Nursing student Line Ostad (on the left) and student of communication Fatemeh Vaezi have been hired as student mentors to UiA Rector Sunniva Whittaker.
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“I want to be in regular contact with the students. That is why I am very pleased to introduce Fatemeh and Line as my student mentors. They will be giving me input in the time to come”, Whittaker says.
Whittaker is already in close contact with the student democracy through the Student Organisation of Agder (STA) and various student associations. The mentors are in addition to this.
Student mentors was a key topic in Whittaker’s rectorial campaign in the spring 2019. In all 26 students applied to the positions. The two mentors will be operating from each campus.
Fatemeh Vaezi is originally from Bærum and is on her second year of the bachelor’s in communication and media at Campus Kristiansand.
She has previously completed three different one-year programmes. First in philosophy at UiA, then peace and conflict studies at Bjørknes University College, and finally cultural history at the University of Oslo. She has been working alongside her studies and has been actively engaged in volunteering, both in and outside of school.
“Every student is different, and they each have their own needs. I want to be someone who listens to all students, independently of background. I want to be a link between my fellow students and rector, and contribute to improving the student experience, both academically and socially”, Vaezi says.
Line Ostad from Grimstad is on the second year of her nursing degree at Campus Grimstad. She has previously done a one-year programme in Spanish, has been politically active and held a seat on the municipal council in Grimstad and been deputy representative to Aust-Agder county council. She has also been involved in student organisations and trade unions.
“I am used to speaking up about things, both through work, in politics and in student life. Now I am going to be a spokesperson for all the students”, Ostad says.
The mentors’ first task will be to develop a platform of knowledge about how the students experience their everyday life, especially new students. They will also be involved in the efforts to continue to develop the university strategy.
“They are both concerned with students’ wellbeing and mental health issues. This is an area we need to focus on”, Whittaker says.
“I hope I will be able to contribute to helping students who struggle with loneliness or mental health issues. I look forward to gathering ideas from various student groups and provide rector with the best possible basis for decision making”, Ostad says.
“I am excited to see things from both perspectives, both from the students’ and the managements’ side. If we are going to develop UiA further, we as mentors must also discuss points of improvement”, Vaezi says.