Class rep system
Vision statement for class reps
Class representatives act as facilitators of communication, providing a conduit for feedback between staff and students. Together with the Year Co-ordinators and Head of School, they act to improve the communication between staff and classes in the school. By contributing to the streamlining of communication in the school, class reps will be involved in maintaining good relations rather than feeling that they have to deal with crises.Class representatives should seek to feed into a system that is geared towards preventing fires rather than having to put them out. By contributing to the streamlining of communication in the school, class reps will be involved in maintaining good relations rather than feeling that they have to deal with crises.
Class representatives should look for opportunities to exchange ideas and opinions that could feed into the way in which the school is run.
Reps are also expected to play a role in ensuring that students become full participants in the School as an academic community, contributing to intellectual debate and strategic discussions.
The aim of this should be that the school better understands its students, and that the students feel better aligned with the school.
Election of class representatives
Student reps should be elected by the second week of the first term of the academic year. This will be facilitated by the year co-ordinator and usually takes place in one of your lectures. Nominations are put forward and these are followed by a voting procedure (usually a show of hands).
Suitable candidates should be:
- confident (show the ability to speak in public)
- determined (be prepared to stand up for student interests)
- academically strong
- mature (interested in finding solutions to problems)
Orientation for class representatives
Within the first few weeks of term one, once class reps have been selected, all reps will attend an orientation meeting. The aim of this session will be to prepare student reps for their responsibilities, and to make them aware of their rights and duties. It can also be a forum in which to reflect on ways in which these systems can be strengthened. Students who formed part of the representative system in the previous year (who are still at Rhodes) are invited to this meeting, to help brief the new generation of student reps.
Student reps are expected to play a proactive role in identifying any issues/questions that students may need to communicate about with staff.
This should happen on a day to day basis, as needed. Reps should stay in close communication such issues and questions with the teachers of relevant courses about and also (where appropriate) the relevant year co-ordinator.
In addition, in the middle of each term (week three or four), a section of one of the Media Studies lectures in each year (in other words a lecture attended by all students in that year) will be used by class reps to consult formally with their classes.
Reps should liaise with lecturers regarding which section of the lecture they would like to make available for this purpose. Given that there is no Media Studies course in JMS4 in the second half of the year, class reps should convene a meeting with students for this purpose during terms three and four. The class reps are required to prepare for these meetings by identifying questions that need discussion. They should record any comments or questions made at this meeting and share these with the member of staff who serves as their year co-ordinator. The year co-ordinator will share the minutes with the Head of School and staff who teach in that year. It is the year co-ordinator’s responsibility to ensure that any issues and questions raised in this way are properly attended to.
A system of redress
When a student wishes to communicate a concern , they are expected to approach that staff member first, or (if appropriate) to ask their class rep to do this for them. If the student or the class rep feels that the issue has not been dealt with adequately, they should speak to the relevant year co-ordinator. After this, their next point of recourse is the Head of School and finally the Dean. The School is proposing that if a student feels that the people involved in this process do not have their best interests at heart, they can approach the Administrative Manager of the School (Belinda de Lange). She will then draw on a pool of people consisting of the year board co-ordinators to mediate for the student. Her task will be to identify someone within this group of people who would be able to deal with the issue in an objective and fair way.
Class rep responsibilities
As a class representative, you are responsible for identifying and communicating the general interests of your class. Your tasks are to:
- Represent your class to individual lecturers, the year co-ordinator and with the Head of School.
- Find out the concerns and issues of your class. This could include matters such as workload, timetable, course structure, assessment problems, communication concerns, deadline extensions and course material.
- Gather information from the students about what they think is and isn’t working well.
- Act as a liaison between students and staff.
- Attend meetings with the year co-ordinator at least twice a term.
- Interact with the class, gather students’ input for meetings, and give them feedback.
- Ensure that students are informed about developments and decisions that concern them. This includes decisions made in the meeting with the Head of School and at meetings with the year co-ordinator; and
- Actively look for ways to solve problems faced by the students and make recommendations to the Head of School.
How to go about it:
- Have a positive attitude. The school stands to gain from hearing the voices of the students. And you build a relationship with the school.
- Make yourself known to the class and the lecturer. Make sure students have your email address. You and your class make this system work.
- Take the concerns of the class seriously and respond effectively to student issues.
- Assess if the responses you are getting are representative of the class at large.
- Make use of email to elicit feedback from the students. You can also circulate questions on a piece of paper in class, or ask for a show of hands, depending on the nature of the issue.
- In bigger classes, use the tutorial groups to make the process of gathering feedback easier.
- Make sure you have a good understanding of the issues at hand. Ask for clarification from students if necessary.
- Plan and prepare for meetings with lecturers, the year co-ordinator and the Head of School.
- If a lecturer is not responsive, you may take up your issue with the year co-ordinator.
- Do not be intimidated by the school or your lecturers. This relationship should be one of mutual respect.
Things class reps are not expected to do:
- Champion your own cause.
- Handle harassment cases and serious issues of conflict. (In these cases, refer students to an appropriate support body.)
- Assist students with personal, emotional or psychological problems. (Again, rather refer students to an appropriate support body.)
- Raise a problem involving a particular staff member at your meeting with the Head of School. (Take up such matters either directly with the lecturer or with the year co-ordinator.)
- (This system is intended to be constructive.)
Last Modified: Mon, 07 Mar 2022 11:22:37 SAST