YORK ST JOHN STUDENTSâ€™ UNION FUN | INCLUSIVE | REPRESENTATIVE | ENGAGING | SUPPORTIVE
COURSE REPRESENTATIVE HANDBOOK 2016/17
CONTENTS Welcome, from your VPE ..................................... 3 Who We Are ........................................................... 4 Times are a’changing ........................................... 5 What does being a Course .................................. 6 Representative involve? ....................................... 7 So, you’re now a Course Rep , What’s next? ..... 8 Perks of being a Course Rep ............................... 9 SW5 Membership ................................................. 10 You are now part of a network of leaders! ........ 11 Education Zone & Senate .................................... 12 What is a Course Rep Issue? ............................... 13 Types of Feedback ................................................ 14 Communication Tips! ........................................... 15 Rewards and Recognition ................................... 16 How We Accredit Reps ......................................... 16 Key Dates and Key People ................................... 17 Abbreviations ......................................................... 18
Welcome, from your VPE. Hello, everyone! Welcome to this handbook for all things Course Reps! This will be your guide for the next year. I hope you find e-Handbook helpful and answer all your questions. If not, email me! First off, pat yourself on the back. You’ve been elected as a Course Rep, hoorah! Your peers have decided you are the best person to be their voice. Yay! This upcoming year is incredibly exciting at YSJSU and the University as a whole. So much momentum is going into this academic year – a new building, a new structure (at the University and in the Students’ Union), as well as more students arriving in September than ever. Exciting, right? I was a Course Rep in my first and second years of University, and I found it a really valuable experience. It is a great way to get to know your peers and also meet other people from other courses. I hate to use the term “use and abuse” (haha) but that is what I am here for! I am here to support you guys in whatever you want to do. So if you have any campaign ideas, throw them at me and we can get the ball rolling. Similarly, if life is all getting a bit too much for you, come and have a chat and a cuppa with me and we will work it out. I can help you manage your workloads and make it all better I will now stop babbling and we can get straight into things. I’m very proud of you and I am so excited for the academic year ahead.
Izzy Vice President of Education York St John Students’ Union firstname.lastname@example.org
Who We Are. Hello, Course Reps! Nice to meet you, we are your Sabbatical officers for 2016/17 We were elected in February 2016, by you, to represent you. We have lots and lots planned for the upcoming year, so keep an eye out and don’t hesitate to get involved. On the left, we have Izzy Tooke, your Vice President of Education. She is your key contact for advice on all things academic. She also looks after the Chairs of Schools and you lovely Course Reps, ensuring you all have an amazing time and do awesome things. Contact her on – email@example.com In the middle, we have Laurie Illingworth, your President. Laurie oversees all things Sports and Activities, as well as the Entertainments aspects of the SU. He also sits on the Governing Body for the University. Contact him on – firstname.lastname@example.org And on the right, we have Katie Irving, your Vice President of Welfare and Diversity. Katie works closely with the Student Services team to ensure you have a happy time at YSJ. She also oversees campaigns such as Plan Safe, Drink Safe, Home Safe. Contact her on email@example.com
Our Values Our mantra and aim at YSJSU is “ENABLING OUR STUDENTS TO HAVE AN EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE”.
The Students’ Union’s Values are – FUN | INCLUSIVE | REPRESENTATIVE | ENGAGING | SUPPORTIVE We will ensure these values are incorporated into everything we do.
Times are a’changing – the University
EXECUTIVE DEAN (EXPERIENCE)
EXECUTIVE DEAN (QUALITY)
HEADS OF SCHOOL
HUMANITIES, RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY
PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
CHAIRS OF SCHOOL
YSJ BUSINESS SCHOOL
LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS
PERFORMANCE AND MEDIA PRODUCTION
ART, DESIGN AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
What does being a Course Representative involve? Last year, we elected over 220 Course Representatives. Course representatives are students who are elected by their peers to collect feedback about the experience they are having. This is then reviewed by the Chairs of Schools and the Vice President of Education, as well the University staff. Every ounce of feedback you give to us is incredibly valuable and we really appreciate it. Everything is collated and fed back to the University at meetings such as the Enhancing Student Experience committee. The University really listen to what we say, so now is your chance to speak up! York St John Studentsâ€™ Union works on a democratic structure, where representation is essential, and we want to represent all YSJ students as best as we can. This is why we need you! As a rep, you are the first point of contact for your peers on your course, and you also have a wonderful opportunity to contribute towards improving the quality of teaching and student As well as making important educational changes, we hope you will also take part in Studentsâ€™ Union events and meetings to help build a sense of community which is so vital to our University and Union.
So, you’re now a Course Rep. What’s next? Attend Course Rep Training This training, provided by the Students’ Union, will supply you with the key skills you need to be a Course Rep.
Introduce Yourself to Staff and Students on your Programme Make sure the relevant people know who you are and how to contact you.
Attend Education Zones These are held once or twice a term and will be a key place to meet other Course Reps from your own school and the other 8! This will be your opportunity to give your feedback to the Students’ Union.
Liaise with the Vice President of Education/Chair of School Let us know what you are up to! Come by the office and have a chat, or drop an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Attend School Meetings You may often be invited along to some staff-student meetings run by your school. Try and attend these – it is a great opportunity to give direct feedback to the tutors and academics, which they really respect.
Speak to Students! Don’t hold back to ask questions to the lovely students. They voted you in in the first place! Get their feedback; find out what they love and what is bothering them. Remember – anything can be feedback, and it doesn’t always have to be negative.
Celebrate Your Wins If you do something awesome or solve a problem, tell us! We want to hear all about it and also let everyone else know. You can also celebrate at our end of year awards.
Perks of being a Course Rep By being a Course Representative, you have the opportunity to develop some valuable transferable skills. For example – - - - - - - - - - - - -
Public Speaking Teamwork Communication Negotiation Meeting/Committee Skills Decision Making Problem Solving Time Management Organisational Skills Leadership Campaigning Data Collection
The H.E.A.R The HEAR is also known as the Higher Education Achievement Report. Launched in 2008, the report is a new way of recording student achievement. The aim of the HEAR is to “Capture the totality of a student’s performance and enable a student to represent a wide range of their achievements to employers, thereby enhancing their employability”
The HEAR will be a lovely piece of paper you receive alongside your degree certificate on your graduation day. It’s a way of showing any possible future employers that your University recognises the extra-curricular activities you did whilst studying, and also shows the value of the activities. This year, the activity of being a Course Representative has been added to the HEAR, hoorah!
SW5 Membership Ever heard of SW5? Well, for the first time, we can now give Course Representatives a discounted membership for SW5. The usual rate for a year’s membership is £5; however Course Reps can have a membership for just £2.50, bargain! SW5 activities include – football, tennis, yoga, badminton and many more. To find out more go to www.ysjsu.com or come into the SU and speak to the Information Point to start up your membership. You will need your green Course Rep lanyard to claim the membership.
You are now part of a network of leaders! STUDENT BODY (7,500) YSJ is made up of over 7,500 students, who will raise their concerns with you, their Course Rep.
COURSE REPRESENTATIVES (250) You will attend meetings with the University and Studentsâ€™ Union, giving the student opinion on certain matters.
CHAIRS OF SCHOOLS (9) Chairs of School are students elected to be the main representative of each school. They are the main people you will go to with your feedback you have collected.
VICE PRESIDENT OF EDUCATION (1) The VPE is elected by students, to represent students. This will be typically at University committees but also as a whole. 10
Education Zone The Education Zone is a discussion forum which is open to all students, meeting at least three times a year. The Zone is an opportunity for students to come together and discuss common concerns, discuss current topics and most importantly, make change! The Education Zone is then given the opportunity to create policy, which is then taken forward to Senate.
Senate The Student Senate is the most senior policy making body which directly involves the students. The meetings are held 3-4 times a year and work to create policy from ideas submitted from the members of YSJSU – that means that all the work we do is influenced directly by YOU the student. Members of senate are elected at each of the zones, with a maximum of three positions available. At the meeting you will be able to hold your elected officers to account as well as actively acknowledge that you have had an impact on how the Students’ Union works for the benefit of the student body. If you want to know more about senate, contact Paul Murtough, Representation and Democracy Coordinator at email@example.com
HAS A STUDENT CHAIR MEETS X3 A YEAR (MIN) 18 ELECTED MEMBERS
X3 OFFICERS X9 CHAIRS OF SCHOOL
OPEN ZONE X3 OPEN SENATORS
EDUCATION ZONE X3 OPEN SENATORS
ENTERTAIMENT ZONE X3 OPEN SENATORS
SPORTS AND SOCIETIES ZONE X3 OPEN SENATORS
EQUALITY & DIVERSITY ZONE X3 OPEN SENATORS
WELLBEING & COMMUNITY ZONE X3 OPEN SENATORS
What is a Course Rep Issue? A course rep issue could be…
But what isn’t a course representative issue?
Teaching – whether it’s the delivery, the content or the structure, good or bad, feedback is necessary.
Individual Student Performance – If a student comes to you with concerns regarding their grades or appeals, this is not for you to worry about! Direct them to the Vice President of Education, Izzy Tooke.
Assessment and Feedback– How useful is the feedback that you receive? Is it detailed enough? Is it relevant? Is there a variation in assessment methods on your course?
Organisation and Management– this is all things timetabling, contact hours, administration and availability of staff.
Personal Performance – If a student has problems with housing, money, relationships or mental health, this again is not a course representative issue! Direct them to Vice President of Education.
Learning Resources – this topic ranges from lecture slides and moodle content, to books and ebooks, or IT equipment such as the computers in the library.
Complaints – students who want to make a formal complaint must refer to the university’s complaint policy or seek advice from the Vice President of Education.
Academic Support – how often do you see your personal tutor? Do you feel supported in your academic work? This is what we need to know!
Any issue relating to extracurricular activities, such as sports and activities.
Types of Feedback By being a Course Rep, you are the first person that your peers will raise their course-related issues to. Here are some examples of questions you might want to think about asking – Curriculum – • How relevant is the content? • Do you feel like the curriculum is preparing you for the future/employment? • Are the Learning Outcomes achievable/challenging? Teaching and Learning • Do you feel like you are doing the right number of hours each week? Do you feel you need more/less? • Is the size of the seminars/ lectures appropriate? • How much 1-2-1 time do you get? • Is the quality acceptable? Learning and Resources • Are the core texts for each module easily available? • Is there a fair balance between self-study, lectures/ seminars, and workshops? • What teaching methods do you find most/least useful? • Are the handouts useful? • How about the Moodle pages? How often do you use the resources? Are they helpful?
Student Support • Are students comfortable with going to staff members with any issues? • Do students feel supported by their academic tutors? • How often do students meet with their academic tutors? Quality and Standards • Is evaluation on student feedback acted upon? • Did you receive any information as to what the department/course has done after receiving student feedback? Assessment and Feedback • Are you given enough relevant information on plagiarism? • Is there a fair divide between exams and coursework? • Do you understand the marking criteria used when your assessments are marked? • What types of feedback do you receive? Is it prompt, effective and useful?
Communication Tips! Now you are a Course Rep, it is absolutely essential that you communicate with your fellow students. This isn’t easy for everyone, so we’ve compiled a guide of tips and examples for you to use. Feel free to also pop by to see your VPE for more advice on feedback collecting.
Face to Face Course Meetings/Socials. These are not always formal occasions – you could suggest to your Head of Programme various activities or events where you can socialise and chat. Lecture talks. Ask your lecturer if you can have 10 minutes at the beginning or end of a session to discuss course feedback – maybe ask some of the questions we have suggested in this handbook! Informal chat. Whilst you’re waiting for a lecture begin or a quick coffee break, have a chat with your peers and have an informal chat about how they feel about the course.
Email Use an eye-catching subject line. These are the first thing a student or staff member will see, so make sure it isn’t an instant “delete”! Is it relevant? Make sure your emails are clear and show that what you are saying is relevant. Don’t include too much information. What key messages do you want to include? Be clear and concise. Nobody likes a boring email. Add emphasis, but don’t overdo it!
Social Media Build your course profile. Make a Facebook page or a Twitter account, and get following the university accounts. Retweet, like and share!
Rewards and Recognition At the end of every academic year, we hold an YSJSU Student Awards night. This an exciting event where Course Reps are presented with their accreditation certificates, amongst many other awards including the VPEâ€™s Choice, and Rep of the Year for each School. Exciting!
How We Accredit Reps Bronze 8 Hours of Course Rep time
Silver 14 Hours of Course Rep time
Gold 20 Hours of Course Rep time (You will log these activities onto the Moodle module.)
Course Representative Training – Monday 17th October/ Wednesday 19th October
Izzy Tooke, Vice President of Education – firstname.lastname@example.org
Education Zone – Tuesday 18th October 4pm SU Coffee Lounge
Paul Murtough, Representation and Democracy Co-Ordinator – email@example.com
Open Zone – Thursday 20th October 4pm SU Coffee Lounge
Louise Aiken, Membership Engagement Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
Course Rep Lunch – Friday 21st October 12pm Students Union
Need to chat but can’t come into the office? Give us a call on – 01904 629816
Dates for Semester 2 to follow!
Abbreviations AER Annual Evaluative Report AGM Annual General Meeting DVC Deputy Vice Chancellor HE
HoS Head of School ILS Information Learning Services NSS National Student Survey NUS National Union of Students PVC Pro Vice Chancellor QSC Quality and Standards Committee VC
WBL Work Based Learning WP
The essential guide to being a Course Rep at YSJ in 2016/17