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Liverpool Hope Students’ Union

SSLC Handbook

• Course Rep Training


Introduction The Staff Student liaison Committee (SSLC) is a mechanism by which students and staff can communicate and share feedback about all aspects of the Liverpool Hope experience including the programme, facilities, student welfare, careers and activities. As a Representative on the SSLC you can improve the experience here for yourself and your classmates. You have the power to influence decision making, effect positive change and make a real difference.

How does the SSLC work? The committee is made up of elected student representatives and members of staff. They provide an accessible arena for students to discuss with staff issues connected to teaching, learning and student support. They also provide an opportunity for the department to consult with students and receive feedback on new proposals. The SSLC should always be consulted on any major changes to course structures or content. The SSLC should not consider matters relating to named members of staff or students, nor are they the place for students to air their personal grievances


What does the role involve? Being an SSLC representative is a valuable opportunity to learn new skills, improve your CV and influence the future of your colleagues. The following list is not exhaustive but gives a board overview of the most of the activities you will be part of:  Collect and represent the views of your tutor group and feed these back to the programme team and staff during the SSLC meetings. These views can be anything from issues involving resources to the content of the programme itself;  Work with the other SSLC Reps to compile an agenda of issues for SSLC meeting with staff;  Advocate these views at SSLC meetings with the programme leaders and/or staff  Form part of a focus group that from time to time may be called upon by various departments within Liverpool Hope to gain valuable student feedback on a wide range of issues and services.  Liaise with the Students’ Union to keep them informed on any issues  Keep students informed of the outcome of SSLC meetings by feeding back informally to them;  Feedback to the course tutors about problems students are experiencing or positive points they want to make  Direct course mates to careers events and student support resources that are available on Moodle  Promote Students’ Union events and initiatives to fellow students by making announcements within tutor group sessions.


SSLC Meetings The SSLCs should meet at least four times a year. There must be a very strong reason to have fewer meetings. Who should be on the SSLC?  Students should be in the majority. As a general guide there should be at least one representative per year for each course within the Department  Student representatives should be elected from each year of each course, or students representing various stages of progression in a parttime or postgraduate research degree.  At least two members of academic staff from the department should sit on the SSLC, one of whom will be the SSLC Chair.  The Head of Department, or another senior member of academic staff, should be invited to SSLC meetings from time to time. It is not appropriate for a student who is temporarily withdrawn to act as an SSLC representative. It is much more difficult for a student who does not participate in lectures, seminars or other teaching and learning activities to stay close to current course issues and to liaise with his or her cohort to collect feedback for SSLC meetings/report back on action taken. If a student is elected as an SSLC representative and is then temporarily withdrawn, he or she should not take up the position of SSLC representative, and a new rep should be elected. The time, venue and agenda for the first meeting will be organised by the Chair Issues to be discussed at meetings For Undergraduate and Taught Postgraduate courses:  Course content and delivery (but not individual members of staff), including changes to course structures and proposals for new courses  Assessment and examination, including feedback on assessment  Skills development  Progress monitoring  External examiner’s  Timetabling  Fieldwork arrangements


 Joint degrees and related guidance  For undergraduate students: National Student Survey results and actions taken by the department in response to issues raised through the NSS For Postgraduate Research courses:  Monitoring, progression and supervisory systems (but not individual supervisors)  Assessment  Research training For all members of the SSLC:  Student support and guidance  Library provision  IT issues and availability of e-learning resources (e.g. digital resources)  Careers advice  Departmental liaison with the Library, IT and Careers, and induction and training arrangements  Learning facilities  Other academic resources, including accommodation, seminar size, timetable People to invite to meetings The SSLC (with the assistance of the Chair) should invite representatives from the Library and the Careers Team to attend at least one SSLC meeting. The SSLC may also wish to invite a representative from IT services, if the SSLC wishes to discuss a matter concerning the provision of IT (eg. IT accounts, email system). What happens after the SSLC meeting? Immediately after a meeting the designated person should write and circulate the minutes. Members of the committee should ensure assigned actions are progressed. Members should also ensure that SSLC decisions or actions are reported to the student body. The committee should agree the process for this at their first meeting of the year.


Departmental Meetings A representative from the SSLC should be invited and encouraged to attend departmental staff meetings to discuss matters raised at a SSLC. A ‘departmental staff meeting’ means a regular department-wide staff meeting, rather than ad hoc, informal meetings between a small number of staff. In addition, the SSLC representative should stay for discussion of all open business at departmental meetings (ie all items other than those involving named members of staff or students). Inviting SSLC reps to attend discussion of all open business provides a further channel of communication between staff and students, and SSLC reps can offer a valuable perspective on issues affecting students, including departmental facilities and teaching and learning resources. The SSLC representative should take the opportunity to attend departmental staff meetings and should report back to the SSLC on discussion of issues affecting students. Summer Vacation


Training Online training materials are available on www.hopesu.com/courserep. All representatives are expected to review the training materials within 2 weeks of being elected. Making the most of the Role It is important that people in your group find you approachable. Encourage them to talk to you informally about their experiences in between or after classes. Collect the email addresses/contact details of your classmates to help you collect and disseminate information. Remind classmates when social events, activities, talks or presentations are and try to get them to come along. Ask your tutor to email your group reminding them that you are a Course Rep mid-way through your year.

Students’ Union Material To help you gather information from your fellow students we have produced a document called “The Pre-Meeting Feedback Form” which can be found on www.hopesu.com under the Course Reps Training section. Course Reps should contact their classmates and ask them if there are any issues that they would like to raise at the SSLC meeting. The Form has different headed sections such as “IT&Moodle” and “Delivery of Programme/Learning & Teaching” which will allow you to keep your comments for the SSLC structured. When you have completed this form please send a copy to Shauna Fivey vpresed@hope.ac.uk


Jargon Buster

Agenda This is a list of topics that is going to be discussed at a meeting, in the order that they are going to be brought up. You should receive this around a week before the meeting is due to take place Apologies Apologies are sent to the committee secretary before a meeting takes place, at the beginning of the meeting the apologies that have been sent in should be read out to the rest of the committee. If you cannot attend a meeting for any reason you must always send your apologies Chair of the Meeting The chair of a meeting is responsible for ensuring that it runs smoothly, to time and as effectively as possible. In summary, the chair forms the agenda and makes sure it is stuck to, ensures that everyone has the chance to speak, keeps the group focused on the agenda so as not to go off on a tangent and summarises discussions to key action points. Institutional Audit Institutional Audit is a review process fpr Higher Education Institutions in England and Northern Ireland. Audits are carried out by a team of academics who review the institution’s quality and standards, using their knowledge of Higher Education Matters Arising This refers to nay items that were discussed at the last meeting that has an action point or follow on that do not appear elsewhere on the agenda. Matters arising should be used for updates and progress chasing. Minutes This is an important check to make sure that the issues that were discussed at the previous meeting were recorded accurately. This part of the meeting can be used to correct any errors or omissions, but should not be used to discuss items again.


Acronym Buster AOB – Any Other Business AOB is the section where items can be brought up that has not appeared on the agenda and is often abbreviated to AOB. This could be a general query, an important issue that has arisen since the agenda has been published or information about a forthcoming event. It is important to note that it is not good practice to bring up a controversial item in AOB; these should be put on the agenda as a specific item.

FE – Further Education You will often hear the Union refer to some courses as FE courses and the FE stands for Further Education. Further education is post-compulsory education (in addition to that received at secondary school). It may be at the same level, at a higher level, or at a lower level than secondary education, anything from basic training to Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree.

HE – Higher Education You will also often hear the Union refer to HE and this stands for Higher Education. Higher education is education that is provided by universities, vocational universities, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, technical colleges, and other collegial institutions that award academic degrees, such as career colleges. HEA - Higher Education Academy HEA is the professional body for teachers in Higher Education. It is the home of the subject groups which provide specialised support for different subject areas. HEFCE – Higher Education Funding Council for England HEFCE is a non-departmental public body of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (previously the Department for Education and Skills) in the United Kingdom, which has been responsible for the distribution of funding to Universities and Colleges of Higher and Further Education in England since 1992. It was created by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.


NUS – National Union of Students NUS are a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions. NUS is a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through their member students' unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students. LHSU is affiliated to NUS. NSS – National Student Survey The NSS is an annual survey that asks final year full-time and fourth year part-time undergraduate students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (and some Scottish institutions) about their academic experiences on their course. The results of the NSS can then be used as a tool to campaign for positive change. QAA – Quality Assurance Agency QAA is an organisation that checks how well universities and colleges across the UK are meeting their responsibilities, identifying good practice and making recommendations for improvement. QAA also publish guidelines to help institutions develop effective systems to ensure students have high quality experiences.


Top Ten Tips for Being an Effective Course Rep 1. If you know you want to bring an issue at a meeting do not wait for the AOB section to raise it. Ask for the issue to be put on the agenda to make sure there is plenty of time to discuss it. 2. Communication is an integral part of your role, do not forget to feedback outcomes to your course mates or they will not be aware of the hard work you do. 3. Do not be afraid to ask for help from the Students’ Union and the staff in your department, they are really nice people and will be more than willing to help. 4. Keep a record of the issues that students have raised using the “SSLC Premeeting Feedback Form “ (this can be found on the Students’ Union website) and track the progress that has been made in order that you can feedback the correct information. 5. Stand up in lecturers and make announcements; it’s a great way of getting students attentions. Take a note pad to class with you and hand it round for people to leave comments, this is the quickest and easiest way to collect student feedback. 6. Do not be intimidated of taking at a meeting with staff members; they want to hear what students think. 7. Meeting frequently with other Course Reps in your department is one of the most efficient ways of ensuring things get done. 8. Be organised 9. Do not be afraid to pester staff; they are busy people and might need reminding of something that you have asked for. 10. Celebrate successes, you work hard and it is important that you have chances to reflect on why it is all worthwhile.


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SSLC Guide