Contents Page 1. About Worcester Studentsâ€™ Union......................................................................................................1 2. Introduction from the current President............................................................................................ 2 3. Contact details .....................................................................................................................................3 4. Positions...............................................................................................................................................4 5. Sabbatical Officers ............................................................................................................................... 5 6. Part-time Officers ................................................................................................................................ 8 7. Chair of Student Council......................................................................................................................9 8. NUS Annual Conference delegates .....................................................................................................9 9. Campaigning ........................................................................................................................................10 10. Voting System ......................................................................................................................................11 11. Election Timetable ............................................................................................................................... 11
1. About Worcester Students’ Union Worcester Students’ Union is an independent charity, registration number 1145192, which is devoted to the educational interests and welfare of its members. Its members are all students (full-time and parttime) registered for a course of study with the University of Worcester, unless they specifically choose to opt out of membership. Its activities and services are funded through a block grant from the University of Worcester and through trading surpluses from commercial services. Like other Students’ Unions, its objects are the advancement of education of students at the University for the public benefit by: Promoting the interests and welfare of students and representing, supporting and advising students Being the recognised representative channel between students, the University and any other external bodies Providing social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of students Worcester Students’ Union is affiliated to the National Union of Students (NUS) and is supported by the NUS. 2012-2013 will be particularly important for Worcester Students’ Union because: Rising tuition fees and significant cuts to university funding will result in many challenges for the University, the Students’ Union and all of its members. Increasingly, students will expect a really excellent educational experience and the Students’ Union will have to work hard to represent its members’ interests, respond to their needs and help enhance their student experience. The board of trustees, including the Officer Trustees, will need to ensure that the governance of the charity is sound and professional. Charity registration means new opportunities for attracting support for the SU and trustees will need to lead the organisation through a challenging economic climate. have some difficult decisions to make this year to ensure that the SU is financially sustainable and that it is able to provide the facilities and services which its members need. Changes to the bursary system combined with the lack of availability of paid work may make it difficult for students to afford to stay at University, so the SU will need to campaign on their behalf. The expansion of the University into the city and the transfer of the library to The Hive in June 2012 will impact on students and the Students’ Union will need to develop effective ways of engaging with all students, wherever they study. Now that the University’s second campus is established, the SU will need to develop better ways of engaging students who are not based at St Johns and may feel isolated or excluded. The successful development of the Student Academic Representation system (StARs) needs to be sustained and developed further, so that students can see that they can have a real impact on how their courses are delivered.
2. Introduction from Sam Lewis, President 2011-12 Thank you for expressing an interest in standing to become an officer at Worcester Students’ Union. I’ve been lucky enough to have been an officer for two terms – one year as Vice President Education & Welfare and a year as President. The experience is undeniably a brilliant one! If elected, you will be at the forefront of creating real change and standing up for students. You will represent around ten thousand students at a local, regional and national level, you will have the ability to shape policy at the Students’ Union and the University that affects all students and you will get to meet and work with very influential people. In my view, next year is probably THE most exciting year to be a Sabbatical Officer and to be involved within the wider student movement. With tuition fee increases for first-year students, they will be expecting the University to provide them with a high quality experience, and the Union is at the forefront of fighting for quality education, improved facilities, more financial help and a better life as a student in Higher Education. If you are considering standing for one of the full-time paid Sabbatical Officer roles (President, Vice President Education, Vice President Student Experience) you will be involved in a wide-ranging set of activities: one day you could be working with a student on resolving a problem alongside the Student Advisor, the next minute you may be arguing the case for lower accommodation prices on the local radio station. The skills acquired and the confidence gained will set you up for a long time to come. You need to be the kind of person who is passionate about helping students, open to ideas and new initiatives and most importantly, not afraid to stand up and speak for those students you represent to help them have the best possible student experience. If you are considering a part-time officer role then that is fantastic! Depending on what specific role you are standing for, you will either be representing a particular section of the student community or helping to raise funds for local charities. The input of part-time officers is invaluable to the Sabbatical Officers and you are just as influential and important to the SU and the University; many people who get elected as part time officers eventually decide to run for a sabbatical position. Many people are put off standing for election because of all of the campaigning and canvassing for votes. Don’t worry - this is only natural! I had to do it twice and I can assure you that it is a brilliant experience the number of people you get to meet is great and you’ll soon get into the swing of things, so get stuck in. Even unsuccessful candidates last year said they really enjoyed the campaign! I’d like to round off my introduction with two things: firstly, good luck to you if you decide to run for any position. The experience from talking to hundreds of people about the issues that affects them is second to none and given the chance, I would certainly do it all again. Secondly, I encourage any of you who want to ask more questions to come and visit me in my office in the SU or to drop me an email at email@example.com. Please come and have a chat with me if you think this is right for you or if you’d like more of an insight into the roles of the officers – I’ll do my best to persuade you to go for it! Sam Lewis Worcester Students’ Union President 2011-12
3. Contact details If you have any questions about the election process please feel free to speak with any member of SU staff. It is particularly to your advantage to speak to current elected officers to get a feel for the roles. If you have any specific queries it may be more appropriate to direct your questions to the people below: Contact
Responsibilities The Membership Services Manager is responsible for increasing the level of participation of Worcester Studentsâ€™ Union members in decision-making processes. Talk to Ruth if you want to know more about standing as a candidate for election. The Returning Officer is someone independent of the election process who rules on any disputes that arise. He will be available to provide advice and support and will deal with any complaints relating to the election.
Ruth Christie Membership Services Manager Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 01905 543222 Chris Shelley NUS Head of Democracy and Governance Returning Officer Email: email@example.com Telephone: 07813 088958 John Ryan University of Worcester Registrar and Secretary Deputy Returning Officer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 01905 855013
The Deputy Returning Officer is an independent representative of the University of Worcester. He checks that the Studentsâ€™ Union is adhering to election rules and regulations throughout the elections.
4. Positions Executive Officers Sabbatical Officers (full-time paid)
Part-time Officers (unpaid) Mature Students’ Officer International Students’ Officer Sustainability Officer Diversity Officer RAG Officer Representation Officer
President Vice President Education Vice President Student Experience
Other Positions Chair of Student Council NUS Annual Conference 24th – 26th April 2012, Sheffield
NUS Conference Delegate The Executive Committee
Worcester Students’ Union is a democratic organisation run by students, elected by students for students. The Executive Committee is made up of all the annually elected student officers. The term “Executive Officers” includes both Sabbatical Officers and Part-Time Executive Officers. All Executive Officers are chosen by students through the cross-campus ballot. Who can stand as a candidate? All full and part time students of the University of Worcester are eligible for nomination and to stand in elections. The candidate and their proposers must be current students of the University of Worcester and members of the Students’ Union. Sabbatical Officers must be available to take up their posts from the beginning of June 2012 when the handover period will begin. The full length of the contract will be 54 weeks. All candidates for Sabbatical posts must be eligible to be charity trustees. A term of office lasts for one year and under the Education Act 1994 students may hold Sabbatical positions for a maximum of two years if successfully re-elected.
5. Sabbatical Officers What is a Sabbatical Officer? Sabbatical Officers are students who are elected in a cross-campus ballot by their fellow students to lead the Students’ Union for a year. They are paid a salary for the year (currently £15,017) and work full-time (although they’re entitled to annual leave too!). Who can be a Sabbatical Officer? Any student (part-time or full-time) registered for a course of study with the University of Worcester can stand as a candidate to be a Sabbatical Officer at Worcester Students’ Union. Usually, candidates are in their final year of study, but you can take a year out of your studies to be a Sabbatical Officer and return after your year in office. You don’t have to have held a previous role within the SU to stand as a candidate. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have been a Vice President to stand for the role of President! What positions are available? Worcester Students’ Union has three Sabbatical Officers. Together, they form the Sabbatical Team and they are also members of the Executive Committee and Student Council. The President, Vice President Education and Vice President Student Experience all work together and are all paid the same. Why should I stand? There are many reasons why you might want to stand for election as a Sabbatical Officer, as it’s a fantastic opportunity to spend a year gaining invaluable skills and loads of experience which will enhance your employability and set you up for your future career, for instance: Communication and public speaking skills – addressing prospective and current students, talking to the media, using social media and the website, writing emails and reports Teamwork, decision-making, problem solving – as a charity trustee, you’ll have a huge amount of responsibility and will need to get your head around the law, finances, HR and governance Negotiation and diplomacy – regular meetings with senior members of University and SU staff Training design and delivery – running workshops for Student Academic Reps and student groups Campaigning – working with the NUS to respond to government policy and with the local community to highlight students’ issues and impact Leadership – the Sabbatical Team leads the Executive Committee and you’ll be expected to lead by example, as well as chairing meetings and being at the forefront of change and challenge Networking – you’ll meet other Sabbatical Officers from students’ unions all over the country at NUS training, conferences, regional and national meetings Organisational skills and time management – Sabbatical Officers don’t find filling their days a problem! It’s a full-time job for a year!
All Sabbatical Officers’ Responsibilities Be a trustee of Worcester Students’ Union Be an active member of the Sabbatical Officer team and the Executive Committee and support the Part-Time Executive Officers in their work, enabling them to achieve their goals Be a Student Councillor and attend 8 Student Council meetings a year Represent the Students’ Union and its members on key University boards and committees and attend regular meetings with the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar of the University of Worcester Work collaboratively with Students’ Union staff and the Chief Executive to ensure that the Union works to meets its objects as a charity Chair relevant Students’ Union committees and meetings Always act and behave in accordance with the Students’ Union’s rules, policies and procedures Promote active involvement with Worcester Students’ Union to all of its members Play an active role in the Appointments Committee, the Finance Committee and other Students’ Union Committees which may be established President
Lead the Sabbatical team Be the figurehead and spokesperson of Worcester Students’ Union Be a governor of the University of Worcester Ensure that all activities and services provided by the Students’ Union are for the long-term benefit of its members and help to advance their educational experience Be the chair of the board of trustees Chair the Executive Committee and other Students’ Union committees/meetings as required Represent the Students’ Union and its members on University boards and committees, recruitment panels, working groups etc as required Be the key link with the NUS, keeping in regular contact with the Regional Organiser and ensuring that Worcester Students’ Union is adequately represented at regional and national events Be a delegate to the NUS National Conference, together with the elected delegate, ensuring that members are consulted prior to Conference so as to represent their views and ensuring that members are briefed following Conference Work closely with the Chief Executive and the Membership Services Manager to ensure that the Students’ Union continues to develop and improve the quality of its governance, democratic processes, involvement and participation Take the lead on providing introductory talks to all new students to raise awareness of the Students’ Union, its function and the services it provides
Vice President Education Be an active member of the Sabbatical team, deputising for the President as necessary Be a governor of the University of Worcester Represent members’ interests in relation to academic issues Initiate and co-ordinate campaigns which support students’ academic interests Co-ordinate and Chair the Academic Affairs Committee and other Students’ Union committees/meetings as required Actively promote the StAR system and support around 500 Student Academic Reps Co-ordinate and deliver training for StARs, in collaboration with the University of Worcester’s Quality Assurance and Enhancement Team and representatives of individual Institutes Represent the Students’ Union and its members on University boards and committees, recruitment panels, working groups etc as required Provide information, advice and support to individual students or groups of students with problems concerning academic issues, in conjunction with the Student Advisor Liaise regularly with University departments such as ILS and Student Services Take the lead on educational quality issues for the Students’ Union and ensure that members’ interests are represented in relation to the Quality Assurance Agency and the National Student Survey Vice President Student Experience Be an active member of the Sabbatical team, deputising for the President as necessary Initiate and co-ordinate campaigns which support students’ welfare, in conjunction with the Student Advisor Develop and promote volunteering opportunities for students, both within the SU and in the
community Actively promote and support the establishment of new student groups and societies Specifically work to encourage under-represented groups of students, such as part-time, mature and female students, to get involved with student groups and societies Work closely with the Sports and Societies Co-ordinator to provide information, advice, support
and training for clubs and societies Plan and co-ordinate new events and activities which develop further social and recreational opportunities for students to improve social welfare Represent the Students’ Union and its members on University boards and committees, recruitment panels, working groups etc as required Liaise regularly with University departments such as Student Services and ISES as well as external stakeholders such as Worcester Volunteer Centre and Local Authority representatives Be the public face of student sport and represent Worcester Students’ Union in sports-related
activities and events, including Varsity and the Colours Ball Organise and chair meetings with student groups and other Students’ Union committees/meetings as required
6. Part-time Officers These roles offer a brilliant opportunity to get more out of your time at university. If you’re elected, you’ll be a full member of the Executive Committee, which meets fortnightly, as well as being a Student Councillor. You’ll gain all kinds of transferable skills and experiences which you’ll be able to build on after you’ve finished your studies – communication skills, teamwork, committee skills, organisation and planning, working for a charity, understanding the Higher Education sector and so on. In the current economic climate, you’re going to be looking for opportunities to enhance your employability and to demonstrate to future employers how you’ve used your spare time constructively and positively to develop your prospects. We’re looking for enthusiastic, committed individuals who can make a real difference to the student experience at the University of Worcester and to the way Worcester Students’ Union works. Part-time officers are encouraged to set up their own committees, made up of students who share their interest or focus and to develop ways of addressing issues which are of concern. If you’re not convinced that you should stand, drop in to the SU for a chat with one of the current officers or a member of staff and we’ll do our best to persuade you, particularly if you’re in your first year now! These are the roles which are up for grabs: Mature If you’re aware that the majority of students here are mature, but feel that their interests Students’ and concerns are sometimes overlooked, this could be a great role for you. What changes Officer could you make which would make a positive difference for mature students? International Students come to study at Worcester from all over the world. They have to adjust to a Students’ different culture of learning as well as living and may find it particularly hard to settle. Officer Could you represent over 600 international students and help them adapt and succeed? Worcester Students’ Union needs to become a more sustainable organisation – financially Sustainability and environmentally. Could you take the lead on helping us become leaner and greener Officer and get students involved in improving our efficiency? We know that some groups of students may face more challenges than others, because of Diversity disability, ethnicity or sexual orientation, for instance. We’d like a Diversity Officer who Officer wants to help the University and the Students’ Union to improve its engagement with and access to all students, so everyone feels included and no-one feels discriminated against. RAG stands for Raise And Give. This role is an ideal opportunity for someone who’s committed to the idea of students making a real difference in their community by supporting local organisations through fundraising activities, or maybe venturing further RAG Officer afield – Kilimanjaro, anyone? Could you help organise volunteers and make RAG popular with students and successful in terms of the funds raised? If you’re active, creative and want to make things happen, this is the role for you! Students need to know how to get involved and how to make sure they can influence their own learning experience. The Representation Officer will work with students, the Vice Representation President Education and the University to make sure that students are effectively Officer represented at all levels throughout their student life. This is a great opportunity for someone who is passionate about communication and the student voice.
Part-time Executive Officers’ Responsibilities Be an active member of the Executive Committee, attending meetings fortnightly (except during the summer vacation) Act as a spokesperson for and on behalf of Worcester Students’ Union Undertake particular tasks and duties at the request of Student Council and other democratically- led forums or committee meetings Raise issues affecting students’ experience of the University of Worcester and/or Worcester Students’ Union to the Executive Committee and Student Council, taking responsibility for communicating outcomes back to members Support the Sabbatical team by helping to organise and run campaigns, talks to students, Open Days etc Represent the Students’ Union and its members at University and Students’ Union committees and meetings as required
7. Chair of Student Council Chair of Student Council This role is not part of the Executive Committee, but it provides a great opportunity for someone who wants experience of organising and running meetings, developing good communication skills and being an effective chairperson. Student Council is made up of all the Executive Officers, plus representatives from sports clubs and societies, other SU committees and Student Academic Reps, so it takes a cool head and a firm style to keep them in order! If you think you might be interested in this role, come and speak to the Membership Services Manager or the Administrator in the Students’ Union – they’ll be able to tell you more about it.
8. NUS Annual Conference delegates National Conference is NUS’ sovereign decision-making body. It meets once a year for three days. This year’s Conference will take place at City Hall, Sheffield from 24th – 26th April 2012. The purpose of the conference is to: Democratically debate motions and pass policy from students unions across the UK Hold current leadership to account for their work over the past year Discuss, amend and approve policy reports from each of the five Zones Adopt decision made by each of the Nations, Student Sections and Liberation Campaigns Elect and appoint people to various committees, trustee board and student leadership positions Hold an AGM, receiving the annual report and accounts and approving the budget for the coming year Unions across the country are allocated spaces for the conference according to student numbers at their institutions. Worcester Students’ Union has two allocated spaces for 2011/12. One space is given to this
year’s President and the other one taken by a University of Worcester student elected by cross-campus ballot. Attending NUS Conference is quite an experience – a great mix of serious business, inspiring speakers, lively debates and brilliant night-time events too! This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved with the student movement at a time of significant change and political challenge. Delegates will have all of their expenses paid and will be expected to report back on their experiences. Please note you do not have to stand for any other elected positions in order to stand as a delegate to the conference. NUS Annual Conference Delegate In order to conform to NUS’ rules and regulations, any student wishing to attend the NUS Annual Conference must be elected by their fellow students. If you wish to stand as a delegate to the NUS Annual Conference, please complete the separate nomination form
9. Campaigning Campaigning starts at 9am on Monday 5th March and finishes when voting ends at 4pm on Wednesday 14th March. In order to make it a fair contest and to ensure that no candidate has an unfair advantage over others, all of your publicity material must be submitted to the Students’ Union for approval and we’ll produce copies for you. We’ll also give you general promotional material to help you explain the elections and why it’s important for all students to vote. Candidates will have a campaigning budget which they will be able to spend on a range of materials which may include posters, flyers, T-shirts etc. The rules around campaigning will be explained at the Candidates’ Briefing Session which must be attended by all nominees. Campaigns usually revolve around the candidates’ manifestos which are a public declaration of your intentions should you get elected. We hope you’ll also put together “A Minute to Win It” video clips which will be posted on the SU website.
Candidates’ Question Time/hustings (only for Sabbatical positions) Candidates’ Question Time/hustings is when students get the chance to find out more about your views, your priorities and why you think they should vote for you. This will take place in the Pear Tree on Tuesday 6th March from 12:30 – 2:30pm. All candidates for Sabbatical positions are expected to take part. The Students’ Union will publicise this event, but it’s really down to candidates themselves to encourage students to come along and get involved.
10. Voting system Alternative Vote (AV) AV is used across the country by many Students’ Unions in elections. This system provides voters with more choice. Instead of your vote being “spent” on a single candidate, voters can choose to express several different choices, by putting ‘1’ against their first choice candidate for a position, ‘2’ against their second choice and so on. Once a candidate has 50% or more of the votes, they are elected, but if a candidate is eliminated because they have the lowest number of votes, voters’ 2nd choices come in to play. Where students do not wish to support any of the candidates standing for a particular position, they may opt to choose ‘RON’ (re-open nominations). The voting system will be explained in more detail in the Elections Booklet which will be published later in February.
11. Election Timetable Date/time/location Monday 13th February
Friday 2nd March
Monday 5th March
Tuesday 6th March
Thursday 8th March 8am to Wednesday 14th March 4pm Wednesday 14th March
9:00 am - Nominations open Prospective candidates pick up a Nomination pack from the SU reception or download from the SU website 12 noon - Nominations close Prospective candidates to get their completed packs back to SU reception before the deadline 4pm - Candidates’ briefing session All candidates to attend the essential briefing session where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and meet the other candidates 9:00 am – Campaigning begins Contact details of any candidates’ agents to be submitted to Membership Services Manager by 9am Manifestos, photos and promotional videos to be submitted to Communications Coordinator by midday 12:30 – 2:30 pm Question Time/hustings for Sabbatical Officer candidates in Pear Tree 9:00 pm - Election-themed quiz Another chance for all candidates to meet the electorate Voting period 4:00 pm - Candidates remove all election material from all University sites 8:00 pm onwards in Pear Tree - election results to be announced