Student Advisory Board gets a makeover
Student Advisory Board gets a makeover


Student Advisory Board gets a makeover

/ June 26, 2013

Students are being given a greater voice in the running of the University thanks to the new Student Advisory Board.

Designed to ensure students are heard by the University Council and can directly influence their university experience, the Board helps ensure that student perspective is considered in the university’s strategy and decision-making processes. Board members also provide input into how the money raised by the Student Services and Amenities Fee is spent on services that support students.

“The new Board differs from previous representative structures, in that it brings together undergraduate and postgraduate representatives, and has also established a direct reporting line to the Student Experience Committee of the University Council,” explains Meagan Myles. She helps facilitate Board activities as part of her role as Executive Officer to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Students and Registrar).

“While still allowing students to agitate on the things that matter, we want to create a more positive and collaborative relationship, one that sees mutual respect and engagement from both the university and student representatives,” she adds.

“It will allow students to become an integral part of the university framework and help set the direction for its future.”

The Board is comprised of a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate students, and of elected and appointed representatives, which is being trialled as a way of attracting broader representation.

“Previously we had received feedback from some equity and diversity groups that their members don’t always feel comfortable putting themselves out there to get elected,” Myles says, adding that the success of the mix will be reviewed in Session 1, 2014.

The student representative to the University Council also sits on the 36-member Board.

“Although this seems like a big group, when you consider the University has 40,000 students, it puts things in proportion,” adds Myles.

“However, we recognise that it can be challenging for a student to manage such a big group of peers with competing ideas and points of view, so we have appointed an independent chairperson, Macquarie Alumnus Michael Wall to help manage the process.”

Wall, who is District Registrar for NSW & the ACT at the Federal Court of Australia says the appointment gives him the opportunity to share some of the management, negotiation and corporate governance skills he has gained in his work as a senior executive in the Commonwealth public service and as an accredited mediator.

A non-voting member, Wall’s role under the Student Advisory Board Charter is to keep discussions on track, and to refocus the meeting if it has taken an unproductive direction.

To ensure that board members have the opportunity to consult, and fully engage with the wider study body, board members must present considered submissions to the board, which set out the strategic, student and financial impact of any proposals that the board is being asked to support.

“As well as helping to ensure Board meetings are run using standard business protocols and conducted productively, and with civility, it also provides a great opportunity to engage with the student body and to offer mentoring support where it is needed.

“Together, these will help ensure that the Board can focus on getting its job done, namely engaging both with the University and the student body and ensuring everybody’s voice is heard.”

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