Class Representation Guidelines

Application

These guidelines apply to all students and staff members of Waipapa Taumata Rau/ the University.

Purpose

To provide further background and information to support the implementation of the Class Representation Policy, for staff members and students involved in the class representative system.

Introduction

The University values student representation and student feedback as a core mechanism for maintaining academic quality and social experience, and to promote a learning and teaching partnership between the University and students.

Student representation plays a vital role in the University of Auckland community, ensuring the student voice is heard at various levels of the institution. The University acknowledges that student representatives play a key connecting role between students, the Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) and University staff.

Guidelines

The role of the class or year representatives

  • Class, year, or cohort representatives provide a link between staff and students and can be a first point of contact for students. They are expected to listen and to refer issues appropriately and sensitively, where necessary.
  • Class, year, or cohort representatives represent the collective views of a class or programme. Although it may not be possible to elect students to represent all groups within the University’s diverse student body, representatives should endeavour to be inclusive in their role.
  • Taking up a role as a class, year or cohort representative can help students develop key employability skills such teamwork, problem solving, communication, leadership and public speaking. Class, year or cohort representatives may be eligible for recognition through the University’s Co-Curricular Recognition Programme (Community Engagement Path), and AUSA.
  • As well as attendance at training and SSCC meetings, class, year or cohort representatives are expected to communicate regularly with peers and with course staff and complete the student e-Voice Diary. Regular meetings with the course director or lecturers throughout the semester can be of benefit to both students and teaching staff, as an opportunity for engagement and feedback.
  • Class, year, or cohort representatives should make themselves known to students in class and ensure contact details are provided on Canvas. They may also create social media pages as informal forums for class members.
  • AUSA provides training for class and year representatives in each semester, and maintains a Class Representative website and a Guide for Class Reps.

Election and appointment of class or year representatives

  • Class or year representatives must be elected in the first two weeks of a semester or quarter. This ensures that Class Reps can attend the training sessions provided by AUSA.
  • Course directors are responsible for ensuring teaching staff working with the class in the first two weeks are aware of the Class Representation system and how to conduct an election.
  • Teachers should use the slide and video on the Class Representation Resources website to inform their class about the role of Class Rep and how the Class Rep system works.
  • A Class Rep election can take place in class or online. If in class, the Class Rep candidates should be given the opportunity to speak to the class, and a vote can be held by show of hands, via clicker or another method of the teachers’ choosing. If the election takes place online, the teacher can use Canvas, Qualtrics or another method such as a Doodle Poll.
  • The name and contact details of the Class Rep should be included on the course Canvas page.

Student-Staff Consultative Committees (SSCCs)

  • Student-Staff Consultative Committees (SCCS) at academic unit and faculty level are important because they allow students and staff to discuss issues of mutual interest. They are a forum for information sharing, the discussion of ideas and the solution of problems.
  • Class, year, or cohort representatives should canvass students on matters to be discussed at SSCC meetings.
  • SSCCs can be used to identify good practice that should be shared more widely, as well as to identity and find solutions for issues of importance to students.
  • Faculty SSCCs can also be used to update students on the faculty’s response to general learning and teaching matters identified through student feedback mechanisms such as SET course evaluations and the Learning and Teaching Survey.
  • Academic unit SSCCs should refer unresolved matters or substantive issues of interest to Faculty SSCCs. Faculty SSCCs can refer what they consider to be matters of interest to the wider student body to the Vice-Chancellor’s Student Consultative Group or the AUSA Student Council.
  • Faculty and academic unit SSCC representatives should be given the opportunity, outside of meetings, to participate in discussions or give feedback on other matters where the faculty seeks student input.

Faculty SSCC student chairs

  • Appointing student chairs for faculty Student-Staff Consultative Committees helps students to feel comfortable raising issues of concern and ensures that the forum works for students.
  • The student chair will be a student ideally with some experience working in student representation and/or chairing or leading student groups.
  • AUSA will be available to provide support to student chairs in their role.
  • The student chair will have a senior academic staff member as co- or deputy chair to support them in their duties listed below. Student and co or deputy chairs should be appointed before the first meeting of the faculty SSCC. There will need to be some flexibility in the way this role is appointed and works between the different faculties. Different models may be employed to suit different circumstances, e.g. alternate chairs; or a chair and deputy chair. Student chairing of faculty SSCCs is a recent development at the University and it may take some time for the culture and process of these meetings to shift to accommodate the new model. Some options for how this may work are presented below.
  • Chairs are responsible for:
    • setting (with the faculty) the time of meetings
    • proposing items for the agenda and/or collaborating on a draft agenda
    • facilitating discussion in the meeting, including ensuring everyone understands the issue or problem being discussed
    • keeping the meeting to time
    • enabling decision-making during meetings
    • approving minutes.

  • Student chairs will be supported by the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) and by the professional staff member/s supporting the SSCC.

  • A student chair might expect to make the following time commitment:
    • several hours prior to SSCC meetings to participate in agenda setting, discussion or review
    • formal meetings of the SSCC
    • several hours after the SSCC meetings to review and approve minutes and communicate outcomes to constituents
    • ad-hoc meetings with the Associate Dean (learning and Teaching) or other staff to address matters arising between meetings.

Administrative process – appointing a student chair

  • A professional staff member with responsibility for student engagement will work with the Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) and the Class Reps nominated to sit on the faculty SSCC to appoint a chair for the faculty SSCC meeting.
  • Co-chairing or deputy chairing with an academic staff member
  • In all cases, student chairs will have a senior academic staff member as co-chair or deputy chair to undertake the pre-meeting duties as a team and to support them in the meeting.

Process possibilities for choosing a student chair/co-chair

Option A: Single Student Association:

  • In faculties that have a single, representative student association, it may be practical for one of the leaders of this student association stand for chair of the faculty SSCC. 

Option B: Multiple Student Associations:

  • In faculties that have multiple representative student associations, an annual discussion should be held between these student associations and the Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) to determine how the role of faculty SSCC chair can most fairly be managed by the student associations working together. They may choose to be co-chairs, or deputy chairs or alternate semesters or quarters as chair or another arrangement to which all parties agree.

Option C: Chair from outside a student association:

  • Some faculties may wish to open the chairing opportunity to students from outside their faculty student associations. In this case, the Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) and the class reps nominated to sit on the faculty SSCC will elect a chair from students who have put themselves forward for this position. A professional staff member with responsibility for student engagement will coordinate the election process.
  • If an election for student chair of the faculty SSCC takes place, an online tool such as Canvas or Qualtrics or another method such as a Doodle Poll can be used.

Format of meetings

  • SSCCs work best when all members participate. The format of the meeting should be the mode in which attendance is best facilitated. Online, hybrid and face-to-face meetings may be considered. The chair should ensure that meeting format works for all participants and is constructive.
  • If meetings take place in person, refreshments should be provided by the faculty and organised by a professional staff member with responsibility for student engagement


Reporting on outcomes

  • Staff and student members have a responsibility to ensure that outcomes from meetings are shared with the wider community. SSCC minutes will be made available in a University website, which can be promoted through academic unit or faculty communication channels. Student chairs and representatives should ensure they report back to their constituents on the outcomes of identified issues.
  • Student chairs of faculty SSCCs should report back to the AUSA Student Voice Manager on meeting outcomes.
  • Chairs should ensure that the work of student representatives is acknowledged and recognised. Recognition might include:
    • formal thanks at the final meeting of the year; or
    • a summary of SSCC achievements in faculty newsletters or websites.
  • Student chairs should be formally thanked by SSCC members.

Vice-Chancellor’s Student Consultative Group and AUSA Student Council

  • The Vice-Chancellor’s Student Consultative Group and/or AUSA Student Council may review and discuss issues raised in faculty SSCCs that relate to the wider student experience. Student representatives on University-level committees may put forward issues raised by SSCCs.
  • The AUSA provides regular reports on issues identified through the e-Voice Student Diary. Reports are published on the AUSA website and shared with student leaders.

Definitions

The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic unit means department or school.

Academic unit (school, department, discipline) Student-Staff Consultative Committees (academic unit SSCC) means a committee comprised of class/year representatives and academic staff members which considers and acts issues of concern for students in the academic unit.

Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) is the voluntary students’ association at the University of Auckland.

AUSA Student Voice Manager means a member of the Auckland University Students’ Association who is responsible for coordinating training, communication and advice to class and year representatives.

AUSA Student Council means a council of students comprising AUSA Executive members, the Class Representation Manager and faculty association presidents which meets monthly during the academic year.

Class representative means a student enrolled in a course or programme who is selected by students in that course or programme to facilitate communication between staff and students enrolled in that course or programme.

Faculty Student-Staff Consultative Committees (faculty SSCC) means a committee comprised of elected academic unit class representatives and academic staff members of the committee to discuss issues referred from academic unit SSCC meetings.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Vice-Chancellor’s Student Consultative Group is a forum for senior University staff and student representatives to share information and perspectives on strategic issues affecting the student experience at the University.

Year or cohort representative means a student enrolled in a year-long programme selected by students in that programme whose role is to facilitate communication between staff and students enrolled in that programme.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education)
Content manager: Manager, Academic Quality Office and AUSA
Approved by: Teaching and Learning Quality Committee
Date approved: 8 Dec 2021
Review date: 8 Dec 2026