Every few years the Students’ Union has to review its elected officer roles to make sure they still reflect the needs of the student body this year we conduct an extensive review using a variety of different types of research including; running a survey of current students, SU & key University staff, interviews with the current elected officer team, a review of the candidates' manifestos from the last 3 years of SU elections, a review of the officer roles across over 100 other students’ union’s across the country and using some sector research commissioned by other Students Unions.
All of this was reviewed and analysed and presented to the Students’ Union trustee board who approved the following changes:
This year has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone and one of the biggest topics on the Union’s agenda has been student wellbeing. For the last three years, it has also been the top item for candidates standing for all of the elected officer roles. It is such a big topic that it is felt that the responsibility should not just be left to one elected officer on their own and it was decided that we will remove the position of Vice President Welfare and make student wellbeing and welfare a priority for all of the elected officers. In the last few years our officers and elected officers across the country have been working on shared campaigns and goals rather than working individually on them to try and create bigger and more long-lasting change for students this approach will continue and student welfare will be the top issue.
Another area where we are trying to increase our support for students is with Postgraduate students. Postgraduate students make up around 20% of the student body but only make up about 7% of the students involved in SU activities such as Course Reps and Societies, and only 11% of the students using our Union Support services. Over the past few years, we have increased the amount of work we are doing with postgraduate students, especially in our work with the Doctoral College and PGR students, but we want to do even more. We have decided to create the role of Postgraduate Officer to help us to develop our activities and services to get more postgraduate students involved and to help us run better campaigns for postgraduate students.
One other change we have made is that our officer’s job titles have changed from President and Vice Presidents to President and Officers, e.g. Education Officer, Activities Officer rather than Vice President Education and Vice President Activities. All of our elected officers are on an equal level and as trustees are equally responsible for the decisions the SU takes. The old President and Vice President titles have led to some confusion amongst students and staff within the University as they see the Vice Presidents as being managed by or supervised by the President which is not the case.
We hope that this change will rectify any misunderstandings.