Believe it, or not, representing your academic interests is one of the key functions of a Students' Union and at UWSU it is no different. Well, what does that mean? Well it means that we represent your best interest in everything to do with your teaching and learning, from lectures and seminars, assessments and feedback, issues with library resources and facilities and even down to timetabling.
Academic representation at Westminster is a partnership between the Students' Union and the university - it operates at three levels: course level, School level and university level - we train, develop and work with your representatives who make a massive positive change to your educational experience at university! We can't instantly make everything perfect and the university has policies that can't be changed overnight, but we have almost 1000 academic reps whose aim is to represent your voice on all things academic and create change!
Course Reps are the backbone of our academic representation system. They represent the academic interest of everyone on their course. Course Reps are elected near the start of the academic year (usually in October but some courses start in January) and their responsibilities are to listen to you and your peers, collect feedback that includes any praises, ideas or concerns you may have about your course. They may do this in person, asking for feedback in class, by email or during 'corridor' converstaions - but they are there to listen to you.
They are trained to point you in the right direction if they can't answer your query directly. Some courses have one or two reps, other courses may have many reps - it's proportional to the number of students on each course - there are course reps for each cohort of students (Level 4 reps, Level 5 reps, Level 6 reps and so on). We work with both undergraduate and postgraduate reps, but PhD reps are cooridnated by the Graduate School.
Course Reps also moderate and analyse your posts on Digital Rep. This is a social media style tool where you can post your praises, ideas and concerns online and this will go directly to your Course Rep. They treat all your feedback as anonmyous - they meet with your Course Leader once per term to raise any feedback and decide together on actions to address issues. They will then close the feedback loop by informing you of what is being done and what changes are being made.
School Reps are that next level up. They represent the academic interests of every student in their School. They do not collect feedback from students in person directly, but they communiocate with your Course Reps to identify common trends happening across courses and acting on anything that may need to be addressed at School rather than course level. They meet with the Head of School and will feedback to Course Reps on outcomes and actions being taken to address the feedback forwarded to them by Course Reps.
School Reps also sit on two university committees to represent their Schools at some of the decision making bodies of the university. School Reps were introduced this year (2019-20) to act as a natural stepping stone between course level and university level.
Your elected sabattical officers represent all of you - all 20,000 of you. They sit on university committees at the highest level, making sure your voice is heard! You have two VPs who represent your academic interest directly: your VP Undergraduate Education and your VP Postgraduate Education. They talk to your School Reps, ensuring that relevant feedback is passed onto unviersity committees. They have manifesto commitments that they were elected on and often wish to make positive changes to university policies on your behalf.
More information coming soon. Any questions relating to academic reps please email firstname.lastname@example.org