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Laura's Story

Laura Hargreaves is a BA (Hons) Language Studies qualification Level 3 student and OU Students Association a Central Representative. Here she talks to us about her experience of the Student Shadowing Scheme.

I was kindly invited, as part of the student shadowing scheme, to spend the day of Monday 3rd July shadowing Guy Mallison, Director of Strategy at the OU.

I found this to be an incredibly valuable experience - it was great to get an insight into the role Guy and his team play within the university, and how this works on a day-to-day basis. I also felt that both Guy himself and other members of his team were particularly interested in my 'OU student story', and valued my views on various topics.

I think this shadowing scheme is a great way for students to gain an understanding of what happens within the university...

The day included several meetings - both face-to-face and via Skype/conference call. These ranged from one-to-one meetings with team members to larger meetings on various strategic topics - one involving confidential information, for which I signed a non-disclosure agreement. I felt that this was very much an authentic 'typical day' for Guy, rather than one which had been 'manufactured' for a student attendee. I was encouraged to contribute at meetings, and really felt as though my presence was valued. Guy himself was very good at explaining the context of all the meetings, giving an overview of the organisational structure and explaining the roles of attendees.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with members of Guy's team. Some particular highlights for me were spending time with the team responsible for major change, and also with the data team. I took the opportunity to start some discussions about OU Redesign and highlight some areas of concern for students - spending time with the team has increased my confidence in the fact that, from a strategic point of view at least, there is a strong desire to ensure student interests remain at the forefront when making decisions in the context of the OU Redesign project.

I think this shadowing scheme is a great way for students to gain an understanding of what happens within the university, and also a valuable way for members of staff to connect with students and seek to understand their views. I had lunch with some members of Guy's team, during which we had some interesting conversations.

All in all, I found this a very enjoyable and valuable day, and I would certainly encourage other students to get involved if they are interested in finding out more about how the university functions.