Jane Wilkinson

You may well have heard on the news about the challenges facing universities with admissions following the release of A-level results based on teacher assessed grades. Some medical schools have found themselves in the awkward position of having too many students meeting the conditions of their offer overwhelming their capacity particularly on clinical placements. As a result, substantial financial inducements have been offered to persuade some students to defer which will result in fewer places available to study medicine in the next academic year.

I am pleased and proud to report that our recruitment and admissions team led by Adam Hussey and our Admissions Tutor, Sally Curtis, have done a fantastic job managing to recruit to target with pinpoint accuracy. This is a real testament to their skill, expertise, and experience, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them. I am pleased to report that recruitment to the post graduate taught programmes is also looking very healthy.

We are looking forward to welcoming our new students to the Faculty. I have already had the pleasure of meeting the students on the Public health, Genomics and Diabetes programmes face to face on campus. It was such a pleasure to see them in person. It gives me a feeling of optimism to think that we are slowly moving back to “normal” service in education. The education team have been creative and innovative in the last 18 months. Some of these changes will stay, as they are of real educational value, but I do not know anyone who isn’t pleased and excited to be able to teach in person again. We will be welcoming our undergraduates next week.

I want to congratulate all the nominees and winners of the first MEIN Faculty Education Award 2021. The winner was Caroline Murray in dermatology who found creative ways to deliver online dermatology teaching. Highly commended were Maryam Hussein, Maariyah Ahmed, Haajar Elhalfawy and Fahim Syed for the BM6 Pocket Review and Aiman Alzetani and Arjun Takhar, UHS surgeons, using innovative ways of allowing students access to clinical experience remotely using live streaming software.

I would like to thank the entire education team for all their efforts over the last 18 months. The pressure is relentless and never lets up, but the positive outcome is an improvement in our National Student Survey outcomes and a rise in four places in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 for medicine!

Finally, I would urge members of the Faculty to offer their services as a personal academic tutor (PAT) if they haven’t already considered this. PATs are a very important resource for our students, but given the disruption to their education, now more than ever. Please contact the student office fmed-studentoffice@soton.ac.uk if you would like to volunteer.

A new academic year by Dr Jane Wilkinson, Associate Dean (Education)

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