What happened at Rep Con?

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What is Rep Conference?

Rep Conference is a day when Programme Reps and Part Time Officers come together and take part in extra development sessions and Q&A sessions with the most senior leaders of the University. Of course, this year it happened on MS Teams and Reps joined in from far and wide to represent you!

What did the Programme Reps talk about?

Programme Reps had a morning of 8 special development sessions to choose from, on topics such as mental health awareness, professional communications, equality, diversity and inclusion and many more!

Programme Reps also had the chance to speak directly with the most senior leaders at the university and Union about issues that are affecting you. Here is what they asked:

As you can imagine, COVID-19, testing, the return to university after Christmas, plus students' mental wellbeing during the pandemic was a big part of the discussion. The University and Union have continued to work together with the government's continuing guidance and the most recent updates can be found on our dedicated COVID-19 Hub.

This includes news on fees, accommodation and rent, assessments and lots more. The consideration of students has been at the heart of all discussions, and the Q&A session was extremely valuable in getting student voice directly to the senior leaders.

Aside from Covid-specific discussions, these issues were also raised:

Issue Raised Response
Timetable release for semester 2 is due for release for 18th December. Can this be brought forward at all to support those with additional commitments? Releasing the timetable is conditioned by Government guidance, which is due by 30th November. Our educational model is flexible, and we can move very quickly to implement our model to maximise the ammount of time on campus, educational learning and co-curricular activities. All timetables, including Joint Honours ones will be available by 18th December.
Can volunteering opportunities be promoted more? At the moment you have to sign up for a newsletter from the Careers and Employment Service and select your preferences for types of volunteering, rather than seeing all those available All university volunteering opportunities are posted on to Careers and Employment Service vacancy portal which is accessible through the Careers website. We also promote all volunteering opportunities through our two Volunteering specific social media channels on Twitter and Facebook.
The Union also has a dedicated page for all our volunteering opportunities, including being a caller on our COVID-19 Student Support Line, which has already been a steady lifeline for students who are isolating.
Some university staff can be quite slow to respond to emails and messages, what can be done about this? It was obvious that when we've been working largely online, a lot of the queries were coming to multiple inboxes. The university has picked up on this and there is going to be a business analysis and process review during the year, including stats sent directly to members of staff with analytics of response times etc. Students should have a different experience of this in September.
Is there going to be a review on giving assessment feedback? I have still not been given a grade after 15 days. These are things we are not happy to see and any delays to assessment feedback can be dealt with by senior leaders in your college.

One Programme Rep also asked the senior leaders "What makes a successful graduate?" They answered:

The best degree you can possible can get, and being able to apply your knowledge outside of the academic environment. Plus you need to be good at working in a team and be able to show this through your experiences (e.g. playing a sport or volunteering). When you get into a workplace it is about being in a team. You also need to be authentic: show that you can be yourself and can explain yourself and how you have engaged with your education and experience. Go to art galleries, theatres and decide what you do like and what you don’t. A degree alone isn’t enough, but those other attributes make you a rounded graduate.

An academic learning experience that is a blend of curricular and co-curricular. Identify where your passion sits, be committed and do more research. Working with diverse and different individuals and taking yourself out of your comfort zone. General citizenship, connecting with the big issues.

Always debate the points and remain true to yourself. Never accept what someone is telling you and always ask ‘why?’

All in all, the conference was a sucess with 100% of Reps saying they would recommend attending the next one! If you would like to attend next year's Rep Conference you will need to be elected in as a Programme Rep. Speak to your Year Group Leader for more information, or email stephanie.groves@derbyunion.co.uk


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