What are Course Reps?
Course Reps are students elected by you to represent the academic interests of the students on their course or programme. It is a voluntary role that can make a huge difference to your University experience as they provide an official link between students and staff. They attend Student-Staff Committee (SSC) meetings where they pass on your views to the staff and hopefully help find solutions to the issues that have arisen. Then after the meetings they should keep you informed of the changes decided upon and any important University issues or information that has come up that is relevant to you and your course.
Every single student at Newcastle University should have a Course Rep and you should be aware who your Course Rep is. They are trained and supported by the Students' Union and are there for you; so make sure you utilise them! If you have feedback or a question for your Course Rep, click here and your message will be passed onto them. Please ensure you include your name, course and stage. Your message will be treated confidentially and only passed onto your Course Rep.
Become a Course Rep!
Being a Course Rep is your chance to have a positive impact on your Course and the University. With over 85% of Course Reps saying that staff either always or usually listen to what they have to say, it is your opportunity to present the views of the students to staff and have your voice heard. You will be responsible for helping to improve the University for you, your course mates and for future students.
Course Reps really do make a difference, from changing the way students receive feedback to getting the University to pay for new equipment in labs and workshops, the suggestions from Course Reps will be listened to and acted on where possible.
What are a Course Rep's Key Responsibilities?
- Attend NUSU Course Rep Induction Training session and take advantage of the further training opportunities.
- Talk to people! Find out what your fellow students have an opinion on: circulate emails; do lecture shout outs; put up a poster; or make a Facebook group! If your subject has a society, ask the President if they can help you out.
- Listen and take on board the views of those you represent. Present them coherently and constructively at meetings ... even if you don’t agree!
- Attend SSC meetings. As a Course Rep you will be a member of your School’s/Course’s SSC. You will meet four times a year, discussing with other students and staff what is good and what could be improved about your academic student experience.
- Inform the SSC Secretary of anything you want on the agenda prior to the meeting and offer your apologies if you cannot attend.
- Communicate! Not only with students, but with other Course Reps, and your School Rep too.
- Feedback! Keep your fellow students informed about what’s being done for them, using the communication methods mentioned above – your fellow students should know their views are taken seriously and being acted on.
- Also, get feedback from students about decisions made at meetings to ensure the feedback loop remains open.
On average the role just takes 10 hours per year. For more information about the role, check out the current Course Rep Handbook.
What do Course Reps get in return?
- Enhanced employability. Your CV will benefit when you gain communication, negotiation, time management, problem solving and meeting skills which you will gain as a Course Rep. Be the one that stands out in the competitive world of work! Click here for more information about the employability skills you can develop as a Course Rep.
- Increased confidence. Many Course Reps find that the valuable experience they gain of communicating with a broad range of people, from students through to senior staff, helps make them more self-assured, which has a positive impact on their studies and career prospects.
- The responsibility of influencing University decisions as the voice of the student body.
- A Certificate of completion at the end of the year, if you engage with the role.
- The opportunity to win awards at the NUSU Student Rep Awards.
- Further recognition with the chance to win £250 at the high profile Pride of Newcastle Awards.
- Recognition of your work as a Course Rep on your transcript, should you complete the NCL+ Accreditation Scheme (UG & PGT students only).
- Development of skills through the training programme provided by the Students’ Union.
- The chance for progression into other Academic Student Representation roles: Course Rep > Chair/ Secretary > School Rep > Education Officer.
- The chance to meet new people on your course and from across the University.
Any student can be elected as Course Rep!
On most courses your Course Reps will be elected to the role. On other courses anyone who volunteers can take up the role. The best thing to do is to let your School office, Degree Programme Director or an existing Course Rep know early in the academic year and ask what the election or recruitment process is for your course. If you become a Rep, you will be contacted about the training provided by the Students' Union so you will be ready and prepared for your first SSC meeting.
Is the election a big deal?
NO. There are no speeches and no campaigning for votes - Course Rep elections are limited to individual courses so they are naturally a low key affair, they will usually take place by email or in a lecture. It may be that all volunteers can have places as Course Reps on the Student-Staff Committee, in which case you won't have to take part in an election at all. However, it is important that all students on your course know who their reps are so make sure your details are made available to everyone.
If you have any problems with this process, please get in touch and we will do anything we can to help.
Course Rep Employability
Course Reps are integral to the success of the Representation system at Newcastle, and as a Course Rep you can have a massive impact in improving the student experience on your course. But, not only this, the skills you develop in this role are extremely valuable to future employers. The employability skills you develop in this role really could make you stand out!
- Leadership – To be a success in this role, you will have to make yourself known and accessible to the students on your course, and be willing to take on their issues at SSC meetings. Putting yourself forward in a leadership role shows to employers your aptitude for responsibility and making decisions.
- Problem solving – A large part of your job will be collating student opinion, presenting it to staff on your SSC and working with them to come to workable solutions which your course will be able to implement. Employers often look for proof of analytical skills, and this could really set you apart from other students who will simply be able to refer to their academic work.
- Communication – To be an effective Course Rep, you will need to be in constant communication with people on your course, and more than likely be able to present yourself in front of your course confidently so that students know who you are. Developing these communication skills whilst being approachable and able to resolve issues in a professional manner are really important in employment.
- Using initiative – There are countless examples of Course Reps being creative and using their initiative to get ideas and feedback from students on their course. Most employers require real examples of using initiative and being proactive, and you can really demonstrate this by going above and beyond what is expected.
- Prioritising a workload – Employers are eager for prospective employees to demonstrate they are capable of juggling competing demands and prioritising a workload. By taking on the role of Course Rep on top of your academic studies, you are really demonstrating you are able to do so effectively.
- Meeting skills – Most jobs will require you to be able to present information in a clear and professional manner. Presenting evidence from students to your SSC and working towards a resolution will really advance these skills.
- Social, Cultural and Global Awareness - Course Reps will need to communicate effectively with students from all different backgrounds, making sure that every student feels fairly represented. Therefore, to complete the role effectively it is essential that over time, the reps become socially and culturally aware of the different backgrounds of the students they may be representing.
Find out more about Employability at NUSU by heading to the Employability Pages of our Website.
Find your Course Reps
The quickest way to identify and contact your Course Rep is via the University App. You can access the app by logging into a cluster room PC on campus or download it from the relevant app store (iTunes, Google Play, Windows Phone). The My School feature allows you to:
- Vote on School/Faculty issues and see the results of the poll
- Contact your course reps directly
- View key school contact information such as personal tutors, course reps and school office
- View school news and upcoming events/job opportunities
Still not sure who your current Course Rep is? Send us an email stating your name, your course and your stage (year) and we will get back to you as soon as possible.