Effective student representation is a vital part of our quality assurance and teaching and learning enhancement processes. This resource has been designed to provide information and guidance on student representation and how to create effective staff-student partnerships.
The resource will cover the various stages in a student representative's lifecycle. It aims to guide you through each step of the process, from promotion and recruitment, to training and supporting students to be the most effective in their role.
It is important that the student voice is heard at every SCQF level (FE through to postgraduate research) and mode of study.
By electing student representatives, known as Student Voice Reps, we are ensuring that students have someone who can communicate their views and experiences on their behalf, and who can work in partnership with staff to make change happen.
Watch this short explainer video to learn more about the role and the importance of reps.
The diagram below shows the different student representation roles at UHI and where Student Voice Reps sit within the structure.
All roles are equally important in communicating student views. Information is two-way, from students passing on feedback about their learning experience, to student association officers communicating to the student body where changes are being implemented.
All staff should be available for students, reps and officers to provide feedback to. Staff should also ensure that they are communicating back to students what action is being taken in response to the feedback they have received.
Promoting the Role
This page will provide some ideas on what you can do to promote the role of Student Voice Reps to your students.
When: beginning of term / 'freshers' / induction period
Everyone should play a part in promoting the role to students to encourage involvement. HISA, in partnership with Student Engagement teams, will promote the role during Freshers events. It would be great if PATs, PDAs and LDWs could encourage students to take on the role as part of supporting students' personal development.
As lecturers and tutors, you can also help to promote the role in the following ways:
The Recruitment Process
Responsibility for recruitment of Reps differs across the partnership. Please check with your course team colleagues to establish who is responsible locally. This page sets out guidance on the Recruitment Process.
When: from induction to Voting Period at end of September
All students should have the opportunity to volunteer for the role. Staff should invite students to nominate themselves. Students should not be coerced into the role or appointed without choice.
- You may wish to allow students to nominate themselves over a limited window of time, or alternatively you may simply wish to ask them to self-nominate on the day.
- If you fortunately find that more students volunteer than required it is important that students choose who represents them. All students wishing to stand for rep should be given the chance to make a short speech/statement saying why the class should pick them. Once all candidates have had a chance to speak, an election can take place. You should ask the candidates to leave the class/call momentarily while this takes place. The election can be undertaken anonymously by holding a secret ballot in class or refer to HISA’s 'guide to digital voting' found via the link in the Useful Resources section.
Depending on the level of interest, you may wish to consider appointing a second rep for your course. Students can then split the workload and provide support to each other. It also ensures someone will fulfill the role if one rep decides to resign from the post during the year.
- You should aim to have reps recruited by the end of the dedicated voting period, which will be promoted and advertised by HISA. If you are unsure about when this is, or have any difficulty encouraging students to stand, please contact your local HISA team.
- If there is still no interest from students, please approach your local HISA officer to periodically drop in to the class to encourage a rep to come forward. Please keep HISA informed if you resort to any alternative methods of gathering feedback in lieu of a rep.
- Students may decide to come forward to be a rep later in the semester. Whilst not ideal, please remember to follow the correct registration process, and to inform the local HISA team so that training can be arranged.
- For January start courses the same recruitment process will apply.
- If you lead a networked or online programme it is important that you set up a system that works best for you and your students. If you do decide to take an alternative approach, please inform your local HISA team so that they can account for this within their statistics. If you are struggling to decide what approach to take, please get in touch with HISA’s Advocacy Team (details provided below) who will be happy to assist.
Advocacy Team contact details
Recording your Reps
Once you have recruited your reps their details need to be recorded both locally and centrally. This page provides guidance on this stage of the process.
When: immediately after recruitment
Please follow these steps to ensure your student voice reps are recorded accurately:
- Once a rep(s) has been elected by their cohort, please send them the following link: SVR Registration Form
- Reps cannot and will not be considered reps if they do not complete this form. This is due to GDPR restrictions around contacting reps in relation to the completion of their duties.
- Please be sure to inform your local HISA contacts as soon as possible should there be any changes to your reps i.e. resignations, or new recruits.
- If you require any assistance with this process, or are unsure of your local HISA contact, please contact Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org
Reps are encouraged to undertake Student Voice Rep Training to support them in their role. This bespoke training has been developed by HISA, in partnership with UHI and is based on the training formerly provided by sparqs (the agency for Scotland's university and college sector which supports student engagement in the quality of the learning experience). All Academic Partners will have HISA trained staff who can support HISA Officers to deliver the training to Student Voice Reps each year.
An online version of the training is also available as a module in Brightspace. This was developed in order to meet the needs of our online and distance learning students, as well as for students who have been unable to attend a face-to-face training session due to other commitments.
We encourage all Student Voice Reps to make use of the online training as a reference resource to refer to throughout their time as a rep to support them in their role.
Once reps have been registered they will be enrolled onto the module.
Reps attending face-to-face training will be provided with a certificate of completion.
For those undertaking the online training module they will also receive a certificate but must complete a short quiz and evaluation to prompt a certificate to be issued.
Students who have been reps in previous years are encouraged to attend again for a refresher of the training, and to take in any amendments which have been made to the training, which is reviewed annually. Attendance at face-to-face training will be recorded on students' records.
Supporting your Reps
Lecturing and teaching staff have a key role to play in working with and supporting reps throughout the year. Please remember that our Student Voice Reps are volunteers and are giving their time freely to improve the student experience for everyone. Please see below some useful tips on how you can support your reps throughout the year for the benefit of both students and staff.
When: throughout the year
Ensure you are encouraging your reps to attend any relevant Course Committee Meetings (CCMs), or equivalent. All reps should have a standing invite to relevant CCMs, so if you notice that they have not been invited, ask the chair or convener of the committee to ensure that they are.
Ensure that you are allowing your reps time to talk to their fellow students, during class time, so that they can gather feedback. Ideally, this shouldn’t take place at the end of class, as students may be anxious to leave. Please also consider stepping out of the room/video call at this point so that students can offer feedback to their rep freely.
If you would like further information or have any questions about student representation please contact your local HISA team.