Record numbers attend Academic Representatives’ Conference 2016
Saturday 5th November saw the Chancellors’ Building play host to the fourth annual Academic Representatives’ Conference. Over two hundred newly elected Academic Representatives* registered for the Conference style training event. The Students’ Union run the Conference to help Academic Reps develop key knowledge and skills, which will be utilised as the students represent their peers throughout the year.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) Professor Peter Lambert, Chief Executive of the Students’ Union Andrew McLaughlin and SU Education Officer Ben Davies opened the conference giving inspiring opening speeches, motivating the Reps for the day ahead. All reinforced the significant role that Academic Reps play in driving real change, as they act as vital links between the student body and the University.
Academic Rep 101 & 102 sessions for new Reps and returning Reps were delivered by the SU Education Officer and SU President respectively. These sessions provided Reps with a comprehensive overview of their role, ensuring that they left with the tools to be fantastic representatives of the student body! Elected student Faculty Reps and SU Officers also took the opportunity to network with Academic Reps within their Faculties/School, building relationships that will be key when delivering campaigns and driving positive change throughout the year. Academic Reps were also able to share good practice with one another, while discussing common issues and approaches to tackling these concerns.
Various workshops were delivered throughout the day by staff from the University of Bath, SU Officers, colleagues from other Universities and Students' Unions, as well as speakers from national organisations. Each of the sessions delivered was directly tailored towards the role of an Academic Rep, enabling students to develop crucial skills. Sessions included A Murder Mystery Meeting, The Art of Persuasion, A Survival Guide to SSLC’s and Don’t Hesitate, Negotiate!
Topical sessions were also offered, ensuring that Academic Reps have a good understanding of relevant issues that impact on students at the University of Bath today. These included Student Politics 101 and The 9K Question: The Politics of Fees. As well as this, the Students’ Union was delighted to welcome back the National Union of Students Vice President (Higher Education) Sorana Vieru. Sorana delivered a superb session on the Teaching Excellence Framework and government reforms in Higher Education, with a focus on what these changes will mean for both current and future students. Sorana also took part in the closing talks, during which she stressed the important role that Academic Reps play in upholding the quality of learning and teaching at Bath.
SU Education Officer Ben Davies summarised the day by saying “It was fantastic to see so many keen Academic Reps excited about making a real change on behalf of the student voice. Lots of interesting opinions and views were shared throughout the day and the passion that came across was inspiring. I am absolutely buzzing to work with all of our Academic Reps this year to make a real difference to the student experience. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to help make the day such a success!”
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*Academic Reps are elected by their peers to gather ideas and issues in relation to their programme, and to feed these back to their department through Staff Student Liaison Committees.