Student Representatives Policy
are part of the first and largest tier of the representation system provided by
the Studentsí Union and the University of Essex. Student representatives
feed-back directly to University staff on academic issues, typically through
Voice Groups (SVGs) - formerly known as Student Staff Liaison Committees
(SSLCs) - ensuring that
the University maintains its commitment to the assurance and enhancement of its
education provision and the promotion and protection of student welfare.
This policy sets out the Universityís approach, in conjunction with the
Studentsí Union, to the management and oversight of the Student Representative
system, including the purpose of the Student Representative roles, how
Representatives are selected and the roles and responsibilities of all key
 For the purposes of this policy, Student
Representative is used to refer to any student undertaking a representative role
on behalf of other students. The terms Course and Year Representative refer to
departmental-level representation, typically representing a specified
constituency of students.
- Accountability: Student
Representatives are responsible to the students they have chosen
to represent (see Sections 4 and 5).
- Consultation: Student Representatives
must keep their own views aside and gather collective views
(positive and areas to improve), by talking and listening to
students, to present to the University, which would avoid any
assumptions made about the student opinion (and experience).
- Communication: Student
Representatives must close the feedback loop by communicating
information back to the student body; letting peers know what
action has been taken with their feedback; using efficient
communication channels to contact students, e.g. Social Media,
emails, Departmental notice boards etc.
- Engagement: Student Representatives should
act as the links between the wider student body, Studentsí
Union, Academic Departments and the
University. Student Representatives should promote the different
student feedback mechanisms and have a good working knowledge of
the support structure available to students. It is important the Student
Representatives are engaged with any representation and
democracy activities provided by the Studentsí Union and/or the
- Signposting: Student Representatives
might be the first point of contact for students with issues or
concerns or general enquires therefore must be aware of general
departmental, University and Studentsí Union information to
signpost students to appropriate areas (especially when dealing
with personal queries).
- Sustainability: Student
Representatives must maintain an effective and sustainable
representation system by promoting themselves and their role for
the entire academic year.
The Studentsí Union, in conjunction with departments, will
widely publicise the opportunity to become a student
representative at the beginning of each academic year in order
to get more students involved in representation, engagement and
The Student Representative system is built on the key principle of
partnership between the University and Studentsí Union. In practice, this
partnership is delivered in a number of ways:
that the Student Representatives provide through SVGs (and
other platforms) feed into the University and Studentsí Unionís
decision-making structures to enable discussion of key issues at
higher levels within both bodies.
The Studentsí Union, University and Departments work in
collaboration for the training programme for Student
Representatives, including a session on University academic and
corporate governance, a session on how to collect feedback
effectively, and a session on key contact points within their
University and Studentsí Union bodies ensure that issues are
captured effectively to support the regular review of the
Student Representative system and this policy.
Union provides student representatives for appropriate
committees and working groups.
bodies of the Studentsí Union are made aware in advance of any
event, the dates of any appropriate committees and working
groups so that suitable student representatives may be provided.
The process for selecting Student Representatives is based on the principles
of fairness, openness and transparency as described
- The opportunity to act as a student representative is
advertised to all students through the Studentsí Union and
departments from the start of the academic year. Departments
will work proactively with the Studentsí Union to promote the
opportunity and responsibility that comes with being a student
- Students indicate their interest in the role to the
Studentsí Union by the end of week 3.
- Should the departments receive any applications, the
departments should forward any details on to the Students' Union
by the end of week 3.
- If no students have expressed an interest to act as student
representatives in a department by week 3, then departments in
partnership with the Students' Union will
support and oversee the selection process.
- All Student representatives will attend training for their
role, shortly after week 3. Upon completion of the training,
students representatives will have to complete a Moodle course
after which point they will all be eligible to act as Student Representatives, to
represent students at departmental meetings and activities (such
as Periodic Reviews).
The Studentsí Union, University and departments value the representation of
students at all levels of University study to ensure that the University works
in the best interest of students. In order to achieve effective student
representation, the following expectations are made of students who choose to
act as student representatives.
There are a variety of different roles that can be undertaken as a Student
Representative, including roles directly supporting the Student Parliament. The
Student Representatives Policy lists and defines the different positions that
students can represent in. Student Representatives, when formally expressing an
interest in the role, should appreciate the importance and the
time needed to undertake the role effectively.
- Student Representatives should attend all mandatory training
to ensure that they are prepared for the role
- participate in departmental meetings and
other related activities.
- Student Representatives should prepare for the appropriate meetings
that they are required to attend by
gathering any student feedback required:
- Student representatives to gather feedback
from students on their course and from students
in their department as a whole.
- Senior Representatives to gather information
from the Student Representatives
- Student Representatives and Senior
Representatives are to feedback through
departmental and Faculty Structures. They should
also provide feedback to appropriate Student
Union Bodies when required.
- Student Representatives should feedback to students in their
- Student Representatives should attend all meetings expected
of the student representative's role. If the student
representative is unable to attend for any reason, it is
expected that they would contact and arrange for an appropriate
student representative to take their place.
- If the Student Representative feels they can no longer
fulfil the role, they should inform the department and Students'
- If a Student Representative fails
to meet the requirements of the role, they may be removed and a
replacement sought by the Department in cooperation with the
- The Students' Union and Department will
agree mechanisms by which Student
Representatives performance will be assessed to
ensure that every representative is achieving
their full potential within the role. This
mechanism will be reviewed annually.
- Time: Departments should allow time for
student representatives to meet and canvas the wider student
body in order to accumulate their views (or feedback to them).
They should do this by releasing the dates of their SVGs either
at the start of term one or at the start of each term to both
the Students' Union and to the Student and Senior
Departmental Action and
Feedback Departments will be approachable and receptive
to the views of Student Representatives, and should encourage
appropriate action in response to student feedback and to ensure
that every task is allocated to a person and a deadline is set,
against which the outcome can be measured. Where feedback is
received outside of a SVG meeting, it should be noted in a SVG
meeting to ensure the response is tracked. Departments should
ensure that actions or outcomes arising from student feedback
should be circulated, as a minimum to Student Reps, when the
action is closed or outcome resolved.
Communication: Departments should aid student representatives with communication
mechanisms to publicise any action and/or
decision to students in the department through:
- Emails, Departmental websites, Social media
or online-forum or newsletters
- Making announcements before or after
- Departmental notice boards
SVG meetings should be widely publicised by departments so that students
have an opportunity to feedback
to the Student Representatives
any issues for discussion with
- Support: The student representatives are
coordinated and supported by:
- Vice President (Education):
Full-time student representative with primary
responsibility for all of the SUís work on
matters relating to education along with
providing advice and support to the
Post-Graduate Officer and Faculty Convenors.
- Post-Graduate Officer:
Part-time position to ensure that PG studentsí
views and requirements are met by working with
Vice President (Education).
- Faculty Convenors: Student
Staff members who are the links between the
Course Rep Assistant (Students' Union and VP Education.
Course Rep Assistant:
Full-time SU support who is central to the
administration of the representation system and
providing advice to the student representatives
on a range of issues.
The Studentsí Union will provide an induction and training session in
collaboration with the University and Departments normally
between weeks 3 and 4. Additional training and development
sessions will take place over the course of the academic year
- Feedback: The Studentsí Union will actively
consult student representatives for their views on the system so
that they can raise issues and seek changes to the policy as
The Studentsí Union
will coordinate the Student Representatives, when appropriate,
to assist in canvassing opinion on academic issues which may be
affecting a wider range of students across departments, the
faculty or the University as a whole.
Voice (Student Representation) Policy (pdf)
The policy is reviewed annually by Senate and/or an appropriate Senate
sub-committee to ensure it remains fit for purpose and continues to meet
effectively the needs of students, the University and the Students' Union.
Date of Senate approval: July 2018 for this version. Next review date: July
Back to Student Representation
Page last updated:
02 August 2019