Advice

Student Academic Reps: Who are they and what do they do?

Student Academic reps are elected at the start of the year by their peers in their cohort and represent them on academic issues, helping to shape your student experience. There are over 1000 academic reps in all 27 schools serving as valuable links between the university, students’ union and the student body. Perhaps you’re thinking of becoming a rep or want to find out who the relevant rep to your course is – either way they are a very helpful and vital inside link between students and the university in a role that is very rewarding.

The reps will hear any feedback on your university experience, positive or negative, on your school, module or subject and report them by attending the Student-Staff Panels which occur on average once a semester. They can also provide sources of information regarding various services in the university and SU as they have been trained to signpost students to the right places.

To find out who your student academic rep is you can email studentreps@cardiff.ac.uk. They should also do at least one shout-out in a lecture per semester and send out emails encouraging students to get in touch with their comments.

At the Student-Staff Panels the reps meet with university staff and other reps. They raise the issues and comments that have heard from students and then a decision is made on whether they can solve the issues or if its needs to be taken higher up. The outcome will then be reported to you by the rep and they will keep you up to date on any advances until it has been resolved.

The student academic reps are democratically elected by their peers during the first few weeks of term. Your school will explain how they will take place, whether in class or electronically.  To find out information about how to go about putting yourself forward to become a rep, email studentreps@cardiff.ac.uk who will let you know when the elections are taking place in your school. Rhys Jenkins, the current VP of Education can also give you further advice on becoming a rep so visit him on the 3rd floor of the SU.

The key responsibilities of a rep are to collect the views of the students on your course and to report them to your school at the Student-Staff Panels, and then return back to the students with concerns to give them an idea of what is being done to correct their issues. Becoming a rep can mean that you contribute to the smooth running of your course and making a difference to the education that you’re investing a lot into. There are members of the university and SU staff that are dedicated to support you. There are also conferences, guidance and extensive training courses to ensure you’re fully equipped to make a difference.

From time to time reps may need to deal with issues of a sensitive nature  that will need to be directed to the Student Advice Team or the other support services available from the university which reps will be fully trained to understand. You will also need to keep your school informed of upcoming events and developments, as well as the outcome of their own issues when raised at the Student-Staff Panels. Reps also gain a wide range of invaluable transferable skills to make you more employability come graduation, and you’ll meet lots of people along the way.

The training for reps is taken by the Student Voice Team during October/November to cover the basics of representation, a rep’s main responsibilities, ways of engaging with students in your school and the types of scenarios reps may face. Each academic school has a member of staff to serve as your Student Rep Coordinator. They provide a central point of coordination in each school and support the school’s academic rep.

If you would like to find out more about becoming an academic rep, or are trying to  track down the person representing your school, visit http://www.cardiffstudents.com/your-voice/academic-reps/ or email studentreps@cardiff.ac.uk

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