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Class Representatives Proposal : CA/STD/M23/4
The Class Representatives Council Proposal was a paper brought before Academic Council Standing Committee on June 9th, 2001. The proposal was adopted, subject to amending the references to "Faculty Board" to "Faculty".
Class Representatives Formalisation Proposal
At present, the Students' Union have, within their constitution, a Class Representatives council. Each class is expected to elect a class rep. in September. These representatives then represent their class at Class Rep. Council meetings during the year and provide a mechanism for getting information to and from the Students' Union. Unfortunately, a lot of time of this council is spent dealing with individual problems as students feel they do not have the representation needed to deal with issues at a departmental level and so must rely on the SU to do so.
This Class Reps. Council (approx 120 members) then elects from within its members 3 undergraduate students to Academic Council.
Parallel to this Council, some departments and faculties also nominate/elect representatives to liase between the staff and students. Again this acts as a feedback mechanism. Unfortunately, neither of these systems are uniform. This proposal seeks to remedy the situation.
Each department has a need for a structured class representative system as part of the current quality initiative. Other positive effects would be better communications within departments and therefore seeing problem areas or providing positive feedback to staff. A more formal and consistent approach would also be desirable for the Students' Union to allow for a more efficient Class Reps. Council and to make a clear distinction between the work of the Class Reps. Council and individual departmental/faculty committees. However, this proposal would require the assistance of each faculty to ensure its establishment early in the academic year.
To develop a formal policy whereby each department is responsible for appointing a class representative in each of their classes and years.
Each department should then report the names of each class rep, with contact details, to the Secretary for Academic Affairs who would keep a database.
The Students' Union would continue to hold the Class Representative meetings fortnightly to improve feedback between University Management and Academic Council and to discuss issues concerning the student body in general such as social, economic issues, etc.
The Students' Union would also maintain a database of emails for communicating directly with students.
The departmental groups would appoint a class rep. Each to the Staff-Student Liaison Committee within each faculty, again ensuring the most effective students representation in NUI Galway.
The Student-Staff Liaison Committee would consist of one class rep from each department plus 3 members of staff from the Faculty Board (preferably student advisors and the Dean if appropriate).
The Student-Staff Liaison Committee is to meet before each faculty meeting to discuss the agenda and allow input on relevant topics.
Each faculty will also have an agenda item specifically to allow Student-Staff Liaison Committee to report anything it feels appropriate.
After each Faculty Board meeting, the student-Staff Liaison Committee will receive a report of items discussed and feedback on issues they raised.
Continuous student / staff communication to assist the Quality Assurance programme.
Improved communication preventing many of the current misunderstandings and situation leading to easily solved but time-consuming problems.
Improved cohesiveness of classes by co-ordination of social events, etc.
More efficient Class Representatives Council ensuring the continuity needed to establish the Council as an effective forum for students to raise important issues.
In short, this proposal would ensure a long lasting, effective, representative body within the University. Many other universities and colleges throughout the country have found Class Representative Councils not only beneficial but essential to the running of their college and have found that student input into important academic and college community issues crucial. We also feel that at this stage in NUI Galway's development and the ongoing Quality Assurance Programme, now is the time to introduce this formalisation to assist both the staff of the University and the Students' Union in providing the best possible environment for members of the University.
Administrated by Secretary for Academic Affairs - academic issues
Academic Council: current members including 3 undergraduate and 2 postgraduate students
Faculty Boards: staff only
Staff-Student Liaison Committees: 1 class rep. from each department and 3 Faculty Board members
Departmental Committees: staff and class reps. from each class
Administrated by Students' Union - non-academic issues
Students' Union Executive: 11 elected members
Class Representatives Council: approx. 120 elected and representative students
General Student Body
Obviously the Students' Union's elected officers would still represent it's members at a more specific level with seats on various committees throughout the college, e.g. Anti-Discrimination Officer on Student Services Committee, etc.