Academic Quality Procedures Handbook

5. Student Feedback

5.1 Staff-Student Liaison Committee: Code of Practice for Taught Students

  1. Each School shall have at least one formally constituted Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) where students and staff meet for discussion and consultation about the student's course/programme of study and other matters relevant to the quality of students' academic experience.
  2. Students from each year of each Undergraduate course/programme shall be represented on the SSLC. Schools should arrange separate SSLC meetings for Postgraduate Taught students where practicable. Schools may prefer to operate with separate SSLCs for each department/subject area/programme where the number of potential attendees is a concern. In all cases the SSLCs should report directly to the School Learning and Teaching Committee. Postgraduate/Doctoral Research students shall also have SSLCs and these are covered by a separate code of practice.
  3. Studentmembers of the SSLC – Course Representatives (‘Course Reps’ or ‘Reps’) shall be elected by the year groups they stand to represent on an annual basis. Prior to the election of all Course Reps, the whole year group shall be briefed by Schools during week 1 and 2 on the role of the Reps and the responsibilities involved. Detailed information and promotional materials to support this will be provided by Loughborough Students' Union (LSU). Election of Course Reps shall be co-ordinated for Schools by LSU and conducted using a democratic online election system (single transferable vote).  LSU shall encourage a diverse population of students to nominate themselves for the Course Rep role and seek to remove any potential barriers to participation. Where there are concerns that the demographics of the elected Course Rep team do not reflect those of the cohort they seek to represent, LSU will work with Reps and Schools to take appropriate action to ensure all students’ voices are represented effectively.
  4. Elections process and timescales:
    • During the summer prior to elections, LSU will contact all Schools/Departments to request a key contact who is responsible for working with LSU to co-ordinate this process. LSU will clearly communicate their key staff member co-ordinating the elections and their contact details. Schools shall work with LSU to provide up to date list of all courses/programmes and parts, at Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught level, that require a Course Rep to be elected and how many Reps are required. LSU shall provide Schools/Departments with a schedule of Course Rep training sessions and the key contact should inform LSU of any potential timetable clashes or issues at the earliest opportunity.
    • Elections will normally commence at the start of week 1 and run until the end of week 3 (which includes one by-election period). LSU shall provide Schools with a confirmed timeline before the start of teaching and will provide regular progress updates throughout the elections period. Schools are responsible for updating their staff on the elections timeline and process with materials provided by LSU.
    • Following the election period, LSU will provide Schools with the results which should then be communicated to staff and students.
    • If by this point there are still Course Rep positions unfilled, Schools shall be supported by LSU to appoint students into these positions to ensure full representation where possible. The names of these Reps shall be confirmed to LSU normally by week 5 so that the students can receive training and support in the role. No student who was unsuccessful in the online election due to RON (re-open nominations) shall be appointed into the Course Rep role.
  5. LSU shall provide compulsory training for Course Reps in weeks 4, 5 and 6 followed by online training for those unable to attend or appointed later in the year. The training shall cover as a minimum: 
    • Loughborough University representation structures
    • The role and responsibilities of a Rep
    • Appropriate and innovative methods for gathering feedback
    • Representing a diverse cohort
    • SSLC meetings, conduct and behaviour
    • Informal feedback and problem solving
    • Working in partnership with staff to make positive changes to the academic experience
    • Being accountable to the students you represent
  6. Schools shall provide the following useful information to all Course Reps:
    • Briefing on the role of the School/Departmental SSLC and other academic decision-making bodies
    • An up to date list of key contacts in the School
    • Past SSLC Minutes and papers
    • Survey results and action plans e.g. NSS, PTES
    • Reports on previous module feedback scores and action plans
    • Reports on previous feedback from External Examiners and action plans
  7. Pre-SSLC meetings may be arranged at School or course/programme level to enable Course Reps to have a more detailed discussion of student feedback prior to the formal meetings. Pre-meetings can help to identify feedback better raised in another forum or issues that could be easily resolved informally ahead of the SSLC meeting. These meetings shall be organised by the School President and notes should be taken for reference at the SSLC. In all cases they shall be student led with staff providing support and guidance only as needed.
  8. A minimum of 3 SSLC meetings shall be called in each academic year in the following teaching weeks (to allow time for Reps to be trained and to gather feedback from students):
    • Autumn term – Weeks 7-9
    • Spring term – Weeks 4-6
    • Summer term – Weeks 9-12
  9. Meetings shall be scheduled at least 4 weeks in advance and at a time allowing for full student participation. Every Course Rep shall be invited to attend at least 3 SSLC meetings per year. In recognition of this being a voluntary role, Reps shall not normally be required to attend more than 6 hours of meetings per term.
  10. To ensure SSLC meetings are accessible to all members and to facilitate attendance, meetings shall normally be scheduled on a day where teaching is already timetabled and at a time that does not clash with other School events. Schools shall set aside a budget so that reasonable and agreed travel expenses incurred by any member of the SSLC can be fully reimbursed. Accessible formats and printed copies of SSLC agendas and papers shall be provided in advance of all meetings upon request.
  11. The SSLC shall be chaired by the Dean of School or their nominee, normally the Associate Dean (Teaching) or a member of academic staff. The meetings shall be co-chaired by the School President(s) who shall be a previous Course Rep elected by other Reps through an online process ran by LSU. Some Schools may wish to propose more than one School President is elected to cover each Department/Subject area/Programme. LSU shall provide training and support for School Presidents including how to chair meetings effectively. The Chairs are responsible for any decisions reached by the committee and for ensuring that specific action points from meetings are carried out and reported on at the next meeting. The secretary of the SSLC shall be an administrative member of School staff appointed by the Dean of School or nominee. Academic Registry shall provide guidance and support for chairs and secretaries of SSLCs.
  12. The Associate Dean (Teaching), Undergraduate and Postgraduate Directors of Study and Programme Directors shall be included in the membership of SSLCs as appropriate. The Chairs may invite the student Department Committee Chair and other members of management, teaching,support staff or professional services staff to attend as required. Membership of the meetings should be managed carefully to ensure that there are usually more students than members of staff present at SSLC meetings and that the meetings are not too large to be productive and completed within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. 2 hours per SSLC). In the first instance, Course Reps should raise any feedback about specific modules with the relevant Module Leader.
  13. The SSLC shall include as a minimum the following agenda items (as approved by LTC):
    • Welcome and introductions
    • Reporting on actions taken and actions outstanding
    • Student feedback from each Course Rep and new actions agreed
    • Any Other Business (for items not able to be deferred to the next meeting)
    • Additional items to be considered at least once per academic year [for brief discussion and questions]:
      • Report on outcomes from student module feedback questionnaires and actions taken in response
      • Report on outcomes from the NSS and PTES and actions taken in response
      • Report on External Examiner comments and actions taken in response
  14. Any additional items shall be discussed under Any Other Business (AOB) with most of the meeting time dedicated to student feedback. Every member of the SSLC shall have the right to propose items for inclusion on the agenda before or at the start of the meeting and to submit papers for discussion.
  15. Schools are encouraged to develop a model for the SSLC (in line with the Code of Practice) that works well for the School, encourages open and positive dialogue between students and staff and seeks to achieve timely positive change for students where appropriate. LSU and Academic Registry will work with Schools to develop and promote innovative SSLC practices across the University.
  16. The secretary shall keep minutes of each meeting in the form of an issues and actions tracking document to be updated during the SSLC. This document shall clearly list all points raised; along with the initials of the staff member and/or Course Rep/School President responsible for ensuring the point is actioned and reported back at the following SSLC. The minutes shall be circulated in this format within 10 working days of the meeting by email to every member of the SSLC, to LSU Student Voice (voiceadvisor@lsu.co.uk) and the Education Executive Officer (EducationEO@lsu.co.uk) and made available to the next School/Departmental Staff Meeting and School Learning & Teaching Committee. The Chairs shall be responsible for monitoring progress on actions between meetings.
  17. Where joint honours students raise issues relating to their Partner School at the SSLC meeting of their Lead School, the secretary to the SSLC shall be responsible for ensuring that this feedback is communicated to the Partner School. The Partner School shall be responsible for ensuring that actions are taken as appropriate and reported back to the SSLC.
  18. Course Reps are expected and encouraged to attend SSLC meetings as a key part of their role. If a Rep is unable to attend the meeting they should, where possible, email their apologies and feedback to the secretary in advance of the meeting. LSU will endeavour to track the engagement of all Course Reps, including attendance at SSLCs and training. Where the School or LSU have concerns about any aspect of a Course Rep or School President’s performance in the role, LSU will first seek to meet with them to offer some additional training and support. If their performance does not improve a decision shall be made by LSU, following discussion with the School and School President (as appropriate) as to whether it would be appropriate and beneficial to re-appoint the position. If a Course Rep or School President chooses to step down from their role, LSU will work with the School to appoint a replacement.