Roles and responsibilities of an undergraduate student representative
What is a student representative?
All students have the opportunity to contribute to and develop their experience whilst studying at the University of Manchester and the purpose of representation is to help the University find out what students think so that the student experience can be improved.
Student Representatives play a vital part in the School's operations. They provide a “voice for students”, which does not only mean talking on behalf of their class; it is about bringing issues to light, supporting fellow students and identifying and solving problems. Student Representatives (reps) are actively involved in:
Being a Student Representative gives students the opportunity to develop their communication skills, ability to listen, and practice the art of diplomacy and assertiveness. The role brings networking opportunities too.
All AMBS programmes have at least one rep. They are chosen by their peers to act as the representative for their particular programme for one academic year.
What is the role of a student representative?
AMBS Undergraduate Reps will sit on their relevant Programme Committee and the UG Student Staff Liaison Committee. Any number of reps will also attend the School Board. One rep will be selected to attend the UG Committee. As far as possible, many of these meetings will be held on a Wednesday afternoon to avoid teaching times. It may be that they do clash with sporting activities however.
Reps will be expected to have ongoing contact with their class mates via a number of methods. The Programme Administrator will help to operate an anonymous discussion forum via Blackboard and will liaise with reps about the content of this. Reps are asked to create innovative ways of engaging with their class mates to gain as much feedback as they can. AMBS would like to hear what’s going well and can be done more often and what isn’t going so well and can be improved. Programme
Administrators can also help to establish small drop-in sessions for reps to meet their cohort in a relaxed setting with refreshments.
We request that reps visit their Programme Administrator periodically for an informal discussion about their role as a rep and to discuss any issues that may be easily resolved outside of the committee meetings. Programme Administrators will also want to hear what views reps have gathered from their fellow students.
Another key part of being an AMBS rep is to communicate key pieces of information to the cohort. These may be issues that have been resolved, useful information that will help students, or encouraging students to engage with the completion of surveys and questionnaires.
What training is available?
Once elected, all our Undergraduate and Postgraduate reps will attend a session run by the Students’ Union for their initial training. This will cover how to gather feedback, working with staff, feeding back to the cohort and how to raise issues with staff or in meetings.
After this session, reps will have a further training opportunity with AMBS staff who can give more insight into specific School practices. Here reps will have the chance to mix with each other as well as the School staff they will be working with.
What personal qualities are required?
Each rep will bring their own personalities and qualities to the role. Reps should be personable and able to approach a diverse body of students and staff in a friendly and professional manner. Reps will need to be enthusiastic to engage their cohort and be able to communicate effectively to students and staff in writing and verbally.
What are the benefits for student representatives?
Representatives have the opportunity to improve University life for themselves and their fellow students. They will also gain the opportunity to learn and develop certain skills often viewed by employers as key for recruiting.
Reps learn about putting their point across effectively when contacting students or preparing information for meetings and the importance of effective listening in order to gain the full picture of situations.
Reps make contacts that can be useful in a personal and academic capacity. Reps have the opportunity to make connections with other students that may prove most beneficial in the future.
Reps develop good time management and organisational skills so that they balance studies with their responsibilities.
Reps make a difference and can be proud of their achievements!
How are representatives supported?
There is a dedicated Student Rep Coordinator for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate students who will help to guide reps from their first enquiries into the role, to nomination and throughout the academic year. Programme Administrators will play a big role in supporting reps. Programme Directors will also have regular communication with reps. The Students’ Union offer a number of support points and of course reps can help each other.
There is a dedicated notice board space on 'D' floor, AMBS East Building for Undergraduates including specific information on the committee/body they will sit on; an introduction to that body and the work it does; adequate notice of its meetings and information on other sources of support such as the Students' Union. Details of a Postgraduate notice board are due to be finalised.
All Alliance MBS student representatives receive a certificate in recognition of their role.
How can I become a representative?
All students can nominate themselves for election via the Students’ Union website. The Student Rep Coordinators can provide details of the link. Students must complete a nomination form before students on each programme elect their reps in an online election. Students can run mini campaigns to encourage students to vote for them. Each student has one vote.
Further information about representation and the role of the student reps in Alliance MBS is available from Viv Browne (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Undergraduates and Rachel Horsfield (email@example.com) for Postgraduates.