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UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD STUDENTS’ UNION

Student Consultation


University Of Salford Students’ Union

University Of Salford Students’ Union

Student Consultation

Student Consultation

As a member-led organisation, USSU believes in putting students at the heart of everything we do. We have used data drawn from our own Rate Your Union survey in 2009 and the University’s Salford Experience Survey in 2010 to identify the strategies and actions we think you would want us to pursue to ensure we achieve our mission of Enhancing Students’ Lives. This document outlines the three themes we’ve built our plan around and the 9 goals across those themes that explain what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it.

The summary of the proposals for each area of work can be found in the following pages. The plan will go to a Referendum for students to vote on alongside the elections in March 2011.

Our Vision: An outstanding organisation making a lasting, positive contribution to every Salford student.

Mission Enhancing Students’ Lives Theme 1

Theme 2

Theme 3

Championing the Student Voice

Active Student Communities

Robust and Student Focussed

Listen to all students to fully understand their views, take action, achieve change and communicate back.

Build effective relationships with our local community to improve life in Salford.

Be guided by student opinion to shape our services, activities and structures.

Create the means for students to actively participate in directing and achieving change.

Foster a strong community that has a sense of pride in its University and student experience.

Support and develop our staff to ensure they are focussed on enhancing students’ lives.

Build a credible partnership with the University, holding them to account on issues relevant to students.

Enhance employability and life skills beyond the academic programme.

Develop partnerships and collaborations that enhance the quality of our services, activities and resources.

Values: Quality / Accountability /

Fun

/

Diversity

/ Sustainability / Enterprise / Partnership

At least 900 students are required to vote with a majority ‘Yes’ vote for the plan to be adopted. If the plan is voted in, Union trustees, officers and staff will prepare action plans and develop ways in which to deliver the initiatives that are described within this document. The new plan will begin in August 2011 and will be reviewed continuously until July 2014, when we will begin the Review process again. It is vital that you let us know what you think about the Union’s vision and plan for 2014. We want to ensure that the Union is enhancing students’ lives and we would love to hear from you.

Theme 1 Championing the Student Voice - Page 4 Theme 2 Active Student Communities - Page 6 Theme 1 Championing the Student Voice - Page 8


THEME ONE Championing the Student Voice To achieve our vision we will:

Listen to all students to fully understand their views, take action, achieve change and communicate back. Create the means for students to actively participate in directing and achieving change. Build a credible partnership with the University, holding them to account on issues relevant to students.

This theme is all about what we consider to be the key role for the Union on campus: being the unchallenged, recognised voice for students to the University on issues that matter to students. Our plan is to continue to operate our Sabbatical Officer structure aligned to the University’s academic structure, ensuring that every student has an identifiable full time student representative they can raise issues with. However, we also want to vastly improve the way we listen and talk to our members and involve them in our work. Listen to all students to fully understand their views, take action, achieve change and communicate back. This objective will see us develop new methods of talking and listening to students. We want to have a two way dialogue with our members about what life is really like at the University of Salford. The best way for the Union to deliver changes for students is to accumulate evidence of real student experiences at Salford.

Build a credible partnership with the University, holding them to account on issues relevant to students. Whilst a lot of our representation work is focussed on challenging the University and demanding improvements to the student experience, we also recognise that this can only come about if they see the Union as a credible partner in that pushing that agenda. This goal will see us work proactively with all levels of management within the University to champion the student point of view in the way in which they manage and deliver your education and the support services that back it up. We will ensure we are fully involved in all significant decision making processes, but will also aim to get students directly involved too. Where you tell us the University is falling short, we guarantee that we will tackle and challenge those issues and demand change and improvement from the University. However where we identify good practice, we will recognise and promote it and push the University to deliver at this level across the whole campus.

Our goal is to ensure that we are listening to all groups of students on a regular basis and using that information to build campaigns, challenge the University and achieve change. Critically, we also want to ensure that we shout about our successes and let students know exactly what we’ve achieved so that you can see a point to talking to us.

Create the means for students to actively participate in directing and achieving change. Our research tells us that sometimes, we make too many assumptions about doing all the work in changing students’ lives ourselves. We believe that the Union should be about more than just the Sabbatical Officers talking at high levels of the University about student issues. We want to build a structure where students can use the Union’s resources and support to change the student experience for themselves, and therefore feel that they truly belong to the Union. Our goal is to remove a lot of the perceived barriers that stop students using the Union and provide direct access to Union staff who will advise and guide students on tackling issues about their courses, facilities and lifestyles without having to wait for an officer to pick up the issue. We want to encourage every student to take responsibility for their student experience and to tackle the University when necessary. To do so will require us to direct more time and resources to training and developing course representatives and other students in campaigning, problem solving, and evidence gathering so that the Union has a network of skilled student organisers to call upon outside of the Sabbatical Officer team.

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THEME TWO Active Student Communities To achieve our vision we will:

Build effective relationships with our local community to improve life in Salford. Foster a strong community that has a sense of pride in its University and student experience.. Enhance employability and life skills beyond the academic programme.

Theme Two sees the Union focussing on building an active community of students through delivering exciting, interesting and varied opportunities to do more than just study at Salford. Our research tells us that you want to see more opportunities to do things outside of your degree, and that you want to take part in activities that will enhance your chances of getting a job at the end of your studies. In pursuing the objectives in this theme we will maintain our commitment to creating and supporting our range of Student Activity Groups, but we will be trying to ensure they demonstrably add value to the whole student experience and are as open and diverse as possible.

Enhance employability and life skills beyond the academic programme In difficult times, no graduate can be certain of obtaining graduate level employment purely off the back of possessing a degree. Our aim through this goal is to ensure that by getting involved in activities through the Union, you can develop skills that will ultimately help you compete in the graduate job market. We will work with Careers and Employability to ensure that all our activities are linked to wider skills development, and to ensure that you understand how getting involved will build those skills. We will work to ensure that there is suitable recognition on your transcript of results of the skills you develop through participating in Union activities, and we will also strive to more closely integrate the Union’s activity programmes with the University’s student life award.

Build effective relationships with our local community to improve life in Salford One of our key weaknesses in recent years has been developing an effective relationship with the wider Salford community. Many of our members move to Salford and live in the local community, many of our members come from the local community. As a result, we feel we have an obligation to both improve relationships between students and the community, and be a positive advocate for the rights of students in the community too. This goal will see us extending our representation work into local forums and representative groups in the city and challenging preconceptions about the impact of students on the city; promoting community volunteering opportunities through Student Life; encouraging student activity groups to undertake their activities in and with the local community where possible; and supporting the University’s widening participation agenda.

Foster a strong community that has a sense of pride in its University and student experience. We want students to be proud of the fact that they study in Salford, and that they recognise the Salford student experience as something special and unique. This goal will see us using our student activity programmes and groups to build a sense of pride about the University and the student community. We will work to create and celebrate sporting success on a local and national level; we will build a University-level sporting competition for students to give sport a go; and we will work on the way in which we brand and promote our activities to students so you feel that taking part in student activities is something that adds value to and enhances the Salford student experience. Above all, we want to build a student community that recognises its strengths and achievements, and sees those experiences as being a key reason to study at Salford.

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THEME THREE Robust and Student Focussed To achieve our vision we will:

Be guided by student opinion to shape our services, activities and structures.. Support and develop our staff to ensure they are focussed on enhancing students’ lives.

Develop partnerships and collaborations that enhance the quality of our services, activities and resources.

Theme Three is all about giving students confidence that the Union operates in a professional, student-focussed, cost efficient manner. The three objectives for this theme focus on ensuring that the services and activities we offer are those that you tell us you want. We will also focus on developing the Union staff team to provide the best possible levels of support for students so that all staff can demonstrate how they add value to the organisation through enhancing students’ lives. Finally, as funding tightens, we will look for ways of driving down the cost of providing our services and activities through developing partnerships with other organisations. Be guided by student opinion to shape our services, activities and structures Our research tells us that sometimes you feel the Union is a bit aloof and not focussed on doing the things you want it to. Through this goal, we promise to put student decision making and consultation at the heart of the Union. We will do this by reintroducing a student council to guide, prioritise and scrutinise the representative work of the officers. We will simplify the process of holding referenda on issues that matter to students so that students themselves can drive the actions and policies of the Union. Also, we will regularly consult you over changes to what we do and how we do it so that you drive the decision making processes of the Union. We will hold regular forums on the way in which we deliver student activities, student media, and commercial services together with opportunities to talk to us through surveys and focus groups on your experience of the Union. As a membership organisation, we view this goal as the one that will make more of you feel part of the Union and feel that we are doing the things you want us to.

We will focus on making the Union an excellent place to work where staff feel valued and involved, and will seek Investors in People recognition to confirm this. The commitment to developing staff will extend to our student staff too, and we will actively seek to offer as many student employment opportunities as we can across the organisation.

Develop partnerships and collaborations that enhance the quality of our services, activities and resources. The Union is very fortunate in the level of funding it receives from the University to deliver all of its activities and services. However, as higher education is about to suffer an unprecedented reduction in government funding, the Union cannot take the support it receives from the University for granted. In order to plan for the future and place a priority on delivering high quality representation, lobbying, campaigns and student activities we believe that we need to look for ways to reduce the cost of managing the organisation. To do this, we will actively seek out ways in which we can partner and collaborate with other organisations, particularly other Students’ Unions that could drive down costs whilst retaining quality of service. We will also actively search for funding from other sources outside the University, making full use of the Union’s charitable status to apply for grants to support our core activities. Our over-riding principle is that Salford students have the right to a well managed, well resourced Union that is going to fight for and protect their rights. To do this, we need to be targeting as much of our resources at our representation, campaigning and activities as we possibly can, whilst recognising that there may be other organisations and people who we can partner with to make this more effective.

Support and develop our staff to ensure they are focussed on enhancing students’ lives. Although the Sabbatical Officers are the public face of the Union, they are supported by a team of permanent staff who work behind the scenes to deliver the Union’s many services and activities. The staff are often the unsung heroes of the Union, going the extra mile to ensure that students receive the service, advice and support that they really need. We want to recognise this by investing in the development of our staff team so that they continue to provide excellent service and support to students. We are currently running a leadership development programme for the management team, and would want to deliver this further down through the staff structure.

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Thank you for taking the time to read through our outline plan. We would really welcome some feedback on the themes and goals, particularly whether you think we’ve got it right, or if there’s anything that we’re missing. We will be seeking feedback online, but will also be holding some focus group conversations with students over the next few weeks, so please feel free to attend one of those if you want to speak to us face to face. Following the consultation period, the plan will be reconsidered by the Union’s Trustee Board and the final document will then be put out for student approval in a referendum alongside the Union elections in March 2011.

For further information contact: Ricky Chotai, President University of Salford Students’ Union, University House, Salford, M5 4WT Tel: 0161 351 5413 Web: www.salfordstudents.com | Twitter: www.twitter.com/SalfordPres Facebook: www.facebook.com/salfordpres MSN / Email: president-ussu@salford.ac.uk

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