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Staff-Student Committees Summary Autumn 2011/12

imperialcollegeunion.org


Contents Introduction

3

Key Recommendations

4

Best Practice

6

Hot Topics

7

Aeronautics

8

Biochemistry

8

Bioengineering

9

Biology

9

Business

10

Chemical Engineering

10

Chemistry

11

Civil & Environmental Engineering

11

Computing

12

Earth Science & Engineering

12

Electrical & Electronic Engineering (with Information Systems Engineering)

13

Humanities

13

Joint Mathematics & Computing

14

Life Sciences

14

Materials

15

Mathematics

15

Mechanical Engineering

16

Medicine

16

Physics

17

SSC Summary Page 2 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Introduction Staff-student committees Imperial College Union is committed to drastically improving our support for student representatives, in order to offer reliable and professional input into College’s internal quality assurance processes. Components of this effort include the creation of a new training programme for representatives, the upcoming launch of a new set of online resources and templates, and reviews of the processes our student representatives currently participate in.

Jason Parmar Deputy President (Education) E: dpe@imperial.ac.uk T: 020 7594 8060, extension: 45646

We launched our first staff-student committee (SSC) summary in 2011, aiming to take a snapshot of the effectiveness of our representatives and their participation in departmental meetings. We have taken on board the feedback we received about the early SSC summaries, and have focused on enacting the SSC Guidelines issued in 2010 and measuring the presence of PGT and PGR SSCs across College.

our own success or failure in training and support reps, as they are a check upon how well a department conducts its meetings.

We have also separated out our review of how committees are held and reported, from the content of the meetings - topics which were confused in the first SSC Summaries.

I hope you find this useful and we welcome further feedback on how to improve the content and format of these summaries.

We want to make clear that these summaries are just as much a check on

You can see our main findings and recommendations - for Imperial College Union, as well as for College - below. You can also find displays of how each department’s SSCs measure up to the SSC Guidelines and best practice below.

Jason Parmar Deputy President (Education)

SSC Summary Page 3 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Key Recommendations 1. Departments with combined UG and PGT/PGR committees should consider creating dedicated PGT/PGR committees, or place more emphasis on PG issues during the meeting The minutes of many departments with combined UG and PGT/PGR committees often focused on UG issues, leaving PG matters to the end of the agenda - and the end of a lengthy meeting. We ask that departments consider whether splitting off a separate PG meeting would use staff time more effectively and allow PG issues to be given their own discussion space. 2. Imperial College Union should encourage representatives to put campus-wide issues, such as feedback, onto SSC agendas - with QAAC backing Feedback from previous SSC Summaries rightly pointed out that the issues Imperial College Union has defined as priorities, such as feedback, often do not make it onto SSC agendas. We will change our training and communication to emphasise to representatives that they help set the agenda, and we will brief them on what students have raised as campus-wide issues. Having the explicit support of QAAC for these ‘hot topics’ would speed this process up. 3. Departments should be encouraged to provide dedicated pages listing student representatives on their departmental websites A small number of departments provide a dedicated page with photos and contact details for their student representatives, both undergraduate and postgraduate. This makes it easier for students to find their reps, saving them the time of searching for and downloading minutes. 4. Imperial College Union should make the process of reporting back to students easier for student representatives Reps currently have many repetitive tasks, and not much time. We have recently provided a set of template emails and guides which will make it easier for reps to send out the key points from SSC meetings, and simplify the process of consulting or surveying students.

SSC Summary Page 4 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


5. Departments should set deadlines for having minutes of meetings uploaded or otherwise made available to students. A number of reps reported that the minutes of SSCs were not always made available until long after the meeting, and often shortly before the next one. This hinders both the department and representatives in communicating changes to students. We recommend that departments set a target for when completed minutes - or a report of a meeting - should be uploaded. 6. The existence of SSCs in many Medicine PGT courses should be checked and if lacking, put in place. Despite much effort, we received SSC papers from only a minority of Medicine PGT courses, and none from PGR committees. We ask that a concerted effort to locate, or create, SSCs in PGT Medicine courses be made, and that the staff responsible be asked to make contact with Imperial College Union. 7. Imperial College Union should make postgraduate student representatives aware of their place in a Union system, and of the support available to them. Imperial College Union has identified its lack of support for PGT students on other campuses as a major weakness. We will review our PG Rep Training material and make efforts to visit other campuses during the next training season. 8. Departments should be encouraged to advertise the meeting times of SSCs, and to advertise the results of the meetings to students While the minutes of SSCs may not be widely read if distributed, a specific method such as ‘You Said, We Did’ may help to advertise an SSC’s success and accessibility. We will provide representatives and departments with templates to simplify this process. 9. QAAC should make clear to departments its expectations for SSCs in terms of quality assurance A clear restatement of College’s expectations of SSCs for all courses and departments would help bring widely varying expectations into line, and would help Imperial College Union in collating and assessing SSC information. SSC Summary Page 5 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Best Practice Department

Mode

Example

Aeronautics

UG

Department rearranges lectures scheduled during exams, two months ahead

Aeronautics

PGR

Department proactively informs PGR representatives of new College regulations affecting PGR students

Bioengineering

UG

Department follows up on new ‘parenting’ buddying scheme by offering extra resource and asking student reps for new ideas to boost uptake

Bioengineering

UG

Department lists actions taken in direct response to Imperial College Union’s NSS Response

Business

PGT

Department has a Teaching & Quality Officer who coordinates SSCs across the Department

Chemistry

UG

Presentation given by Director of Undergraduate Studies on SOLE results

Civil Engineering

UG

Department to consider an extra Reading Week in response to student complaints about workload

Civil Engineering

PGT

Department asked student representatives about their experiences of Graduate School courses

Earth Science & Engineering

UG

External Examiners given own section in SSC agenda, and recommendations discussed at length

Electrical & Electronic Engineering

PGR

Department to explore how to make access to GTA positions fairer, after student complaints that personal connections seemed to determine who was hired

Mechanical Engineering

UG, PGT

Employer feedback gathered at a dedicated forum indicated that students did not present well; this will be acted upon by Department

Mechanical Engineering

UG, PGT

Discussion held about supporting female students, with the position of ‘Adviser to Women Students’ to be communicated more clearly to new students

Physics

UG

Dedicated item on SSC agenda for ‘Student Experience’, a College-wide priority; topic to be explored by student representatives

SSC Summary Page 6 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


“Hot Topics” 1. Personal Tutors We wish to keep Personal Tutors on the standing agenda as this is a serious area in need of improvement for the student experience. We hope this to help resolve some of the large inconsistencies that currently exist in several departments. 2. Feedback We also think feedback needs to remains as a hot topic for SSCs. However, instead of just discussing how feedback quality and timeliness has changed, there should be more discussion around “what is the ideal, and how do we deliver as close to this ideal as possible” followed up by good and bad practise seen in the department and recent progress. This is because as we saw in the NSS 2011 data, Imperial College improved on timeliness but decreased on quality. 3. Best Practice & Improvements It is essential that SSCs recognise where and how best practise has been achieved. Students should note where teaching methods have been improved. It should also be noted where there has been effective use of blended learning methods or -elearning. Finally, general good practise across the department in teaching, feedback and assessment should be discussed. 4. Communication & Transparency One issue that arises after these meetings is the lack staff and students knowing what has occured in the meetings. There should be an agenda item put in place to prompt both staff and students on SSCs to make everyone aware of what is happening within the department, what decisions have been made and what has been discussed, i.e. proposals, ideas, actions and results. For example, it will act as a reminder for reps/staff to write short SSC summaries for all students to be able to glimpse read through and have the ability to find out more if they want.

SSC Summary Page 7 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Aeronautics Committees: 4 (UG, two MSc, PGR) UG

PGT

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG) A blank box indicates that no information could be found either way.

Biochemistry Committees: 1 (UG) UG Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 8 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs

PGR


Bioengineering Committees: 2 (UG + PGT, PGR) UG + PGT

PGR

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

Biology Committees: 1 (UG) - for PG see Life Sciences UG Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 9 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Business Committees: 11 (Individual MSc courses and streams) PGT

PGR

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance

Programme Mgr

Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

Chemical Engineering Committees: 2 (UG & PGT, PGR) UG + PGT Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 10 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs

PGR


Chemistry Committees: 2 (UG, PG) UG

PG

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

Civil & Environmental Engineering Committees: 2 (UG, all PGT+PGR) UG

PGT

PGR

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 11 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Computing Committees: 2 (UG + PGT, PGR) UG + PGT

PGR

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

Earth Science & Engineering Committees: 2+ (UG, PGT, PGR) UG Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 12 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs

PGT

PGR


Electronic & Electrical Engineering and Information Systems Engineering Committees: 2 (UG, PG) UG

PG

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

Humanities Committees: Multiple UG

PGT

PGR

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 13 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Joint Maths & Computing Committees: 1 (UG) UG Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

Life Sciences (PG) Committees: Unknown Declined to submit minutes to Imperial College Union; however, SSCs do take place.

SSC Summary Page 14 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Materials Committees: 2 (UG + PGT, PGR) UG + PGT

PGR

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

Mathematics Committees: 1 (UG + PGT + PGR) UG + PGT + PGR Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online

Spread over multiple pages

HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 15 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Mechanical Engineering Committees: 2 (UG + PGT, PGR) UG + PGT

PGR

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

Medicine Committees: 10+ UG, minutes received of 6/28 PGT UG Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 16 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs

PGT

PGR


Physics Committees: 3+ (UG, multiple PGT, PGR) TO BE CONFIRMED UG

PGT

PGR

Agenda distributed Actions noted Previous actions discussed Minutes available online SSC membership available online HOD/DUGS/DPS in attendance Standing items on agenda (exc. rep reports) Departmental Representation Meeting held External Examiners discussed (UG)

SSC Summary Page 17 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


SSC Summary Page 18 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


SSC Summary Page 19 imperialcollegeunion.org/blogs


Imperial College Union Beit Quadrangle Prince Consort Road London SW7 2BB

Tel: 020 7594 8060 Fax: 020 7594 8065 Email: union@imperial.ac.uk Twitter: @icunion imperialcollegeunion.org


SSC 2011/12 Summary (May 2012)