Class Rep Guide
A Class Rep is a student who volunteers at the start of each semester to represent the interests of the students to the lecturers in charge of those courses. They provide an important link between students and the staff in a Department. They give the Department feedback on the good and bad aspects of courses, as well as any problems or concerns.
Class Reps also communicate with the class and are available to hear students’ concerns about courses, to help them directly or suggest where they could go for help.
Why have Class Reps?
- Class Reps are the first point of contact for students with problems. They can take class issues to the staff for resolution and can act as a liaison between their class and the Department.
- They are also important to AUSA as they provide vital feedback about the level of satisfaction among students with the quality of their education.
What are Class Reps expected to do?
- Come along to a Class Rep Information Session
- Be available to students in their class
- Actively address any problems raised by students
- Attend Staff Student Consultative Committee (SSCC) meetings
- Report any positive or negative feedback to staff
- Liase with lecturers and tutors when necessary
What Class Reps don’t do!
- Harassment cases (refer to the University Mediator)
- Students with personal problems (refer to AUSA Advocacy Service)
What support do Class Reps get?
The Class Rep system is organised and administered by the AUSA Advocacy Office. The Advocates are there to help with any concerns or questions about issues that are raised in class. We keep frequent contact through email about university matters and by regular e-newsletters.
Information sessions about what is involved in being a Class Rep are run in the third week of each semester.
Where to start?
- In the first week of lectures your lecturers should ask for volunteers – put up your hand! If this doesn’t happen mention it to the lecturer or contact the AUSA Advocacy office.
- Once you have become the Class Rep, establish contact with the other students in your class by introducing yourself before a lecture.
- Organise for your photo and contact details to be posted on the Department notice board and website/Cecil.
- Inform your class about upcoming SSCC meetings, ask for input, and report back afterwards.
- Encourage class participation on important issues by asking for a show of hands to gauge class opinion.
Five easy steps to becoming a Class Rep
- Volunteer during the first week of class
- Complete the Class Rep Sign Up sheet and return it to your lecturer.
- Come along to the Class Rep Information Session in week three of the semester.
- Identify yourself to students and the lecturers involved in the course you are representing.
- Attend SSCC meetings.
Types of issues you may deal with
When you first speak to the class you can tell them that you can deal with:
- Lectures/lecturers – Are the lectures interesting and instructive?
- Assessment – too little, too much, too close to exams?
- Course structure – does the course structure reflect the course description? Is enough time being spent on effective topics in tutorials?
- Resources – problems with short loan, computer labs, recommended reading in the library hard to get hold of?
- Health and safety- is adequate training and warnings provided in regards to health and safety procedures? Are there any other health and safety concerns?
- General concerns – are your classmates happy with the library, car parking, study leave, Student Services, Class Rep System etc.
Three steps to deal with issues
When you encounter a problem the following steps will help you to help others:
Step One: Discuss and clarify specific details with the student. Listen to their story and consider whether the issue is isolated or whether it affects other students as well. This determines whether you take the issue to the lecturer concerned or the SSCC.
Step Two: If the issue is personal to the student, refer them to the AUSA Advocacy Office. If it affects other students in the class then ask for feedback from the whole class. Arrange to speak to the lecturer about it.
Step Three: Meet with the lecturer. Arrange a time to meet with the lecturer. Briefly state the information you have and advise them of the students’ views on the matter. Seek joint solutions and if possible agree on a course of action. If no solution is found raise the issue at the next SSCC meeting. Report back to the students.
What happens at (SSCC) meetings?
The Student Staff Consultative Committee (SSCC) meetings are usually quarterly, per semester and they are a chance for you to take any issues that have arisen in your class for solution. You can also report back to the staff about what is going well in your course. At the first meeting one student per Department is elected to attend the Faculty SSCC meetings. The minutes from these meetings are sent to the Student Affairs Central Committee for consultation. This representative is required to attend Faculty meetings and report back to the other Class Reps in the Department about any relevant issues that affect students.
What issues can I take to SSCC meetings?
- Issues that involve the Department as a whole.
- Issues that may be of interest to other students in the University (eg., library, computer web/access)
What not to take…
- Specific individual concerns that can be dealt with quickly by the lecturer or the Course Co-ordinator (eg. assignment word limit or due date, print quality of handouts)
- Problems with the lecturer (eg. poor attitude to students). Talk to your lecturer first and then the Head of Department, if there is no resolution.
- Personal complaints by students (refer to the AUSA Advocacy Service).
Report back to your class
Report the outcomes to your class on SSCC discussions and university information that is given about university wide matters.
Contact the AUSA Advocacy Office at AUSA if you feel that there are important issues that need to be followed up (eg. major Departmental funding cuts or resourcing issues)
Class Rep Certificates
At the end of the semester you can request a Class Rep certificate for your CV. The AUSA Advocacy Office will be in touch at the end of semester to get your details for the certificate.
What you gain
- Empowerment: Play a more active role in determining the direction of your education. Become more aware of issues influencing your education.
- Skills Development: Improved personal dispute resolution, and communication skills.
What else can Class Reps do?
Central Committee Representation: There are several university committees that require student representatives. As a Class Rep you are eligible to put forward a nomination to be elected onto one of these committees for the following year. The Committee Rep Elections are held in October, for the following year.
The job of the Committee Representative is to provide a student voice within the decision making process. There are a number of different committees, ranging from Teaching and Learning to Equal Opportunities. You attend the meetings of your Committee to speak up on behalf of students and report back to the AUSA Advocacy Office.