22 Jun 2016

SPOTLIGHT ON.... West Lothian College sets its sights on Learning and Teaching issues

West Lothian College Students’ Association is working on the biggest college-wide shakeup of representation in years, all geared to giving students a greater voice in solving learning and teaching issues.

As of August 2016 each curriculum area will be served by its own Vice President (VP), elected by students to serve as the lead representative for that area. They will support class reps in curriculum areas like Computing and Engineering, Creative Industries and Construction with support from the Students’ Association.

VPs will be paid a living wage for their work which includes holding weekly drop-in sessions for class reps in their area, attending meetings and administrative time. Elections were held in May 2016 and every position was filled, with most being contested. An unexpected benefit was staff saying they appreciated the opportunity to play a part in reps’ development by identifying particularly talented reps and encouraging them to stand.

Previously class reps had been supported by the Students’ Association directly in meetings, but this year the decision was taken to empower students to lead their own affairs on a local level. The VPs, who also serve on the Student Executive, are supported by the Students’ Association to develop class reps’ strengths. This will allow the Students’ Association to deliver its expertise in a more focused way than has been possible in the past.

In June 2016 sparqs delivered training to VPs about representation and their role, in conjunction with the Students’ Association. An extension of the sparqs project on lead reps, the training gave the VPs a grounding in what representation means, and how they can work practically with the Students’ Association and class reps to shape the student learning experience.

From August the VPs will be in their roles, supporting teams of reps to deliver change in their areas. Reps will still be trained by the Students’ Association, but this year they will have more direct contact with student representatives and with the Students’ Association’s focus changing to supporting more senior reps, support will be targeted.

The project is the brainchild of West Lothian College Students’ Association, and has been planned with involvement from both sparqs and NUS to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students’ Associations in Scotland.

For further information, contact Micole Robertson, Students’ Association Development Officer at West Lothian College Students’ Association, or Simon Jones, sparqs Development Consultant.

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