Why Should You Become a Course Rep?

You've probably heard all about our academic representation system by now but VP Education, Maia Jarvis, is here to tell you about why you should become a course rep.

You may be wondering ‘What even is academic representation?’, ‘What do course reps do?’ or ‘If I become a rep, what’s in it for me?’. Luckily you’ve come to the right place to get a whistle-stop tour of academic representation! Our representation system gives you the chance to turn student feedback into concrete change: past achievements of reps include extending coursework deadlines, changing assessment methods and organising lectures from external academics. When I was a school rep, I worked with my reps to change how our recitals were assessed, which positively affected 110 students, and we also hosted Virtual Study Sessions during the pandemic to combat student loneliness. Being an academic rep is so much fun and you get the opportunity to improve the university experience for students in your department!

What’s the difference between course reps and department reps?

There are four levels of academic representation – course reps, department reps, schools reps and VP Education. Course and department reps gather feedback from students and work with staff in their department to implement change. They’re both voluntary roles, but department reps are chosen via elections which are open until Wednesday 13 October! Department reps also chair student-staff committees, which are departmental meetings where students pass feedback onto academic staff and discuss any issues that have come up in the term. Our school reps were elected in March and they’ll be doing a takeover on my Instagram over the next few weeks so keep an eye on @rhsueducation to get to know them all!

Is there any way I can represent minority voices as a rep?

This year you’ll be able to select a ‘specialism’ when you volunteer as a course rep. This will signify that you can speak to a specific lived experience and be a voice for those students on campus. If you belong to any of the following groups, we’d love for you to select that specialism if you wish: BAME, commuting, disabled, EU/International, LGBT+ or Mature. We’re also looking for Joint Honours reps to represent students on Joint Honours courses!

What’s in it for me?

Being an academic rep grants you loads of skills for your CV such as communication skills, teamwork, strategic thinking and problem solving just to name a few. We also have a plethora of exciting activities in store as part of our Rep Development Programme: we’ll cover topics such as navigating staff/student meetings and utilising the transferable skills you've gained in job applications; we’ll also be hosting LinkedIn networking sessions where you can connect with like-minded reps! Take a look at the Academic Rep Hub for more information.

Signing up to be an academic rep grants you the opportunity to make a real impact on your own and your peers’ education. I can’t wait to hear from you and meet you all!

Become a course rep