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Student Representatives at UCS: A guide for students

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1 Student Representatives at UCS: A guide for students
UCS Quality Assurance and Enhancement team These slides are accompanied by notes exploring the content in greater depth This presentation was developed by the UCS Quality Assurance and Enhancement team in conjunction with the UCS Union. The aim was to provide: a brief introduction to the role of Student Representatives guidance on how Student Representatives might complete their responsibilities links to more detailed information, guidance and sources for assistance and support. It is our intention to review and enhance this presentation for coming years and so feedback and suggestions for enhancement would be welcome – please contact either the Educational Developer or the UCS Union President if you have any comments or suggestions.

2 Course Representatives …
Normally one per cohort (year group) for each course Elected by their peers Represent their peers Collaborate with their lecturers and their course leader Supported by and work with the UCS Union The UCS Union seek the election of over 200 student representatives each academic year, aiming to ensure that all UCS students have a student representative to work with course teams and the UCS Union on their behalf. As detailed later in this presentation, course representatives’ roles are multifaceted, including activities that enables: The collection of their peers concerns, feedback and suggestions The communication of this to relevant UCS and UCS Union staff Improvements and enhancements in students’ experience with respect to learning, assessment, resourcing, and the UCS environment Their peers to know how their feedback has been heard and used UCS Union to identify and address general issues

3 So, what does the role involve?

4 Summary of the role Regular liaison with your course leader
Maintain regular contact with your peers and your course leader Communicate emerging issues to your course leader Communicate responses and developments back to your peers Contribute to course monitoring and improvement processes Course Committees Gather your peers’ views and concerns in preparation for meetings Attend and contribute to course committee meetings Feed back to your peers on course committee discussions and decisions UCS Union Attend and contribute to Union Council activities and report back to the students on your course Formal duties as set out in the Management of Courses policy: Preparation for course committee meetings through the collation of their fellow students’ views and concerns in relation to the course. Attendance of, and contribution to, course committee meetings. Where this proves impossible, student representatives should ensure feedback provided to them by their fellow students is passed on to the Course Leader or Chair of the Course Committee in advance of the meeting. Dissemination of course committee discussions and decisions to their fellow students. Maintain regular contact with their fellow students in order to identify emerging issues, and communicate these to the Course Leader promptly. Maintain regular contact with the Course Leader to enable effective communication. Contribute to course evaluation processes. For more information on work with the UCS Union, see their presentations on the UCS Website (http://www.ucsunion.org/).

5 Tips for being representative …
It’s not just what you or your immediate friends think – try to represent the views of your whole cohort Respect majority and minority views – try to communicate division as well as unity of views Enable anonymous feedback Being representative means you need to ensure that you represent not just your friends but: Those students you do not know well Those who study at different times or through different modes It is helpful to explicitly represent, where possible, Both genders Local and travelling students Part-time and full-time students A range of achievement levels Minority groups Those with specific needs

6 Providing feedback Raising issues from your cohort
Expressing observations and thoughts on evidence you see at course committees from a student perspective Commenting on progress with course team action plans Contributing to discussions and debates Feedback can be provided in a variety of ways, including, for example: Sharing comments, issues or concerns raised by fellow students on your course Commenting on evidence presented at course committee meetings (for example student survey results, external examiner reports and/or student performance data) Making observations on how well you think the course team is responding to issues, and how this is impacting on the student experience Contributing to discussions and debates taking place at course committee meetings, to ensure the student perspective is heard

7 Helpful feedback is … Balanced Constructive
Positives as well as negatives (and ‘OK’s) Objective and subjective Representative Constructive Not just observations but also suggestions on how improvements might be made Feedback is often more effective when it is: Balanced, providing both positive and negative comments Objective (i.e. fact-based, measurable and observable) and subjective (i.e. based on personal opinions, interpretations and judgements) Representative of the student cohort as a whole Constructive, with suggestions for how issues might be addressed or improvements made

8 Day-to-day representative activity
Work with your Course Leader and course team to … Note emerging issues and student opinions, as and when they become apparent (try to keep track of interactions and their impact) Feed back to fellow students Enable opinions to be sought from students on proposed changes, developments or enhancements to your course Contribute to course monitoring and enhancement processes There is no set expectation on how often course representatives meet with their course leader – this will depend on the nature of the course delivery (for example part-time or full-time, inclusion of placement time, etc). However, regular communication is expected in some form Some course leaders might schedule regular meetings (perhaps one or two a semester or term) to enable discussions Some may encourage their representatives to employ electronic communication channels such as and the VLE There will be occasions when the course leader will need to contact their course representative To seek advice on proposed actions to address unexpected situations To seek feedback on proposals for course development To request support in sharing course changes or arrangements with students Similarly, there will be times when student representatives will need to contact their course leader: To raise emergent issues promptly to enable quick resolution To seek advice and guidance on behalf of their peers To make suggestions for course maintenance, enhancement or improvement.

9 Course Committee There are usually three course committees each year – the schedule should be provided to you near the start of the academic year. Course committees include the course team, their manager, student representatives, and possibly some further stakeholders (external and UCS staff).

10 Your role on the course committee
You are a full and equal member of the committee, and your contributions will be respected and valued You will have full access to all the information that the course committee considers You can contribute fully without fear of reprisal or negative consequences Student representatives are full members of course committees. As noted in the Student Representative Code of Practice: All student representatives’ contributions are respected and valued Student representatives are enabled to fulfil their roles and responsibilities through the sharing of information including the provision to them of relevant performance data and monitoring reports Student representatives are able to contribute without fear of reprisal or negative consequences

11 Preparation for Course Committees
Look at the last meeting’s minutes and action plan and identify any items that your fellow students may wish to provide feedback on Explore reports or survey results you are provided with, to identify any particular strengths or concerns Collate your fellow students’ views and concerns (perhaps by asking for a slot at the start or end of a teaching session) Suggestions The following suggestions may help you consider how to fulfil the role of Student Representative at Course Committees: Ask your course team for a short time with your peers in a scheduled teaching session before a course committee. Use this time to collate feedback and seek opinions on the issues expected to arise. Arranging a follow-up session after the meeting will allow you to let your peers know about the discussions and decisions made at the meeting. Feedback to course committees should be made up of both issues to address and areas where things are going well. UCS Union has suggested that you might consider asking your fellow students for 3 things that they LOVE about the course, 3 things that they want to STOP within the course, and 3 things that they want to see START within the course. You could then report the top 3 things in each category to your course committee when you meet. Work with other student representatives to share feedback and find common views on issues.

12 What if I can’t attend a course committee?
Provide written feedback to the committee to ensure your cohort’s views are presented (this can be shared through your Course Leader, the Course Administrator or the Committee Chair) If you can’t make a course committee meeting, please do let your course administrator know in advance. It can be very helpful to provide written feedback to the committee beforehand, to ensure your fellow students’ views are presented. A meeting with the Course Leader before and/or after the meeting can also be helpful to share your views and hear feedback on how the meeting went. Seek to meet with the Course Leader after the meeting to discuss the meeting and the feedback you provided

13 UCS quality monitoring:
the RiME process Risk-based Looking out for early indications that there may be an issue that needs to be addressed Monitoring Maintaining a continuous watch to ensure that standards on your course are maintained and that your learning experience is of good quality Enhancement Looking for opportunities to improve provision An important part of course committee’s activities revolve around monitoring the quality of your course, and this is done through the RiME process. RiME stands for ‘Risk-based Monitoring and Enhancement’, which is a set of processes through which UCS monitors and seeks to improve its academic operations and its courses, particularly for students. To enable these processes to be effective, it is essential that UCS hears what students think. At course level, course committees are responsible for ensuring that the RiME processes are completed effectively.

14 Monitoring activity Evidence is received
Course Committee receive report of course team Conclusions and actions considered Action plan agreed Course Team ensures action plan is implemented and monitored Course Committee receive report of course team progress on action plan Effectiveness of actions considered Action plan agreed Course Team considers evidence, draws conclusions, proposes actions to address emergent issues A range of evidence is presented to Course Committees for monitoring purposes: Performance indicators Data on the number of students who stay on their course (known as ‘retention’), and how they perform Data on what students do after they have graduated (known as ‘destination data’) Module evaluations Including consideration and reporting of module feedback questionnaire results External examiner reports (external examiners are academics from other universities who are appointed to oversee UCS courses and provide an external perspective on quality and standards) Reports from Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Bodies (known as PSRBs) on UCS courses (for example the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Ofsted or the Health Professions Council) Indicators of student satisfaction National Student Survey (NSS) UCS Student Survey

15 NSS and UCS Student Survey thoughts …
Pay attention to: Number of respondents (response rate and count) Significance of results Comparative figures Previous year Within Department or Centre UCS and national figures The National Student Survey and the internal UCS student survey are valuable sources of information on students’ perceptions of UCS. When considering student survey data within course committees, remember to take into consideration the number of respondents and the overall response rate when considering the value and significance of the data. It can be useful to compare results with those from the previous year, to see whether there has been improvement. It is also useful to consider how results compare with other courses or with other Departments, and with national data.

16 Part of the whole … The conversations and contributions from you are a small part of a collection of mechanisms the UCS uses to hear students’ opinions and feedback. These include the various levels of committees (as illustrated here) through which significant discussions and developments at course level should be considered and reported.

17 Support documentation on MyUCS Student Voice area
National Student Survey fact sheet: https://my.ucs.ac.uk/St udents/Student- Voice/NSS.pdf Guide on preparation for course committees: https://my.ucs.ac.uk/Studen ts/Student-Voice/Student- Reps-at-Course- Committees.pdf UCS Student Survey fact sheet: https://my.ucs.ac.uk/St udents/Student- Voice/Course-Data- Support/ISS.pdf Destination of Leavers survey fact sheet: https://my.ucs.ac.uk/Stu dents/Student- Voice/Destination-Data- Fact-Sheet.pdf A range of supporting documentation for Student Representatives is available in the Student Voice area of MyUCS. If you would like any advice or further information, please contact the UCS Educational Developer

18 Partnership Higher education providers take deliberate steps to engage all students, individually and collectively, as partners in the assurance and enhancement of their educational experience. UK Quality Code for Higher Education Let us know how we can better facilitate this partnership working: By providing you with the information you need to fulfil your representative roles By improving the means by which you and your fellow students are able to contribute to the review and enhancement of UCS By helping UCS students feel a part of UCS, sharing our enthusiasm for seeing it improve and its reputation grow We are keen to involve students fully in the ongoing monitoring and enhancement of our activity. A strong partnership between staff and students is crucial to ensuring that we continue to enhance your educational experiences.

19 Further information The Student Representative Code of Practice sets out the processes, support and responsibilities associated with enabling student representatives to fulfil their role effectively A formal description of the role of student representatives is set out in the UCS Management of Courses Policy The two documents linked to on this slide are useful as reference documents – they also set out the responsibilities of UCS staff and the UCS Union in enabling and supporting student representatives to do their work. If you find that the expectations set out in these documents are not being reasonably completed, you should seek to address this in collaboration with those involved. Should this not prove effective, you are advised to contact either the UCS Union staff or one of the Quality Assurance and Enhancement team for advice and guidance.

20 Where can I go for advice or support?
UCS Union Location: Ground floor, Library Building, UCS Ipswich Tel:


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