What are University of Chester staff perceptions of the role of Chester Students’ Union in relation to the student experience at Chester?
AbstractResearch suggests that Students’ Unions (SU) role has changed over the years. Historically, SUs were viewed as political and debating organisations and then moving far more towards extracurricular and commercial areas. This attracted negative press and has resulted in the work of SUs not always being portrayed as positive or professional. Research suggests there has recently been a shift by SUs to re-establish their core role of representation. This is due to a number of factors including, National Students Survey (NSS) and National Union of Students (NUS)/Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) initiatives encouraging far more emphasis on student experience whilst working in partnership with their Universities to ensure the student voice is heard through their SUs. This research has undertaken a qualitative approach, using semi structured interviews with 8 University of Chester staff (UoC) staff to gauge university staff perceptions of the role of Chester Students’ Union (CSU) and how this contributes to student experience. Findings from these interviews suggested staff were aware of the role of a SU and the core role of representation. However when questioned about the existing working partnership with CSU their knowledge was fragmented and relied on professional/personal experiences rather than overall awareness. Commercial and social aspects of the role of CSU were far more apparent. The role of representation was noted as being ineffective. If SUs are only being observed by their universities for their social activities rather than a professional partner within student experience this could have negative results for funding and functions of SUs in future. Recommendations have been made to address issues of effective engagement of students, representation and partnership working with the university. This will be addressed with an implementation plan presented at strategic planning meetings.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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