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Minister learns more about Stirling’s strategy to prevent sexual violence

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The University of Stirling’s award-winning joint strategy to prevent sexual misconduct and a student employability scheme were the focus of a Scottish Government ministerial visit yesterday.

Further Education, Higher Education and Science Minister, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, joined University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac, to learn more about the two initiatives. 

Jill Stevenson, the University’s Head of Student Support Services, and Astrid Smallenbroek, President of Stirling Students’ Union, outlined the institutions’ joint strategy for preventing and tackling sexual violence and misconduct. 

Professor Alison Green, Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, and Elaine Watson, Employability and Skills Officer – both in the University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities – demonstrated how employability and skills are being successfully embedded into non-vocational degrees, through the ‘Putting Arts and Humanities to Work’ module.

Professor McCormac said: “We were pleased to welcome the Minister to the University, to hear from our students and staff involved in the frontline delivery of our award-winning strategy for tackling sexual misconduct, and accompanying #IsThisOk campaign. 

Graeme Young, Astrid Smallenbroek, Professor Gerry McCormac, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Jill Stevenson, Natasha Gracey

L-R Graeme Young, Astrid Smallenbroek, Professor Gerry McCormac, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Jill Stevenson, Natasha Gracey.

“It was also a useful opportunity for Ms Somerville to speak with students who have recently completed the innovative ‘Putting Arts and Humanities to Work’ module, together with external organisations who have hosted and mentored students as part of the scheme.” 

Astrid Smallenbroek and Jill Stevenson

L-R Astrid Smallenbroek, Jill Stevenson.

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: “Our world class university and college campuses should be places where students can live, study and research free of sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

“The #IsThisOk initiative at the University of Stirling is a great example of the equally safe principles in action, delivering on many of the recommendations set out in our new Equally Safe in Higher Education Toolkit.

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education, and Science

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education, and Science.

“I look forward to seeing this work progress and am heartened by the commitment from all universities to put tackling gender-based violence at the heart of their governance, policies and practices.”

The University and Students’ Union joint Strategy for Preventing and Tackling Sexual Violence and Misconduct outlined a shared commitment to taking all possible steps to prevent and tackle sexual violence and other forms of sexual misconduct.

The ‘Putting Arts and Humanities to Work’  module is designed to enable students to experience a work-based learning opportunity as part of their degree programme and reflect on this as part of the career planning process, while developing skills for future employment or further study.

The module is part of a wider strategic aim by the University to enable all undergraduate students to have the opportunity to engage in work-based learning, and responds to an increasing call for skills development and acquisition of knowledge, graduate attributes and networking opportunities to enable students to effectively manage their employability development. The module comprises a blend of online, classroom and work-based learning, with students placed in ‘host’ organisations relevant to the arts and humanities sector.

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