The first year of the 2009-2011 NUS/HEA Student Engagement Project launched the AMSU/NUS benchmarking tool for course rep systems.
The tool enables students’ unions to measure the effectiveness of their course reps system and identify areas in which they could improve it.
We believe that enabling both students’ unions, and also staff within institutions, to be able to benchmark their course rep system will be key to driving up the quality of student engagement.
This benchmarking tool is one part of the Student Engagement Toolkit, which helps to facilitate self-reflection for how students’ unions and institutions engage students.
The tool is based on the different stages in the lifecycle of student representation as identified in the CHERI Report on Student Engagement (2008).
Using the tool it is assumed that to be in one category you will have achieved all of the previous stages, for example, to be a “developed” system you will have achieved what is described in the “first steps” and “developing” definitions and so on throughout the tool.
We also recognise that different unions will have different resources to be able to support their rep system, although we hope that we have kept the descriptions broad enough to encompass this.
We hope that you will use this tool to consider the structures within your own institution and how you would rate them.
If you keep a record of this over time you will be able to track the developments and improvements in your system.
Case Study: Sheffield Students' Union
Sheffield Students' Union benchmarked their course rep system across the institution to identify variations between departments and courses. They adapted the NUS/HEA benchmarking tool and tailored it to their institution.
It was then sent to all academics who were asked to benchmark where they thought the reps were in on their course and return the information to the students' union.
Download their presentation on their benchmarking process.