Evidence shows that having a Class Advocate improves student engagement in your class
The Massey Student Associations are now working together to deliver the same Massey-wide Class Advocate program for all students regardless of their campus location or mode of study. You may previously have been more familiar with the term Class Representatives.
Class Advocates play a central role in maintaining constructive communication between students and lecturers. The programme creates an opportunity for students to have their concerns heard and academic issues resolved as early as possible. Additionally, Class Advocates provide a channel for discussion and valuable feedback for lecturers, with an aim to enhance the learning experience for both parties. Class Advocates receive training and support from their student association.
Why recruit Class Advocates?
The relationship between students and staff at the University is very important. This programme encourages and facilitates the development of these relationships as much as possible. Class Rep/Advocates Policy dictates that Advocates will be recruited for all courses/qualifications (Undergraduate and Postgraduate).
Having a Class Advocate(s) will allow you to receive feedback more often as well as give you another channel to address students and it has proven to be a very good way to increase student engagment in the class and to identify any issues that may otherwise become a generalised problem within the class or evolve into student complaints or grievances. Historically most student complaints have come from classes that do not have Class Advocates. Students express a higher level of satisfaction in courses where there is a Class Advocate.
The Class Advocate system generates goodwill from students and lecturer loyalty and the value of such a system should not be underestimated.
College Staff/Student Liaison Committees usually obtain student participants from their pool of Class Advocates and there is a strong correlation between the number of Class Advocates recruited by individual academic units and the likelihood of them running successful Student & Staff Liaison Committees.
How to promote Class Advocates for your class
We encourage you to show our introductory promo image and video at each of your first classes for the semester. It can be a great ice-breaker and works best if you can recruit your Class Advocates in this first class, but certainly within the first three weeks of lectures. Further down the page, we have a list of the benefits students receive by engaging with the programme.
Teaching staff are responsible for requesting at least one student from each paper volunteers as the Class Advocate. For large classes, we recommend a ratio of no less than one advocate to 40 students. Students can self-nominate and the more Advocates per class, the more successful the system is, as the responsibility and workload is shared by the students. Unless any objection is noted it should be appropriate for all volunteers to be recruited as Class Advocates as this is a way for co-curricular skills to be developed. Please allow your Class Advocate(s) a few minutes to introduce themselves to your class.
The student associations will coordinate the programme and train the Class Advocates.
Class Advocate Training is being held Wednesday 16 March on zoom. Please ensure your Class Advocates have registered well before this date so that they receive the invitation to training.
In a nutshell:
- Announce in the first class that students are being sought to act as Class Advocates
- Display the Class Advocate Promo Image and play the short introductory video
- Tell them about the benefits of being a Class Advocate (listed below).
- Take a note of the names of the students and and ask them to register online at https://masseyca.org.nz/
- Once you have recruited your Class Advocates, promote them on Stream.
- Pro-actively engage with your Class Advocates so that they are confident to bring issues to you.
Video to play in class
Benefits for Students
There are a whole heap of intangible benefits for students who engage with the programme, but some of the things you may wish to highlight are:
- A way of getting to know the lecturer and support teaching staff
- That they will learn more about Massey than they would have known otherwise
- The opportunity to meet class mates or fellow Advocates and make new friends
- Training provided (1 hour only) but with the potential for further optional training
- Helps them to develop communication and advocacy skills
- A certificate provided at the end of the year
- Looks good on their CV and is very useful when applying for scholarships as it demonstrates co-curricular and community involvement
- An awesome end of year recognition event