Academic Quality Procedures Handbook

5. Student Feedback

5.2 PGR Student-Staff Liaison Committee: Code of Practice

  1. Each School shall have at least one formally constituted Student-Staff Liaison Committee (hereafter SSLC), or equivalent Committee, where staff and postgraduate research students may meet together for discussion and consultation about the students’ research degree programmes and other matters relevant to the quality of students' academic experience as postgraduate researchers. This Committee shall be separate from each School’s SSLC for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students.
  2. It is recognised that Schools may, individually, have different names for their PGR Student-Staff Committees to suit their particular needs and requirements. However, each Director of Doctoral Programmes is responsible for ensuring that his/ her School abides by this Code of Practice, and must inform the Postgraduate Executive Officer at the Students’ Union if any changes are proposed to their Committee’s practice that differ from what is outlined here.
  3. Students from each year of PGR study and, where possible, from each Department within a School shall be represented on the SSLC (or equivalent Committee). Each School shall also have a Lead PGR Representative who acts both as a central contact for Directors of Doctoral Programmes and as a liaison between Schools and the PGR President and Vice-President. Schools should ensure that there is fair and inclusive representation of parts and research degree programmes within the body of PGR Representatives. Schools may prefer to operate with separate SSLCs (or equivalent Committees) for each Department, for each programme, or for Centres for Doctoral Training. In all cases the SSLC (or equivalent Committee) should report directly to the School Research Committee. Wherever possible, Schools should consider providing, in addition to the above, representation on the Committee for minority groups among PGR students, such as part-time students.
  4. The Associate Dean of Research, Director for Doctoral Programmes, PGR administrator, and PGR Representatives shall be members of the SSLC (or equivalent Committee) ex-officio. Relevant staff may also be included in the membership. Schools may wish to consider whether supervisory staff of other Schools contributing to their research degree programmes (e.g. through interdisciplinary supervisory teams) should be represented. It is recommended that there should be more students than members of staff present at all SSLC meetings.
  5. PGR Representatives shall be elected by the year groups and/ or research degree programmes they stand to represent on an annual basis in the autumn term. Prior to the election of PGR Representatives, PGR students should be briefed by their School on the role of PGR Representatives, PGR SSLCs (or equivalent Committees), and the responsibilities involved. This should be done not only through the formal Doctoral College inductions, but also through in-School communications, such as email, School doctoral training seminar programmes, and any in-School inductions. Summaries of this information will be provided by Loughborough Students’ Union.
  6. Lists of the PGR Representative positions that are to be elected will be gathered by Schools, and elections for those positions will be coordinated by Schools. Detailed information and support will be provided by LSU. Elections should be completed and the names of successful candidates forwarded to Schools and the Postgraduate Executive Officer of the Students’ Union no later than the end of Week 5 of semester 1. The Students’ Union will provide training for all PGR Representatives in Week 7. The first SSLC (or equivalent Committee) meeting should not, therefore, be held before Week 8.
  7. Elections for Lead PGR Representatives in each School will be coordinated by the Postgraduate Executive Officer and the Students’ Union, and will be completed no later than the end of Week 5 of semester 1. Elections for the PGR President and Vice-President will be coordinated by the Postgraduate Executive Officer and the Students’ Union, and will take place during the summer period preceding the new academic year.
  8. As well as attending their School’s SSLC (or equivalent Committee), the Lead PGR Representatives from each School shall be required to attend meetings with the PGR President and Vice-President, normally three times annually. To facilitate the gathering and sharing of feedback from doctoral researchers, these meetings shall normally be held at least one fortnight prior to the meetings of the Doctoral College Sub-Committee. The PGR President and Vice-President shall ensure that additional meetings can be called in case of need.
  9. Schools should make the following information available to all PGR Representatives*:

    -          School/Departmental handbooks for PGR students;

    -          University regulations for Research Degree Programmes and Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes;

    -          Past School/Departmental PGR SSLC (or equivalent Committee) minutes and papers;

    -          Briefing on the role of the School/Departmental PGR SSLC (or equivalent Committee) and other academic decision-making bodies.

    * If available on University web pages, PGR Representatives should be given appropriate links.

  10. The Committee shall be chaired by the School’s Director of Doctoral Programmes or his/ her nominee (normally a member of academic staff). The Director of Doctoral Programmes or his/ her nominee is 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.
  11. The secretary of the Committee shall be an administrative member of School staff appointed by the Director of Doctoral Programmes or nominee. It is recommended that this be the School’s PGR administrator.
  12. A minimum of three meetings of the Committee should be called in each academic year. Schools may find it helpful to align these with the dates of undergraduate and PGT SSLC meetings. Meetings should be scheduled to avoid narrow time constraints where members do not have time to raise points deemed to be important. Mechanisms should be available to allow groups of members to have additional meetings called in case of need.
  13. Contributions for the agenda should be called for approximately two weeks prior to the meetings and an approved agenda (including any papers or reports) should be circulated at least one week prior to the meeting to members of the Committee. Primarily, time should be given to proactively seeking feedback from PGR Representatives on their cohorts and programmes. Reports from other parties (such as the library) or on other relevant matters (such as results of and responses to the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey) should then be discussed. Every member of the SSLC (or equivalent Committee) shall have the right to submit items for inclusion on the agenda and to submit papers for discussion.
  14. The SSLC (or equivalent Committee) should have the following agenda as a minimum. This does not preclude Schools including additional agenda items as and when appropriate:

    -          Apologies

    -          Minutes of the last meeting

    -          Matters arising from the minutes not on the agenda

    -          Reports (can include reports from):

    -          PGR Representatives

    -          Academic Librarian

    -          Careers Network

    -          University consultations

    -          Reports to be considered at least once in the academic year:

    -          Outcomes from the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey and actions taken in response

    -          Any other business

    -          Date of the next meeting

  15. Full minutes shall be kept of each meeting. These minutes will clearly record all points raised, along with the initials of the member of staff or PGR Representative responsible for ensuring the point is actioned and reporting back at the following SSLC (or equivalent Committee). The minutes shall normally be circulated within ten working days of the meeting by email to every member of the Committee and forwarded to the next School Research Committee meeting. A copy shall be sent to Student Voice (voiceadvisor@lsu.co.uk). In the cases where a School’s PGR Representatives are present at a Committee that is not exclusively for the purposes of liaison between PGR students and staff, the relevant section of these minutes should be circulated instead.