Academic Rep Impacts 2019/20

VP Education Kate Roberts rounds up the achievements of the incredible students who volunteer as your academic reps, lobbying for change and working with departments to bring you a better educational experience through representing your academic interests at a department and school level.

Can you believe that 2019/20 has been only the second year of our new Academic Representation system?

It seems so recently that we developed a new system in partnership with the University to champion academic representation, following our review in 2018. Having been both a course rep and now VP Education during this time, I am extremely proud to have witnessed first-hand the fantastic improvements which have been made to ensure your voice is being heard at Royal Holloway.

One of the real privileges of my role is being able to work with the incredible students who volunteer as your academic reps, lobbying for change and working with departments to bring you a better educational experience through representing your academic interests at a department and school level. I wish I was able to highlight each and every one of the reps individually for their hard work this year, but that would be a mighty long blog! Firstly a massive congratulations again to this year’s Rep of the Month winners:

  • Sophia Constantopoulos won November Rep of the Month for her work setting up a programme for students to shadow researchers, as well as organising a revision session for students with a lecturer before the end of term.
  • Grace Waterman won December Rep of the Month for being a great role model and making changes that benefited students in the department through developing a questionnaire for all of the students she represented.
  • Sara Haase won January Rep of the Month for her passion for the role, her ability to always make time to listen to students’ concerns, and her effort to close the feedback loop on her course.
  • Toby Bates won February Rep of the Month for his constant efforts to help the students on his course, assisting them with exam preparation and room bookings, as well as working with the SU to start the new Accounting, Finance and Management Society.

I would also like to shout out some of our wonderful academic reps and the brilliant impacts they have made this year:

  • An Information Security course rep signposted students to the SU’s Advice Centre and communicated with staff on making lectures more accessible to international students.
  • German course rep worked with their Head of Department to make class sizes smaller, so students received more attention from their tutor.
  • CeDAS rep benefitted their whole class by reminding their lecturer to upload a PowerPoint on Moodle.
  • Computer Science course rep met with their school rep to work on the school’s backlog of attendance registers and ensured that no international student would be affected by unrecorded attendance.
  • Classics course reps worked with their tutor to implement more vocab-based tasks in the lessons prior to an exam and improved the quality of the online resources for their class.
  • A Video Games Art & Design course rep communicated their cohort’s need for more one-to-one sessions with their lecturers so they could receive more support with learning software.
  • A Media Arts department rep gained clarity for their cohort on project submission and fed into the plans for the renovation of their department’s common room. They attended a meeting with the College contractor to ensure the space best benefitted the students.
  • An MSc Information Security course rep advocated for international students on their course by explaining to the Admin office that the lack of attendance sheets in their class was the reason for them being marked as absent. The same course rep also organised study groups for students, was the intermediary between a student and a staff member when the student couldn’t get hold of their professor, gained clarity on module registration deadlines for their cohort and connected a student to a staff member who could help them to find a work placement.
  • An English course rep was part of a focus group about improving their department’s webpage, and took the proactive step of presenting evidence of practices from other universities.
  • A Politics and International Relations course rep, in response to student demand, made a YouTube video about tackling research and assignments.

Thank you

A huge thank you to all of the academic reps who worked hard to bring about improvements this year, especially working in the last few months to ensure students’ interests are represented during this difficult time. A big shout out to all the PGT and PGR academic reps who will continue to represent students over this unusual term of their courses!

This year also included the introduction of our new school reps, a vital role developed through the new school structure, who represent students within the six schools. A huge thank you and congratulations to these students who have worked hard all year as the first-ever school reps to represent you within school-level meetings and attended the SU Education Committee! The school reps have been extremely dedicated and developed the role within the school, congratulations and good luck as well to the students who you elected to be your school reps in the 2020-21 year, we look forward to working with you!

If you are interested, make sure you keep an eye out at the start of next year for your opportunity to be an academic rep, maybe you will be making these fantastic impacts next year!

Visit the academic rep hub