Guidelines for the operation of student staff consultative committees
1.1 The composition of the Student-Staff Consultative Committee membership is to be recorded by the appropriate College Board.
1.2 The Head of School or Program Coordinator in the School that controls the program (i.e. the home School) should be a member of the Committee.
1.3 Colleges or Schools may arrange the membership of the Student-Staff Consultative Committee to suit their particular needs. .
1.4 For small programs it may be practical to include all year levels of the program. If this model is adopted the membership of the Committee must still include a staff member from each course.
1.5 Alternatively there may be a separate Student-Staff Consultative Committee for each year level of the program and a staff membership comprising a representative of each course in the year level.
1.6 For programs where there are multiple discipline streams, the Student-Staff Consultative Committee membership may be constructed around the streams.
1.7 In all cases 'courses' mean all compulsory courses provided by both home and service Schools.
1.8 Student representatives are to be elected by and from the students in the program or year level as appropriate. Elected representatives may nominate another student enrolled in the same program or year level as their proxy.
1.9 Consideration should be given to gender balance and the mix of student representation e.g. international and domestic students; part-time and full-time students; mature-age students. In the event that such representation does not result from the electoral process, the Chairperson may co-opt additional students to achieve the required representation.
1.10 Any student enrolled in the program may attend meetings of the Committee as an observer and may seek leave to speak. Any staff member teaching in the program may attend meetings of the Committee as an observer and may seek leave to speak. Students and staff wishing to exercise these rights should notify the Secretary in advance in order to ensure the venue is large enough.
1.11 The Student-Staff Consultative Committee Procedure should be publicised to students during the enrolment and enrolment period, orientation and the first week of scheduled classes.
2.1 The Chairperson should:
(a) be the Program Leader/Coordinator or Head of School or at their discretion, may be elected by and from the membership of the Committee;
(b) ensure that the business of the meeting is conducted expeditiously and constructively;
(c) be responsible for ensuring that the objectives of this policy are adhered to and that all members of the Committee are encouraged to participate in its deliberations;
(d) ensure that meetings are not adversarial in nature.
3.1 A Deputy Chair should be appointed at the first meeting of the Committee.
4.1 The RMIT LEAD program (www.rmit.edu.au/lead) will provide training and/or training resources for student representatives to enhance their effectiveness as advocates and active participants in Committee deliberations.
4.2 This training and/or training resources should be provided prior to their first meeting of the committee, where ever possible.
5.1 The Secretary of the Committee should be appointed by the Chairperson and need not be a member of the Committee.
5.2 The Secretary is responsible for collating and distributing the agenda and minutes, as well as taking minutes in the meeting. Unconfirmed minutes of SSCC meetings should be made available to all students and staff in the program/stream within 2 weeks of the meeting.
5.3 It is the Secretary’s responsibility to ensure that staff who are not members of the Committee are advised of agenda items which may have an impact upon them and of their right to attend as observers. Student representatives should provide the Secretary with the names of students who are not members but are particularly affected by an item so that they can be invited to attend as observers. Items which are raised at the meeting which do affect staff who are not present are to be deferred to a subsequent meeting and the staff member apprised of the issue.
6.1 The attendance of two members of academic staff and a minimum of half of the student members of the Committee will constitute a quorum. The Minutes will record the attendance. Where quorum is not reached the Committee may meet informally and the minutes ratified at a subsequent meeting. The Chair should try to find out the reasons why quorum was not reached and work in conjunction with the secretary and other members to ensure that meetings take place at times when all members can attend. If reaching quorum is a continuing problem in a program, students, staff, Heads of School and Associate PVCs, Teaching and Learning and the Student Union should be made aware of the problem so that reasons can be ascertained and solutions sought.
7.1 Should an election of student representatives be necessary it must be completed by the end of the second week of semester to allow time for training of student representatives before the first meeting of the Committee.
7.2 Elections should be conducted in the timeliest way possible given the time constraints. They could be held at orientation meetings, at Week 1 lectures or at a special meeting.
7.3 At the meeting any nominations should be listed, and a request made for other interested students to nominate themselves or others. If the number of nominations is less than or equal to the number of student vacancies on the committee then those students nominating should be accepted on the committee. If the number of nominations exceeds the number of student vacancies on the committee, then a process of negotiation may occur subject to the agreement of the nominees and students.
7.4 If elections are required then voting may be by show of hand or a more formal process if required. If the latter, then the Head of School/Program Coordinator or nominee should act as Returning Officer.
7.5 The method of elections will be first-past-the-post.
8.1 Meetings of the Committee should be held at least two times in each semester, with the first meeting being held no later than the end of the fourth week of each semester. More frequent brief meetings rather than infrequent long meetings should be considered.
8.2 Meetings should have a fixed duration and must be closed on or prior to the appointed time. Alternatively meetings may be via an online forum, where appropriate.
8.3 Meetings may be convened by the Chair at their discretion or at the request of the Head of School or a minimum of half the student representatives on the Committee.
8.4 The Secretary should give the notice of meeting at least seven clear days prior to the meeting date. Special meetings may be held at shorter notice if authorised by the Chair.
8.5 All members should be made aware upon election to the Committee of any and all forms of meeting procedure which may be followed. This information should be included in the training program and/or training resources. Procedures which members have not been apprised of should not be used. All members of the Committee should agree to a change of meeting procedures, eg from formal to informal.
9.1 Agenda items may be forwarded to the Secretary by members at any time. The Secretary may email members requesting agenda items at least ten days prior to the meeting date. These items will form a draft agenda which the Chair will authorise for circulation prior to the next scheduled meeting.
9.2 The agenda, minutes of the previous meeting and any relevant papers should be distributed to all members of the Committee.
9.3 The agenda should also be placed on relevant School or Program noticeboards, should they exist, next to the minutes so interested parties who are not on the committee are aware of issues coming up. This is in addition to the requirement that students and staff who are affected by an item should be individually invited to attend as observers.
9.4 Standing agenda items should include:
(b) confirmation of the agenda – additional item;
(c) confirmation of the minutes of previous meeting;
(d) matters arising from the minutes – follow up on actions;
(e) reports from students and staff;
(f) general business; and
(g) other Business.
10. Minutes of meetings
10.1 Minutes of meetings should be kept by the Secretary and circulated to members of the Committee. Minutes should be made available to all students enrolled in the program.
10.2 It is important that all affected parties have the opportunity to be aware of what transpires at Committee meetings. Distribution of minutes is an important method of ensuring this. It is recommended that confirmed and unconfirmed minutes be made available to afftected students and staff through posting noticeboards, via email, on intranets, etc. Alternatively the Secretary may produce a 'newsletter' or edited version of the minutes containing only a list of items discussed and decisions made, which would be posted next to the minutes in order to keep students up to date until confirmed minutes are available.
10.3 If minutes are posted on School or program websites, then care should be taken to ensure that they are accessible only to authorised persons, and not available to the general public.
11.1 The Committee may make recommendations.
11.2 Recommendations made by the Committee should be accompanied by an action component whereby the person(s) responsible and the proposed action is recorded.
11.3 The Committee should make recommendations that may result in action being taken by:
(a) the Program Team;
(b) the Program Leader/ Program Co-ordinator or Head of School controlling the program; and/or
(c) the Associate PVC, Teaching and Learning or nominee.