Student representation project

Report
Student conference
Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 October 2014
Student representation project market research
Market research conducted with over 600 students between February and April 2014:
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Focus groups with 108 students at each of the academic partners
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An online survey with 472 students across the UHI academic partners:
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302 higher education students
170 further education students
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A hard copy survey with 37 short course students
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Reports from all the market research available at www.uhi.ac.uk/studentvoice
Key findings from the focus groups
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Location is the key reason students choose to study at UHI, followed by course
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Vast majority of students happy with their course and academic partner
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Challenges around relatively few organised social activities, lack of accommodation
and meeting other students
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Students are aware of a number of ways to raise any concerns they have
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Students aware there are class representative but not clear about their role
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Students’ associations not readily mentioned as a place for students to raise
concerns
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Students believe it is important to be able to voice their opinions – but need to be
convinced that things change as a result
Key findings from the online survey
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Areas of the student experience students want to influence most:
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The course (75%)
Quality of teaching (75%)
Course delivery (67%)
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89% of students agree they have people they can talk to if they have concerns
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Who students turn to if they are unhappy about their course or institution:
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Lecturer (51%)
Tutor (51%)
Personal academic tutor (49%)
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59% of students strongly agree that they have a say in how their institution is run but
39% agree or tend to agree that current feedback mechanisms could work better
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What barriers prevent students from commenting on their course or institution:
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Nothing (34%)
Too busy (19%)
Never/rarely at campus (distance learning students) (16%)
Don’t know who to turn to (11%) and don’t know the class representative (8%)
Key findings from the online survey
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How much do students know about student representation:
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What aspects of student representation are most important to students:
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A great deal (14.40%)
A fair amount (30.90%)
Not very much (37.90%)
Nothing at all (13.80%)
Class reps let staff know our feedback on the course (59%)
Class reps let us know what is happening with our feedback (52%)
Students reps make staff aware of problems with facilities (46%)
Student reps influence key decisions and policies (31%)
How should class representatives and student officers collect views from other
students:
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Class meetings (58%)
Student surveys (48%)
Email (39% - but only 25% amongst further education students)
Course meetings (35%)
Key findings from the online survey
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How interested are students in being a student representative?
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What would encourage students to be a student representative?
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Knowing I am helping other students (44%)
Being able to influence student life (36%)
Development employment skills (36%)
Why do students vote – or not vote – at student elections?
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Very interested (16%)
Fairly interested (18%)
Not very interested (30%)
Not at all interested (30%)
I vote (32%)
Don’t know enough about the students standing for election (30%)
What would encourage students to vote at student elections?
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Seeing something change from feedback (54%)
Knowing what happens from feedback (44%)
Knowing what the students’ association has achieved (29%)
Key findings from the online survey
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What are the best ways to get information to students?
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What should an ideal students’ association do?
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Improve learning and teaching (57%)
Improve learning resources and facilities (53%)
Ensure the student voice influences decisions (52%)
Make the system of student representation work well (50%)
Provide advice, services and campaigns to help student welfare and student wellbeing (49%)
Work with students in other academic partners to improve the student experience (48%)
How would students improve the system of representation?
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Student email (70%)
Lecturer/tutor (53%)
Personal email (39%)
Blackboard (32%)
Improve the marketing of class representatives and elections (38%)
Increase the visibility of class representatives (14%)
What would encourage students to take more interest in student representation?
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More information on student representation (41%)
Communicate what actions have been taken on student issues (31%)
Student representation project mapping exercise
Students’ associations – the current situation
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UHISA represents higher education students across the UHI academic partnership
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Subject Network Student Officers (SNSOs) inform the development of courses across
subject networks for higher education
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Students’ associations represent further and higher education students at six of the
thirteen academic partners
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Variations in salaries and terms and conditions for student officers:
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Variations in block grants to students’ associations:
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Total salaries across the UHI academic partnership in the region of £73,000
Total block grant across the UHI academic partnership in the region of £94,000
Evidence indicates that salaries to student officers and block grants to students’
associations are below the average for colleges and universities in Scotland
Student representation project mapping exercise
Student input into how the university and academic partners are run
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UHISA:
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Further Education Student Representative 2013-14:
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UHISA President a member of Court and the Further Education Regional Board
UHISA President and UHISA officers sit on sub-committees of Court and University committees
Further Education Student Representative was a member of Court and Further Education Regional Board in
2013-14 but role was isolated from UHISA or students’ associations at academic partners
UHI Academic Partners:
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Students are members of the Board of Management, or equivalent, at nine of the thirteen academic partners
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Variations in training and support for students sitting on committees
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Time commitment for students sitting on committees
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No mechanisms to help students in different academic partners to work together
Student representation project mapping exercise
Student representation
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Established systems for class, course or year student representatives but practices
vary across the UHI academic partnership
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Mechanisms in place for students to inform learning and teaching but practices vary
across the UHI academic partnership
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Examples of good practice across the UHI academic partnership:
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Students training class representatives and quality of training materials
Supporting the class representatives to canvas the views of their fellow students
The challenges going forward:
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“Levelling-up” of practices around student representation across the UHI academic partnership
Communicating the importance of the class representative role to students and staff
Communicating that the student voice can make a difference
Communicating what happens as a result of student feedback
Sharing good practice across the UHI academic partnership
Making sure student representation works well and informs both local and regional decisions
Getting more students involved

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