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March 22, 2021

Spotlight On: Students Union

Welcome to our Spotlight On Series.

Blog Posts that aim to highlight good practice and support from colleagues at Hallam.


Today: Students Union.

Academic Societies, Volunteering and Skills Development – How the Students’ Union can support academics to provide student development opportunities.

Doug Muzawazi Head of Student Opportunities, Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union.

This year we see more than ever the importance of helping students in building their communities and networks. We as a department do this through a number of ways:

Volunteering Opportunities – Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union has a well-established volunteering programme, one which has been awarded the Sheffield Volunteer Standard.  The programme is based on the principles of best practice within volunteer management and is committed to providing rewarding and developmental volunteering opportunities to Hallam students. We have strong links within the city with a number of charity organisations and schools, work in partnership with the Sheffield’s Volunteer Centre (Volunteering Action Sheffield) and have a positive reputation nationally within the Students’ Union movement for our offer.

Academic Societies – Being part of an Academic Society is beneficial for students, as it can help students keep engaged with their course, keep them at university, and encourages them to get more out of their degree. Academic Societies bring students a sense of belonging and a sense of camaraderie amongst their specific cohort of students. When linked with department and course reps, Academic Societies have a tendency to be groups of students who actively engage more regularly in extra-curricular activity associated with their course.  Being part of a society is also beneficial to students as they have the opportunity to organise events which are linked to their academic interests and support their employability in the future.  They also provide an important link between Academics and their students, making accessing feedback, opinions and other associated practices simple.

Skills and Training – We also see the value in supporting student personal development through offering training, 1-2-1 coaching sessions and more enhanced programmes such as the Leadership Programme and our Be Inspired sessions which involve incredible guest speakers. The feedback that we get from students is that our service not only helps them develop skills but also helps them create a greater confidence, self-belief and drive to go on to become more involved and take on further responsibilities. The Skills and Training team have worked with course teams to build in some of the ‘life skills’ sessions to the curriculum, making it relevant and easier for the students to access.

In this Course Leader Fest 2020 session, participants were given an understanding of what the Students’ Union hopes to achieve, and how you can work with the SU to improve the student experience.  Take a look at the  recording of the sessions: 8th December 2020 and 9th December 2020.

Department Representation – Developing Communities of Representatives.

Edward Robinson, Academic Representation Manager, Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union (SU)

This academic year, community building is potentially more important to the student experience than ever before. The Students’ Union (SU) aims to instil community as a core component of its work to facilitate high-quality student representation across the Institution.

The SU has adapted its existing, voluntary Department Representative roles into 17 new student staff roles. The new Department Reps act as a key contact for Course Representatives in each Academic Department and help to create a simple and effective feedback channel between students, Course Reps, and the newly instated sabbatical College Officer roles. By creating Departmental communities of Representatives, and facilitating communication at every level, we hope to share knowledge and best practice, be more agile with student feedback, and increase overall engagement, both with Student Representation and with the University in general. 

Giving Course Leaders an understanding of what the Students’ Union hopes to achieve, and how Course Leaders can work with the SU to improve the student experience.

Meet the Student Representatives.

Hosted by Praise Ishola, BTE Officer and Laith Jaafar, SSA Officer and joined by; 

  • Kaz Gipson, Mature student rep
  • Ryia Bernard-Jones, BME students’ rep
  • Zainab Ata, Open Space Rep and Arun Pandey, Dept rep for Management

In this Course Leader Fest 2020 session, we got to know all about the student representatives and to see how students and staff could work together more efficiently to maximise student experience. Take a look at the video introductions;

Visit Academic Essentials – Hallam Resources A-Z section S: Students Union and Students Representatives and section A: Academic Representation

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