I volunteered for this role as I wanted to become more involved in university life and see what goes on “behind the scenes”. I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet different people on my course from both the Business and Modern Languages Schools as well as enhancing my CV.
Before the Staff Student Committee (SSC) meetings I find out the issues, suggestions or comments my course mates have by using various means such as e-mail or just chatting to them. I then make a note of any points and email them to the Board so that they can be discussed at the meeting. This is where suggestions are made and any problems can be resolved. It is then my role to give feedback to the students, telling them the result of the discussion with course leaders. This part of the process is vital in reassuring students that their voices are being heard and giving them confidence in the SSC system.
Having thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I volunteered again in my final year. Rejoining the SSC a year later has been incredibly rewarding as I can see the changes that have been implemented as a result of our suggestions. This is not only rewarding but also motivating, I know that through the SSC I can make a difference and I am proud to say that I was part of changing my course for the better.
It is a fantastic opportunity as it enables you to be the voice of the student body in conveying ideas directly to lecturers. It is vital that students enjoy what is being taught and the way in which it is taught. I believe there is a direct link between how successful a student is in a subject and how much they enjoy it. Additionally, it is great being able to give lecturers positive feedback and directly tell them what my fellow students enjoy about the course; this means that they can continue doing it in future.
It is very easy to be an SSC Rep alongside your degree. The training is only for a few hours and you pick which time slot is best for you…It is great fun meeting the other reps so well worth it! Each SSC will meet a minimum of four times a year, at least 2 meetings per semester. The meetings are on Wednesday afternoons so that they don’t clash with any lectures. If you are worried about keeping on top of work, don’t, SSC Reps get the dates of the meetings well in advance so that we can plan our work around them. If you are really unable to attend a meeting you can send an email prior to the meeting with any issues that need to be addressed. As long as you read the minutes before going to the next meeting, you will be fine.
The training sessions provided me with a better understanding of how to deal with problems diplomatically and constructively: a skill that will benefit me hugely in the world of employment. It also taught me the importance of being organised, enthusiastic and approachable in encouraging students to come forward with issues they may have. It has improved my confidence in public speaking and made me familiar with the protocol of a meeting, what goes on with regards to the agenda and the preparations, such as reading the previous minutes. I think being a course rep has made me feel even more a part of university life at Newcastle and I am very proud to represent my course mates.
Find out how you could get involved in becoming a course rep.