What does your role include?
I think officially it is to make positive change, and represent students at higher levels than course reps do. I think the role includes many things- it cannot be simply defined here, and the things that school reps do- I will probably forget some here. We go to a range of meetings not just at course level; from meeting important members of staff within the faculty, meeting the dean and the pro vice chancellor of teaching and learning for instance, also communicating with students trying to get as much feedback as possible through a variety of ways then communicating this to appropriate members of staff. We also get help and support by the student union, and this is incredibly helpful in making sure we are effective school reps as we can be. We are the student link between the staff and the students- course reps focus it at a course level, school reps focus beyond this at a wider angle. In simple terms- if we feel that something needs doing/mentioning, then we will try our very best to make sure this happens.
How do you work with the other school reps?
I mainly work with the other school reps in my faculty; however we do see other school reps from other faculties at events held by the student union, and working altogether for the meeting with the pro vice chancellor of teaching and learning. With the school reps from my faculty (me, a school rep also from Accounting and Finance, a school rep from Economics and Finance and a school rep from law) we officially meet at a pre meeting together to collect ideas and feedback, before attending official meetings with these. Unofficially we work together in many ways- for example for the school reps in my faculty, most of us have been responsible in setting up, running and monitoring a facebook page called ‘DMU Business and Law Faculty Feedback 2014/2015’ and also setting up, running and monitoring course level feedback pages as well with the other course reps overall. We are trying to set up as many communication channels as possible in communicating with as many people as possible, and be as active as possible. Whether this is lecture shout outs, face to face communication, writing emails to course reps, we want to be a representative by nature, not just by name.
What do you do in your meetings?
Through the communication channels and pre meetings we collect feedback and ideas, then in the official meetings we discuss these with appropriate members of staff.
How did you become a school rep?
Firstly, I nominated myself to become a school rep, and I wrote a manifesto which I submitted to the student union. Every course rep in my school (Accounting and Finance) had the chance when voting opened, to elect a school rep they wanted. It was purely up to each and every course rep- there was each candidate name, their manifesto if they submitted one with their photo included and most of the candidates (including myself) sent out an email to the other course reps in their school on why they should vote for them to be a school rep. Once the voting closed, all the candidates who put themselves forward to be a school rep, got an email telling them if they were successful or not in becoming a school rep. And I was one of the successful ones.
Why did you decide to apply to be a school rep?
I was a course rep for my course last year and being the ambitious person I am, decided to try the next step and put myself forward in becoming a school rep this year. I put myself forward to be a faculty rep last year in the course rep conference and was unsuccessful last year because there was more people than positions last year- I think there was 6 positions for each faculty, and for my faculty there was about 10-12 people going for it last year if my memory is correct, meaning that some people would be unsuccessful. I definitely wanted to try again this year and this year is the school rep opportunity, which I think was a lot fairer than last year, in that course reps from each school had the opportunity of putting themselves forward if they wanted to be a school rep, and other course reps from their school voting for them. Additionally, overall this year the school reps for each faculty represent a wide range of subjects, not just maybe a few in the old system. The things I learnt last year as a course rep I wanted to help me in the role as a school rep, and ultimately I wanted to become a school rep to make the biggest difference that I could in the role.
Why do you enjoy being a school rep?
I enjoy being a school rep, because I get the chance to meet new people and see change happen. It is a great learning experience as well.
What have you achieved as a school rep?
This is hard to define as well, because I feel the school reps overall this year have achieved many things, but what comes first to mind is being an active presence and gaining the benefit of the introduction of the mid-year module feedback forms given out last term. At the start of the year I wanted to improve upon the communication between course and school reps for instance letting course reps know what school reps are doing in responding to student feedback, and I think as a school rep this is being achieved.
What goals do you have for the rest of your time as school rep?
- To continue to look into raising the profile of school and course reps and make sure that everyone knows firstly what these roles are about, and secondly what we have been doing. In my experience it is one thing that people know that you hold one of these positions, it is another for people to know what you can do, and furthermore what has happened because of the reps.
- To continue to look into the communication channels between staff-school reps-course reps-students. The most annoying thing to hear after you try to communicate to as many relevant people as possible, is to hear someone say afterwards “I didn’t know that”. I know there is no perfect method, but the aim that we school reps share is trying to have as many as possible in place. This would allow us school reps to know that we have done our best in trying to communicate to as many relevant people as possible.
Anything else to add?
I would like to thank everyone at the De Montfort Students Union, and all the members of staff in the meetings we school reps have attended, for listening to us, and giving us help and support when needed. It is an incredible learning experience to see what happens at each meeting and what can be achieved, and also see that everyone wants to make sure that the uni experience is as best as possible for staff and students alike.