Training session of student representatives: how to motivate students to participate in the decision-making process?

Community | 2019-06-25

Students-Senators, members of Faculty Councils, as well as Chairpersons and coordinators of KTU SA were invited to spend the afternoon of the 14th of June together and discuss the activities and potential of a student representative. During the lecture-discussion participants expanded their knowledge on the activity and functions of Faculty Councils, Senate and University Council.

The speaker was the well-known professor Dr Rytis Krušinskas, who is currently the Chairman of the Senate. The discussion was also moderated by a well-liked lecturer of Philosophy and a member of the Senate Nerijus Čepulis, as well as a member of University Council Žilvinas Kalvanas. Insights provided by R. Krušinskas, N. Čepulis and Ž. Kalvanas helped student representatives to better understand their potential and importance as assistants to the governing bodies of the university.  Participants were also asked to generate 3 priority issues identified by students, define potential challenges one would face while solving these problems, and also provide potential solutions for them.

Student representatives identified the passiveness and unwillingness of students to participate in shared community activities as the key problem. Lack of participation makes it difficult to collect appropriate data based on student needs and opinions and produce representative statistics.

The effectiveness of the Study Programme Committee (SPC) was agreed to be the biggest challenge to face, since it plays a critical part in ensuring the high quality of the studies.

It was decided that the most efficient way to reach the goals is to promote proactive student participation in the self-government of the University. The involvement of student representatives and their focus towards the issues addressed in meetings of Senate and Faculty Councils will help ensure a positive microclimate and high study quality in the university.

“Many of student representatives are afraid of speaking up during meetings, often forget what they want to say, or just do not prepare their statements and arguments in advance. In other words, they represent their own interests rather than those of all the students. I am very grateful that we were able to gather the members of governing bodies for at least a short amount of time, discuss their rights and responsibilities, work towards a new, better tomorrow together. I hope that this training session helped the participants realise the importance and power of students’ voice.” says the quality management coordinator Samanta Bulovaitė. She was the one to initiate this training session. “As the Chairman of the Senate said, together we can do more! I hope that this training will become a tradition and we will see more and more representatives taking part in it every year.”