Student participation in university governance: the role conceptions and sense of efficacy of student representatives on departmental committees
The role and contribution of students to the governance of university departments is a relatively neglected area of inquiry. This study investigated the factors which student representatives perceived to help or hinder their effectiveness as student members of departmental committees. Twenty students from a range of disciplines were interviewed about their experiences in the student representative role. Students reported complex motivations and conceptions of the representative role and were particularly sensitive to the perceptions and expectations of academic staff. Role ambiguity was the greatest challenge reported by student representatives, and the overall effectiveness of the role was perceived to be reliant on the willingness and ability of academic managers and staff to engage in constructive dialogue with students. It is argued that universities need to adopt a more proactive approach to the development and support of student leaders and representatives.
Studies in Higher Education