Are you a Course Rep? Here are some Top Tips!
Being a Course Rep can, at first, be quite daunting: you're taking on the responsibility of looking out for all of the students on your course (a number which can vary massively depending on your department) and are tasked with raising these issues with some of the top people in your faculty. It's easy to become overwhelmed, so we've compiled a list of top tips we think will be invaluable during your time in the role.
Don't be a pain, but be a nuisance.
- To be effective in your role, you need to ensure that changes are being made. These alterations don't happen overnight, of course, and lecturers/course leaders are incredibly busy, so you must keep in constant contact with them for updates you can then pass back onto students. If you feel like little progress has been made with resolving a particular issue, get in touch with the appropriate staff and chase it up - it might be that they have been working on it, but have simply not informed you of it.
Keep in constant contact with your students.
- Changes aren't made overnight. Whilst you may know exactly what staff are doing behind the scenes to fix problems, it may not be immediately evident to students that things are indeed being done. That's why it's really important to let students know that they have been listened to and that the processes are underway to make improvements.
No issue is too big, or too small.
- To be an effective Course Rep, you must view all issues as equally important. It doesn't matter if, for example, it's the awkward placing of a lecture or inadequate feedback regarding an assignment - if it's bothering a student to any degree then it's worth sorting out. By listening to every student and taking on board all of their suggestions, you will build up a positive relationship with your cohort which will make them more inclined to approach you later on.
Consider all perspectives.
- When presenting an issue at a meeting, it's inevitable to want it fixed overnight. This is, of course, not always going to be the case. It's important, if you want staff to listen to you speak on behalf of students, that you build up a positive connection between yourself and them - an easy way to go about this is by listening to why a change can/cannot be made and being diplomatic. Whilst the improvement may not be made in the exact fashion you hoped, a compromise might be reached where both parties are happy.