Teaching & Learning


How to get off to a flying start with your Staff-Student Consultative Committee (SSCC)

15 October 2020

Whether conducted on-campus or remotely, SSCC meetings are a vital opportunity for staff and students to discuss what is working well and what could be improved in each department.

Student with laptop and mask

SSCC meetings take place at least once a term, with the first SSCC meeting of the academic year typically running in late October or November. The first meeting sets the tone for the SSCC’s work throughout the year, and often includes newly elected Student Academic Reps, so it offers a great opportunity to build the partnership between staff and students.

While it takes time to build a productive culture of collaboration between staff and Reps, there are a number of ways in which staff get their SSCC off to a great start in 2020-21.

Think about scheduling and format

With more UCL students than ever before learning remotely, either temporarily or for the duration of their studies, it is important to hold SSCC meetings that can be joined without attending a meeting on-campus.

As noted in the Students’ Union UCL guide to running SSCCs remotely, there are a number of advantages to hosting SSCC meetings via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These advantages include the option to record meetings to assist in noting actions, as well as text chat functions for students who may feel more comfortable expressing themselves in writing.

Doodle polls, meanwhile, can help you find suitable timings for SSCC meetings by asking Reps to select the times they’ll be available. Ideally, look to find a time when lots of Reps can attend and which is before the first Departmental Teaching Committee (DTC) meeting. This means you’ll be able to take actions and issues from the SSCC straight to the DTC.

Work closely with the Student Co-Chair and other Reps

SSCCs are co-chaired by the Lead Department Representative, and they can help make the meeting as productive as possible. You may want to schedule a call with them before the first SSCC meeting to discuss what to include on the meeting’s agenda. A call prior to the meeting also gives you an opportunity to remind them to canvas students for feedback prior to the SSCC meeting itself.

Separately, you may also want to remind any newly-appointed Reps to complete the online training modules for Reps on the Students’ Union Moodle pages, so they’re ready to contribute to their first SSCC meeting.

Share the key student experience data with Reps beforehand

While Reps are likely to have gathered valuable feedback from their peers, you can help them place this (typically qualitative) feedback in context by sharing quantitative data such as survey results.

The results from the 2020 editions of the National Student Survey (NSS) and Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) are released over the summer, and may be worth sharing before the first SSCC meeting of the academic year. If your department opened Early Module Feedback Questionnaires (EMFQ) in Term One, meanwhile, you may want to discuss the findings from this student voice activity with the Reps and delve into any issues it surfaced.   

Share the positives

SSCC meetings are a great opportunity to “close the loop” on student feedback and demonstrate how student voice has driven changes locally and across UCL. This is particularly important in Term One, as improvements may have been implemented over the summer.

Reviewing the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) Action Plan agreed last year is a good starting point for identifying local student experience improvements, and identifying any areas that need further attention in Term One.

You’re welcome to share these improvements beyond the SSCC, to show that student feedback makes a difference in your area, for instance on your departmental Virtual Common Room.

You can also find materials to create your own, localised You Shaped UCL campaign on the Templates and Guides page on the Teaching & Learning Portal.   

Connect with other staff working on SSCCs

You can share best practice with other SSCC staff Chairs and Secretaries on the new SSCC staff community on Microsoft Teams. The community includes discussion boards and a range of materials to help your SSCC flourish.