Each year, the Student Union oversees the election of new and enthusiastic Student Reps. There are three different kinds of Representatives; Programme, School and Equality & Diversity. Programme Representatives are voted for by each given Programme, School Representatives are voted for by all the students in each school, both elections overseen by SU Co-Presidents. The Equality & Diversity Representatives are selected by the SU Equality and Diversity Officer, Halimo Hussain.
As you work closely with the Student Union in all these positions, we are here to support you. We will provide you with the relevant training needed, as well as meet with you to talk through any questions, concerns or assistance you might need throughout your time as a Student Representative. We want to make it as an enriching experience for you as possible and appreciate your time and efforts, so will do everything possible to support and help you!
Please note that aside from these roles, there are in-programme Reps such as Social or Studio Reps, who operate within their programme cohorts, so there’s plenty of ways to be involved.
Each programme elects, depending on cohort size, a number of students who will represent them. There is one Programme Rep per 25 students on a course, so for instance, if there are 23 students on MA Photography, you will need to elect One Programme Rep. If there are 45 students on MA Painting, there should be 2 Programme Reps, as the number of the students exceeds 25, and so on and so forth. These representatives are the channel through which feedback is relayed between students, staff and the Students’ Union.
First and foremost, Programme Reps are a vital link between their fellow students, the SU, relevant staff members like admin, technical services or senior staff members. Through relaying information directly from the Student body to these relevant people, you help us to represent you in issues that you care about and help change the college for the better.
Being a Programme Representative is an opportunity to network with student representatives from across the whole college, gain a wide understanding of the College’s inner workings, develop skills in communication, negotiation, teamwork, committee participation, leadership, problem-solving, motivating others, organisation, lobbying, community service.
It also means representing opinions that are not necessarily your own, so it’s important that you can be supportive of others and objective when approaching communication, which I am sure you will be great at!
What do Programme Reps need to attend?
Like any kind of Student Representative, there is some time you need to put aside to attend particular meetings where you are needed. These should not impact your studies, which should always come first. These meetings will be where you relay the feedback you have been collected from your cohort to relevant staff members. We will be on hand to support you and assist with any preparations you might need to make for these meetings.
Listed in order from the the most local to college-wide events, this is what you will need to attend:
1. PROGRAMME FORUM
Once a Term
Attendees: Head of Programme (HoP), Tutors and all students in your course.
Programme Forums are for everyone on your course. Your HoP should convene this once a term. If you can’t see it in your calendar ask your HoP for the date and ask them if they can add it to the course calendar. If there are particular points you would like to bring up, send an agenda ahead of the meeting so that your HoP knows what to expect. It is important to note that the programme forum is for discussing any issues that you are facing as students, not only programme related issues. Let your HoP know what is going on. Look at the READING, NOTING AND REPORTING section in best practice for advice on these meetings, having records is super useful!
2. HoP MEETING
Once a Month
Attendees: HoP, Senior Tutor(s), Programme Reps.
This is a chance for reps to relay information to and from your programme leaders more concisely. It is also an opportunity to build a good relationship with your tutors, give them a feel for how your peers are responding to the course and get any niggles ironed out. Things discussed in this meeting should inform the agenda for your Programme Forum. Once again, prompt your HoP to make sure these are scheduled.
3. SCHOOL ASSEMBLY
Once a Term
Attendees: SU Co-President, School Dean, Programme Reps, School Reps, EDI Reps.
Once a term you will meet with all reps from your school (Architecture, Arts and Humanities, Communication or Design) along with the Dean of your school and one of the SU Co-Presidents. These are a great opportunity to let us know about programme specific issues faced across your school.
4. CAMPUS ASSEMBLY
Once a Term
*TBC these may not happen so regularly due to current remote learning
Attendees: SU Co-President, Buildings and Estates, Programme Reps
For this assembly, you will meet once a term with reps from your campus (Battersea, Kensington or White City) along with a representative from Buildings and Estates and a SU Co-President. In this meeting, building-specific issues relating to your particular campus will be discussed. E.g. Cafes, toilets, studio space, building access etc.
5. COLLEGE-WIDE ASSEMBLY
Once a Term
Attendees: SU Co-Presidents, All Programme Reps, All School Reps, All EDI Reps.
The College Wide Assembly is our opportunity to relay all the most important information on activity at the RCA and within the SU as well as a chance for you to provide feedback and raise any issues facing all students. Democratic decisions are made here with each Rep holding one vote.
Each school will have one School Representative who is voted for by all the students in each school.
School Representatives need to have a good understanding of the college, and so we recommend that they are second-year students. School Representatives need to not only voice the concerns of their cohort but their whole school, which is no mean feat! A great School Representative has the opportunity to represent the School in a wider sense and work with the Programme Representatives to gain an understanding of different programme perspectives.
Being a School Representative is an opportunity to network with student representatives from across the whole college, gain a wide understanding of the College’s inner workings, develop skills in communication, negotiation, teamwork, committee participation, leadership, problem-solving, motivating others, organisation, lobbying, community service.
What do School Reps need to attend?
School Representatives need to attend the School Assembly; the once-a-month Senior Leadership Meeting (comprising the School Dean, Heads of Programmes, SU, and other departments); the Learning and Teaching Committee; and the College-wide Assembly to relay the key information collected from Programme Representatives.
Equality & Diversity Representatives
For the academic year of 20/21, we are looking to select 20 individuals to take on the role of Equality and Diversity Representatives. This is a students’ union led opportunity which will be facilitated by Halimo, our Equality & Diversity officer.
Equality and Diversity representatives play an important role in highlighting and addressing issues relating to marginalised groups. They ensure that the voices of such students are raised in institutional forums. This role is driven by the desire to create positive change. We hope to engage individuals who are passionate about creating awareness and working with others to challenge the many manifestations of inequality at the RCA.
In order to become an EDI representative, you must identify with the following liberation groups: Women, LGBTQIA, POC and/or Disabled. It’s a self-nomination process that is very straightforward. You can nominate yourself by filling out this form where you will answer a few questions about yourself, the role and your time commitment.
The benefits of being an EDI Rep:
You get to be a part of a supportive community that is committed to creating positive change for the most marginalised.
You will receive training that will help you acquire and build up your skills. We provide training such as anti-oppression at the start of your role but participating in such a space always provides opportunities to informally learn from each other and skillshare.
You will build up knowledge of higher education and diversity practices.
Lastly, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and network with like-minded individuals with a similar lived experience and worldview.
What do EDI Reps need to attend?
As an EDI representative, you are expected to attend monthly working group meetings. This is a space in which you and your fellow EDI representatives can connect, strategise. We envision that this space will allow you to formulate a series of activities, events or campaigns that seek to confront inequality at the RCA.
EDI Reps are also asked to attend RCA Equality and Diversity Committee meetings, however, it is often a select few and who attends these meetings can be decided upon in the working group.
We additionally encourage E&D reps to join where relevant the above forums and assemblies programme reps attend: PROGRAMME FORUM, HoP MEETING, SCHOOL ASSEMBLY, CAMPUS ASSEMBLY, COLLEGE-WIDE ASSEMBLY
We know that at times it can be mentally exhausting to challenge structural inequality. The Students’ Union wants this role to be manageable in its ambitions to positively impact students and the wider RCA community. As such you can find support in the following to help you throughout your time as EDI rep:
Support and advice from the SU Equality and Diversity Officer. Halimo will be your main point of contact should you have any questions or concerns. So always feel free to get in contact.
For the 2020/21 academic year, we have introduced new training for EDI reps. The core training that EDI reps will receive is Anti-Oppression training, it will aim to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of issues facing various marginalised groups and the kind of frameworks and models that we can use to challenge and address existing inequalities. This will be delivered at the start of your role.
Time commitment & our support
Being a Rep should not be a huge time commitment. It should work out at no more than 8-10 hours a term. As previously mentioned, we are here to support you as much as you support us, and if the position becomes too much we can work together to ensure it is manageable and enjoyable. The role of being a student representative should not be exhaustive, and only benefit your experience as a student at the RCA. You will receive training prior to starting your position, where we will go through best practices, organisation, preparation for meetings as well as training you in how to deal with sensitive issues and complaints.
To be a School or Programme rep, please nominate yourself on the Rep Nomination Sheet by lunchtime on Monday 19 October. Students in their programmes or pathways vote to elect them democratically from 19th to 23rd of October. This whole procedure will be overseen by the SU