As a result of the campaign by students and Officers triggered by the appointment of David Willetts as Chancellor of the University the University agreed to introduce a Pro-Chancellor (Students).
The Pro-Chancellor (Students) will act as an ambassador and advocate for students at all levels and modes of study, attend student-facing events at the University, work with students and Officers of the Students’ Union and attend degree congregations.
We asked you to put forward suggestions on who you thought would make a good Pro-Chancellor (Students) and now we want you to cast your vote to decide on the successful candidate from our shortlist below.
Your newly appointed Pro-Chancellor (Students) was elected as part of the Executive Elections 2019.
Meet Dr Suzie Imber, your newly elected Pro-Chancellor
Dr Suzie Imber is an Associate Professor of Planetary Science at the University of Leicester and winner of the BBC television programme ‘Astronauts, Do You Have What It Takes?’ where she had to complete over 40 tests including escaping a sinking capsule, taking her own blood and speaking Russian at 6g in a centrifuge! The goal of the show was to find Britain’s next astronaut, and Suzie will now be recommended to the European Space Agency.
Students have described her as “an amazing researcher, tutor and member of our academic staff”, and have described her as “kind and generous with her time”. They have also commended her for her outstanding achievements and support of young researchers. Suzie is an advocate for student mental health and well-being, and her door is always open for her students to come and get help, as well as access the infamous ‘chocolate drawer’!
Suzie is a champion for women in STEM everywhere and on top of her role as an Associate Professor, takes part in many public engagement events to inspire people into careers in space science. She has visited hundreds of schools over the last year talking with >35,000 children, as well as giving over 65 public lectures, regular appearances on the BBC news, and even getting to speak at the Latitude music festival! She regularly contributes to the European Space Agency ‘Space Rocks’ events, bringing rock music and space science together with legends such as Queen’s Brian May!
Suzie is also an elite rower, high altitude mountaineer, and explorer, having discovered hundreds of mountains in South America, which she sets out to climb, making first ascents of the most remote mountains on the planet. Her area of research is space weather, focussing on understanding the interaction of the Sun with the Earth and Mercury, and she is heavily involved with the European/Japanese BepiColombo mission, currently en route to Mercury. You can find out more about Suzie’s research, mountaineering and astronaut aspirations, here: www.suzieimber.co.uk.
Meet the other amazing candidates who were shortlisted for the position.
Professor Turi King is most famous for her work leading the genetic analysis in the identification of the remains of King Richard III and her work on other cold cases, appearing in and advising on television programmes. Turi is an Associate Lecturer and personal tutor in Genetics and Archaeology and Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Leicester: she is passionate about public engagement and has spoken to tens of thousands of students of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds around the world She is also chair of the Women’s Forum. Her students describe her as approachable, empathetic and compassionate to all students, an “excellent personal tutor” who is always “friendly and happy to talk”. Turi believes that student satisfaction and student support are the most important issues she would champion.
Natalie Bennett was the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales from 2012-2016 and from her home in Sheffield continues to campaign fulltime for the Green Party. An alumna of the University of Leicester, she graduated with an MA in Mass Communication in 2001, after which she continued her career as a journalist, which had started in Australia and continued in Bangkok. Working first in London for The Times and the Independent, she spent five year as editor of the Guardian Weekly.
Her earlier academic career included an honours degree in agricultural science from the University of Sydney (completed as an undergraduate straight from school – with her thesis on abomasal bloat in goat kids), and an honours degree in Asian Studies (mostly history and politics) from the University of New England, with her thesis on the female prime minister of Asia, reflecting her interests as a feminist. She says she became that at age five, when she was told “because you’re a girl, you’re not allowed to have a bicycle”.
As a politician she’s visited the University of Leicester a number of times, and was made an honorary life member of the Student Union.
Natalie said: “I’m honoured to have nominated for this role. I visit universities, colleges and schools often, and I often begin with an apology from my generation (I’m 53) to yours. We have made a right mess of the world, with interlocked economic, social, environmental, political and educational crises. But I stress this is also a time of opportunity: the one certainty is change, for our current circumstances are clearly unsustainable and that gives us an opportunity to build a society that works for the common good within the physical limits of this one fragile planet.
“Universities in recent years have been pushed to operate like businesses, part of the general privatisation and financialisation of society, but I very much believe in the traditional model of a community of scholars. I am opposed to tuition fees and support campaigns that call for the top-paid staff in universities should not be paid more than 10 times the lowest-paid (including cleaners and caterers – who should at a minimum be paid the real living wage).
“But if you elect me as Pro-Vice Chancellor (Students), my chief aim will be to focus on what issues you want me to highlight, and to support your campaigning efforts. I believe politics should be something everyone does, not has done to them. I believe all educational institutions, from primary schools upwards, should be run on a far more democratic basis than they are now. I want to support students to be politically active, and, to coin a phrase, ‘take back control’.”
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