NUPSA President, Ash McIntyre, takes you through the SUPER-IMPORTANT student representation restructure that’s in the works.
RESTRUCTURE!!! Yes, restructure seems to be the word of the minute around here (perhaps only second to ‘industry’), and student representation is not being left out of the fun.
If you have never read my ramblings before, I hope you will bear with me today, as NUPSA is part of a University-wide student representation restructure that is inclusive of undergraduate, postgraduate, on-campus and off-campus students, and school and faculty representatives. This will affect everyone. If that is something that interests you (i.e. being affected), then I encourage you to read on.
Now, before I turn into Lemony Snicket’s opposite and spend all my time encouraging you to read, I shall proceed. (Please read on.)
Who and what now?
Since 2016, the three UON student associations – NUPSA, NUSA and Yourimbah – have been in discussion, with the intention to examine the structure of student representation and measure its effectiveness in supporting all UON students. This has also been on the agenda of University Council, and I am pleased to say that last year and this year, our associations have finally taken steps to ensure that student representation is fairer and more equitable across all student communities.
This process has involved a substantial period of research and consultation on the part of a professional researcher, Fiona Mundie, hired by the University on behalf of the three associations. Naturally, with all three associations having different ideas about best practice and what students want from their representatives, there has been extensive consultation, including student interviews, focus groups, and surveys. The structures employed by other national and international universities were also vetted to come up with what we believe to be a structure that will more adequately represent and support all of UON’s students.
The aim is to have the new structure up and running for next year. That’s right, people: by 2020.
Alright, what is it then?
The new organisation would be led by a governing board (who is responsible for governance and finance) and a student Representative Council, which would receive advice from and support a range of UON student representative assemblies, including:
- A Postgraduate Senate;
- An International Senate;
- Campus committees (including a specific forum for online students);
- Forums for students enrolled in ELICOS and Enabling programs; and
- Autonomous collectives (ensuring the representation of special interest groups, including LGBTIQA+, Women’s, Acessability)
The Student Representative Council would also be informed by three student-led portfolios (similar to the Senates) covering Education, Engagement and Experience, and Well-being & Equity (under which the autonomous collectives sit).
What does this mean for me?
NUPSA agrees that the new organisation will provide a more robust and sustainable structure for the entirety of the student body than having three separate associations. From our perspective (although we do our best) it is online and satellite students that remain the most under-represented cohorts. This structure ensures that all campuses have fair opportunity to contribute to activities, events, goals and pursuits of the broader student association.
It has been paramount to NUPSA that none of the services or support to postgraduate students currently offered will be lost, and that if anything, the activities we run, support we offer and workshops we facilitate will only improve and become more diverse, and better equipped to improve the student experience of all postgraduate students.
Operating as one structure allows efficiencies such as a single auditing process, shared resources, a larger staff team with online specialists, researchers, consultants and more. (Don’t worry: Hugh and Georgia are a part of the process too, and we hope they will stick around to continue their amazing deeds!)
Hmm… Tell me more…
We know this is a big change, and while we have been working towards making it a positive one, you may have questions, concerns or just want to hear more. So, we are hosting three information sessions where you can hear about this in person, and ask questions.
APRIL 15th 11am Clubhouse (REGISTER HERE)
APRIL 15th 5pm Online Clubhouse (REGISTER HERE)
APRIL 17th 11am Clubhouse (REGISTER HERE)
Then, of course, we have our AGM on May 3, where we will be presenting the restructure proposal and you, as the members, will vote whether to proceed. As you may have guessed, this is extremely important, not just for those of you who will be around next year to see it eventuate, but for postgraduate students into the future.
So please, come along and have your say! And as always, have a wonderful month 😊 !
NUPSA 2019 President