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Roles and Responsibilities

SHU imageThe student rep system is a partnership between the University and the Students’ Union and different aspects of the system are managed by different people from different sections. In this section you can find out what your role is in supporting this system.

  1. Course Reps (voluntary role)
  2. Department Reps (paid role)
  3. Students’ Union
  4. University


Course Reps (voluntary role)

The student rep system is a partnership between the university and the students’ union. It enables students to have a voice within the university. Student Reps play a vital role in representing students and enhancing the university experience at Sheffield Hallam. Being a Student Rep is a professional role which can help students to develop new skills, whilst making a difference.

Course Reps work in partnership with university staff to

  • Participate in decision-making about the student experience.
  • Represent the views of students on their course.
  • Be a link between students and the university, and between students and the students’ union.

Course Rep Responsibilities

  • Gather positive and negative feedback from students on their course.
  • Communicate what students think to University staff.
  • Participate in relevant meetings, discussions and decision-making processes
  • Report back to fellow students about staff responses/changes made.
  • Keep the Students’ Union and Department Reps up to date on their progress.

Course Reps are expected to…

  • Participate in Student Rep training offered to them by the Students’ Union and / or University.
  • Gather feedback from the students on their course. This should include what is going well, as well as any problems and suggestions for improvement.
  • Communicate feedback to course staff.
  • Participate in relevant meetings, discussions and decision-making processes (including staff-student committee meetings).
  • Report back to fellow students on responses to feedback and any changes made.
  • Feed back issues to faculty reps and to the students’ union.
  • Feed back at a faculty and university level wherever possible.

Both the Students’ Union and University provide support to Course Reps.

The Students’ Union’s responsibilities are to…

  • Provide initial training to help Reps get the most out of their role.
  • Provide additional training opportunities to help Reps develop.
  • Provide resources to support Course Reps including the Course Rep Handbook
  • and online Rep Resources Hub.
  • Be on hand to support Reps throughout their time in the role.
  • Report Rep feedback to the Education Officer to ensure further action
  • is taken if needed.

The University’s responsibilities are to…

  • Provide information about meetings, dates, times and venues well in advance.
  • Provide documentation when relevant, such as agenda and minutes for meetings.
  • Direct Reps to the right member of staff to help tackle their issue.
  • Take Rep feedback seriously.

Further information

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Department Reps (paid role)

The role of Department Reps was revised for the 2020/21 academic year.

There is one paid Department Representative for each Academic Department. These roles are recruited as student staff at the beginning of the academic year.  Department Reps provide Course Reps within each Department a single, named student contact to report Department-wide issues to, and to form a professional relationship with as a group. This will also help to ensure that students’ feedback is addressed effectively, and at the right level.

Department Reps are recruited and employed by Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union.

A Department Rep is expected to:

  • Be a voice for students in the department and college, working with Course Reps to ensure student feedback is heard at appropriate levels.
  • Provide a student perspective on issues affecting the student experience and policies at a departmental and college level.
  • Communicate with and back to students and Course Reps, letting them know what happens in response to student feedback.
  • Work to improve the student experience at Sheffield Hallam (in partnership with the University, Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union, and other students).
  • Meet regularly with other Departmental Reps within the college, to ensure issues can be heard at college level.

To do this, Department Reps should:

  • Attend an initial training session to prepare them for the role.
  • Gather feedback from students in the department on issues that are not course-specific but may affect students across a Department or College (e.g. university services such as learning centres, catering, sports facilities, IT, timetabling, learning and teaching experience, specialist facilities, plus additional learning and teaching issues that cut across courses).
  • Be a point of contact for students and course reps who want to raise issues or give feedback at departmental or college level. Help them to direct their feedback or raise it in the relevant forum.
  • Communicate with Course Reps to provide information and updates.

Department Reps are also required to:

  • Attend relevant department level meetings and represent student opinion at department level.
  • Attend at least one additional University and/or Students’ Union meeting to put forward student feedback and to give a student perspective on any issues/policies discussed.
  • Attend any other formal meetings as required e.g. meetings with Head of Departments, Department Student Forums.

Department Reps may also have the opportunity to:

  • Take part in other training and development opportunities, e.g. further training, course rep conference.
  • Help support and mentor course reps, for example by attending course rep training sessions (this is also an opportunity to meet course reps).
  • Take part in the Hallam Award.

For more information on Department Reps, view the Department Rep Job Description or visit the Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union website.

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Students’ Union

Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union works with the University to develop the Student Rep System and provides support for Course Reps and Department Reps by:

  • Providing initial training
  • Organising networking events
  • Being a point of contact for information and advice, (College Officers, Academic Representation Manager)
  • Holding events or meetings with Reps throughout the year, to ensure lines of communication are maintained between Officers and the University
  • Being on hand to help out with anything related to the Student Rep experience

Visit the Students’ Union website for more information. 

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The Student representative system gives students a voice within the university and helps them to feel part of a learning community, and contribute to change. Staff members benefit by receiving feedback on their teaching and services, which can inform enhancements.

The system embodies the principle of partnership working between staff and students.

Heads of Department

Heads of Department have a key role in supporting Department Reps.  They should try to meet with all of their Department Reps at least once a Semester, in a formal meeting. Some Heads of Department also sometimes meet informally with Department Reps, and may have arrangements in place to enable them to communicate directly online, or via email. Heads of Department are instrumental in ensuring that Department Reps feel supported in their role, and well-informed about developments within the Department.

They are responsible for:

  • Informing students about the role of Department Reps
  • Ensuring that Department Reps are recruited
  • Keeping in contact with Department Reps and liaising with them about student feedback and any issues affecting students
  • Attending (and sometimes chairing) staff-student meetings (e.g. Departmental Forums)

Course Leaders

Course Leaders are the main point of contact for Course Reps. The relationship between Course Reps and Course Leaders is crucial.  Course Leaders should try to meet with all of their Course Reps at least once a Semester, in a formal meeting.  Some Course Leaders also meet informally with Course Reps, and may have arrangements in place to enable them to communicate directly online, or via email.  Course Leaders are instrumental in ensuring that Course Reps feel supported in their role, and well-informed about developments on their course.

They are responsible for:

  • Informing students about the role of Course Reps
  • Ensuring that Course Reps are recruited
  • Keeping in contact with Course Reps and liaising with them about student feedback and any issues affecting students
  • Attending (and sometimes chairing) staff-student meetings

Professional Services Staff

Professional Services Staff in the University have a key role in the operational management of the Student Rep System, and in supporting Student Reps.  This role includes:

  • Supporting Course Leaders to recruit Student Reps
  • Co-ordinating and delivering Student Rep training
  • Recording Student Rep data on the University’s Student Management System (SITS)
  • Recording Student Reps’ achievement of milestones and removing Reps who have withdrawn from the Student Management System
  • Recording and sharing the minutes/actions from staff-student committee meetings (or equivalents)
  • Supporting Student Reps with reward and recognition (e.g. certificates/letters/references), and acknowledging the work that Student Reps do (e.g. by nominating them for Student Rep Awards)
  • Attending occasional meetings (such as the Staff Breakfasts hosted by the Students’ Union, and the Student Rep Steering Group)

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Last updated: 9th March 2022 – Natalie Brownell ADD Team