Your course: making yourself heard
This guide to making yourself heard is produced jointly by the University and the Student Union. It is aimed at helping you understand the role you, as a student, can play in making sure your course runs smoothly, provides the learning opportunities it should, improves wherever this is possible, and is a strong basis for your future career. It should provide all you need to know in order to make your views heard effectively, for the benefit of yourself, other students (present and future) and the University.
How every student can be involved
You are in the unique position of experiencing your programme day-to-day from enrolment to graduation, so the University is committed to finding out and listening to students' views on their programmes. You can provide these through:
- direct discussion with staff;
- completing feedback questionnaires, responding to surveys or focus groups on particular topics;
- electing your own course representative, or being elected yourself;
- comments and suggestions made via your student representatives at course, School or Student Union levels;
- participating in Periodic Subject Review events;
- participating in external scrutiny events by professional, regulatory and statutory bodies;
- becoming active in the Students' Union, to represent the wider student community;
- voicing any complaints you may to the right people in the right way.
Please take these opportunities to give your views and suggestions, and to raise issues and concerns, as addressing them may benefit all students.
At any time, you can contact your personal or subject tutor, student representative or programme support team in the first instance, if you have suggestions to make or concerns you need to discuss.
All students are formally asked for their views through module evaluation questionnaires and through annual surveys - the Internal Student Survey for first and second year students, the National Student Survey if you're in your final year, or the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey if you're doing a postgraduate programme.That may seem a lot, but the Universdity takes the results of these surveys and questionnaires very seriously, so please don't ignore them.
Across University services (Library, IT Services, Student Services, etc.) you will also be asked to complete brief questionnaires from time to time. Sometimes we will ask you for fuller views in survey or focus groups which go into more detail on particular issues.
The student representative system is an important way of getting your views heard. Early in the first term each year, you will be asked to elect a student representative - or two if it's a big group. The feedback you give to your representative will be heard by the board of study, the committee responsible for your course. Student representatives also have a voice in School level Committees, attending a forum for all reprentatives and/or taking part in the committee meetings themselves. This way, they can take your views to a higher level in the committee structure. Make sure you elect a good representative, why not stand for election yourself? Find out more about being a student representative.
Your student representatives as as good as the feedback you give, so make sure you pass on comments and suggestions to them. This might be in a meeting after lectures or by e-mail.
You may think of the Students Union mainly in terms of Clubs and Societies, and other entertainment, but a major role for the elected officers is to represent the student voice at Senate (the highest institutional academic committee) and the Governing Council. The Union (working with Quality and Academic Partnerships) provides training and other support for all student representatives, and the sabbatical officers take issues to other committees to ensure your views are heard. If you are interested in becoming active in the Student Union and in representing the wider student community, talk to one of the sabbatical officers.
Academic problems: If for any reason you have a complaint, we want to settle this quickly. It is usually best to try and resolve issues informally at the subject level if at all possible. Alternatively, the institution has formal systems for dealing with complaints, but these can take some time. If you need to take an issue further, you can obtain more information from your student representative, from the Student Union or from the University Student Code.
Daily life: There is an 'Operational Student Expereince Working Group' which meets once a term to consider solutions to the non-academic annoyances that everyone finds from time to time. Your School Manager is a member of this group so you can forward any comments to them.
You can find out more information on quality assurance: