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@sparqs_scotland Key ingredients for effective student associations and representation: 2 years on David Scott Institutional Support and Development Manager.

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Presentation on theme: "@sparqs_scotland Key ingredients for effective student associations and representation: 2 years on David Scott Institutional Support and Development Manager."— Presentation transcript:

1 @sparqs_scotland Key ingredients for effective student associations and representation: 2 years on David Scott Institutional Support and Development Manager

2 @sparqs_scotland Student Participation in Quality Scotland Funded by the Scottish Funding Council since 2003 to support students and institutions by: – Supporting students to engage in enhancing their education – Supporting institutions and students’ associations to have effective student engagement mechanisms and practices – Supporting student engagement in national policy – Supporting the development of a culture of student engagement across Scotland

3 @sparqs_scotland Current context Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 Review of FE governance in Scotland - Griggs Thirteen college regions Ten regions with single incorporated college Two with a Regional Board, one (UHI) with a Regional Strategic Body Efficient learner journeys Alignment of curriculum portfolio between FE/HE Student engagement – re-affirmed (also in QAA/Ed Scotland)

4 @sparqs_scotland Students Associations are part of the fabric of university and college life, for socialising, for sports and for other activities. But they also play a key role in representing students in times of difficulty, both academically and personally. It is vital, therefore that the students of all institutions have an effective body to represent their interests, support them and help them integrate into further and higher education. Cabinet Secretary for Education

5 @sparqs_scotland Griggs Report recommended that: “Student participation and representation become a commitment across the College Sector. Student Associations should be strengthened and become appropriately funded, autonomous and sustainable.” Griggs 2012 – Recommendation 23

6 @sparqs_scotland SFC funded project – NUS and sparqs Consultancy provided to each Scottish college going through a merger process Engaging students in the merger process Supporting the merger of college student associations Assisting in the development of structures and constitutions Assisting in the development of Transformation Fund bids

7 @sparqs_scotland Recommendation 23 One of the key recommendations in the Griggs review of FE governance Working Group – SFC, Scottish Government, NUS, Regional Lead Strategic Dialogue events across Scotland National Framework – principles and components of effective, autonomous, and sustainable Student Associations

8 @sparqs_scotland Future support for Student Associations August year project funded by the Scottish Funding Council – NUS/sparqs £300K Further consultancy and capacity building Based on the national Framework Range of partners involved long-term

9 @sparqs_scotland Emerging good practice across the sector Sabbatical officers – 19 before regionalisation – 49 current position Highlighted at all of the Strategic Dialogues by students and staff as one of the key features of progress in the capacity and effectiveness of Student Associations – availability, visibility, flexibility

10 @sparqs_scotland Staff Support staff – No accurate figures across the sector but a definite increase (for example D & A College, 2 engagement officers – now four engagement officers and a Sports Union Officer) Appropriate skills required Training support to officers and the association Support for strategic, operational and budget planning Link to college structures and staff Consistency between academic years

11 @sparqs_scotland Representation - hearing the student voice Course rep structures and processes – aligned with institutional feedback and quality processes – are students able to play a full part – training, timing, agendas? Membership of key committees – are students members of key decision-making committees; are they given papers, trained? Flow of information – does the student association have access to key data – learner survey results, PIs etc.?

12 @sparqs_scotland Student Association area Dedicated space – Raised at Strategic Dialogue events as important to the visibility of the student association – Focal point for students – central location preferably rather than in a back room – Accessible for students and provides for a space for planning, meeting with people and promoting the association and events/activities

13 @sparqs_scotland Training and Hand-over Sparqs training for officers – College Leadership Programme Institutional training programme – how things work here CPD programme NUS and sparqs events throughout the year Effective hand-over from one year to the next – contacts, plans, committees – two weeks ideally

14 @sparqs_scotland Communication strategy Development of a communication strategy – SA website preferably one that is easily accessible from the institutional front page or is the student home page at login – Online survey capability – creative approach to capturing student interests and views – Online data access – Social media – Use of video technology to increase access and encourage participation – Feedback loop important – student views matter and can effect change

15 @sparqs_scotland Staff buy-in Partnership – engagement works best when staff are committed to and promote student representation and engagement – Promote the Student Association and the class rep system – Facilitate the gathering of student views and reporting back to students – Encourage student participation in decision-making on their college programme

16 @sparqs_scotland Student Partnership Agreements  Define and capture the relationship between the student association and the institution  Outline the areas of work on which the student association and the institution will work together over a given period of time  Make clear to students how they can get involved in helping to shape the student experience  Raise the profile of quality systems within institutions  Give an opportunity for institutions and student associations to sit down and discuss the way they interact

17 1. Student Health and Wellbeing This work stream will build on the achievements of the NUS-sponsored Student Mental Health partnership project that ran in It will extend the scope and range of activities and resources relating to student mental health and will also incorporate the development, dissemination and awareness raising of sexual health issues and resources. 2. Assessment Feedback This work stream will take deliberate steps to address this issue which recurs perennially across the sector and has been a feature of various internal student survey outcomes. The university and UHISA will work together to uncover the reasons for student concern about assessments and work towards the full implementation and enhancement of assessment policy and practice. 3. Social Integration This work stream will address another recurrent issue in institutional student survey feedback: that of ensuring that all students feel a sense of belonging to the university and/or their peer groups. The university and UHISA will work together to finalise the social experience policy and to ensure its implementation through a partnership approach.

18 @sparqs_scotland Dundee University/DUSA – Student Partnership Agreement Assessment and feedback Reading lists Timetabling Student Support Environment Review Personal Academic Tutors/Advisors of Studies

19 @sparqs_scotland Planning and self-evaluation Strategic and operational planning (possibly in line with the institutional Outcome Agreement) Public documents which can be discussed with the student body and used to assist evaluation Self-evaluation Evaluation through institutional student surveys and in the case of higher education, the NSS – FE pilots to begin soon on a national set of questions Regular reporting on progress to the Board

20 @sparqs_scotland Resources … if the Association is not well funded, then you will get the “association you deserve!” National Framework is looking at a possible formula as guidance on the funding of Student Associations – Size – Number of campuses – Distance Budgetary planning – what are you as an association planning to do – how much will it cost? What are the priorities?

21 @sparqs_scotland Sharing good practice – looking outwards Danger of looking inwards and only focusing on local campus issues – common issues across the UHI network (and further) Regional and national issues – networking of good practice and identification of solutions More student officers in colleges in Scotland – national perspectives emerging – strength and support in attendance at national and regional events UHI can lead on methods of addressing the geographical challenges – common issue across FE Sustainability

22 @sparqs_scotland Culture Culture of partnership and engagement throughout the institution – strong student/staff buy-in with evidence of joint working Student Association listens to its members (the student body) and represents their views to the college/university and reports back regularly There are a range of formal and informal mechanisms for students to make their views known The college/university welcomes student views and works with the Student Association in partnership but is mature enough to know that there will be times when it takes a differing view

23 @sparqs_scotland The relationship matrix, Cadogan 1998

24 @sparqs_scotland Summing up Culture of partnership – institutional buy-in/SPAs Active officers Support staff Planning and self-evaluation Course rep structures Communication Space – presence on campus Resources Sharing good practice – outward focus

25 @sparqs_scotland Contact details David Scott Institutional Support and Development Manager


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