Without The Open University, there would be no OU Students Association; our histories are interwoven, and we have shared the goal of improving the educational journey of OU students for the past five decades. That is why throughout April, in the year of the Association’s 50th anniversary, we will be celebrating the collaborative work we do with the OU. This crucial work is always for the benefit of our students. We want to talk about why, in 2022, our partnership is stronger than ever.
One of the ways that we closely collaborate with the OU is through our work with the Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Students (PVC-S). This office was created in 2019 and is a central point of focus for student success and satisfaction within the University. This is one of the reasons it is a vital part of the Association’s partnership with the University, and why it is so important that we collaborate on key areas of work.
Every year the Students Association and the PVC-S team work closely together on Student Consultations, which are held online and as face-to-face meetings, as well as in dedicated forums. Through Student Consultations, students have the opportunity to have a voice in the University and to shape and influence change. This input is used alongside the University governance structure, which includes student representatives on committees and groups, to help all OU students to achieve their study goals and improve the student experience.
The Student Consultation Management Group (SCMG) made up of University staff and student representatives oversee the student consultation structure and set the agenda for student consultation, ensuring that University business requiring student input is included and that issues raised by students are also prioritised for consultation. It has oversight of responding to student feedback raised through this process and monitors the effectiveness of the process overall, proposing and overseeing the implementation of changes as required. When students attend the Consultations the feedback loop is closed on the Student Voice Website.
The Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor also has responsibility for the University’s Student Charter, which was developed in partnership with the Students Association. The Student Charter for the OU community was agreed upon by the University’s Senate in June 2020 and is taken very seriously by the University and Students Association, who are fully committed to its implementation. It sets out what we can all expect of each other and is a declaration of our shared values rather than a rule book. It is about to go back through the governance structure with additions that make the commitment to students even stronger after its most recent 12-month review.
Student Voice Week
Another way that we work with the Office of PVC-S is Student Voice Week, which is an annual celebration of all the diverse ways that students can get involved in Open University decision-making. Student Voice Week is a fantastic opportunity for students to provide their thoughts and feedback and learn more about the University in addition to meeting their fellow students and academic staff along the way. It is also an important way that the University can showcase the importance of Student Voice in all we do with staff. Our student reps co-lead on all this work.