Student Representative Policy
Student representatives 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
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 role, how
Representatives are selected and the roles and responsibilities of all key
Roles and Responsibilities
- Student Representatives are democratically
elected by peers
and, as elected representatives, are accountable
- Student Representatives should 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).
- 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. To
use efficient communication channels to contact
students, e.g. social media, emails, departmental notice boards etc.
- Student Representatives should act as the
links between the wider student body, Studentsí
Union, academic ddepartments, 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.
- 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
union information to signpost students to
appropriate areas (especially when dealing with
- Student Representatives must maintain an
effective and sustainable representation system
by promoting themselves. Ensure that nominations
and elections are widely publicised every year
in order to get more students involved in
representation, democracy, engagement and
All Student Representatives are required to attend and actively take
part in Student Staff Liaison Committees (SSLCs). If they are unable to attend
they should notify the chair and send an email update to the secretary of the
Academic Departments, Schools and Centres:
- Encourage action to ensure that during the
meeting every task is allocated to a person and
a deadline is set, against which the outcome can
- Demonstrate to the student representatives
that their views are taken very seriously and
are acted upon.
- Allow time for student representatives to
meet and canvas the wider student body in order
to accumulate their views (or feedback to them).
- Discuss any issues raised from student
feedback within and outside SSLCs and address
the issue(s) in the best possible way. Aid
student representatives with communication
mechanisms to publicise any action and/or
- Emails, Departmental
websites, Social media or
online-forum or newsletters;
- Making announcements before
or after lectures;
- Departmental notice boards.
- 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
- 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 Manager:
Full-time SU Staff member who is central to the administration
of the representation system and providing advice to the student
representatives on a range of issues.
- An induction and training session will be
provided by the Studentsí Union normally between
weeks 3 and 4.
- Feedback: Provide student representatives
with a democratic forum to raise issues and make change.
Partnership between University and the Students' Union
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 Academic Registrar (or nominee) plays a key role in the
induction programme for Student Representatives, including a
session on University academic and corporate governance.
- The University and Studentsí Union have in place
additional communication methods to share information with and
between Student Representatives.
- 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.
Selection of Student Representatives
The process for selecting Student Representatives is based on the principles
of fairness, openness and transparency through democratic election, as described
- Students Representativesí nominations and elections are
organised by the Studentsí Union;
- Student Representatives are elected through an online voting
- Each department has elected Year Representatives. Larger
cohorts may have more than one representative for a year. These
Year Reps may be assigned particular courses at the discretion
of the Departmental Administrator;
- Typically, the nominations should open from the start of the
academic year and the representatives must be elected by week 3
and training must follow as soon as possible thereafter.
- A partnership should be developed between the Academic
Departments/Schools/Centres and Studentsí Union in order to
champion representation at this level.
- If student representatives are not elected in the
first election then departments will oversee the selection
The policy is reviewed annually by Senate and/or an appropriate Senate
sub-committee to ensure it remains fir for purpose and continues to meet
effectively the needs of students, the University and the Students' Union.
 Training for student representatives from
Departments with non-standard arrivals can be organised provided the SU is
notified in advance.
 Must be part of the University of Essex Studentsí
 In the event where a student representative is
not completing his/her duties they can be referred to the Studentsí Union for a
vote of no confidence.
Approved by Senate June 2013
Page last updated:
27 June 2013