What is involved in being a rep?

Firstly, there are some key documents to help:


Making The Role Your Own

cohort builder wantedEach year there are Representatives who want to pursue a particular initiative, or who identify a particular aspect of SOAS or service within the School that they would like to further support, or that needs more focus. Yet, it can often be hard to follow through on ideas when you have to do a bit of everything. To allow Representatives to effectively pursue these interests there are a range of optional Student Liaison and Special Interests roles that can be undertaken, which connect to different aspects of the School and the broader student experience. 


These optional roles allow Student Representatives within academic departments to create formal links with staff who run other services (Student Liaison) and with the S.U Officers responsible for different areas of student interest and experience across the School (Special Interest), and work with these individuals to enhance student experience in response to student feedback and support needs. If there is something that needs to be addressed, but the department cannot do it, Representatives therefore have a channel to form relationships with other parts of the School where this can be addressed directly.

Student Liaison Roles

There are a number of optional Student Liaison Roles for both Student Representatives and School-level Student Representatives to get involved in at SOAS. The role of a Student Liaison is to be the 'lead' Student Representative for an academic department that works closely with different teams and service areas at SOAS by gathering student feedback on that service from students within their academic department and by working with the Head of that Service, or another delegated  staff member, to help support efforts to develop solutions to concerns and issues their academic community is facing.

Services liaison reps link to are:

  • The Library Service;

  • The Retention and Success team;

  • The SOAS Careers Service;

  • Student Advice and Wellbeing (SAaW);

  • The Access and Student Success team


Special Interest Roles

At SOAS we understand that Student Representatives may want to pursue interests or issues that they identify, which may not be included in a formal role description. Special Interest roles provide Representatives with an exciting opportunity to identify and pursue these interests, academic or otherwise, with the support of the SU Officers and other members of the School. One interest for which reps input is sought in 2020/21 is on Climate and Sustainability, and how it relates to each area of study (see the SU sustainability coordinator for details on this). In the past Student Representatives have pursued the following via Special Interest roles at SOAS: 

  • Social or extracurricular events planning within their academic department;

  • Running Book Clubs and supporting Reading Groups;

  • School-wide Decolonising Education initiatives;

  • Helped to highlight and address issues concerning accessibility and inclusion and climate and sustainability;

  • SU-led liberation campaigns and SU campaign priority areas. 

If you would like to pursue a Student Liaison and/or a Special Interest role as a Student Representative, please contact Antonia Bright (ab93@soas.ac.uk) - the Students’ Union Representation and Research Coordinator - who will be able to provide further information on request.


General questions


How do reps connect with students under covid-conditions?

Several ways... 
Shout outs: these were most effective face-to-face, but even with remote learning most lecturers can find a couple of minutes in an online classes to let a rep announce important information. Ask in advance, and be flexible if there is little time they might ask you to wait til the end. 
EMAIL: You can send emails using the student mailing lists. These allow posting (from a soas email account only) to your own department year group, or programme of studies. If you need to contact students on a different course either talk to other reps who may have access, or go through the SU. Explore the lists by loggin in to inet.soas.ac.uk, and go to 'Student Mailing Lists.
BLE: Reps will have access through a ble page, set up for each department - this is under development.

How else can students be proactive in the SOAS community?

Students are all members of the Students' Union, and can run for school-wide posiitions, doctoral researchers have the research students' association which runs a programme of student-led activities. 
The S.U has a number of liberation groups around specific cohorts.
There are over a hundred different sports clubs and societies through which students can set their own agendas and network with fellow students across the school. 
The school also runs a programme of Student Ambassadors which are paid positions connected to the widen participation work and open days (full information is on the school site). 

How are Research students represented?

Representatives from each department are invited as observers to any Research Students Association (RSA) Board meeting - this bridges the doctoral research community by drawing together researchers from a wide range of academic interests, and promoting broad ideas on getting the most from the institution.
A representative is delegated from each depatment to attend the Student Feedback Panel, which is another means of raising and resolving issues. 
Find out about the RSA, and research student reps HERE

Who represents student interests at the highest levels?

The Board of Trustees govern the institution overall, through delegating various statutory duties and non-statutory responsibilities to a committee structure. There are a number of levels to this structure, generally divided between the academic and non-academic functions.

The S.U officers represent students voice on most committees.

Reps don't have to know about all the committees, but if any reps are interested in seeing how it works get in touch with the Sabbatical officers about shadowing them as an observer. For example, there is may be an agenda item developed out of campaigns or ideas begun by reps who may want to be present for the discussion, and see the item through it stages into reality. 


What if I have a complaint?

There are a few routes to making a complaint, depending on what it is about. This page may give you the relevant link.

Some of SOAS' abbreviations:

SEE Student Engagement and Experience 
EDI Equality Diversity and Inclusion
HR Human Resources
IT Information and Technology
SAaW Student Advice and Wellbeing





Page last updated: 11 Jan 2021 15:13