The LSE’s Director and Pro-Director, Minouche Shafik and Dilly Fung, held the Lent Term Student Forum on Wednesday 13th February to discuss the School’s 2030 strategy, offering all students the opportunity to raise questions. Mental health at the LSE was a recurring concern.
‘Shape the World’
The strategy involves developing the School in a way that correlates with the changing societal context: providing a “sense of purpose that will be motivational for students and faculty”. The job market and the world in which graduates will enter into is constantly evolving. Knowledge of the digital economy and data science is becoming increasingly important, and Minouche highlighted the importance of LSE graduates being sufficiently equipped for this. Automation and critical research will be at a premium assuring “productive and fulfilling careers”.
Recent developmental successes include the refurbishment of 38 teaching rooms with high-quality equipment. 91 more are set to be refurbished. Another success cited was The Student Hub app, which currently has 8900 users – roughly 80% of the cohort.
The Pro-Director concentrated on the importance of enhancing students’ agency in learning, and producing a more coherent degree structure so that “every degree has a clear narrative on “[its] intellectual structure”. To enhance student agency in their academic life, Fung pointed to the ‘Meet the Researchers’ programme. Through this, students can grasp how scholarly investigations operate.
Mental health: still an issue at large?
Students raised many concerns: teaching quality, guidance around course choices, integration, facilities (particularly for societies), funding for social events and noise in the library. Yet mental health was a concern exhibited by numerous students present.
While the LSE has frequently addressed its mental health support services, some students feel that there is still a large capacity to improve. Students expressed the lack of stability and coherence in the support networks present at the LSE to deal with mental health arising from stress, isolation and more serious reasons. Minouche responded by saying that mental health is and will remain a priority, although “we can’t be doctors, we can’t substitute for the NHS”.
The potential to redesign certain aspects of LSE’s teaching, such as providing guidance for course choices was addressed. There was discussion of introductory videos, explaining course content as well as the individual qualities needed to undertake each course. In line with Minouche’s 2030 strategy, LSE100 is under consideration for reform, especially making it more orientated towards the application of data science.
Enhancing students’ experiences continues to remain the top priority, providing that mental health is given further consideration to ensure the wellbeing of LSE students.