is being able to verify the films and labels match in returns and in re-shelving. TP requested a timescale for this.
– RP confirmed that he is able to remove groupings of items from the store upon request.
– RP reported that there will be a clickable link on the library website which will allow film viewing over the internet.

4. Student information
– DM reported that the PhD application seminars were successful
– RM confirmed that links regarding PhD and fellowship applications were available on the departmentís website

5. New business
– TP lamented the recent disruptions of the Issues in Film History module due to Erica Carterís participation on an interview panel. He believes that the one weekís notice given for this was unacceptable, and that greater advanced notice could have lessened the resulting disruptions. It was agreed that this situation was unavoidable, but TP asked that his protest be official noted.
– JS stated that the French 16mm print collection was being improperly stored. This will be looked into by the department.


February 06, 2006

SSLC minutes from 1 February 2006

Writing about web page http://www.priority-research.com/wbs/2205C9FA-9AC8-11/

Dept. of Film and Television Studies
Postgraduate SSLC Meeting of 1 February2006

In attendance: Richard Dyer, Rachel Mosley, Richard Perkins, David McGowan, Tom Pointon, Jason Simpkins

1. Complaint letter regarding projection equipment
Due to miscommunication, the complaint letter did not get sent at the end of last term, and it has been agreed not to pursue the matter further due to the lack of problems so far this term. It was previously unclear whether the film department or AV services took responsibility for the technicians servicing equipment in the department. It has now become apparent that AV services are responsible for the centrally–timetabled rooms, while the department itself is responsible for the majority of its teaching rooms. In response to this, the department has re–employed Frank Gibson to maintain the film projectors, and Steve Allen has been given responsibility for the other equipment. The department is also looking into providing more training to Richard and Michael in terms of the video and DVD equipment.

2. Proposal for Innovation Fund
Jason outlined that his application for Warwick’s Education Innovation Fund on behalf of the department, and the need to work with a member of the faculty to get estimates and information from outside companies. The issue of upgrading video and projection equipment was discussed. However, it was concluded that the market is currently at a stage of uncertainty, and it is perhaps best to delay such decisions until the impact of new and emerging technology is fully realised (such as the upcoming HD–DVD and Blu–Ray video formats in relation to standard DVD). It was nonetheless argued that the audio equipment in rooms such as 043 is in need of replacement. It was also highlighted that Warwick Arts Centre is working with the UK Film Council on a scheme of ‘digital delivery of films’. Both of the latter issues were deemed worthy of further investigation by the department.

3. Library Issues
The relegation of many videos in SLC to the store was again discussed. Although an online request form for books in store is now available, it is not yet possible to request videos online, although this will hopefully be added in the near future. In terms of the reduced availability of these items as opposed to previous years, it was simply concluded that students would have to plan further ahead and ensure they request videos in time. However, it has been agreed that staff will provide the library with information of all films viewed on taught courses, so hopefully all of these titles will be more readily available on the shelves.
There was also a concern about VHS and DVD titles being borrowed for leisure rather than academic purposes because they were now ‘browse–able’ on the SLC shelves. It was noted that almost half of the DVD stock now goes out over weekends, and approximately 80% of those borrowers are non–film students. However, the current library system is unable to restrict access to non–film students, and there remains an argument over whether they should be prevented from borrowing such items (particularly as students from some other departments are able to take film modules at certain points of their course). It was suggested that perhaps the DVD sleeves should be removed from the cases, so that people will have to purposely search the system to find the number of a particular title. Although this would not stop other students borrowing film titles for entertainment, it would hopefully cut down on people taking films at a whim by simply browsing the shelves.
The issue of SLC offering a ‘true’ 24–hour loan period was also raised (i.e. taking out a book at 5pm, and having until 5pm the next day to return it, rather than the 11am deadline).* There was some concern that this could lead to problems of pre–booking an item at a specific time (for instance, taking out an item at 5pm if it was booked for 2pm the next day), but Tom Pointon pointed out that such a system had worked without problems in Gloucester University. Jason also raised the possibility of keeping a fixed time for returns, but pushing it back a few hours to ease the burden of people living off–campus meeting a relatively early deadline. It was concluded that the library may be resistant to change in this area, and perhaps the best way for students to voice their opinion is to individually make a note in the library comments box.
Finally, it was confirmed that film students can take up to 4 videos out from SLC at a time (in comparison with other students who can only take two). However, as noted above, the system cannot differentiate between different types of students, and so such requests have to be processed manually by the staff, and cannot be processed by the self–service machines.

4. Department advertising / Interaction with other areas of the university
Advertising of events and opportunities within the department was discussed. Firstly, it appears that some emails advertising the research seminars were not received, but there is a mailing list that students can sign up for. It was also questioned whether the department could do more to aid students with information about such external issues such as the applications for the Fellowship Grant, PhD applications, and the AHRC. The possibility of offering a training session in subsequent years has been raised, as well as adding links to the Film Department website so that students are aware that such opportunities are available.

  • Richard Perkins has since discussed this with Emma Sparks, head of customer service at the library, and reported that this issue is currently in consideration for the forthcoming academic year and opinions on this will be influential in a decision. Students voice their opinions through the current internet survey, located at link

November 29, 2005

Draft two of Complaint to Arts Faculty, etc.

Dear Ms. Caesar:

We are writing on behalf of the present and future students of the MA course in Film and Television Studies. We are deeply concerned with the chronic failure of various pieces of equipment in Humanities 043, the postgraduate lecture room. It seems to us that the university has not provided ample support to the department in purchasing and maintaining equipment.

It seems that not a single teaching session has passed this term when our lecturers have not experienced problems getting the equipment to work, with failures encompassing the mounted digital projector, the out-dated sound system, the VCR deck, and the television set. These failures have caused unimaginable harm. Students have been forced to move to a different room in order to give presentations because the projector was inoperable. Because of damage at a connection point on the television, we were forced to analyze an extract from a film, noted for its use of color, in black-and-white. Finally, on several occasions the VCR deck has given poor sound and even disruptive feedback.

Professor Ginette Vincendeau, department head of late, informed us that every single day this term she, or Tracey Bale, the department secretary, have been on the phone to Red Line, the company who supplied and installed the projector, which frequently overheats or simply fails to switch on. These frequent calls and departmental sacrifices have prompted little response. Apparently, Red Line was recommended to the department by Warwick Universityís Audio Visual Services, which has also been generally unresponsive to these problems.

We were astonished to learn from Professor Vincendeau there is no dedicated technician whose job it is to maintain and troubleshoot equipment for the department. Apparently the room is considered the responsibility of the department, for whom it does not make economic sense to employ a full time technician. Surely, with other arts departments having rooms with audio visual equipment, a technician should be in post to support all the departments.

For these problems to be continuing when term has almost finished is unacceptable. On behalf of the MA Film and Television Studies students, we want this letter registered as a formal complaint; the reputation of the department rests upon the work it carries out on close textual analysis of films. This cannot happen without reliable components to use. Time and energy which could be put to better use is being wasted. As postgraduate students, we are not getting the learning experience which we should have.
Yours sincerely,


November 22, 2005

Minutes of SSLC meeting w/ department

SSLC MEETING TUESDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2005

PRESENT

Jason Simkins
Tom Pointon
David McGowan
Genette Vincendeau
Richard Dyer

AGENDA

1.Audio visual equipment
2.Vice Chancellor money
3.Library issues
4.Literature Review

1. Discussion about ongoing problems relating to AV equipment.
Need for faculty wide technical support Ė at present theres no one in post with responsibility for maintaining AV components. Same situation with 35mm projectors.
Genette said Red Line who supplied DVD projectors were at fault.

Action:
Genette said a formal complaint would help the situation. Tom Pointon to draft, get comments from students and changes made before its sent. Needs to have support of student group. It s not about having a go at the Film Studies department but getting uni to take situation more seriously

2. Jason Simpkins will work on a proposal to apply for funds available from Vice Chancellor for equipment.

3. Library issues. Problems around short loans. Over demand of materials.
For those living some distance from campus returning materials by 11am highly inconvenient
Why are VHS tapes, in low demand kept in store, only available on short loan?
Tutors not always informing library staff who need to get items out of store in time for students.
Often students canít access set reading due to high demand.

Action: Richard to investigate extending short loan items to 24 hours
Richard to investigate whether staff / students could access store
Genette and Richard D to raise providing readers for students at next staff meeting

5.Literature Review
Richard D. suggested another meeting as David said the group were unclear about issues.


October 18, 2005

Postgraduate Introduction 2005/06

As you probably know, Tom Pointon and I (Jason Simpkins) will be your representatives to the Staff Student Liaison Committee (SSLC) for the coming year. As such we are able to represent and advise you in any academic problems that may occur over the duration of our course.

These problems may include issues relating to departmental policies or to problems with individual modules or faculty members. However, your primary resource for such issues will be your personal tutor. Nevertheless, we are able to deal with complaints regarding other departments and campus offices, such as the library and IT services. We are likewise able to present suggestions, as well as complaints, through the proper channels.

We are fortunate in that ours is a small course within a relatively small program. We take the same modules as all of you and therefore your concerns are bound to reflect our own. We are also lucky that we see each other in class three days per week, giving us a chance to briefly discuss issues as a group before or after classes. However, speaking for myself, Iím open to a jaunt to Raffles or someplace more private if someone has a more personal matter to bring up. Similarly, Tom is looking to open up his schedule for a time each week if one of you wants to talk with him one on one. We also are also open to emails: my address is J.M.Simpkins@warwick.ac.uk and Tomís is trpuk1968@hotmail.com.

Since it is also our responsibility to convey information, we will be clearing some space for an SSLC notice board in the common room, and at the advice of the committee we have started a blog on Warwickís site, which will be online in a couple days. This will allow us to report the actions being taken by the committee on a regular basis. However, we will be sure to inform everyone directly if information arises that will affect our course in particular. The address for the blog is: link


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