The Student Union at Heriot-Watt University has recognised the global nature of its activities by substantially enhancing the student voice for all their students. They now have a fully representative structure across all of their campuses – the UK (Edinburgh and Galashiels) and overseas campuses in Dubai and Malaysia. Both overseas campuses have fully operational and effective class rep systems which mirror the work done in the UK campuses and ensures that student views are captured on learning and teaching at all levels.
The UK Student Union have been keen to ensure that there was input to decisions on academic issues from all students irrespective of their study location. Currently they have a system whereby all decisions regarding activities within the UK (other than academic issues) are made by the UK Executive Committee and decisions regarding activities within Dubai are made by the Dubai Student Committee; this will also be the case when the Malaysia structure, including the election of a President, is in place.
Importantly however, they have recently implemented a system where the Dubai and Malaysia Presidents are invited to meetings regarding academic or global university decisions. This new structure respects the autonomy of each campus and allows for varying legal regulations surrounding unions in different countries, whilst enabling the views of students on all campuses to be heard on academic or global university decisions.
These moves, together with the election of student committees and the appointment of School Officers on both overseas campuses is ensuring that the student voice on learning and teaching and decision-making from across the university is heard at the highest level.
For more information on these initiatives contact Jessie Nelmes, the UK Student Union President at firstname.lastname@example.org