If you have any concerns or your question is not answered below, please get in touch via email at su.reps@northumbria.ac.uk.  


Running an Election 

Where you have more students interested than positions, then we recommend running an ‘election’ via group vote.  

  1. In small classes, you may be able to agree this verbally or by a show of hands, either virtually or in-person. 

  1. For larger classes, we recommend using a polling app. These are easy to set up, straightforward for students to vote with, and can be done anonymously.  

Create a poll for each rep position you have and enter student names then allow time for students to vote. You may wish to give each candidate time in a class to talk to their peers as would happen in person. In case of a tie, you can appoint both students as the system will not allow preferences. 

Free Online Election Tools 

If you’re planning to run your election virtually, either if your course is based online or you want students to vote anonymously in-person, there are various easy tools you can use to run an online vote: 


Used for online teaching, the polls function can be used for students to anonymously vote.  

Video Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK7390n-VN0  

Create a free account and set up a multiple choice poll that students can log in to vote with using a QR code or password. 

Video Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A96PWIzcK7Y&t=2s 

Create a free account and set up a multiple choice poll that students can log in to vote with using a QR code or password. 

Video Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifwpxabWZuI  


*Has a limit of 5 options per poll. To work around this, you can create multiple voting rounds. For example, if you had one rep position and eight interested students, you could create two polls, with four students each randomly assigned that their peers vote on. Then a third poll can be voted on with the winning students from the previous two polls to decide an overall winner. 


Common Questions 


I am not a Programme Leader, who recruits reps? 

We are using a list provided by the University of all programme leaders in the University.  
If this is not you then we can’t take you off the list – please speak to your Faculty Registrar. 

If you are the Programme Leader but another staff member handles programme rep appointment, then please pass on the initial rep email and cc us in at su.reps@northumbria.ac.uk and we will add them to the records for info but retain you as the programme leader.  


What is the role of the programme rep? 

The representative(s) are there to work with academic staff to help articulate the student voice and experience. We want the reps to be partners in helping the course deliver successfully. Sometimes this means reps can bring issues to programme staff and act as means of feedback, but the University already collects a lot of data on student views and you know what students have said. In many cases the role of the rep is to help you understand why students have said that and how issues are best addressed. Reps can also be part of the feedback system, although we ask their role in that be recognised to their peers.  


The Union provides full training and support to the reps as to their duties. We have designed the system this year so that we will be able to invite a rep to training within 24 hours of their being appointed and on the system. This turnaround is vital for us to train all the reps by the middle of November at the latest.?  


How are reps appointed? 

This is at the discretion of the Programme Leader. Given the variety of sizes and courses at Northumbria, there is no one set way but I have outlined the most common.  


The key parts are that the student(s) must know they are the rep and happy to take the role and that you will be passing on their details to the Students’ Union to get in contact in respect to training. Please note that unless a rep completes the training they will not be eligible to receive formal recognition for their volunteering.  
What if there is only one candidate?  
If only one student wishes to be a rep then they are appointed by default. 

What if there are multiple candidates and I think they should all do it? 

Please see How many reps do I need

The students will only ever be together online – how do I manage voting?  

See guidance above or drop us a line and we will send some additional guidance. 
What if last year’s reps want to continue? 

In many cases you will find that the previous reps would like to continue. This is also acceptable and indeed brings benefit of experience and relationship with the programme team. Provided this process does not exclude any one from the opportunity.  
What if no one wants to be a rep? 

Please drop us an E-Mail to discuss.  


How many reps do I need? 

We advocate for 1:50 as a ratio for reps:students. However there is a lot of scope in that. In some cases you may have more interest and feel having a group of reps is preferable or your course may have less than 50 students but two still want to be reps. This is fine – it is always better to have interested students. Finally some large courses may break their groups down into smaller cohorts for teaching and have a rep for each. On the system this may appear a large number of reps but we can always pick up any issues with you subsequently.  


How do I inform the Students’ Union? 

There is now a bespoke report on eVision for all programme leaders. Please see the slides attached to the initial email for guidance. When you know the names of the reps please use this report to enter them. We will be accessing SITS on a daily basis to get the details of new reps and invite them to training. Please do not pass on the details internally within the Faculty. This can lead to significant delays. In some cases the Union has not received details of hundreds of reps until Christmas meaning they have lost the chance to be trained.  


When do I need to appoint the reps by? 

As soon as possible. Again we know some programme leaders like to do this in induction and some like to do it 2-3 weeks into the course.  
The Students’ Union goal is to have reps trained by the middle of November so the sooner we know who they are, the sooner this can happen. Reps are part of the new CPPR process and we want to make sure the training fully prepares them to work with colleagues in this process.  


What information does the SU provide? 

We will be promoting the opportunity at all induction talks. We have a video [click here] which will be the basis of our promotional campaign from the 27th September that will go out on social media.  
We also have an information page at our website [click here] that you can refer students to. 
How do reps communicate with each other and with fellow students? 

We had problems last year with Blackboard that we hope are resolved now but if not we will be using alternative means. ? 
There are distribution lists for all programmes that we will teach reps how to use to communicate with their peers.