Staff-stident liasion committee meetings are odd beasts.
As an undergrad they were easy to manage – a matter of reading and filtering feedback sheets and responding to down-the-pub whinging. They were formulaic and largely for the sake of making students feel powerful, usually they resulted in changes to seminar scheduling or room booking.
Now things are more subtle, my current institution is pretty switched on about QAA and strict about agenda items but research students are harder to pin down. The college wide PGR SSLC has found it dificult to get people to agree to be representatives and those that turn up often report that their compatriots either have little or nothing to say or simply don’t really respond to queries.
The reasons appear to be manifold; time focused elsewhere- writing, teaching & marking, different times and hours to other students, lack of formalised regime to comment on, tendency to take issues directly to supervisors ..
The faculty has suggested one solution to this might be departmental liasion forums where all students are invited to a meeting with no set agenda – today we the committee however dismissed this as unlikely to actually encourage engagement amongst postgrads who aren’t already interested
So what would get research students involved in department and college/school-wide policy-making and get them to discuss the administrative and resource issues that impact on their lives?