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
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, Faculty Convenors and the
University. Student Representatives should promote the different
student feedback mechanisms. It is important the Student
Representatives are engaged with any representation and
democracy activities provided by the Studentsí Union.
- 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.
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:
- The information that the Student Representatives provide
through SSLCs (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
- The relevant University and Studentsí Union bodies ensure
that issues are captured effectively to support the regular
review of the Student Representative system and this policy.
- The Studentsí Union provides student representatives for
appropriate committees and working groups.
The process for selecting Student Representatives is based on the principles
of fairness, openness and transparency through democratic election, 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.
- If no students have expressed an interest to act as course
representatives in a department by week 3, then departments will
support and oversee the selection process.
- All course representatives will attend training for their
role, shortly after week 3. Upon completion of the training, all
students will be eligible to act as Course Representatives, to
represent students at departmental meetings and activities (such
as Periodic Reviews).
- The Course Representatives in each department will, as part
of training, elect a representative number of their peers
(typically one per year group) to act as Year Representatives,
who will attend SSLC meetings, and other departmental meetings
and activities. Larger cohorts may have more than one
representative for a year; this should be determined by
departments prior to the training of representatives.
- Student Representatives - Any student
undertaking a representative role on behalf of other students.
- Course Representatives Ė Student
representatives at course-level, who feedback any issues and
good practice to Year Representatives.
- Year Representatives Ė Student
representatives who gather and receive feedback from course
representatives and, through formal departmental structures that
they have been assigned to following the election by fellow
course representatives, carry forward feedback to SSLC meetings.
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.
- Course Representatives, when formally expressing an interest
in the role, should appreciate the importance and the time
needed to undertake the role effectively.
- Course Representatives should attend the mandatory training
to ensure that they are prepared for the role.
- Participate in the selection of Year
Representatives for SSLC, other departmental
meetings and activities.
- Student Representatives should prepare for meetings by
gathering student feedback.
- Course Representatives to gather feedback
from students on their course.
- Year Representatives to gather information
from the Course Representatives.
- Year Representatives to provide feedback
through departmental structures. Also to the
Faculty Convenor and VP Education when asked to.
- Student Representatives should feedback to students in their
- Course Representatives to feedback to
students on their course.
- Year Representatives to feedback to the
- Student Representatives should attend all meetings expected
of the student representativeís role. If the student
representative is unable to attend for any reason, it is
expected that they would contact and arrange for an appropriate
course representative to take their place.
- If the student representative feels they can no longer
fulfil the role, they should inform the department and Studentsí
- 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).
- Student Feedback: Departments will be
approachable and receptive to the views of student
- Departmental Action: Departments 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 SSLC meeting, it should
be noted in a SSLC meeting to ensure the response is tracked.
- Communication: Departments should aid
student representatives with communication mechanisms to
publicise any action and/or decision through:
- Emails, Departmental websites, Social media
or online-forum or newsletters
- Making announcements before or after
- Departmental notice boards.
- 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
student representatives and VP Education along
with being the first point of contact for
- Engagement & Impact Team:
Full-time SU support who are central to the
administration of the representation system and
providing advice to the student representatives
on a range of issues.
- Training: The Studentsí Union will provide
an induction and training session in collaboration with the
University and Departments normally between weeks 3 and 4.
- 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
 Training for student representatives from
Departments with non-standard arrivals can be organised provided the SU is
notified in advance.
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.
Approved by Senate July 2014
Previous policy approved by Senate June 2013 (replaced by the policy as
Page last updated:
04 September 2014