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students’ representative council university of glasgow strategic plan 2008-2011

Introduction SRC – Purpose and Role Governance and Management Review – 2005/2007
Operational Change, Achievements

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Status & Membership, Constitution & Governance, Operational Responsibility

About the Plan Situation Review

Situational Review: External, Situational Review: Internal, SWOT

Mission and Aims Supporting Aims

Representation, Student Well Being, Volunteering and Employability Our People, Finance and Funding

Implementation, Monitoring and Review

We are delighted to present you with our first ever strategic plan. This document represents a lot of hard work, effort and dedication from all the students and staff involved in the University of Glasgow Students Representative Council (GUSRC) as well as reflecting input from a host of our external partners. In the past few years, we have been working tirelessly to ensure success in all areas of our operation. There has been much reorganisation and reprioritisation whilst GUSRC has become wholly focussed on delivering activities dedicated to enhancing the student experience. This strategic plan consolidates the activities of the GUSRC into one document and highlights, in broad terms, the future direction of our organisation. The plan shall be fundamental to the progression of the aims, goals and operational activities of GUSRC, and will help to ensure that our work is effective, efficient and based on the democratic, representative principles upon which the organisation is founded. Although this is a forward looking document, we believe that much has been achieved over the last few years and we thought appropriate to record some of that here. Therefore this plan is a chance to reflect what has worked in the past as well as the areas we will be concentrating on in the future, while remaining student led and student focussed. By 2011, there will have been many different students on the SRC, all working on the issues that are closest to students of that time. The strategic plan is intended to act as a guide for adapting the SRC to fit their own aspirations for the organisation, as well understanding the greater impact they can have on the future direction of the SRC. Student organisations are traditionally vibrant and ever changing. What we have recognised is that the core aim of all involved is to get the best student experience for all they represent. Hopefully, this document will be a step towards making this become a reality.

Mhairi Wilson President (2007/08)

Bob Hay Permanent Secretary

St Andrew’s Day Anti-Racism March

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The SRC – Purpose and Role
The University of Glasgow Students’ Representative Council (GUSRC) was founded on 9 March 1886. The key role of GUSRC is to represent the interests of students registered at the University of Glasgow (the University). Two GUSRC Representatives sit on the University Court and sixteen sit on Senate. GUSRC is represented throughout the University’s decision making structure. The representative function is augmented by the delivery of services aimed at enhancing the student experience while at the University of Glasgow.

The SRC Core Activities
The SRC’s core activities can be allocated under 3 main headings. It should be recognised that there is a degree of overlap with some services providing additional outcomes relating to a heading different to that which they are primarily allocated. Representation and Engagement * Student Representatives (formerly course reps) * Quality Enhancement * Surveys & Consultation Exercises * Website/Forum * Glasgow University Guardian * Glasgow University Magazine * National Student Survey Student Wellbeing * Campus to Halls Minibus Service * Disability Benefits * Photocopying, Printing & Binding * Small Claims Court Representation * Housing Issues * Freshers’ Week * Employment Rights * Council Tax

* * * * * *

University Committees Political lobbying and campaigns Training and Support RAG Week Subcity Radio Glasgow University Student Television

* * * * * * *

Second Hand Book Shop Budget Workshops Faxing and Scanning Academic Appeals Consumer Rights Annual Student Guide Benefits advice

Prominent publicity for the SRC.
The Objects As Set Out In The Constitution Are To: • Represent and promote the general interests of students of the University. • Advance civic responsibility by providing a recognised means of communication between students and the Court and Senate of the University. • To prevent and relieve poverty and advance health by providing welfare services for students and potential students. • To advance the arts, culture, education, heritage, science and sport by providing amenities and supporting activities for students. • To promote equality of opportunity amongst students and challenge all forms of discrimination whether based on sex, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, religion, cultural background or other such status.

Volunteering & Enhancing Employability * Nightline * * Classroom Support * * Elderly Home Visiting * * Glasgow University Service for Homeless People * * Job Shop * * Splash (Swimming with children with special needs) *

Clubs & Societies English for Doctors Queen Margaret Settlement Disclosure Service Media week Sports Coaching

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Governance and Management
Status and Membership
Glasgow University Students’ Representative Council (GUSRC) is a non-incorporated charitable organisation - Charity No. SC006970. All students registered at the University of Glasgow are automatically members of GUSRC. Students can opt out once per academic session. Membership entitles students to vote and stand for election. Where students opt out they can still use GUSRC facilities and services. The legislation relating to students’ unions and representative bodies is contained in the Education Act 1994. This sets out in broad terms, how such organisations should operate and stipulates the duties of the ‘governing body’ (i.e. the parent institution) to ensure that any student body “operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances”. The trustees of the organisation are the members of Council and the Executive Committee. Council members are elected through secret ballot. The constitution makes provision for a Council of not more than 37 members, an Executive of not more than 12 Council members, Offices of President, Depute and Vice-Presidents, and Permanent Secretary (staff member). Council members are elected to their positions annually from several constituencies. An executive committee is elected from Council with the exception of the four sabbatical positions which are directly elected by the membership on an annual basis. There are two standing Sub Committees: • The Finance Sub Committee which meets three to four times per year and which two representatives appointed by the Secretary of Court attend. These representatives are currently Frank Lynch (Head of Operations) and Deborah Maddern (Court Office Administrative Officer). • The Staffing Sub-Committee which meets on an ad hoc basis and the membership is made up by the Sabbaticals and the Permanent Secretary.

Constitutional and Governance Framework
GUSRC’s constitution was radically revised and approved by SRC Council in 2006. It was ratified by University Court in April 2006. The revised constitution and associated schedules created a more straightforward, less complex structure which sought to take the focus of Council meetings and student officer involvement away from debates on procedure and empower them to focus on the business at hand. The review also ensured our objectives reflected the requirements of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.

Students campaigning for election

Operational Responsibility
The Permanent Secretary fulfils a Chief Executive role and undertakes day-to-day management on behalf of the Executive; the Executive implement Council policy on a day-to-day basis. To do so, the Executive (on behalf of the Council and through the Permanent Secretary) has operational financial power and responsibility. Various checks and balances, as required by the University, are provided for. The Senior Management Team is constituted by

the Permanent Secretary, Senior Office and Finance Administrator (Section Head – Finance, Administration and Direct Services), Senior Advice, Policy and Training Officer (Section Head – Advice and Representation) and the President. This group meets weekly to ensure communication across all areas of the organisation’s operation. There are four full time sabbatical student officers; this group meets weekly with the Permanent Secretary in order to plan for the future week’s activities and review those of the previous week.

Council has the capacity to establish additional subcommittees but the recent trend has been to establish “working groups” which allow for the involvement of non-council members thereby broadening the base of direct involvement with GUSRC through facilitating enhanced engagement with members at their ‘point of interest’.

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Review – 2005/2007

Operational Change
In recent years the organisation has undergone considerable operational change. The catalyst was a report by Windle Management Associates1 which highlighted key operational and management weaknesses of GUSRC. The following are some of the main changes: • Our energies and resources are now directly focussed on activities directed at enhancing the student experience at Glasgow. The decision, by the University, that GUSRC’s shop should not remain open, has removed what was a major distraction from our core purpose. Development and establishment of a Mission Statement and high level aims which reflected the ‘new’ ethos and values of GUSRC. Comprehensive review and establishment of a new Constitution as an effective working document which helps rather than hinders the work of the organisation. (i.e. curtailing the number of sub-committees from 20 to 2). The development of a reporting template used by all student officers in order to enhance accountability and effectiveness by encouraging reporting against agreed individual objectives. Financial management efficiency improved through removal of external Treasurer position and bringing role in house. • The establishment of clear and unambiguous line management structures and adherence to same. The establishment of a staff review and appraisal system as well as a comprehensive job description review and establishment of standard template, increased emphasis on staff training and development, and a new staff handbook. The development and implementation of a comprehensive officer training and induction programme (independently evaluated annually). Strong working links between GUSRC Staff, Student Officers and University staff established as an essential element of partnership working. Space review undertaken resulting in increased access and higher profile of information and advice services. The purchase of an additional minibus and expansion of our Halls to Campus minibus service. The establishment of data collection and evaluation systems in the main areas of GUSRC’s work; augmented by reporting systems which ensure management information is communicated to office bearers, and senior management.

Evidence of progress:

SRC members protest during an AUT dispute.

A “snapshot” of progress against recommendations in the ‘Windle Report’ was carried out by Boston Hunt Associates in March 2006. This review was commissioned to assess stakeholders’ views of progress on issues highlighted in the Windle report. This report confirmed GUSRC was moving in the right direction and served as a useful document in shaping the organisation. The Boston Hunt report concluded the following:

“The majority of stakeholders interviewed were positive about the progress that GUSRC has made in the past 12 to 18 months. The last year was viewed very much as the start of a continuing process of improvement, with more to come in the next 12 months. Many of the recommendations made in the 2004 Windle Report have been achieved, particularly concerning governance structure and the introduction of the new constitution; the relationship between Officers and staff; staff management; the relationship with the University; and some improvements to GUSRC office and layout. Some of the detail, such as, the production of the Strategic Plan, the Annual Report and the introduction of a comprehensive appraisal scheme for staff2 are currently work in progress.”
The information from the aforementioned reports plus several facilitated sessions between Council members, Executive and staff members has allowed us to identify the future direction of GUSRC as set out in this plan.

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Achievements – Some Examples
The change process has required a great deal of time, effort and support from staff and student officers who have worked hard to ensure the organisation registered considerable achievements in the relevant period, some of which are highlighted below. Student Representative System We worked in partnership to develop and implement the new framework for student representation agreed between GUSRC and the University (approved by Senate on 8 June 2006). We have considerably increased the number of course representatives undergoing training by over 300% with over 500 students now participating. Students who attend the training and fulfil the student representative role now receive accreditation from the University (in the form of acknowledgement on their graduation transcript) thus demonstrating additional skills and experience to prospective employers. Advice Centre Our Advice Centre has seen a 75% increase in the number of cases dealt with in 06-07, compared with 05-06 figures. Almost three times the number of academic appeals, complaints and disciplinary issues dealt with, compared with 05-06. We also confirmed financial gain of £38,880 for clients of the advice centre (we believe actual financial gain to be considerably more). Flat-hunting Leaflet and Presentation We produced a short booklet on flat hunting and tenants’ rights aimed particularly at students. A PowerPoint presentation based on the booklet was also produced. This was used at accommodation ‘roadshows’ convened across campus and at halls - targeted at students who were considering moving into private rented accommodation. National Student Survey (NSS) The SRC has worked closely with the University

in promoting the NSS since Glasgow decided to participate in 2005. We have taken the lead in advertising and promoting the survey to final year students as a way to make their opinions on the quality of their university learning experience count. The findings of the annual NSS Survey are an important tool to institutions for benchmarking and identifying areas for improvement. GUSRC has a central role in working with the University to address issues raised through the NSS. Minibus service Following additional investment in our Halls to Campus Minibus Service we have increased frequency of the bus runs. Our total student journeys for 2006/07 were 26,348. An increase of over 6,000 against 2004/05. Student Volunteering Our Student Volunteer Support Service (previously Student Community Action) has supported over 300 volunteers per year on ten different projects offering a range of personal development and learning opportunities. 2007 Election Manifesto Following extensive consultation with our membership we prepared a “manifesto”. This incorporated 10 key commitments politicians were asked to make and was disseminated to all main political parties in the run-up to the Scottish Parliamentary elections. Most candidates responded and their responses were published on the GUSRC’s website. This helped ensure that students had an opportunity to consider candidates’ views on issues which were particularly relevant to them. Bank Charges In 2006 we launched a survey to ascertain the degree of difficulty Glasgow University students were experiencing with bank charges, there were almost 2,500 respondents and clear evidence that bank charges were a significant problem. Feedback

One of many clubs & societies fairs thoughout the year.
indicates our subsequent campaign secured thousands of pounds for students at the University who were able to download pro-forma letters from our website. The campaign was subsequently picked up by other Scottish Universities as well as NUS. Information services We rebranded our frontline reception services as an ‘Information Point” and developed new marketing materials. Consequently the number of enquiries dealt with in 2006/07 increased by over 4000 to 11,213 student enquiries, an increase of over 50%. Prescription Charges In response to the Scottish Executive’s prescription charges consultation we conducted our own research amongst Glasgow University students. This consisted of student officers carrying out face to face interviews with students. The process heightened the profile of GUSRC as well as ensuring that our response was reflective of students’ actual views. Harassment Policy We successfully submitted a report outlining the case for the introduction of a Harassment Policy for students, as hitherto no such policy had existed, although there was one for staff. The University agreed that harassment issues would be included in the Complaints Procedure in the 2007-08 Calendar but in the longer term a stand-alone policy is envisaged, at the suggestion of the SRC, to be developed by the Equality and Diversity Unit and Senate Office. Personal Development Planning The University’s development of a Personal Development Planning Policy was informed by representations from the SRC. We formed a working group to determine our own knowledge of current practices of PDP and to establish an ideal model of PDP for all students. This process culminated in the preparation and submission of an SRC paper on PDP to the Learning and Teaching Committee in 06/07. The paper was well received and supported by members of the committee, minuted as a “well written, focussed and timely paper on PDP issues from the student perspective”. The recommendations in the paper were taken forward by the Vice-Principal Learning and Teaching to develop the policy, in conjunction with GUSRC. NUS A referendum was held during 2007 on whether GUSRC should affiliate to the National Union of Students. Affiliation was overwhelmingly rejected with almost 20% of University of Glasgow students participating. The result (262 for affiliation - 4065 against) was regarded by GUSRC as positive demonstration of student satisfaction with the representation and support they receive from the University’s student led bodies.

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About the Plan
As previously stated, GUSRC has not previously produced a document outlining its overall strategic aims. Recent years have seen a change in student officer thinking as to the value of a strategic document. This plan sets out, in broad terms, the future direction of our organisation and the key mechanisms by which we will take it forward. This strategy does not often refer specifically to the constituent elements of GUSRC, and the language and direction are overarching. The aims and objectives are not SMART but are intended to encapsulate the nature and future direction of the organisation without constraining the capacity of elected student officers to set their own campaigning priorities. This strategy will be augmented by an annual operating plan agreed between staff and elected student officers.

Situation Review
The organisation has a close relationship with the University of Glasgow and shares many of the University’s aims and aspirations for students of the institution. There is considerable collaborative working undertaken between the two parties with a particular focus on student involvement in quality assurance, retention, employability, and personal development. Inevitably then, GUSRC’s fortunes are closely linked to those of the University of Glasgow. The external situation review relates, in the main, to how we will continue to work with the University. The internal review relates to our own operations. Key elements of this review are highlighted in the SWOT analysis at the end of this section. in achieving many of its second level objectives. There is strong student representation on all learning and teaching committees, as well as joint working groups established to address key issues (e.g. Review of Student Advisory Needs). Our Advice Centre continues to represent and support students through the academic appeals and complaint procedures. Issues and trends identified through this route have been the catalyst for joint working with the University in developing solution orientated approaches which benefit all students. Student Involvement The QAA dictates that the effective involvement of students is at the centre of the Enhancement Agenda and sets out the following as part of a variety of mechanisms through which students could and should be involved:3 a) the involvement of student members in review teams within the new institutional review process;

Students attending SRC Global Village
b) the systematic representation of students at all levels within institutions; c) the effective training and support for student representatives through both internal mechanisms, existing external structures and through a new national Student Development Service; d) Better information on the student experience through national surveys both of the student experience within institutions and also longitudinal surveys of student and graduate cohorts. The partnership established between the University and GUSRC across various areas of work has proved beneficial to both parties in working to enhance student engagement. The QAA recognise the importance of Student Representative Organisations’ and Institutions working together: “Student Engagement at the strategic level is clearly a very powerful driver for enhancement, as exemplified by those institutions where a strong and productive partnership exists”4 Personal Development and Employability There is a growing recognition, in many areas of learning, that employers are seeking evidence of students being ‘well rounded’ individuals with some real life experience to complement their academic achievements. GUSRC continues to work closely with the University in the establishment and rolling

Situation Review – External
Student Learning A key Strategic Theme for the University is “Enhancing the Student Experience”. The University’s strategic plan outlines a range of actions by which it will achieve this. The Learning and Teaching Strategy, in particular, highlights the role of the SRC as a partner

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out of the PDP strategy. Our own Student Volunteer Support Service will complement the University’s stated objective of offering learning opportunities that will encourage entrepreneurship and enhance employability and enterprise . Volunteering can be a significant factor in enhancing students’ career prospects as well as an opportunity for those from different cultures to learn about many aspects of life in Scotland, developing new interests and friendships outwith their own peer group. Diversity of Student Population The University will continue to recruit students from a range of backgrounds as highlighted in its strategic plan: “Students will be part of an increasingly diverse community of talented undergraduates and postgraduates from a wide range of social, cultural and national backgrounds”.The University is continuing to seek to attract an increasing number of international and postgraduate students stating that by 2010: “We will have a truly diverse student community, including an increasing proportion of international and postgraduate students .”5 Competition from other institutions is becoming more intense. The University therefore must continue to set itself apart from the competition and ensure Glasgow is a first choice destination. In general terms the nature of the student population at Glasgow is changing; with a move from what was regarded as the typical, (traditional) learner towards a (nontraditional) student population which is considerably more age, class and ethno diverse. “Our student community will be a diverse group of individuals from a broad geographical and socio economic base, who are recruited to the University on the basis of ability and potential to thrive in our

learning environment and the exceptional opportunities it offers them”.6 This has obvious implications for University learning provision and support services. It also presents a challenge to GUSRC in terms of both our service delivery and our representative functions. Estates and Buildings The University has an ambitious and exciting estates and buildings plan. Crucial to the implementation of which is the development of “The Hub” which will be at the centre of campus and provide a “one stop shop” for easy access to some of the key student services. The Hub development is part of the University’s stated aim of creating:“New facilities for student support and social life.” The planned redevelopment of the John McIntyre Building with increased space for the SRC gives us the opportunity to develop and expand our services in a manner which contributes to the aim of providing improved facilities including the desire to provide “social spaces to promote student integration and informal learning.”7 Relationships with the Community The media have given considerable publicity to community groups expressing their concerns regarding the impact of burgeoning student population in their midst. This has been particularly evident in Glasgow’s West End where a variety of community groups have voiced concerns. GUSRC has now established links with some community organisations and has the opportunity to develop this further. Support Factors The support factors which impact on student retention do not only relate to academic matters. Students continue to experience low income and high levels of debt, often requiring them to undertake part time work. Students are often open to exploitation by a variety of selling agents from landlords to banks to mobile phone companies as they are usually negotiating from a position of weakness or ignorance.

A student representative training session
It is not necessarily one factor which can impact on a student’s achievements at University but usually a mix of several. We provide a number of services free or at minimum costs which compare favourably to those offered by private companies and offer significant savings to students. We continue to advise and represent individual students on a wide range of welfare related issues from small claims court actions against landlords to disability benefits to employment rights. The problems experienced by individual students continue to inform our campaigning role, ensuring our work is relevant and focussed on the issues which will impact on the quality of life of our members.

Situation Review – Internal
Future direction GUSRC is a multi faceted organisation which offers a range of services and fulfils a statutory representative function. The development of a strategic plan (supported by an operational plan) will ensure that the work of the elected officers and the staff team are clearly linked and focussed on achieving the organisation’s aims.

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We will also develop activity and outcome targets and indicators for the period 2008 - 2011 against which our success can be measured. Measuring our impact in some areas is resource dependent and will require us to work in partnership with the University. It should be recognised that the objective of the strategic plan is not to restrict elected officers but to serve as a framework which accommodates the democratic process. Communication & Publicity Related to the above, there is a need for GUSRC to develop and communicate a vision as to its purpose in order to broaden and deepen its credibility with its members and the wider University community. Although student officers are democratically elected, GUSRC acknowledges the need to ensure ongoing dialogue and engagement with its membership in order to increase its recognition and bolster legitimacy amongst stakeholders. To do this GUSRC requires to use a variety of consultation and engagement tools. Further, there is a need for GUSRC to publicise its successes in order that members understand the nature, depth and range of its work. The concepts of marketing, engagement and representation are closely linked and GUSRC intends to build on its performance in all such areas. This plan highlights a variety of mechanisms by which we will engage with students and other stakeholders. However we consider that a separate communications strategy, setting out our key internal and external communication processes, as well as the roles and responsibilities of individuals will be of benefit to GUSRC. This will be developed by June 2008. Finance GUSRC receives around 80% of its annual income through the University’s block grant. Small pockets of additional income are generated through additional grants from the University in the form of support

from Residential Services to part fund the Halls to Campus Minibus services and “one off” grants from the Student Development Fund for capital projects. GUSRC also generates some revenue from vending machines as well as Reception Services and a Second Hand Bookshop (the last two operate on a break even basis). However GUSRC’s key functions relate to Student Support and Representation. The organisation will therefore continue to be reliant on a single source (University of Glasgow). It is therefore essential that, whilst retaining its independent representative function, the organisation is seen to be giving added value to the University’s efforts to enhance the student experience. Of course, it is equally important that the University continues to acknowledge the work of the SRC and recognises the importance of an independently led and properly resourced representative body. John McIntyre Building GUSRC’s capacity to enhance its services is hampered by the lack of appropriate space in the current building and poor access in some areas. The movement of the Advice Centre to a front of house location has been a success. However the location of the rest of the services upstairs (including Reception) impacts negatively on GUSRC’s ability to raise its profile and further increase accessibility. The lack of a social space for Volunteers and Clubs and Societies means that many of GUSRC’s stakeholders don’t actually identify with the organisation. The centre of campus location is vital to GUSRC. Additional space in the John McIntyre building could contribute significantly to a thriving SRC and enhanced student experience. Activity Recording GUSRC has developed a variety of bespoke databases for different services which allow it to record activity outcomes and trends in a variety of areas. From this GUSRC can collate information on the nature and variety of its work and, in the case of the Advice Centre, the range of students to whom they are providing

Glasgow University RAG Week
support. This allows GUSRC to identify trends which inform its campaigns. It also allows GUSRC to establish whether it is reaching a representative cross section of the student community. GUSRC also employs a variety of user feedback mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the quality of its work. Continuity Office bearers of GUSRC are subject to annual election. Inevitably this can impact on the capacity to deliver on long term aims as new student officers, with differing priorities, are elected. One of the functions of this document is to serve as part of a continuity framework which will allow student officers to set their own priorities within a very broad enabling framework. This document will form a central aspect of the induction training for new student officers and will lend additionality to the comprehensive induction training developed over the last three years for new student officers. The staff will continue to play an important role supporting and advising student officers, working with them on objective setting and working in partnership to achieve the organisation’s and their individual aims. Strong and positive working relationships have developed between SRC staff and University staff which helps ensure a degree of continuity at operational level.

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SWOT Analyses
The table below summarises the main factors emerging from recent SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analyses carried out with various stakeholders. The external and internal situation review focus, in more detail, on the issues highlighted. Strengths Working relationship with University and access to University decision making structures. Central Campus Location. Statutory Position. Grant funding enables focus on non-commercial services aimed at enhancing the student experience. Sound management, financial, personnel data collection, monitoring procedures and policies in place. Good internal working relationships between staff and officers. Strong emphasis on training and development support for staff and officers. Lack of facilities/space to respond to needs of diverse student body. No consistent IT support at a time when organisation is moving towards increasingly IT based systems. Weaknesses Not recognised for successes and profile could be higher. Not always perceived as representative or reflecting diversity of student population.

SWOT Summary
The SWOT analyses encapsulates the situation review in summary: GUSRC’s statutory foundation affords it a degree of security. The working relationship with the University across a broad range of areas and the financial support from the University ensures that our energies are focussed on delivering our aims. There is a general confidence in the management of the organisation, strong internal working relationships with staff, and student officers feeling well supported. GUSRC continues to work to build its profile and publicise its successes. There is a need to work to increase the perception of GUSRC as a legitimate representive organisation across all cultures and communities of interest represented on campus. We are however constrained by the restrictions of our building and the limitations of our funding. The organisation benefits from the influx of ideas and enthusiasm brought by new student officers, although there is potential for instability should there be a lack of understanding by new officers of their responsibilities as trustees. The redevelopment of the John McIntyre building will give GUSRC an opportunity to develop its role at the centre of student life and contribute to the Learning Strategy’s aim of “increasing social spaces on campus”. In turn this should afford GUSRC an opportunity to engage directly with the thousands of students who benefit from its services. In turn this will increase GUSRC’s profile and visibility amongst its members. GUSRC, like any democratic organisation, can be subject to attempts by political or other interest groups to seek control of the organisation. Whilst organisational checks and balances are in place to mitigate the impact of such a scenario, the best defence is to ensure a broad democratic base.

Opportunities Yearly change in elected officers gives opportunities for new ideas. Student Development Fund. Culturally diverse campus provides potential for new ideas. Redevelopment of John McIntyre Building.

Threats Students lack of time on campus activity due to reliance on part time work, pressure of study etc. Instability due to yearly changeover in senior office bearers. Danger of moving away from core purpose through domination by any one political faction. Reliance on University Block Grant.

Ongoing emphasis by University and externally on student involvement in Quality Assurance.

Higher expectations from students and limited resources to meet them.

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Mission and Aims
GUSRC is independent and student led. We represent all students registered at The University of Glasgow. Our mission is:

“To provide effective representation, support, opportunities and services for and on behalf of the students of the University of Glasgow”
Council have set out a number of high level aims which represent GUSRC’s broad area of operation.

Aim 1: Representation and Engagement
Ensure the interests and views of our members are represented and addressed throughout the University and externally.

Aim 2: Student Well Being
Promote the well being of existing students and potential students by providing independent professional support services which reflect the diversity of the student body.

Aim 3: Volunteering and Employability
Contribute to a thriving campus life and individual personal development through provision of opportunities and activities which meet the intellectual, cultural and social needs of our members.

The objectives that underpin these aims are set out over the next 9 pages along with a summary of the mechanisms that the SRC will use to help deliver these objectives. At the end of each section we also provide an outline of the top level indicators that we expect to use to assess and measure our success in the achievement of these aims and objectives.

Central campus location - The John McIntyre Building

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Aim 1 : Representation and Engagement
Ensure the interests and views of our members are represented and addressed throughout the University and externally.

Objective 1.3 To influence policy at University and governmental level through appropriate campaigning and representation.

Key Mechanisms
Respond to University and governmental consultation documents on matters relevant to our current and future membership. Ensure student officers have the advice, support and information to carry out their roles effectively. Continue annual planning of core campaigns ensuring appropriate resource and support allocation. (Also acknowledging however, that there may be a need to react to issues as they arise). Campaign in collaboration with other student led bodies at Glasgow University on matters of mutual interest. Continue to develop our working partnerships with organisations such as SPARQS, CAPEE, CHESS, AMSU, CPAG.8

Objective 1.1 Support the QAA enhancement agenda by continuing to build effective working relationships with the University and acting as a “Critical Friend”.

Key Mechanisms
Continue to ensure that student representatives have places on every appropriate university committee/working group and the student voice is heard on academic and non-academic matters alike. Ensure the student officers capacity to represent is augmented by an effective, formalised, SRC staff briefing and support structure. Work with the University to develop alternative mechanisms for student involvement in feedback and decision making. Work with the University in carrying out and responding to research on any other areas relating to students’ needs and expectations.

Objective 1.2 To ensure our role as a representative organisation is legitimate by maximising membership involvement and acting accountably and transparently.

Widen participation by students, other than elected officers, by facilitating engagement at the ‘point of interest” through the development of working groups focussing on relevant issues as they arise. Review constitution to ensure current structures create an accessible framework. Employ a variety of consultation mechanisms and research methods in order that the wider memberships’ views inform GUSRC’s organisational priorities. Continue to enhance the quality and effectiveness of the student representation (formerly class rep) system. Encourage students to participate in Council elections both as candidates and voters. Ensure effective reporting back and information flow systems across GUSRC to ensure a corporate understanding of relevant issues. Use a variety of media to ensure its membership are informed of our activities on an ongoing basis.

Objective 1.4 Promote the independent student voice and foster a sense of a University community.

Continue to provide annual funding to Student Media (Glasgow University Guardian, Subcity Radio, Glasgow University Student Television and Glasgow University Magazine). Support media in reaching a wider audience on and off campus. Enable student media to fund its planned activities by developing additional revenue streams. Deliver appropriate training and administrative and IT support to student media.

Top Level Indicators
• • • • • • • Increased level and quality of student engagement Number of existing and new partnerships Number and impact of consultations and campaigns Enhanced profile and reputation of SRC Number of course representatives recruited and trained Feedback on quality of training and support Development of communications strategy

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Aim 2 : Student Well Being
Promote the well being of existing students and potential students by providing independant professional support services which reflect the diversity of the student body.

Objective 2.5 To contribute to the orientation, socialisation and retention of students by offering a range of events and opportunities to interact.

Key Mechanisms
Continue to build on the partnership with the University in co-ordinating the conjoined Freshers/Orientation week. Continue to co-ordinate and support events which seek to include the wider student demographic. Provide support to Clubs and Societies in organising induction and welcome events as well as events throughout the year. Work in collaboration with the University and other Campus student led organisations to provide a joined up approach to international student support. Continue, where possible, to monitor the demographic of our service users to ensure particular groups are not being indirectly discriminated against. Seek new ways to interact and consult with students in order to reach as wide a range of students as possible. Continue to provide appropriate support to Crichton based students and others not based on main campus in conjunction with other relevant organisations.

Objective 2.1 Provide accessible, welcoming and knowledgeable reception and information services.

Key Mechanisms
Continue to deliver current service but increase accessibility and visibility of frontline reception services in John McIntyre Building redevelopment. Develop triage function of reception/information service and offer clear signposting to routes which extend beyond our own stated provision. Enhance communication channels between internal teams/departments and appropriate University staff to ensure sharing of up to date information.

Objective 2.2 Ensure students have access to independent and responsive advice and representation.

Continue to fulfil this function through a properly resourced Advice Centre staffed by appropriately experienced and qualified personnel. Investigate possibility of attaining quality marks for Advice Centre. Allocate additional downstairs space to Advice Centre in John McIntyre building.

Objective 2.6 Deliver services which meet the needs and expectations of different cultural groups, communities of interest, part time students and ‘non-traditional’ learners.

Top level indicators
• • • • • • • • • • Increase footfall in John McIntyre Building Positive customer feedback Number of Clubs and Societies Supported Number of Minibus journeys Number of events supported/coordinated Usage and comparative costs of office services and bookshop Users’ demographic reflective of student demographic External validation of Advice Centre Satisfaction and outcomes achieved amongst advice centre clients. Achievement of relevant advice quality mark

Objective 2.3 Continue to deliver the free Halls to Campus Minibus service. Enhance student safety and perception of safety. Continue partnership work through Crime Awareness Panel for Educational Establishment (CAPEE). Produce and disseminate relevant publicity and information. Objective 2.4 Continue to deliver the following services and seek to expand space available Contribute to students’ to them: financial well being through delivery of services on a not Photocopying and printing service for profit basis. Faxing, binding and scanning facilities. Second Hand Bookshop.

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Aim 3 : Volunteering and Employability
Contribute to a thriving campus life and individual personal revelopment through the provision of opportunities and activities which meet the intellectual, cultural and social needs of our members.

Objective 3.3 To increase the numbers involved in the range of Clubs and Societies on campus.

Key Mechanisms
Continue to build on the partnership with the University in co-ordinating the conjoined Freshers/Orientation week. Continue to co-ordinate and support events which seek to include the wider student demographic. Provide support to Clubs and Societies in organising induction and welcome events as well as events throughout the year.

Objective 3.1 Increase the number of students participating in volunteering activity.

Key Mechanisms
Continue to resource dedicated volunteer support through the Student Volunteer Support Service (SVSS) and funding of a Volunteer Development Officer. Continue to secure volunteering opportunities through our partnerships with local agencies and organisations. Work with the relevant agencies and the local community to extend the portfolio of opportunities available. Continue to process free disclosure checks and to act as an “intermediary” agency for student led groups who lack the organisational capacity to do it themselves. Encourage participation by developing system of certification and awards for those who have participated as volunteers. Where possible, work with the University to integrate and gain accreditation through the University’s personal development planning process. Provide developmental and administrative support to the “Queen Margaret Settlement”. Continue to recruit train and support volunteers for Nightline project.

Objective 3.4 To enhance the image of the University and its students in the local community.

Review the system of SRC affiliation and grant application process to make it simple, transparent and accessible. Ensure Clubs and Societies are able to achieve their maximum potential by offering training and support and help with marketing and promoting their activities. Develop a space for Clubs and Societies to use for meetings and activities in the redeveloped John McIntyre Building.

Top level indicators
• • • • • • Number of volunteers and placement opportunities New initiatives created Number of Clubs and Societies Supported Establishment of awards system Positive feedback from agencies and volunteers Increased space available to volunteers and clubs and societies

Objective 3.2 Ensure volunteers and organisations benefit to the full from the ‘volunteering’ experience.

Continue to provide training and ongoing support to volunteers and potential volunteers. Liaise between organisations and volunteers to ensure both parties’ expectations are clear.

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Supporting Aims
Aim 4 : Supporting Our People
Promoting a working environment, which is inclusive and supportive and which encourages staff and student officers to achieve their maximum potential.

Objective 4.3 Continue to improve internal communications and reporting procedures in order to ensure a culture of inclusiveness, and a shared understanding of achievements and future aims.

Key Mechanisms
Staff and Sabbatical officers work together at beginning of year on target setting and planning. Continue weekly Sabbaticals and Permanent Secretary meetings, weekly senior management team and regular staff meetings- (review periodically). Develop a ‘joined up’ approach to change management through a more co-ordinated approach to planning and consultation. Maximise the effectiveness of IT as a communications tool. Ensure that the redeveloped John McIntyre building resolves issues of geographically isolated staff in the building.

Objective 4.1 Remain a “learning organisation” by ensuring that: •

Key Mechanisms
Continue to develop the quality of “handover” sessions between Sabbaticals. Ensure clarity of respective roles and procedures through appropriate induction training for staff and student officers.

Facilitate joint staff and student officer events early in the Sabbaticals year of Student officers office to attain a degree of familiarisation understand the role of staff as the “living memory” of the organisation. Staff appreciate the potential for innovation that new student officers bring to the organisation. Continue to deliver current performance appraisal system with a view to review in 2009. Ensure all staff have access to appropriate training and professional development opportunities. Continue with Entrance and Exit interviews and questionnaire for Sabbaticals. Continue annual external evaluation of Sabbatical induction and orientation training.

Objective 4.4 Continue discussions with relevant Estates and Buildings Personnel to ensure To more effectively redeveloped building is fit for purpose. meet the needs of our membership by increasing Continue to refine and develop online interfaces for SRC services. access to our services. Objective 4.5 Ensure equality of opportunity applies to all areas of our internal and external operations. Ensure SRC Equal Opportunities policy is included in induction for staff and student officers. Review our process and procedures against standards set out in Equal Opportunities Policy. Ensure we comply with all relevant equal opportunities legislation as a minimum standard. Provide appropriate training to all staff and student officers.

Objective 4.2 Ensure staff and student officers have the necessary skills, knowledge and support to fulfil their roles.

Top level indicators
• • • • Staff satisfaction Evaluation of training and support to Student Officers Uptake of training and personal development opportunities Production of plan for redevelopment of John McIntyre Building

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Aim 5 : Finance and Funding
Ensuring our long term sustainability and growth by being a well managed, efficient &effective organisation and that funders are fully aware of the value of our work.

Implementation, Monitoring and Review
In order to deliver the Strategic Aims set out in our Strategic Plan, GUSRC will commit all the appropriate resources and support mechanisms. To ensure effective implementation we will adopt a more corporate approach to our operational planning by consolidating and refining all current departmental planning processes into the development of an annual operating plan to be agreed by 30th August each year. Monitoring The annual operating plan will address the overarching aims in this document and will include reference to the following: Projected Outputs We define these as the direct, measurable results of our activities. This can include items such as: • • • Uptake of student representation activities Support provided to independent media Direct usage of the services we provide, such as photocopying, campus bus service, and uptake of volunteering and so on. Projected Outcomes We define these as the benefits that individuals and groups achieve through the range of activities and services that we provide. Again, this flows directly from our overall aims and some examples will include: • Improvements in the capability and capacity of the student population to engage with the University Enhancements in the confidence, self-esteem and employability of students Economic benefits to students through reduced costs and maximisation of income Improved safety Enhanced student retention levels

Objective 5.1 Demonstrate the value of our work by reporting to key stakeholders on progress against stated objectives.

Key Mechanisms
Ensure our monitoring and data collection process are fit for purpose and reflect our aims. Review and report on activities annually. Ensure user feedback mechanisms feed into future planning and service development activity. Continue to make the case for increased allocation from the block grant. Continue to undertake ‘low level’ income generating activity in order to augment funding gap between University block grant and GUSRC’s requirements. Continue effective treasury management and optimisation of interest return.

Objective 5.2 Ensure our annual income enables us to meet our objectives.

• • • •

Objective 5.3 To operate a robust financial control regime, ensuring tight budgetary control and efficient financial processes.

Provide appropriate training and user friendly financial procedures manual to all student officers and new members of staff. Continue to review key budgets and forecasts monthly along with quarterly financial overview and scrutiny sessions at GUSRC Finance Committee. Encourage appropriate University scrutiny of SRC plans and budgets.

Whilst some of these outcomes arise at the level of individual students, there are also benefits to the wider institution through outcomes such as student retention but also in terms of the recognisable legitimacy of the institution, which arises through effective student engagement. Some of these outcomes can be inferred from the activities and outputs we deliver but, in other cases, direct consultation with students and other stakeholders will be required. Within our operating plans, we will determine where it is appropriate, cost-effective and prudent to do this and will allocate resources accordingly however, our resources are limited and, given that many of our activities and outcomes are the same as, or give additionality to, those of the University we would expect to receive

Objective 5.4 Ensure appropriate contingencies are in place and reserves remain at an appropriate level.

Incorporate as part of reviewed risk management policy.

Top level indicators
• • • • Annual Report produced Increased income through block grant Retention of current level of reserves Development of Risk Management Strategy

We recognise that it is important to be as productive as possible in maximising these direct outputs from the work that we do. Our operational plan will specify target annual outputs in relation to key elements, relating these to the aims and objectives specified above. Operating plans will specify how such data is to be captured and it will be reported regularly to GUSRC Executive and brought together in our Annual Report.

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support from or work in partnership with the University, in measuring our softer outcomes. Evaluation GUSRC has benefited historically from external evaluations; most notably the Windle Report and the Boston Hunt follow-up to this. Clearly, these reports happened for “negative” reasons, given the

difficulties being experienced at the time. Although we do not believe this imperative to exist at present, we are open to the benefits that can come from an independent review of our activities and we will look to access resources to commission independent evaluation of our activities midway through the period of this plan as part the process for developing the next one.

End Notes
1. May 2004 2. Following consultation with staff, a full appraisal system was implemented in January 2007 3. Handbook for enhancement-led intitutional review: Scotland (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) 4. Lerning from ELIR- Magaging assurance and enhancement: Evolutionand progression An interim Report (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) 2007 5. University of Glasgow; “Building on Excellence” 6. University of Glasgow; Learning and Teaching Strategy (May 2006) 7. University of Glasgow; “Building on Excellence” 8. Student Participation in Quality Scotland, Crime Awareness Panel for Educational Establishment, Coalition Higher Education Students Scotland, Association for Managers in Student Unions, Child Poverty Action Group
No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise without prior written permision of The University of Glasgow Students’ Representative Council, whose work is ©2008 The SRC Strategic Plan is published by The University of Glasgow Students’ Representative Council, John McIntyre Building, University Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8QQ Design and Layout : Joe Evans Photography : Jim Wilson, Dave Lamb, Mhairi Wilson & Joe Evans

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