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Staff Class Rep Information


A mini Class Representation Google Site has been developed for departmental administrators and lecturers housing all relevant information and documents.

Information for Departmental Administrators:

https://sites.google.com/a/waikato.ac.nz/class-representation/for-departments

Information for Lecturers:

https://sites.google.com/a/waikato.ac.nz/class-representation/for-lecturers

Raising the profile of your class reps

Short of hauling class reps up in front of their class, departments may be able to help raise the profiles of their class reps by trying some of these:

* Place a photo board in the department.
* Post the agenda/ minutes on bulletin boards.
* Ask your reps to announce upcoming meetings, meeting decisions and activities.
* Place a “post-box” in the department where students can leave messages for their rep.
* Set aside a small amount of time for socialising during the meeting.
* Encourage students to use the rep system.
* Put the photos and email address of reps on your department website.

Making sure your class has a representative

Elections

Some classes prefer to nominate and/or elect their class reps. To administer an election ask students to nominate candidates, or themselves and then ask for a show of hands or conduct a paper ballot, depending on the size of your class.

Volunteers

Usually only one or two students are willing to volunteer, in which case both of them could be the class representatives. If there are several volunteers, you could ask the students to decide amongst themselves who takes the role.

Anonymous elections

To conduct an anonymous election, ask interested students to outline in a few sentences on a piece of paper why they feel they would be a good class rep, and then submit that to you. You can then introduce the candidates to the class based on what they have written without revealing their names. The class may then vote on whom they think should represent them. The only candidate who then needs to reveal themselves is the elected rep.

The Chosen One

Some lecturers prefer to choose their class reps. This method is not recommended for undergraduate classes, as someone who is “strong-armed” into the job is less likely to fulfill the responsibilities.

Please note: An OHT information sheet will be available from your departmental administrator. This details the class rep system in brief and is a handy tool to use before choosing your rep - especially in first year classes.

Department Meetings

Department (sometimes called Subject Committee) Meetings should be held in your departments at least twice a semester.

Who sits on these committees

Some departments have a sub-committee of 3-4 staff members (appointed annually) for department meetings. They are required to attend most of these meetings, ensuring continuity and that individual staff members don’t get “stuck” with the job every year. Other interested staff should be invited to attend.

Faculty Board Representative

A Faculty Board representative should be elected at your first meeting in A Semester. It is the role of this representative to attend Faculty Board meetings, and then report back to the subject committee meeting on what transpired. To achieve continuity these reps should attend the department meetings for the entire year.

What do I do in these meetings?

A good way to encourage all reps to have their say is to simply move around the table and ask for comments from each representative. This encourages those who might be slightly hesitant to speak, and enables staff members to hear about the papers that are running smoothly instead of just the papers with perceived problems.

Dealing with issues that arise from these meetings

Generally, departments nominate a staff member to speak and possibly investigate issues that arise during a meeting. There are generally five “types” of issues that arise:

* The “this could have been solved weeks ago” issue. Some reps believe that a department meeting is the only forum where they can air their concerns, without realising that they may approach their lecturer in the interim. Combat this by informing reps at the first meeting that they should approach the lecturer first. The issue may then be taken to the department meeting if this is unsuccessful, or if it is a department-wide problem.

* The “able to deal with this right now” issue. Department staff are usually able to answer these questions right away to the reps’ satisfaction.

* The “Dr ___ will look into that issue and report back to the next meeting” issue. Usually one staff member is nominated to do this.

* The “this will probably affect students in other departments” issue. Sometimes issues arise that concern all students – eg a reduction in Library hours. If issues like this do arise, it’s a good idea to contact the Student Support Advisor, who can co-ordinate activities from a central point.

* The “unfortunately Dr ___ is not here to defend himself/herself” issue. Sometimes reps bring up sensitive issues, which are not really appropriate for an open forum. If this does happen, it is probably most effective to stop the rep in mid spiel and ask him or her to speak (about the problem) with the Chairperson of Department after the meeting.