I want to change something on my course – where is a good place to start?
Firstly, have a look in the Course Rep Resources. where you’ll find a go-to guide for campaigning to make changes on your course. Also, have a look at the resources available in our newCampaigns Development Programme.
How should I collect feedback from my course mates?
It is normal, especially in particularly busy times of the year with hand-ins and deadlines, that people might be focused on doing their own thing meaning it might be difficult to get feedback from other people on your course. There’s no one right way to collect feedback so test out a few different things and see what works for people on your course. Some suggestions could be:
- Create and circulate surveys
- Ask your lecturer if you can have five minutes at the beginning/end of class to speak to your course mates about their experiences.
- Create a Teams chat to stay in touch with other students on your course.
- Let your course mates know when you have meetings coming up which you can take their feedback to.
- Create online polls for quick responses.
What kinds of things should I collect feedback on?
You're the expert - what do you or other students think is going well, and what could be going better? Is there anything which you find frustrating, or think could be done in another way? If you are looking for conversation starters, or areas to gather feedback on, think about:
- How quickly do your tutors give you feedback on your work?
- Do you find this feedback useful?
- Have you had any problems with your timetable?
- Do you have access to resources (books, materials, computers, rooms, software) that you need?
- Are the University's support services useful?
- What is your experience of using Blackboard?
- Have you encountered anything you didn't anticipate?
- Are there any changes you think should be made to enable you to enjoy or get more out of your course?
What should I do if I feel like communication has broken down between staff and course reps?
If you have been trying to contact staff via email and feel like you’ve not received a response, they may still be working on some of the issues raised so potentially send a reminder email asking for some feedback on where they are up to. You could also ask staff on the course for a chat to discuss your concerns openly, working together on a solution for how to work together more productively next time.
Alternatively, can you identify another member of staff who can take your feedback forward , and advise you on how to approach the communication breakdown. You can also speak to your Programme Administration Manager, or Programme Director for advice.
If you can’t find a solution directly, or with other staff, contact Arts SU’s Advice Service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and our advice team will be able to help you look at the different options available to you.
What do I do if it feels like our feedback isn’t being listened to or acted on?
This can be a frustrating situation, especially if you have gone out of your way to represent students’ voices on a particular issue and then don’t hear back or see any change.
Regardless of whether you raised your issue in an informal conversation with a member of staff, or in a formal setting like a Course Committee, try to establish a timeframe. This could be as simple as asking a question like “when can you follow up with me, shall we schedule in another catch up around then,” or asking “do you think it’s reasonable to expect some progress before the end of term - what can I pass on to the course?” These questions should prompt you and whoever you’re working with to establish fair expectations for the issue you’re working with, and a reasonable timeline and open communication can help keep progress accountable.
Sometimes, action might be slow because it involves staff in another department outside of your course. If that’s the case, ask for a named contact and email, and try to follow up with them directly.
If you feel like none of these are working, try escalating your issue to a more senior member of staff – for most things related to your course, try contacting your Programme Director of Dean of School ( Dean of Academic Programmes if you study in CSM).
What should I do if I am worried about someone on my course?
Firstly, don’t take on personal issues as as you are a volunteer so this is not part of your role or an expectation for you to fulfil.
The best thing you can do is refer them on to someone who can give them expert, confidential and impartial advice or support. Arts SU has a team of trained and qualified advisors who are there to help students who are facing difficult circumstances – you can share the contact their contact details email@example.com, or share their webpage.
What if students feel our course team isn’t delivering what they promised?
You might be in an unfortunate position where the reality of your academic experience is different to what was described to you before coming to UAL at open days, or in your course handbook.
Firstly, try and exhaust all possible routes to address the things that are missing from your course: in addition to speaking with your Course Leader, try raising your concerns formally at a Course Committee, or Programme Committee. If these don’t work, then try escalating the issue to a Student and Dean Forum.
If it feels like this isn’t working you can contact Arts SU’s advice service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, who will be able to help you explore the different options available to you. You may wish to raise a formal complaint with the University, and if the majority of your course mates agree, you might consider making this a formal group complaint.
How do I talk to someone in the SU?
If you have any queries or concerns about being a course rep, join in one of our weekly our Course Rep Drop-Ins and speak to our Representation Coordinators. To find out more about when these are happening see our Events page. Alternatively, you can email us on email@example.com or speak to your full time Education Officer.
How can I connect with other reps throughout the year?
Being a part of the course rep community can be rewarding and fun. We run regular free social events as well as wellbeing and skills training events. Make sure you are signed up to our Newsletter to keep up to date on all upcoming events – as well as finding out what reps have achieved this year.
If you are interested you could create a Course Rep Society with some other Course Reps from across UAL, which could be a good way to socialise. Find out more here.
How can I get recognition for what I have done as a rep?
As a course rep you learn essential skills and gain access to free accredited training, but we also offer some special perks that give you an extra edge when it comes time to think about employability after University. We offer:
- 1-2-1 meetings to discuss employability skills
- A unique recommendation for your LinkedIn profile
- A letter of recommendation from us to a potential employer.