Academic Officer

Julian Porch


It’s my job to represent all students in everything academic. Broadly speaking, this involves students’ learning, teaching, assessment and feedback. This largely involves facilitating a dialogue between students, student academic reps and the University at all levels, from informal meet-ups between students and their departments, right up to high level University governance. What does this dialogue result in? The changes you want made to your academic experience.


Julian Porch

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Salutations. I’m JP (Julian Porch) and I am your elected Academic Officer for ’17/18. I recently graduated from the department of English and Related Literature where I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on memes, which is pretty nifty I guess.

York was my first choice university, and I remember worrying about whether I was going to get my AAA offer so much my stomach physically hurt. I was so prepared for not getting the grades that I stayed up the night before results day until clearing placements were released and I compiled a shortlist of contingency options. In the end, I smashed it with a triple A* in English Literature, Maths, and Spanish (turn down for what), and came to York.

It definitely took me a while to find my feet when coming here, both personally and academically. Academically speaking, for a time I was unsure about my choice of course - I wasn’t sure if I actually enjoyed it, and I wasn’t sure how I could use it after university to find employment. I learnt a lot about myself and how I work, and eventually I found the best way for me to actually engage with my study. I learnt how to make the most out of it, and that’s when I started to love it.

Following this, I want everyone’s academic experience to be the best that it can as soon as it can - that’s what motivated me to run for the role. I want to enable you to shape what you study and the way you study it so that you can get the most out of it you possibly can, and this is different for everyone.

Aside from all the meetings (so many meetings) I want to be out there, talking to students as much as possible - if you see me around, talk to me! Talk to me about anything. I want to listen to your thoughts about your course, I want to listen to the cool stuff you’re doing at uni, I want to listen to any concerns you’ve got about anything. Anything you want to talk about, I will listen to - even if you want to talk about how annoyed you are because your housemate smashed your favourite mug. Well buckle up, friend, because I’ll listen to your beverage vessel tales.

Bottom line? Come have a chat, drop me a message, or @ me.


View Manifesto



A - Awareness of all the student-facing services which can help with your studies or boost your employability.

Currently on track to be releasing this as a campaign during weeks 1-4 of Summer Term to really have the maximum impact as that’s when a lot of students are going to be really focused on their studies.

B - Boost your academic experience

One of the Together York project groups below has taken up the idea of creating e-resources which go into the basics of study. A number of stakeholders from the University sit on the project group, so I’m excited to see how this develops.

C- Collaboration

I understand this point of my manifesto in a whole different light since taking up this role. The sheer amount of students, people, and stakeholders there are to consult and collaborate with is staggering. Collaboration, along with the core business of all of the committees, groups, and boards listed below, definitely form the most part of the day job.

For Academic Reps, we have more Reps than ever before, and we had them trained sooner and better. We’re cementing Department Reps as a leadership role within this community, and we’re strategically developing the role of Faculty Reps in consultation with them as the faculty structure of the University continues to embed itself.

I am also collaborating with the Academic Leadership Team on five project groups which each aim to improve an aspect of students’ lives at York.



  • Strengthening our voices on a national level. I’ve helped start and continue student-centric conversations at conferences, on a specialist blog, and will continue to do this especially to inform current sector developments.
  • The library has a microwave now.
  • More power outlets as a priority when creating/refurbishing learning spaces.
  • The Christmas tree in the Library which saw tonnes of presents donated to 3 charities for those in need in time for the festive season.
  • Transformed the Excellence Awards into the What is Excellence Showcase to celebrate academic representation and all the good work that is going on in partnership between the University and YUSU’s Academic Reps.
  • Feeding in to a lot of processes, both on the Union side and on the University side, which weren’t on my manifesto, but nevertheless benefit students.