Roles and responsibilities of Student Officers

This is an extract from the bye-law which outlines the roles and responsibilities of officers. We know some of the language used in our rules is difficult to understand, so we’ve provided a plain English explanation of each section.

A bye-law is a set of rules and expectations. Here, it relates to what Student Officers are expected to do. This bye-law was approved in March 2019.

 

What the bye-law says about Student Officer positions

The Executive Officer Trustees shall be:

  1. President
  2. Activities and Opportunities Officer
  3. Education Officer
  4. Welfare and Community Officer

What this means

These are the titles of the four full-time Student Officer positions.

 

What the bye-law says about the term of office

Executive Officers Trustees will hold office for a one-year term commencing on 1st July.

What this means

Although the election takes place in March, Student Officers start work on 01 July. They have a one-year contract of employment. If you’re elected, you finish your year of study, take some time off in June and then start your new role. For postgraduates who are due to submit dissertations in September, we’ll work with you to ensure you can fit everything in.

 

What the bye-law says about general responsibilities

The general duties and responsibilities of an Executive Officer Trustee are to:

  1. Extend and promote the rights of Students’ Union members
  2. Progress and develop work related to Students’ Union policy
  3. Present manifesto pledge and campaign updates to Students’ Union committees as required
  4. Participate in Students’ Union and University of East London committees as required
  5. Where appropriate, support student representatives in the fulfilment of their roles
  6. Act as an ambassador of the Students’ Union
  7. Liaise with external organisations appropriate to individual portfolios
  8. Work as a team with other Executive Officer Trustees and staff members to achieve the Students’ Union’s aims and objectives
  9. Work and act within the requirements of the Articles, bye-laws and other regulations
  10. Liaise with senior University staff to achieve positive change for students
  11. Attend training and development as required

What this means

This is a list of basic expectations of every Student Officer. The key parts of being a student officer are representing students in the University and elsewhere, working as a team with other officers and SU staff, abiding by the rules, reporting back to students on what the work you’ve done, and taking part in training. We know it’s a challenging role and we want student officers to succeed, so we offer a lot of training and support, particularly from SU staff who also work with officers to complete their projects.

Here, representation usually means speaking up for students in general in a meeting or project. It’s rarely about representing individual students – that’s what the advice service does.

 

What the bye-law says about the President

The principal duties of the President are to:

  1. Act as lead spokesperson for the University of East London Students’ Union
  2. Act as a member of the University of East London Board of Governors and Academic Board
  3. Act as an ex-officio delegate for NUS National and Extraordinary Conferences

What this means

Many of the duties of the president are about representing students in University meetings and projects. The president also attends events (in person and online) run by the National Union of Students and other organisations, standing up for UEL students. Other officers also do this for their specific areas of work.

Some of the key projects the president will work on in 2019/20 include modernising the Union’s representation systems, helping to get more students engaged in the Union and building the Union’s profile outside UEL.

 

What the bye-law says about the Activities and Opportunities Officer

The principal duties of the Activities and Opportunities Officer are to:

  1. Develop opportunities for students to participate in extra and co-curricular activities
  2. Improve the student experience by developing successful student groups including associations, societies and student media
  3. Recommend the allocation of the resources available, on a fair and equitable basis, between the Union’s student groups including associations, societies and student media

What this means

This post is all about supporting student groups such as societies and associations to grow and to ensure they’re effective in providing social outlets or common interest groups for students. This means working with those groups, SU staff and others to ensure they have the resources they need, e.g. space, money, training, skills.

Some of the key projects this activities and opportunities will work on in 2019/20 include simplifying how student groups are created and run, working with the civic engagement team to make it easier for students to volunteer, and creating opportunities for students to run activities and events on and off campus.

 

What the bye-law says about the Education Officer

The principal duties of the Education Officer are to:

  1. Defend, promote and extend, through policy and campaigns, the rights of students on issues relating to education, success and learning support facilities and services
  2. Support and enhance the programme representative system
  3. Act as a member of the University of East London Academic Board

What this means

This post focuses on the main reason students come to UEL: to get a good education. The education officer is involved in many projects about continually improving the quality of courses and learning resources (library, IT, etc.), creating more opportunities for work-based learning (placements, internships, etc.) and making changes to UEL’s policies to ensure our students get the support they need. The education officer also leads the programme representative system, working with reps to ensure they’re making positive changes at programme level.

Some of the key projects the education and activities officer will work on in 2019/20 include implementing UEL’s new Vision 2028 plan, reviewing the effectiveness of the programme representative system, and supporting the creation of a representative system for PhD students.

 

What the bye-law says about the Welfare and Community Officer

The principal duties of the Welfare and Community Officer are to:

  1. Defend, promote and extend, through policy and campaigns, the rights of students on issues relating to welfare, equality of opportunity, liberation, equality, diversity and inclusion through the development and implementation of policy and campaigns
  2. Strengthen and develop relationships between students and local communities

What this means

The welfare and community officer has a key role in ensuring UEL looks after its students on things like wellbeing, mental health, money, food, on-campus accommodation. The officer plays a key role in equality, diversity and inclusion campaigns to improve the UEL community, and supports a wide range of liberation campaigns which affect our students, e.g. BAME students, LGBT+ students, students with disabilities.

The welfare and community officer is not a student advisor; our advice service provides that service. However, the officers works closely with the advice service to understand trends on things which are affecting student and works with students and staff to suggest and implement solutions.

Some of the key projects the welfare and community officer will work on in 2019/20 include developing a more proactive approach to welfare, implementing the new national student mental health charter in UEL (to be launched later in 2019) and supporting the creation and development of self-organising liberation campaigns.

 

What the bye-law says about the Executive Committee

Executive Committee

  1. The Executive Committee shall be comprised of the Executive Officer Trustees.
  2. The Executive Committee shall meet a minimum of once per month during term time.
  3. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for representation and campaigning work and the implementation of policy, insofar as these responsibilities have not been delegated to another committee.
  4. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for all student appointments to University committees.
  5. The President shall be the chair.

What this means

Together, the four officers make up the executive committee. This group makes decisions about the Union’s key priorities at the start of the year and works towards those goals. However, things often change during the year, so the executive committee decides how the Union should refocus its efforts when this happens. It also links with SU staff and volunteers to ensure the whole SU team are working together towards the same goals.

Docklands (primary) office

NB.G.01 (North Building)
4-6 University Way
London
E16 2RD

T: 020 8223 7025

E: uelsu@uel.ac.uk

Stratford office

The Dome, University House
Water Lane
London
E15 4LZ

T: 020 8223 4209

Charity number: 1173994
Company number: 10820498
© UEL Students' Union 2019
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