Becoming a Rep: Conversations With Alissa

As we prepare to open academic rep elections on Monday 21 September, VP Education Alissa Chohan talks through the academic rep system, and why becoming a rep will give you so many transferable skills to benefit your future career goals!

As we prepare to open academic rep elections on Monday 21 September, we sat down with your VP Education, Alissa Chohan, to find out everything about the academic representation system!

Tell us about your role

I’m Alissa Chohan, your Vice President Education. I was elected in Term Two last year and I sit at the top of the academic representation structure. I represent your academic interests at University-level, attending key college meetings to talk about campus-wide issues that affect your education.

I endeavour to create positive educational change for students, all the way from foundation years to postgraduates, and so far I’ve been involved in discussions from flexible blended learning to improving the careers service and joint honours support. Last year, I was a third-year History Course Rep, Peer Guide Leader and Charity Secretary for Women’s Football! 

What’s academic representation all about?

Academic representation is about listening to what you, the students of Royal Holloway, think about your educational experience.

Academic reps gather your feedback about what’s happening on your course and use it to make the changes you want to see. They act on your behalf, attending meetings with the University to let them know what you think and working behind the scenes every day to make your student life better.

Academic representation happens at three levels – course reps, department reps and school reps. School reps were elected in Term Two – you can meet them here.

Academic reps have done many things, from making instructional YouTube videos about assignments, improving their department’s webpage, advocating for international students, reducing the size of their classes, being involved in their department’s common room redesign, and so much more! Their achievements have been absolutely incredible and have improved the lives of so many students on campus.

Sounds like a great opportunity. How will being an academic rep benefit me?

As well as the unbeatable satisfaction of helping your fellow students have an incredible University experience, an academic rep role will give you so many new transferable skills that will be beneficial for your future career goals.

You’ll gain a bunch of skills that employers find valuable, namely communication from gathering and relaying feedback, teamwork from working with other academic reps, strategic thinking from influencing decisions at University level and problem-solving from working out solutions to students’ issues.

But these are just the basics - an academic rep role is what you make of it!

I want to get involved!

Department reps

Amazing! From next Monday 21 September, you can nominate yourself to stand for election to be a department rep – there will be two positions available per department, one undergraduate and one postgraduate.

Course reps

If you’d rather be a course rep, you can sign up for these positions online and you will be ‘officially’ a course rep once you’ve attended our online training, without needing to put yourself up for an official election.

School reps

If you’re studying in the School of Performing and Digital Arts, you’re lucky as you can also nominate yourself for the one available school rep position! This position wasn’t filled in Term Two, which is why it’s available now. 

Excited? Me too!

Keep an eye on the SU website as nominations and sign-ups go live on Monday 21 September!