i guess the exact duties vary from dept to dept but generally:
The exact offical definition by the union is as follows:
What are Course Reps?
A Course Rep is a student elected to represent students on a course or department. They are elected from other students on the course and hold the position for one academic year. Course reps sit on the Student/Staff liaison committee. They receive complaints about the course and other academic related issues and take them to the meeting and then feed back to the students.
Course reps are really important in that they inform other students on the reasoning behind decisions and help academics know what students want and need so that their courses can be as enjoyable and accessible as possible.
Increasingly the department, the university and the QAA (the quality assessment agency) think that course reps are a really good idea. Obviously the union has always thought this!
Why do we have a course rep system?
We have a Course Rep system for two main reasons:
Firstly it enables students to have a voice in the academic decisions that will affect them. It is very difficult to have good quality of teaching and a style of assessment that suits students if they not consulted.
Secondly, it allows academics and those who make the decisions a chance to explain why they make the decisions they make and to justify the way things are.
It is really important that there is this communication so that any problems can be sorted out as quickly as possible.
What sort of issues do Course Reps deal with?
* Course deadlines
* Reading lists
* Lack of decent books
* Hidden course costs
* How quickly work is marked
* Cancelled lectures
* Problems with certain tutors
* Discriminatory practice
The job of a course rep is quite varied, and quite demanding. It is hard work but there is loads that you gain from it which will be useful to you and other students now and for yourself in later life.
Why would I want to be a course rep?
Apart from getting a warm feeling of satisfaction when you know that you have achieved something for another student it is good thing to put on your CV.
You will develop very good communication and negotiation skills as well as how to work in a team. You will learn more about time management, public speaking and presentation, being assertive as well as loads of other skills that will impressive future employers.
At the end of your year you will receive official certification identifying your transferable skills, which can be cherished and taken to job interviews.
It really is a worthwhile (and interesting). To know that you have influenced a decision that will benefit every student in the department is quite impressive.
When are Course Reps elected?
In October, course reps will be elected and will receive training for the coming year, there will also be advanced training for those who have been a course rep before. Those who have already been elected and received training will continue to be in close contact with the union. They will attend the union committees and student council where they can raise any issues they wish.
What are Senate and Faculty Reps?
As well as having Course Reps there are also faculty and Senate Reps.
A Faculty Rep is a Course Rep who represents students on the faculty board. A Faculty Rep should be elected from Course Rep. Most faculties have five or six reps. Faculty Reps help coordinate the work of all the Course reps and make sure that they are working constructively.
Faculty Reps have greater contact with academics and decision makers at a higher level and will be able to present the student perspective as a whole from within the faculty.
One student from each faculty sits on Senate (the university's academic decision making body). They hold their position for one academic year and represent the students of the faculty at the highest level.
Senate Reps have voting rights on student council and must liase with all other student reps to ensure that issues are known prior to Senate. These positions are filled by election.