Student representation forms an important part of the College’s quality assurance and enhancement procedures, enabling students to feed back to their department on their experience of their programmes.
The aims of the process are to ensure that the views of students are considered and can contribute to quality enhancement at Goldsmiths, including:
- Learning and teaching
- Programme development and review
- Learning support services
- Programme and module administration
- Student support and guidance
Student engagement takes place primarily through Departmental Staff/Student Forums, which should meet at least twice per academic year. Each academic department is required to convene a minimum of one forum for undergraduate programmes, and one for postgraduate programmes, but beyond this they are free to take the initiative in deciding how their programmes may best be split into representative groups for monitoring purposes.
Forums give students the opportunity to provide feedback on any matters relating to their programmes, e.g. current teaching provision, directly to programme staff, and for Department Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives to raise any other matters that have been brought to their attention. Students should also be encouraged to provide input on future improvements and opportunities for development, e.g. in relation to curriculum and assessment.
In addition to Staff/Student Forums, online forums are available within the VLE to encourage student feedback on programme level issues. Departmental Representatives, Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives and programme staff are encouraged to monitor and interact with the forums in order to consider and, where possible, resolve student issues as swiftly and easily as possible.
Outline of the process
- Staff/Student Forums will meet at least twice during each academic year, at times deemed convenient within each department’s annual schedule. The suggested agenda (template below) is designed to serve as a basis for meetings. It contains the main areas that could be covered, to which other items or subheadings can be added. Items raised in Module Evaluation should be included.
- Departments are to take responsibility for assigning programme staff to chair Forum meetings, for setting and communicating the time, date and location of Forum meetings, along with agendas, minute taking and any other paperwork.
- Departmental Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives are required to collect and collate student feedback, from both online forums and direct discussions with students, and to raise issues, where appropriate, with the Head of Department and Departmental Administrator. Departmental Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives should also take responsibility for monitoring and moderating online forums. It is advisable for the Staff/Student Forum Chair and the Departmental Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives to meet in advance of the Forum meeting in case issues can be resolved prior to the meeting and reported to the Forum.
- Following each meeting of the Staff/Student Forum, the meeting Secretary (normally a member of staff) will write minutes.
- Minutes of Forum meetings should note all areas of feedback and in particular any action that needs to be taken and by whom. The minutes should be agreed by the members of the Forum, and submitted to the next meeting of Departmental Learning and Teaching Committee.
- The minutes of Staff/Student Forums should also be displayed on the departmental/programme notice board/website/VLE area so that they are available to all students.
- Departmental Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives should, in the first instance, refer any issues arising during the meetings that require action to their departmental contact, and should ensure that information regarding the action taken is communicated to students.
- At the start of the academic year, Departmental Representatives, Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives the Chair of the Staff/Student Forum and the Departmental Administrator should review, comment upon items raised during the previous year, which should then be fed into the production of the Annual Programme Review report(s).
Feedback to students
Feedback is given at each Staff/Student Forum meeting regarding any issues from the previous meeting that required action.
Students should be able to view the minutes from both Departmental Board/Departmental Learning and Teaching Committee and Forum meetings, which should be displayed on the departmental/programme notice board/website/VLE area. Departmental staff, Departmental Representatives, Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives and Programme Representatives should work together to identify and implement best practice and disseminate outcomes to students.
Issues that remain unresolved at departmental level will be reviewed by Departmental Representatives, Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives and departmental staff at the start of each academic year, and where necessary will be taken up by the Quality Office, which will report the College response back to Departments.
Membership of each Staff/Student Forum is for departments to determine, but could include invitations to the following:
- All programme conveners
- Departmental Student Coordinators
- All students/student representatives
- Departmental Administrator
- Other departmental staff, as appropriate
Departmental Representatives (previously Departmental Student Coordinators)
A Departmental Representative is a student representative recruited by the College, Students' Union and each academic department to serve for one academic year, acting as a point of liaison between the student body within their Department, the Students' Union and the College's Professional Services.
In each academic department there shall normally be a minimum of two undergraduate Departmental Representatives and one postgraduate Coordinator, with additional Coordinators being appointed where this is necessary to achieve an appropriate level of representation in larger departments. Departmental Representatives receive training, a job description and handbook, as well as remuneration in the form of a bursary.
The Students' Union keep Departmental Representatives informed and up to date with developments on a regular basis, and hold a database of appointed Departmental Representatives. Coordinators are required to keep in contact with students and staff in their department, as well as with the Students’ Union and the College's Quality Office. The Students' Union ensures that Coordinators are fully supported in their roles through close contact, training sessions and regular catch-ups.
Departmental Representatives work closely with Programme Representatives in their department to ensure that the wider student voice is captured at the programme level. Departmental Representatives are required to produce reports on departmental student feedback, promote student satisfaction surveys, attend departmental meetings (e.g. Staff/Student Forum and Departmental Board) and participate in an annual project.
Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives (previously Departmental Disabled Student Coordinators)
As with the Departmental Representatives, Accessibility and Inclusions Representatives are appointed by the Students’ Union the Academic Department. They work with other ‘Reps’ in their department to produce annual reports and research and attend the same meetings as Departmental Representatives. They specialise in raising issues relating to disability and access needs inside and outside of the classroom and primarily use Staff/Student Forum for this purpose. They also follow up on the audits from the previous academic year, ensuring progress is made on any actions.
Programme Representatives have a smaller remit than Departmental Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives.
Programme Representatives are responsible for gathering and reporting on feedback from students on their programme, whereas Departmental Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives have a broader responsibility for all undergraduate students, or all postgraduate students, within their department. Programme Representatives liaise with Departmental Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives where necessary to raise any higher level feedback or broader areas for attention by the department.
Departments may invite all students to the Staff/Student Forum, or they may restrict membership to Programme Representatives, Departmental Representatives and Accessibility and Inclusion Representatives. Normally two Programme Representatives are recruited for each level of a programme. Departments provide names of Programme Representatives within their department to the Students’ Union, who provide training on the responsibilities of the role.