To ensure an effective course rep system it is important that the recruitment and election of reps is fair, transparent and understood by the student body.
Making sure that you spend time thinking about both the promotion of the course rep system (recruiting reps) and the election process is important to ensure the long-lasting continuation of an effective system.
- A common barrier to a successful election process is the fact that students aren’t made aware of the opportunities available to them. Students should be made fully aware of what course reps do, what their purpose is, what the key issues are, and what improvements to their experience there have been as a result of course reps in previous years. Doing this should encourage student participation and interest in the course rep role.
- Lecture shout-outs are a brilliant way of getting information to large groups. Try and get outgoing course reps or students’ union officers to do these to promote the course rep system. Take a look at the short presentation from Hull which is delivered before lectures.
- Creating posters, flyers and promotional materials are effective ways of creating a brand and raising awareness of reps and their roles.
- Getting institutional staff to understand the importance of the rep system is a brilliant way to ensure that the opportunity is promoted. Creating an informational guide for staff on course reps is way to improve their understanding. Take a look at the example from Cumbria Students’ Union who produced something similar
One of the aims of the students’ union should be to encourage wide participation in the election process for reps. Once the system has been properly advertised and promoted, the following steps will help with the election process:
Ensure that materials are produced which clearly describe the nomination and election process – also make sure that these are produced in a number of accessible formats.
- Try to work collaboratively with the institution around ensuring the election process is transparent and fair. Ask for some space in the library foyer for example to have a promotional stand advertising the date of the elections and explaining both the nomination and election process.
- For faculty-level student reps, try to arrange a selection of debates preceding the elections. This is great way to get students engaged in the process.
- Again, it is important to ensure that institutional staff understand that course reps should be fairly elected, and not selected. By involving them in the process you will hopefully engage them in the election. Take a look at the School Information Form by Kent Students’ Union – this form asks schools to list all the courses that require a course rep and some further details – a good idea to ensure that academic departments are aware of the election process.