Electing Reps - Any Advice?
There are no set university guidelines on how to elect reps and it is up to individual lectures to run the election in the way that is most suitable to the class. It is important to have Class/Course Reps elected by Week 3 so they have the opportunity to attend training and are better prepared for Staff Student Liaison Committees. Here are a few pointers that can help you to organise an election:
Introduce the Opportunity
(recommended timeframe: Week 1)
Mention and explain the role of Class Reps (see Why do we have Class Reps?). This can be done during the first day of the module, another time during the first week or, if the module has a well used VLE (MyPlace), information can be posted there.
We have put together a PowerPoint presentation and e-flyer that are intended to introduce the topic of being a Class Rep (see attachments below). You may find this useful to use in class or on the VLE. The Student Association can also provide a short in-class presentation.
We would recommend that you first introduce the opportunity to the students before running the election process. This can help to ensure that the students who run are fully aware of the role and have evaluated whether the opportunity and time commitment is right for them rather then making a snap decision.
Run the Election
(recommended timeframe: end of Week 1 - Week 2)
The election can be organised several different ways, but whatever way you choose it should be done publicly so that all students have access to the opportunity and that all are aware of who their Reps are.
To call for candidates, ask the class who is interested in being a Class Rep. They can raise their hands in class, come and talk to you after class, list their name on a piece of paper, or express their interest on the VLE (if well used by the class).
It is important that a period for stepping forward is made clear in the first instance. After the deadline has elapsed, evaluate what kind of interest there is in the role. This avoids the "first-come, first-served" representation that can lead to tensions or accusations of unfairness.
Dependant on how many students step forward, you may need to run an election. Allow the students to introduce themselves to the class (again either in-class or through the VLE). All students can then cast their vote (again how you organise this is up to you… however, if you have a contested Class Rep election and would like support in running it, you can contact us and we can help run an in-class election with ballots/ballot box and using the Transferable Voting System).
If the number of students who register their interest is the same as the number of positions you have available then there is no need to run an election. However, it is vital that you inform all students of who their Class Reps is and how to contact them.
If there are less students interested in being a Class Rep then there are positions available, we would recommend highlighting the transferable skills and opportunities that being a Class Rep can help build. Email or contact the Students' Association and we can arrange for a student officer (many of whom started out as a Class Rep) or an experienced Class Rep to do a short in-class presentation giving the students a better idea of what being a Rep involves and some of the benefits.
Don't forget the last step in the process....
Register the Class Reps with the Student Association
(recommended timeframe: before the end of Week 3)
It is the responsibility of the department to make sure that all Class Reps are registered with the Students’ Association.
Simply fill in the online form (above) or e-mail the following details to email@example.com:
1. The name of the Class Rep.
2. Their matriculation/registration number.
3. Their strath.ac.uk e-mail address.
2. The code(s) for the specific class(es) that they represent. If they are a Course/Year Reps, list all modules codes that they will cover.
Please contact the Student Association if you would like assistance in any step of electing Class Reps. We have a dedicated staff member and student officer who are here to help support both students and staff with the Class Rep system. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Useful Academic Representation Contacts page for more information.
See below for an info sheet that summarises key points.
Next Topic: Working in Partnership
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