Top Tips for Course Reps

We know that starting a new role can be tricky, so we’ve collated 10 top tips to remind you about important elements of your role and to help you as you research, represent, and report back.

1. Gather factual data

Using your MySurrey Voice discussion board is a great way to collect opinions from students and get their thoughts on relevant issues, ideas, and changes. You can also conduct surveys if you need to gather stats and opinions from students, and post a link to your cohort on your discussion board, or via email or social media. Make sure you keep feedback anonymous, so please don’t take student names down as one of the questions in your survey. Once you’ve got some data, collate this together and present it at your next departmental meeting.

2. Communicate Successes

Share successes, big and small, with other students and Course Reps! The Course Rep programme has led to some big changes at Surrey, and it’s important that students know about what you’ve been doing for them. Celebrate your successes and feel proud of them!

3. Work with other Reps

Collaboration is the key to success as a Rep. Help each other, share ideas, and work together to improve the student experience across the University. If there are issues that are shared by other groups of students within your department, work together with your fellow Reps to tell the staff in your department. Showing staff that an issue is widespread will give more weight to your point.

4. Remember you’re a volunteer!

You are not expected to have all the answers to the issues that students bring to you. You’re a volunteer after all, and your responsibility is to represent students and report back to them, not fix individual issues that students might be facing.

As a volunteer, you should also remember to log the hours you spend as a Course Rep on Surrey Volunteering – the new Union platform for all things voluntary. This will help you translate all that effort into your future employability prospects, and also might help you link up with other opportunities you didn’t know about.

5. Signpost

Athough you aren’t expected to fix individual student issues, we still want to make sure those students feel supported and know where they can get advice. For that, it’s helpful if you know where to signpost the student. There are many services on campus that can support students, including Student Services, the Students’ Union Support Zone, or the services provided by the Library. If you’re unsure where to signpost a student, get in touch with Hannah at hannah.jones@surrey.ac.uk

6. Ask for help from the Union

The Union is here to provide support and guidance for Course Reps. Don’t hesitate to contact the Union and let us know how we can help you in your role. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you’d like to get our advice on something, get in touch with your VP Voice at ussu.vpvoice@surrey.ac.uk or the Course Rep Coordinator at hannah.jones@surrey.ac.uk. We’re here to help.

7. Close the feedback loop

It’s important that students feel their voice is heard at Surrey. As Course Reps, your responsibility is to report back to students once you’ve represented them to staff. This will help students feel that they have been listened to and that their feedback has been taken seriously. It’ll also hopefully mean that the students you represent will understand why it’s worth sharing feedback with you as their Rep, and be more likely to do so in the future.

8. Link up with Departmental Societies

Working together makes the student experience better for everyone! If your department also has a student society, you might be able to work together on certain issues or to get in touch with more students via the society. To find out if your department also has a society, click here.

9. Be visible

Students need to know who represents them and how they can get in touch with you. From the start of the year, be visible in your lectures, wear your Course Rep t-shirt, and stick around after lectures to chat to other students about the course.

10. Face-to-face

Getting to know the other Reps and students, and working with them in person, is a great way to build relationships and have open channels of communication. When we asked students how they wanted their Reps to get in touch with them, “in person” was one of the most selected options. Students want to hear from you face-to-face, so chat to them! Having those conversations will make it easier and more natural for you to gather feedback.