Page 1

Student Representation at Birmingham City University

Code of Practice

Introduction & Principles .

Principles of Student Representation

Student Representation is a vital means of enhancing the student experience at Birmingham City University. Both Birmingham City University and Birmingham City Students’ Union are committed to building and maintaining a strong and practical Student Representation Scheme that is able to meet the needs of both students and staff members across the University. This Code of Practice sets out the detail of this Student Representation Scheme and how it should work across the University.

The Student Representation Scheme at Birmingham City University is run as a partnership between the University and the Students’ Union.

We recognise that Birmingham City University has a particularly diverse range of different courses and students, and that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ Student Representation Scheme is unlikely to be fit for purpose across the entire University. With that in mind, we have tried to put together a scheme that allows for flexibility to meet the needs of the various different types of course the University offers. We encourage all courses to think critically about how best to make the Student Representation Scheme work for their students, and as such have laid out the following core principles of student representation at Birmingham City University. As long as these principles are adhered to, we are happy to work with courses to find ways of adapting the system so it can best meet their specific needs. Robin Eves Union President


All students should have access to appropriate student representation through elected course representatives who are able to present the views of students to course staff. Course directors have a responsibility in the first instance to ensure that all students on their course have access to representation.


The core purpose of the Student Representation Scheme is to ensure that students are given opportunities to feedback to course staff anonymously through course representatives on both the positive and negative experiences of students on their course, as well as working with staff to find solutions to any problems or areas for concern.


Contents 02 | Principles of Student Representation 03 | Overview of Student Representation Scheme 05 | Course Representative Role Description 06 | Senior Representative Role Description 07 | Boards of Studies 09 | Board of Studies Agendas 11 | Additional Mechanisms for Student Feedback 15 | Recruitment and Election of Course Representatives 17 | Monitoring and Collating Information 18 | Training and Support of Course Representatives 19 | Recognition and Reward Oversight of Student 20 | Representation System 21 | Faculty and other levels of Student Representation


Course representatives and course staff should treat each other as equal partners in all aspects of the Student Representation Scheme, and should commit to working together for the enhancement of the student experience for all students on the course.


There should usually be a minimum of one course representative per year per course or group of courses (where several very similar small courses sit together). Courses may wish to provide for more than the minimum number of course representatives, particularly for larger courses where one student per yeargroup may not be sufficient to ensure adequate representation for all students.


It is important to ensure that part time and distance learning students are given equal opportunities to participate in student representation, for example through specific Part Time or Distance Learning representatives and/or additional mechanisms to allow Part Time or Distance Learning students to pass on their feedback even if they cannot be present at meetings. Within the parameters of the above principles, courses should have the freedom to develop all aspects of the Student Representation Scheme listed below in order to derive the maximum benefit from Student Representation, provided that any change is jointly agreed between staff and students. The Students’ Union should be kept informed of any changes in order to fulfil its responsibility of monitoring student representation across the University.

7 | 02

Overview of Student Representation Scheme The Student Representation Scheme works largely through the mechanism of Board of Studies meetings. These are meetings attended by both course representatives and staff members where student feedback can be formally discussed alongside other important matters relating to the course. In addition to Boards of Studies, courses are encouraged to develop other mechanisms as part of student representation to facilitate effective dialogue between staff and students. The diagram below shows the way feedback should be passed on from students to course representatives, raised with staff at a Board of Studies or similar forum and then passed back to students via course representatives, effectively closing the feedback loop. The Students’ Union is there to support this process, and in particular work with the course representatives to help them fulfil their role.

Students Students

Course Course Representatives Representatives

Course Course Representatives Representatives

Board of Studies and Board of Studies and other feedback forums other feedback forums

03 |

This Code of Practice tries to give clarity as to the various responsibilities assigned to course representatives, course directors and the Students’ Union in order to ensure that the scheme runs as smoothly as possible. These responsibilities are summarised in the table to the right. The rest of this document sets out in detail the various aspects of the Student Representation Scheme: • Full role descriptions for Course and Senior Representatives • Guidance for Board of Studies meetings • Ideas for additional mechanisms for student feedback • The logistics of the Student Representation Scheme including recruitment and elections, training, monitoring and communication. Calendar for Course Representation • Sep to Nov – Promotion of student rep scheme • Mid Nov – Rep elections • Late Nov – Senior Rep induction • Late Nov to Dec – Rep training sessions • April to May – Nominations open for Student Rep Awards The Students’ Union will provide precise dates at the beginning of every academic year.

Who are they?

Summary of Main Responsibilities

Course Representatives

Students elected to represent the views of their peers to staff.

• Seek the views of students on their course • Attend Board of Studies meetings • Participate in additional mechanisms for student feedback • Feedback from meetings to students on their course

Senior Representatives

Course representatives who have opted to become Senior Reps.

• • • •

Course Directors

The member of academic staff responsible for the running of the SRS within a course*

• Recruit and run elections for course representatives • Attend Board of Studies meetings • Participate in additional mechanisms for student feedback • Occasionally liaise with the Students’ Union, including the passing on of details of all elected representatives when prompted

The Students’ Union

The Education and Welfare Officer and members of the Representation and Democracy staff team.

• Maintain a database of all current representatives • Provide training sessions and ongoing support and development opportunities for all representatives • Maintain occasional contact with course directors as required • Maintain a website providing relevant information about representation to students, course representatives and course directors • Develop policy and recommendations as a result of feedback from course representatives

Fulfil all the same duties as a course representative Support and mentor new course representatives Liaise closely with faculty reps and the SU Participate in an academic module to map their progression and attainment as a rep.

* It should be noted that whilst the member of staff responsible for the running of the Student Representation Scheme within a course will normally be the Course or Programme Director, it is possible for this responsibility to be delegated to another member of academic staff. For the purposes of this document, we refer simply to Course Directors. | 04

Course Representative Role Description Responsible to • Students on the course Main Duties and Responsibilities • Attend course representatives training. • Publicise themselves to their peers, including making use of notice boards and online spaces provided by the course where appropriate. • Proactively consult students on their course to determine issues that should be raised, ensuring that personal views do not impact on their ability to represent their peers and that they respect the need for confidentiality. • Attend Board of Studies meetings and other feedback forums as required, ensuring they have read any relevant papers, agendas and minutes in advance. • Follow up students’ issues to ensure that the necessary action is being taken and feedback outcomes from meetings to peers. • Communicate with other course representatives, senior representatives and faculty representatives as required to ensure relevant issues are being raised in the correct forum, and that relevant information is shared. • Read and respond to emails and other communication from the Students’ Union.

05 |

Additional Responsibilities • Contribute to the development of learning and teaching on their course. • Contribute to the induction and support of first year students, helping ensure that first years have access to representation before the rep elections in November. • Signpost University and Union services that may be of use to students. • To report back to the SU at the end of their term of office. This should ideally include key contacts and issues that should be passed on to new representative. • Initiate and help organise class/group/cohort social gatherings if desired. Level of Commitment • Commitments will be spread throughout the year and course representatives should typically expect to spend 2-3 hours per month in this role, although there may be busy or quiet periods depending on the course’s timetable and meetings. It is important to bear in mind that university studies should come first, and course representatives should never be expected to do anything that may hinder their academic success. • Non-final year course representatives are expected to spend a full year in office, fulfilling their responsibilities until new elections are held (usually in November), when they will have the option of putting themselves forwards again for election or standing down.

Key Contacts • Course director and other academic staff • Course administrator • Senior representatives • Faculty representatives • Education & Welfare Officer and Representation Coordinator based at the Students’ Union

Senior Representative Role Description Overview The purpose of this role is to provide course representatives with an opportunity to expand their initial experience, to acquire new skills, and to help support the development of newly elected course representatives. Senior representatives will normally be course representatives with at least one years experience in the role, although exceptions can be made for representatives on one year courses including postgraduate degrees. Through the senior course representative scheme, it will be possible to ensure that new course representatives are able to access advice and support directly from representatives who have experienced the role. This role will be structured and recognised by a module which will support the employability and skills development of senior course representatives, developed and monitored by the Students’ Union and CELT. All senior course representatives will be expected to fulfil the normal duties of a course representative in addition to the responsibilities listed below.

Senior Course Representatives’ Responsibilities • Attend an initial senior course representative training session. • Attend at least one training session for newly elected course representatives and share their own experience of being a course representative. • Publicise their role to academic staff and course representatives in their faculty. • Liaise with the representation coordinator on ways of supporting the work of newly elected course representatives within their faculty. • Support the work of faculty representatives where appropriate and liaise with faculty representatives on promoting good practices amongst course representatives in the faculty. • Get involved in other relevant initiatives, meetings or forums as appropriate at course or faculty level or through the Students’ Union. Level of Commitment • Commitments will be spread throughout the year and senior course representatives can typically expect to spend an extra 1-2 hours per month in addition to the basic requirement for Reps, although there may be busy or quiet periods depending on other course representatives’ needs and availability. | 06

Boards of Studies . Each course or group of courses should have a Board of Studies to ensure course representatives are able to meet regularly with staff and discuss issues of relevance. Details of Boards of Studies are set out in the University’s Quality Assurance Handbook. This section of the Code of Practice aims to build upon what is included in the QA Handbook and offer advice on how Boards of Studies can be made more relevant for course representatives, to ensure that the meetings are as productive as possible for both staff and students. It should be noted that Boards of Studies should not be the only way for student opinion to be fed back to course staff. It is recommended that each course also have in place at least one additional mechanism for student feedback (detailed in the next section) to ensure that students and staff are able to maintain ongoing dialogue throughout the academic year. However, it is still important that Boards of Studies are made as ‘student-friendly’ as possible. Staff have a responsibility to make the meetings as welcoming and straightforward for students as possible; course representatives are unlikely to make the effort to attend meetings if they do not feel their contributions are making a difference. Ideally, there should be at least one meeting of the Board of Studies per term (or three times per year for semester courses) with sufficient time allocated to allow for full discussion of the issues. Dates and

07 |

times of the meetings should be arranged to maximise attendance of course representatives and staff, bearing in mind the academic schedule (for instance, if students are on placement) and different modes of study. The Course Administrator should be responsible for ensuring that a schedule of dates is agreed at the start of the academic year. It is vital that sufficient notice is given before each meeting for course representatives to be able to consult their fellow students as appropriate. Ideally this means the agenda and papers should be sent to course representatives at least one week before the meeting.

The main areas of responsibility for Boards of Studies should be as follows:

The membership of Boards of Studies should be as follows:

• Discussion and response to academic related matters raised by students and staff. Non-academic issues should be recorded and reported to the relevant area of the University and/or the Students’ Union. • Reviewing the quality of the student experience within the course through consideration of relevant areas, such as assessments, resources, and learning and teaching methods. • Reviewing policy issues and organisational matters within the course. • Considering links with appropriate disciplines, organisations, professional bodies and educational establishments concerning placements, accreditation, and other collaborations. • Considering any changes to the existing programme.

• Course director (Chair) • Course representatives from all groups/cohorts in each year • Pathway leaders and other members of course teaching staff • Course administrator • If relevant: Library representative • If relevant: CICT representative • If relevant: Placement co-ordinator Course directors should consider the ratio of staffcourse representatives at Boards of Studies in order to allow a fair balance of opinions to be heard. Equal numbers of staff and students is considered the optimum wherever possible.. For large courses with significant numbers of teaching staff it is strongly recommended that not all staff attend Boards of Studies, to allow for meetings to better reflect a sense of equal partnership between staff and students. Where course representatives are outnumbered by staff, for example if some representatives cannot make a particular meeting, it is vital for staff to ensure that they are made to feel able to speak and participate on an equal footing with the staff who are present.

If I need to think about experiences for jobs, I can always think about things I’ve done as a rep. Emma, BA (Hons) Marketing, Advertising Public Relations Course Rep


It is desirable for the minutes of Boards of Studies to be made available to all students on the course, as well as the Students’ Union. | 08

Board of Studies Agendas Boards of Studies should provide a forum for equal student-staff discussion and development of creative solutions for issues that are relevant to both staff and students. Therefore, whilst adhering to the guidance set out in the QA handbook, efforts should be made to ensure that items on the agenda are as relevant as possible to course representatives. Items which do not fit this remit may need to be discussed at other staff forums (departmental meetings, course development day etc.) whilst issues or items that require in-depth discussion may be best addressed through additional mechanisms for student feedback (see section on Additional Mechanisms). Traditionally, agendas for Boards of Studies have included a section for ‘student feedback’, with the rest of the agenda dominated by staff-led discussions. Whilst it is vital to ensure that course representatives are given space on the agenda to raise any issues that their fellow students have asked them to put forward, it can be helpful to structure this part of the agenda further, for example by asking for student feedback on specific areas communicated to the representatives in advance of the meeting such as feedback on assessment or learning resources. This ensures that feedback will be relevant to course staff, as well as encouraging representatives to think about both positive and negative aspects of the course. Representatives will be encouraged to think about ways they can collect student feedback prior to meetings, for example through short questionnaires provided by the Students’ Union.

09 |

It is also important for staff to ensure course representatives are able to input on matters that are not directly a result of student feedback but that are of importance to staff. Staff should use the meetings as an opportunity to get student input on any changes or new initiatives being proposed, or to learn more about what students think. For example, if the course has scored badly on an area of the NSS, discussion with representatives at a Board of Studies could help explain why and what could be done to improve the scores in the future. It is suggested that the standard agenda for a Board of Studies run as follows: • • • •

• • •

Apologies for absence Minutes from previous meeting Course director report on previous action points Discussion of student matters – This item will include input from course representatives as well as issues reported from additional feedback mechanisms. Discussion of staff matters – This item will enable staff to report issues, and to obtain course representatives feedback on course design matters. Resources & Placements (where appropriate) Any other Business Date of next meeting

There will be additional items for inclusion, depending on the time of year and nature of the programme. For example: The first Board of Studies may include the following additional items: • Introduction of new course representatives, including confirmation that they have or will attend a training session organised by the Union and emphasising the importance of feeding back to students after the meetings. • Annual programme monitoring including the outcome of course and module evaluation and other forms of students’ feedback, external examiners’ comments and responses, student progression and achievement at module and course level, and action plan. The second Board of Studies may include the following additional items: • Course development (with consideration of students’ feedback and NSS): - Preparation for review and re-approval - Assessment design and feedback - Learning and teaching. - Facilities and timetabling

I welcome the involvement of course representatives to be an integral part of the course, to work on course development with the academic team and to be able to represent our student body and student voice. I also look forward to working with future course representatives to develop and enhance the course. Carole Share, Course Director (BA Early Childhood studies)

The final Board of Studies may include the following additional items: • Monitoring of action plan agreed as part of the annual monitoring process • Student induction arrangements | 10

Additional Mechanisms for Student Feedback In addition to Board of Studies meetings all courses should endeavour to provide at least one other mechanism for students to offer detailed feedback on their experience of the course in order that any issues may be resolved as quickly as possible. It should be noted that where the Board of Studies is for a group of programmes, it would be desirable for each pathway to have their own additional mechanism for discussing student experience. One of the main aims of these additional mechanisms is to ensure that the feedback loop is successfully completed, so that students are able to better understand how their feedback is acted upon. Consideration should also be given to the question of anonymity, to ensure that students feel able to be honest about their experiences without fear of discrimination. It is also recommended that there is in place an arrangement between course directors and course representatives to maintain regular communication, either through regular scheduled meetings or on a more ad-hoc basis. Representatives should always be able to contact course directors and request a meeting.

11 |

A range of good practice already exists across the University in terms of initiatives to capture student feedback and develop dialogue between staff and students. Below is listed a range of options for courses to choose from if they do not already have something similar in place. This is not an exhaustive list, and the It is suggested that, where possible, the first Board of Studies meeting should agree and record in the minutes at least one additional mechanism that will be used during the year, whether that is the continuation of something that has been used previously or a new initiative.

1. Additional Meetings In addition to the Board of Studies, there are a variety of different additional meetings or forums with students that can be utilised to address student feedback. For example: • Student-led meetings, such as a Student Council, organised and led by student representatives. These provide a forum for students to discuss amongst themselves the issues that are important to them, and how best to address them. Staff may be invited to some or all meetings to respond to queries. Actions are allocated to student representatives and then progress reported back to the student community. These may often be most effective at a School level, in which case it is useful to ensure that all courses are able to participate and/or other course-specific mechanisms are in place. • Additional meetings between the student representatives and the course director. These allow for greater discussion of the issues students are raising and how such issues can best be acted upon. These could take place directly before or after Board of Studies meetings (which may allow for greater clarification of actions agreed at the Board of Studies including how representatives can best report back to students) or could be spaced to fill the sometimes lengthy gaps from one Board of Studies to the next.

• Regular staff-student meetings that are open to all students, not just representatives. Whilst representatives would be expected to attend, this allows for all students to be more involved in direct dialogue with staff, and can help ensure that students with concerns are able to get a direct response. Lunch or tea/coffee and cakes are sometimes provided by staff as an incentive to encourage better student attendance and to help keep the meetings friendly and informal. Meetings could also take place during or just after scheduled lectures to encourage attendance. Meetings can utilise things like the NSS or module evaluations to prompt discussion of how changes are being made based on student feedback.

Allows for detailed discussion and debate between staff and students.

Difficult getting students to attend, particularly on courses which have significant placement commitments or that include a lot of part time or distance learning students who may be excluded. | 12

2. Working Groups These are set up through the Board of Studies to examine particular aspects of the course that may be of particular interest or concern, for example feedback on assessment. Groups should include both student representatives and staff members, and should ensure that the wider student population is consulted as part of their work. They should make recommendations back to the Board of Studies about how best to implement changes, and ensure these are communicated to all students and staff. More than one working group may be set up at the same time to examine different issues, including a group that could focus on resolving students issues.

3. Student Advisory Board This is made up of student representatives, who will themselves form an advisory board that staff can consult on all aspects of the course relating to the student experience. The board will meet regularly and discuss the feedback they wish to give to staff, as well as consulting and feeding back to students.

Allows for really in-depth consideration of the issues and concerns and possible solutions.

Requires a reasonable commitment on the part of both student representatives and staff to ensure that they complete their work.

Good model for giving responsibility to student representatives, and for staff to ensure that students are effectively consulted on all aspects of the course.

Requires students to be willing to commit time and take on level of responsibility to ensure Advisory Board remains focussed and effective.

4. Living Logs An online log made accessible and promoted to all students on a course that details student experience issues and developments, as well as the actions that are taken to address these issues. This could be done using Moodle or another appropriate platform. Issues could be added by student representatives with staff then updating the log with the action taken. Time could also be taken for example at the end of lectures once or twice a term to address the issues and responses that are included in the log with all students.

5. Comment Boxes A comment box can be left available to students at all times, with student representatives taking responsibility for emptying it regularly and raising any issues that have been left by students with the relevant staff. Instead of a physical box, slips of paper could also be given out in lectures by representatives for students to provide anonymous feedback. Alternatively, the ‘comment box’ could be online, for example using media such as Twitter or a blog for students to be able to leave comments.

Issues raised and addressed without the need to wait for meetings.

Need to be very well publicised for students to refer to them in order to find out what is happening, which is why it can be important for them to be addressed in lectures.

Low maintenance, providing student representatives are committed to making sure the feedback is gathered, and any actions resulting from the feedback are communicated effectively back to students.

May not generate the most detailed or helpful feedback from students.

Students’ Union would welcome information from courses about any other mechanisms they use that are thought to be successful.

13 | | 14

Recruitment and Election of Course Representatives It is the course directors’ responsibility to ensure that course representatives are elected and the names of all representatives submitted to the Students’ Union at the appropriate time. The Students’ Union is happy to provide support and advice to course directors or other staff with any aspect of the recruitment and election processes on request It is suggested that elections should usually take place in week 6 and 7 of the autumn term for courses starting in September. With the exception of final year students, it is expected that the representatives’ term of office will run from November to November; the previous years’ representatives should not be deemed finished in position until new representatives have been elected. These weeks will be designated ‘Rep Election’ weeks, and the Students’ Union will run a University-wide publicity campaign before and during this period in order to encourage students to stand as course representatives and to raise the profile of the representation scheme. The Students’ Union will ensure all course directors are kept informed about when the ‘Rep Election’ period will be each year, and information and promotional materials about the role of course representatives will be provided by the Students’ Union for course directors to use in encouraging students to put themselves forward as representatives. Course directors are encouraged to let all students know exactly when elections for course representatives will be taking place for their specific course in good time.

15 |

It is recognised that for some courses it may be desirable to hold elections earlier, for example where students are out on placement by week 6 and 7. This is not a problem, but course directors are asked to inform the Students’ Union when their elections will be. All students, including part time and distance learning students, should have the right to stand for election as a course representative. As stated in the principles at the beginning of this document, there should normally be a minimum of one course representative per year per course, although for large courses it may be more. It may also be desirable to recruit and elect course representatives specifically to represent particular groups on a course, for example part time, distance learning or international students. Elections It is important that students are given the opportunity to democratically elect their course representatives so that they can choose the most effective and appropriate candidate(s) and so that the course representative has the support of their peers. It is understood that some courses find it difficult to hold full elections due to a shortage of candidates coming forwards. If candidates are unopposed the cohort should still be given the opportunity to vote them in, to ensure that the student in question has the confidence of the student body. If course directors are really finding it difficult to get students to come forwards, they should contact the Union for support.

Course directors are encouraged to use the most appropriate process for electing course representatives. If elections are contested we recommend that voting should normally be done through a secret ballot, either using paper or online. In all cases, candidates should be given the opportunity to present their case for election to students before the vote. The Union has expertise in running elections and is more than happy to offer advice to courses if course directors are unsure about how best to hold an election.

Course representatives should be elected for one year in the first instance. If they wish to continue in the role then they need to stand for re-election in the usual way. If during the course of their term a course representative steps down then every effort should be made by the course director to secure a new course representative for the remainder of the term. If it is felt that at any stage a course representative is not performing adequately in their post then the course director should contact the Students’ Union for further advice. Senior Representatives If a course representative is continuing in their role and wishes to take on the role of Senior Representative then they should apply through the Students’ Union as soon as they have been re-elected. Information about becoming a Senior Representative will be sent out to course directors, who are asked to encourage second and third year representatives to consider putting themselves forwards for this role. For one year courses including postgraduate courses it will be possible for representatives to become senior representatives immediately in some cases, for example where the student has already been a representative at an undergraduate level either at Birmingham City University or elsewhere, and interested students should contact the Students’ Union for more information. | 16

Monitoring and Collating Information

Training and Support of Course Representatives

Immediately following election of course representatives, course directors are asked to provide the details of new representatives to the Students’ Union. This allows the quick and efficient communication of details of training, support and development opportunities to all representatives across the University. Contact details for representatives are held securely and are only accessed by representation staff at the Union.

The Students’ Union is responsible for providing training for course representatives. Training is important as it allows for new representatives to better understand their role, learn more about the representation system and their part in it and discuss ideas with other representatives. Representatives who attend training sessions are more likely to stay engaged throughout the year and will be in a better position to contribute effectively to Boards of Studies and other meetings. Course directors are asked to encourage all newly elected representatives to attend a training session, the details of which will be sent to them at the beginning of the year.

The Students’ Union has responsibility for monitoring and collating information about current course representatives and the representation system as a whole. It is tasked with ensuring that the system is embedded across the University, monitoring representative numbers and communicating with groups of representatives on behalf of faculties or the University. For this reason it is important that course directors keep the Students’ Union informed of any course representative recruitment or retention difficulties, for example if representatives have stepped down or are no longer attending meetings.

I became a course rep because I wanted to be more involved in what’s going on and make a difference. Lizzy, Bmus Course Rep

17 |

The Students’ Union recognises the importance of regular communication between the Union and course directors in order to ensure that the information we have is up to date and that the course director is satisfied with the way student representation is working in their area. The Union will seek to communicate directly with course directors at least once or twice a year, usually by telephone or by visits to the relevant campus. Course directors are also welcome at any time to contact the Students’ Union for advice or support.

Initial course representative training is made available to all new and ongoing course representatives. Open sessions are held across all campuses, in addition to which the Union is happy to provide course or school specific training on request. This has the advantage that the training session can deal specifically with the challenges and opportunities relating to representation within that particular course or school, and give new representatives the opportunity to begin working together. These can also be arranged so that they fit around placements or other academic commitments; course directors are therefore encouraged to set up such a session where appropriate. Throughout the year further development or training opportunities will be offered in conjunction with relevant departments of the University, including

CELT and individual faculties. Input is welcomed from both staff and students as to what training and development opportunities would be of most benefit to representatives. Representatives must attend training if they wish to receive a certificate at the end of the year. If a representative has missed the formal training session they are encouraged to contact the Students’ Union, who will endeavour to ensure that alternative arrangements can be made. Communication between students, course representatives, course directors and the Students’ Union is vital to the success of the student representation scheme. The Students’ Union provides support to course representatives in a variety of ways intended to facilitate and improve such communication, including: • A course representatives handbook made available to all course representatives. • Regular communication from the Students’ Union via email and newsletter. • Course representative forums and events. • Information on Moodle and icity, where appropriate. • A dedicated Student Representation area of the Students’ Union website, which allows for students to anonymously contact their course representative. • Union staff and officers are always available for course representatives to contact them by phone, email or in person with any questions or concerns. | 18

Recognition and Reward . Course representatives volunteer their time to benefit students on their course and the University as a whole; the Union and University will endeavour to recognise their efforts in the following ways: • All course representatives will be entitled to receive a certificate from the Students’ Union upon the completion of the main responsibilities outlined in the Course Representatives Role Description. • Senior representatives will be given the opportunity to complete an accredited module that will record their development and enhance their employability over the duration of their time as a representative. This module will be implemented through a partnership between the Students’ Union and CELT and will allow for representatives to reflect upon the skills they develop and the areas they need to work on in order to enhance their employability. Successful completion of this module will be recognised on the students’ University transcripts and/or in other suitable ways to help ensure students are given something valuable to recognise their commitment to their role.

Oversight of Student Representation System • The Students’ Union will make annual Representative Awards available to all representatives in order to recognise the achievements and efforts of representatives from across the University. • The Students’ Union will endeavour to secure a yearly package of benefits for all student representatives, to include discounts from Union shops, cafes and bars, discounted entry to Union events and any other incentives that can be provided.

The Student Representation System is overseen by the Student Representative Coordinating Group (SRCG), which is a sub-committee of the University’s Student Experience Committee. The SRCG is there to ensure that the Student Representation System is running effectively, and also to consider any new suggestions for how best to enhance Student Representation across the University. It should ensure that there are key indicators agreed upon so that it can accurately and successfully monitor the scheme from year to year. It should ensure that the scheme is running successfully across the University and take action as appropriate when it becomes clear that there are any issues or problems with the smooth running of the system. This group should ensure that all those involved in the system are able to have a say in how it is run and any changes that may need to be made.

It has been an excellent experience. I got to go to loads of meetings and it has built my confidence. I would recommend being a Course Rep to others.

SRCG should meet at least four times a year. Its membership should include: • Relevant senior University staff responsible for student representation • Relevant Students’ Union elected officer/s • Relevant Students’ Union staff members responsible for student representation • At least two course directors • At least two course representatives SRCG may also wish to establish working groups at any time to examine and improve any element of the Student Representation System. These should always include both course representatives and course directors. The Students Union will be responsible for the day to day running of the student representation system in between meetings and will be guided in this by SRCG. Where necessary, the Students’ Union will seek support from the University when there are issues that it is unable to resolve by itself. Faculties also have a responsibility to ensure that the Student Representation System is functioning effectively across the Faculty; it is suggested this is regularly discussed at Faculty Management meetings.

Jennifer Bradshaw, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Course Rep

19 | | 20

Faculty and other levels of Student Representation It is important to note that this document only covers the workings of programme level course representatives and senior representatives. Students are represented at all levels of the University structure, at a Faculty level via Faculty Reps and at a University level via the elected sabbatical officers of the Students’ Union. The diagram below shows how feedback should move up and down these different levels. • The Students’ Union will make annual Representative Awards available to all representatives in order to recognise the achievements and efforts of representatives from across the University. • The Students’ Union will endeavour to secure a yearly package of benefits for all student representatives, to include discounts from Union shops, cafes and bars, discounted entry to Union events and any other incentives that can be provided.

21 |

Notes Course Senate

SU SU Officers Officers

Faculty Faculty Representatives Representatives

Course/ Course/ Senior Senior Representatives Representatives

Faculty Course Board

Senior Senior University University Staff Staff

AssociateDean Dean/ Associate /Faculty FacultyStaff Staff

Board of Course Studies

Course Course Director Director // Course Course Staff Staff

Course/ Senior Students Representatives

• At a Faculty level, the details of the Faculty Representatives scheme will be set out elsewhere. However, it should be noted that there should always continue to be Faculty or equivalent level student representation across Birmingham City University. Faculty Reps should be elected and should receive training and support from the students’ union. They should liaise regularly with both university and union and act as a link between student representatives and the Faculty.

Š 2011 Birmingham City Students’ Union Company: 3426445. Franchise Street Birmingham B42 2SU

Code of Practice  

for Student Representation