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You’re probably reading this because you been involved with or aware of UCL and the Students’ Union’s joint StARs (Students Academic Reps) programme at some point over the last few years. In which case, you’ll have seen some of the positive impact that student involvement in academic representation can have. And now, is time for the next steps.

The Student Academic Representation Steering Group has developed a four-year plan with a focus on supporting both staff and students to ensure that student representation is widely understood, highly effective, and adds value to the work of departments. This new 2020 Vision will mean some simple, but effective changes in how we do things this year. 


End of the ‘StARs’ Acronym

We are in the process of phasing out the StARs acronym ahead of the start of the next academic year. Feedback from students and staff told us that the acronym was creating a barrier to understanding what the role was all about, and even put some students off taking it up.

From next year materials disseminated to departments and promoted institutionally will refer to:

* Course Representatives/Research Student Representatives (replacing ‘StARs’)

* Faculty Representatives (replacing ‘Faculty StARs’)

* Lead Department Representatives (new role, see below)

This change should be reflected in the core programme information set over the coming days, which can be found at this link.


New Lead Department Representative role

A new Lead Department Representative role has been created for 2017/18. This role will be tasked with leading the student academic representation in their department. They will specifically be responsible for the co-chairing and agenda setting for SSCCs alongside a member of staff, and for ensuring they will also become a member of the Department’s Teaching Committee (or doctoral-education equivalent).

Departments will be asked to elect a student to this role alongside the appointment of representatives in October, with one lead role for each SSCC. We will be providing more information in due course and will also run a new specific programme of support and training for this role.


Single Appointment Round

From now on, the appointment of all student academic representatives will take place in October, and we are getting rid of the second appointment round in late January/early February. All course representatives and research student representatives for all years and programmes of study should be appointed by the close of this appointment schedule.


Changes to Academic Manual

The Academic Manual for 2017/18 has a new chapter on Student Academic Representation, covering the previous chapter on SSCCs. This largely reflects practice developed over the last few years, such as covering the appointment of representatives. It also reflects the changes outlined above, and amends the minimum number of SSCCs from two a year to a termly meeting.


Further Information

Further information will be circulated over the coming month, including details of the appointment schedule for academic representatives and our updated guide for staff. In the meantime, please contact Tom Flynn, Representation & Campaigns Co-ordinator (Education) with any queries at

In the mean time, you can help this transition by reminding any colleagues that you see using the old acronym or preparing any outdated information, that there are changes underway and new information will be on its way soon.