Your Vice President: Education, Gemma Lovegrove, explains the importance of Student Voice.
Student Voice is an integral part of any University's development, regardless of whether that service is run by the University or the Student's Union.
At the University of Northampton Student's Union, the Student Voice is student-owned, meaning that the students can fully engage in the future of their educational needs. The relationships built with services, Academic Staff and University Management are invaluable in furthering the educational and welfare needs of the students.
Student Voice is fronted by Course Advocates, who liaise with their programme leaders, lecturers and peers, the Faculty Advocates who support them and attend Faculty level meetings with university staff to escalate any outstanding enquiries, and then overall, Advocates are the supported by the VP Education. Using this system ensures that your views as a student are listened to, and your complaints acted upon in the correct manner.
Together with the VP Education, the Faculty Advocates make up the Education Committee (AKA Ed Com) who discuss any educational issues, campaign for equality and liberation in education and raise issues to the student council. This is an important process in enabling that the needs of the student are put first, and that the Union is student-owned. This means your Union, your services and your spaces, built on your needs.
Getting involved in Student Voice is easy and can help develop key transferable skills such as communication, resilience, time management and even more specific skills such as mediation and chairing meetings. Such skills are desirable to employers and dedicating your time to helping with the development of your course or faculty is rewarding for you and have benefits to your wider community. By developing your course and evolving by resolving issues, it enables us to share good practice within the University structure, rewarding those who are outstanding in their areas.
The end of the academic year is a time to reflect and share what has been resolved by working with our Student Advocates. These wins are celebrated with a celebration meal known as the STaR awards. This is decided by nominations in areas such as Course Advocate of the Year, Faculty Advocate of the Year with teaching and support staff also being rewarded for outstanding contributions in their areas. STaR awards are a fantastic way to round off the year and share successes of the Advocacy system, whilst celebrating a collaboration between Advocacy and the University.
You can find out what Gemma is doing throughout the year by following her on Twitter.