Academic Representation Review


Since its establishment many years ago, the academic representation system at the University of Bath has largely remained the same. This year, the University of Bath and the Students' Union looked at how the Student Voice is engaged with across the University, resulting in a project called The Academic Representation Review. The review has looked at how student academic representation functions at the University of Bath and for areas of improvement. 

It is our aim that by September 2021, we will have an academic representation system in place that will be fit for purpose based on the feedback of the student and staff community.

We have successfully completed our review and have compiled a list of recommendations which we will be implementing over the summer and academic year. Click below to read our list of recommendations and our rationale behind them.

 


Want to know more about how we developed our Recommendations?

Our plan had 3 phases:

PHASE 1 - DISCOVER

For our first phase, we are looking to discover everything we can about the academic representation system and we are planning on doing this in two ways:

  1. We will be looking internally to understand everything about our academic representation system. To achieve this we are going to be conducting surveys and interviews with students, staff and Academic Reps with the goal of exploring what is working well and what areas need improvements.
  2. We will also be looking outwardly to other Students' Unions both in the UK and worldwide as well as other external bodies such as SPARQs and QAA to get inspiration of best practices to inform our develop phase. 

What we have been up to:

  • Ran a survey completed by 120 Academic Reps, 10 Faculty Reps, 732 Students and 66 staff members to find out their views, experiences and thoughts on the academic representation system.
  • Hosted consultation events with Academic Reps at Academic Council, DLTQC Reps and Faculty Reps as well as invited back Ex-Education Officers and SU Presidents for in-depth discussions. 
  • Hosted group interviews with different groups of staff such as Senior Management, Associate Deans, Directors of Teaching and Studies, SSLC Secretaries and more.
  • Reviewed previous Students' Union data from surveys and interviews from the past 3 years.  
  • Collected best practices from over 20 Student Unions’ both in the UK and worldwide, interviewed 4 different Students Unions’ to build detailed case studies and reviewed guidance from regulatory bodies.

We also wanted to say a big thank-you to the Student Voice Framework team who helped host the staff group interviews.

PHASE 2- DEVELOP

Once we’ve understood everything we can about the academic representation system and found best practices from around the world, we will start designing and developing an enhanced system.

We want to make sure that the system is co-created by everyone involved. Therefore, will be holding consultation events with staff, students and Reps to discuss solutions, ideas and changes to our systems so that we can design the enhanced system together.

What we have been up to:

  • Wrote four papers on proposals for enhancing the current academic representation system which were made public for discussion and feedback, you can read these below
  • Held a consultation event with a mix of 28 students, Academic Reps and staff to discuss the proposal papers and workshop ideas. 

 Consultations on these papers are now closed but are displayed for transparency purposes 

PHASE 3 - DELIVER

By this stage, we should have a plan of the set of structures and principles we want in place for the academic representation system. We will submit our plan to Senate for approval.

Once approved, we will be working over the summer to implement all our proposed changes to enhance the system. 

What we have been up to:

  • We have taken on the feedback from our consultation in phase 2 and created a set of proposals which have been submitted to numerous committees at the University for approval and feedback:
    • Education Quality Standards Committee- 18/5/21
    • University Doctoral Studies Committee- 20/5/21
    • Senate- 9/6/21
  • We have now received unanimous approval of our recommendations for changes to the academic representation system from University committees. The implementation of these recommendations will start this June.* We will communicate the progress of our implementation of the recommendations by creating supporting resources, briefing documents and training for relevant staff and students. 

*Please note that not all recommendations are planned to be implemented over the summer, with some recommendations requiring more project work which will take longer to implement.

 

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Academic Representation Review by taking part in interviews, consultation events and surveys.