SAR toolkit

The toolkit we are creating includes a section on student academic representation. This student representative opportunity can begin at course, year or subject level (as appropriate to the course of study students are engaged in). Such a system is seen as having huge value not only in giving a wide number and range of students the opportunity to have a voice in enhancement of quality and their student experience, but importantly also in developing a broad base of students with the experience, ability and confidence to progress through to faculty and university committees and senior governance roles. It provides opportunity for many students to participate in a capacity closely matched with their level of experience and to develop skills in representing fellow students.

The toolkit includes examples around SAR from the symposium initiative sharing session. The first was provided by NZUSA and VUWSA. New Zealand universities, and now some polytechnics, operate a system of course representation which involves having a representative in every class to improve the learning experience for current as well as for future students. Reps provide feedback regarding their own experience as a learner and the experiences of their peers. They are also invited to comment on, and provide input to, proposed changes.

At the University of South Australia, the Academic Student Representative (ASR) Program operates within the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences (this provided a Case Study for my OLT project reported on my website). This program operates at the year level to assist with improving the quality and experience of learning and the teaching within the Division as well as helping to improve extracurricular experience. The role may also include attending School Board and Divisional Teaching and Learning meetings and non-academic engagement with Campus USASA Representatives and the Student Engagement Officer to discuss ideas for club and student engagement activities.

These are just two examples of how engagement at the SAR level can be put into effect. There is now a body of evidence from sectors abroad of the value for all in such a system (see http://tsep.org.uk/architects-of-their-experience-research…/).

Sally Varnham
4 December 2017

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