With Ellen Arkless
Newcastle University Business School
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
What did you do?
Careful recruitment of student reps, providing a framework and consistency across the Business School for student voice. Enabling students to have structure to what they are trying to achieve and how the Business School would expect them to operate. This is for 10 undergraduate degrees, 14 post graduate degrees, and for all PGR students in the Business School as well as working with colleagues at NU: London
Who is involved?
Ellen Arkless, Education Assistant Manager, Business School
Around 115 student reps across the Business School.
How did you do it?
In the Business School there are a number of different Student Voice Committees (SVCs) which are divided into subject groups. There are four subject groups each with separate UG and PGT SVCs plus a school wide Executive Education SVC and PGR SVC. The SVC is extremely important for students to voice their concerns and highlight what is going well to the university through peers.
Having a clear recruitment campaign for students and setting expectations with the students has been key. Ensuring the students had contact points, if they were uncertain or nervous, so they had someone to approach.
Clear training for students is important and our initial SVC meetings are informal to ease students into their role, especially when setting expectations.
Making sure the reps are visible within the school and that they feel that they have a role of value. This was done by putting their photos on boards on our VLE and in social spaces, and the reps had hoodies to make them more visible to their cohorts During 2020 and now into 2021 using virtual spaces like Canvas has been important to try replicate this presence, albeit digitally.
Teams sites have been set up for each SVC for the reps and the staff who are involved in the committees so that they have a clear way of working together remotely as they may not have contact within classes.
Why did you do it?
To have one place and point of contact who was overseeing SVC and where the committees were able to go and not have lots of different campaigns going on with the school.
Helped to reduce repetition of the messages and also it meant we were not reinventing the process each time.
Supported the student recruitment process with programs supporting each other with promotion material.
Above all the student experience perspective was improved.
Does it work and Student Voice
Feedback from the Student Union in particular has been really positive. Joe and George, who led the activity have stated that they have really noticed a significant difference within the school.
There is a sense that there is a more consistent approach and that the reps feel more supported and more involved in the process.
“Take advantage of every meeting; you’ll be surprised what you are able to be part of and who you will meet”.
This approach develops the following attributes:
- Future focussed
- Creative, innovative, and enterprising
Staff can find out more about the Graduate Framework on the University intranet.