How to Represent Students

SSLC Representatives are elected by students. They attend meetings of their SSLC and they ensure that students’ views are heard, and that action is taken and reported back.

Responsibilities of an SSLC Course Rep:

  • To attend a training session early in term 1 (normally in week 4 and 5).
  • To make yourself known to the students you are representing and the staff you will be working with on the committee.
  • To gauge the views of students on your course and present those views effectively at SSLC meetings.
  • To report agreed action back to students.
  • To read minutes of meetings and ensure you follow up on actions allocated to you.
  • To upload meeting minutes, meeting times and agendas to the SSLC Portal.
  • To ensure that the committee completes and approves the Annual Report Form.
  • To alert the Faculty Representative or Education Officer of any issues you do not feel are being appropriately addressed, or which may be of wider significance.
  • To make the most of other development opportunities related to the role, for example attendance at the Students’ Union’s Education Convention.

Collecting Students' Views

You cannot claim to represent the “views of students” unless you research those views thoroughly. How you do this is up to you, but might include the following:

  • Circulate your email address and check your e-mails for messages from the student body.
  • Send e-mails before each meeting asking if there are any concerns.
  • Arrange a drop-in session before each meeting for students to discuss a particular issue or their course in general, and/or let students know that you will be available after a lecture to discuss issues for the next SSLC meeting.

Making Sure Action is Taken

One way of encouraging action is to ensure that during the meeting every task is allocated to a person and a deadline is set, against which the outcome can be measured. If nothing is being done, raise the matter with the staff members of your committee. If this fails, approach your Faculty Representative, the Education Officer or the SSLC Coordinators for advice and intervention if necessary.

Feedback Loop

  • Find the problems
  • Talk to your coursemates and find out what's bothering them about the programme
  • Get all their views via
    • Facebook
    • Emails
    • Surveys
    • Moodle
    • Lecture shout-outs
    • Noticeboards
    • Feedback boxes
    • Speak to them in person!
  • Discuss these issues at SSLCs. If your issue isn't being resolved at department level, bring it to a Faculty Rep and Union Officers can raise it higher up in Committees and University Meetings.
  • Feed back to the SU. Tell us about any issues and let us know what you're dealing with - we can bring together departments with common issues and raise them at a higher level.
  • Feed back to students. This can be verbally, via Facebook, or via a written report. However you do it, make sure you keep students updated.

Completing the Feedback Loop

It’s not all over when the meeting stops. You have to keep those you represent informed of decisions. The SSLC and department need to demonstrate to students that they are taking students’ views seriously and acting on them. Departments and SSLCs can use a number of measures to complete this loop, including:

  • Publicising the action or decisions resulting from student feedback via email, or through SSLC notice boards, the SSLC Portal or a linked webpage, on-line forum or newsletter.
  • Making announcements in lectures.
  • Discussing the issues raised by the feedback within and outside the SSLC meeting and determining the best way to address the issue in consultation with staff and students.
  • SSLC Portal - uploading Minutes etc.
  • Representing the student view on internal and external reviews

The quality of the student learning experience is the main focus of regular reviews of departments held by the University and external bodies, such as the Quality Assurance Agency or professional, statutory and regulatory bodies. As SSLCs discuss student academic concerns, and act as a forum for departments to consult with students on future plans, SSLC student representatives are sometimes invited to take part in these reviews. You are not obliged to participate in a review, and if you have any concerns about the review process you should speak to the SSLC Convenor, Departmental Head, or Students’ Union Education Officer.

Communicating with Other Students

Here are just a few ideas on how to get the views of the other Students in your department:

Social Media - It's great for finding out people's views collectively. Set up an SSLC comment page. Do remind people not to mention individuals or sensitive information though!

Shout Outs - Ask one of the lovely lecturers if you can have 5 minutes at the end of one of their lectures.

Coffee - Arrange to meet a small group of fellow coursemates to get their views and discuss any issues.

Anonymous Feedback Box - Some people may find it easier to put forward their views anonymously. Put this in your department's reception and check regularly.

Transferable Skills

What you gain from being an SSLC Representative:

  • By attending the Union’s specially designed training events you will benefit from the tips of the Union’s Student Trainers for making the most of the opportunities you get from being a member of an SSLC.
  • By reading Students’ Union publications and talking to staff and the Union’s officers you will gain knowledge of issues in higher education.
  • Your experience as an SSLC representative is a good starting point to get involved in any of the wide range of representative posts in the Students’ Union, from committee member right up to Sabbatical Officer.
  • Recognition of your contribution on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) at UG level.

You can develop transferable skills that will prove invaluable in years to come.

These are some of the skills you gain through being an SSLC representative:

Communication

Being a good representative is about communicating with staff and students. You will find that your experiences of meetings and dealing with your constituents will improve your verbal and written language skills.

Organisation

Attending SSLC meetings should give you experience of formal meeting structures with a Chair, Secretary, agenda and minutes and familiarise you with how business is processed.

Negotiation Skills and Conflict Management

Your skills in these important areas will develop naturally through involvement in the SSLC system, as you help to resolve possible areas of disagreement and seek solutions to problems.

Time Management

It is an important skill to be able to fit your SSLC commitments around your degree.

You will get used to setting objectives and priorities to ensure that you make the best use of your time.

Public Speaking and Confidence

Speaking in Lectures and in the meetings provides you with experience to use in public speaking both inside and outside of University.

Minute Taking and Administration

This is beneficial for focusing on the arguments on hand and correctly recording discussions. This is an extremely valuable skill for future endeavours.