New RSA Student Representative

Hello everyone

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to introduce myself and outline some of my thoughts in my new role as the Student Representative on the RSA Board.  After many years of business experience in senior roles with large organizations, and several years as the founder/CEO of my own start-up enterprise, I have returned to school to pursue a PhD degree with a focus on urban regeneration and economic and spatial inequality.

My choice of research topic is a bit of a surprise to me – as a long-term dyed-in-the-wool capitalist, I’ve come to the realization that neo-liberal policies are failing so many in our society, even though I was the unwitting beneficiary of free market economic growth policies throughout my own business career.  So, I guess that makes me somewhat of a reformed capitalist, and although my research adopts a strong policy perspective, there is a definite social justice flavour to my research as well.  I have been actively sharing my research at many conferences over the last year or so, including the excellent RSA Student/Early Career and Winter conferences, and I would welcome contact from anyone with similar research interests.  Please don’t hesitate to email me.

Following my appointment to the RSA Board in July 2017, I attended my first RSA Board meeting in September and shared some early thoughts on potential initiatives to support both student and early career members.  An important initial project, in my view, is to survey both RSA student/EC members and non-members in order to understand their experiences, perceptions and needs, with specific focus on identifying potential ways to enhance the supports and programs provided to students and EC members.  This brief and anonymous e-survey was launched in early November, and was promoted on multiple channels including the RSA Student/EC Facebook group, the RSA LinkedIn page, as well as by direct email.  The survey closed at the end of December, and we are in the process of analyzing the data and developing action plans to deliver even more benefits and value to our student/ECR members.

The results of the survey should help to identify initiatives and priorities for student/EC supports and programs in the coming months and years.  Thanks everyone, and I look forward to providing helpful and impactful contributions in my role as the Student Representative on the RSA Board, and please don’t hesitate to contact me via email or Twitter @DonnaHeritage.

Donna Carmichael
PhD Student
London, UK