Course Rep Toolkit: Frequently Asked Questions

1. A student has approached me with a problem about our course, how do I proceed?

Depending immediately needs fixing, like a problem with recourses or timetable, speak directly to a module leader or Programme Director. If the issue is shared by your wider cohort, gather the opinions of as many student as you can – through surveys or social media, for example – and present these at the next Programme Board.

2. What do I do if a student approaches me with a personal issue?

Dealing with the personal issues of students isn't part of your role as a Course Rep! Though you might want to help, the best support you can give to someone coming to you for advice would to signpost them to someone who is qualified to help them. This might be Student Services or the Students’ Union. If you're unsure about who can help, get in contact with the Union by emailing the SU President: Nat Hobkirk, e: supresident@stmarys.ac.uk

3. How can I make sure that students know who their Course Rep is?

Visibility is key as a Course Rep! Gathering student feedback becomes a lot easier when your fellow students know your face and your role. We recommend doing lecture shout-outs, and sending the students on your programme with your name, photo and email, and making use of social media.

4. What if I or other students have an issue that needs to be taken higher in the University?

Course Reps can escalate issues to the Faculty Reps or Students’ Union.  Also, ‘Lunch and Discuss’ Forums happen each semester and are a great chance for Course Reps to pose wider issues to senior university staff, and to let them know which issues matter to students.

5. How do I make sure I'm presenting my feedback efficiently at a Programme Board?

We want the student voice to be taken seriously, and delivering the opinions of students in a professional way is a good step to making sure this happens. We recommend you follow the ABCD of effective feedback – make sure it is Accurate, Balanced, Constructive and Depersonalised. Be sure to deliver with honesty, but be tactful too. Don't raise criticisms of individual members of staff at public meetings, as this can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for staff.

6. What if my cohort does have issues or criticisms with an individual lecturer or staff member?

It's important that student opinions are still heard even if a Programme Board isn't the place to raise them. If you or students have concerns about an individual member of staff, then make an appointment to talk to either your Programme Director about the situation. This will ensure that your concerns are heard, but in a more diplomatic way than broadcasting them at a Programme Board.

7. What can I do if I don't like my feedback or the student voice in my cohort isn't being listened to?

If you find that you're raising concerns with staff members and nothing seems to be being done about it, or you haven't had and further communication about what is being done to address student concerns, you can follow up with members of staff if they have said they will contact you about it. If you are still struggling to get an answer, than you can chat to the Students’ Union for advice.

8. What do I do if I have a question that hasn’t been answered here?

Check the other resources available to you in the Rep Toolkit. Your question might be already be answered there! If it isn't or if you just need further support, get in touch with the Students’ Union. You can either email supresident@stmarys.ac.uk with general queries or pop into the Students’ Union Office (K11) to talk to Nat in person too!

Registered Office: Students' Union, St Mary's University, Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, Greater London, TW1 4SX
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