American Poet changes the trend

    October 1st 2010, 18:09pm - Posted by Administrator

  • The award-winning American poet, Dante Micheaux who earned his Phd degree at UCL at the age of 29 was shocked to discover the treatment postgraduate and foreign students were getting in the university.

    Dante had done his Masters from New York University which is considered a large, well-reputed and global institution around the world. When he entered UCL, he had expectations to find many similarities to his university back in the US. Both universities were founded 5 years apart back in 18th century and had a significant number of Nobel prize holders in their current and former staff. However, Micheaux noticed an overlook of postgraduates students compare to undergraduate students in UCL. He realized that was paying a huge sum of £19, 000 towards fee as a foreign student yet the university seemed least concerned about welcoming postgraduate students as it did for undergraduate students. The university’s entire focus was on "fresh students" and he felt not-welcomed in the absence of any effort to help out and guide postgraduate students in the university.

    The realization came him as a shock knowing that postgraduate students make up a huge percentage of total population in the university, quite many of them consisted of international students. What Micheaux felt was not unusual since universities have treated postgraduate students unfairly for a long time. Finally, last year, the National Union of Students realized the need to make foriegn and postgraduate students feel home and decided to appoint a research and policy officer devoted to postgraduate issues. The appointment is in place now and postgraduates students can hope to dealt more seriously than before.

    Coincidentally, recently there has been a sharp rise in the number of postgraduate students coming to British universities. According to an estimate, around 500, 000 postgraduate students are studying in British universities now and one third of them come from non-EU countries. These students have their own needs, and issues-most common ones are related to funding and academic supervision. Micheaux's concern was about postgraduate population’s basic issues like meeting other postgraduates at UCL and finding out facilities for postgraduates. He suggested the UCL students’ union to change the name of "freshers' fair” to "welcome fair" to bring postgraduates students also into the larger fold. The student union thought maintaining their existing brand of the fiar was essential thus, decided not to rename it. It made Micheaux even more determined to bring the required change and he began working with the union to get the required done. This allowed him to approach NUS at the national level and became the representative of the UCL postgraduates at the NUS conferences. He was elected to the national union's executive as well.

    So the overview of the situation is: An American English poetry expert who earned PhD on the arcane subject on how American poet, Walt Whitman influenced the 19th century British reformer Edward Carpenter, is actively taking part in 21st-century students politics and union in the UK.

    He has made efforts to bring postgraduates into the fold by holding events for them and by encouraging them to provide him with their feedback. He has helped individuals with financial and academic issues. Now he plans to spread his ideas and thoughts nationwide.

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