Student representation & communication system
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The following document will outline the Student Representation & Communication System that we as students should use for our own benefit to enable effective communication across study years, and efficient communication between our study programs and the staff members of our faculty.
The following document has been written in collaboration with students, Student Representatives, and Student Senators from varying years of study, including students from both the General Medicine and Dentistry programs, and students studying in English and Slovak languages. In addition, input from faculty leadership was considered during the revision process.
Imagine you are a Head of Department or instructor for a given subject, and each time there is something unclear to students, you received hundreds of individual emails asking for a certain clarification. What would you do? Now, imagine you are the Study Officers in study department or even a Study Vice Dean, and each time something is unclear to students, you received up to 800+ individual emails asking a wide range of repetitive questions which may or may not be relevant to your position. How could you possibly address all of them effectively? The truth is you cannot. And yet, as a student, you know how it feels when your email or question never gets answered.
It is painfully evident that a structured system for communication is needed among the 800+ international students in our faculty. Thus, this Student Representation and Communication System is being established to ensure that questions and issues are directed to the correct faculty members, that faculty members can reply faster without having received hundreds of repetitive messages from students, and that accurate answers from appropriate faculty members in response to our questions are effectively shared with all students in the relevant study group, year, and/or program.
How does it work? An overview.
Students communicate their questions/concerns to their Group Representatives (GR) GRs handle group-wide issues by politely contacting teachers directly on behalf of the whole group, ensures all group members are aware of the response from the teachers, and provides updates to the Year Representative (YR) YRs handle year-wide issues by politely contacting teachers and Year Tutors on behalf of the whole year, ensuring all GRs are aware of responses from the teachers, and maintaining close communication with the YRs from other study years/program.
In addition, the YRs must also communicate with the elected Student Senator in ŠČAS (student part of the academic senate) who oversees their specific study year/program to inform them of systemic issues that may require the attention of faculty leadership and/or Academic Senate Student Senators present the issues in ŠČAS on behalf of the YR from that year/program ŠČAS presents the issue to relevant faculty leadership and/or the Academic Senate.
Once a question is answered or an update is shared, the information follows the same chain in reverse, such that information from YRs, faculty members, and/or senate always makes its way back to each individual student
Figure 1. In the figure below, the lines connecting varying levels of the communication chain reflect the flow of information. The horizontal lines between GRs and YRs indicates they remain in communication with each other. Questions/concerns from individual study groups begin at the bottom of the chain and make their way up. All answers to questions as well as other updates then travel back down the chain, such that all impacted students are aware of the answer/update even if they were not the one who originally asked.
What do we have to do as a student?
The most important step in maintaining order in our representation and communication as students, is for all study groups/years to select a Group Representative for each study group and a Year Representative for the entire study year, at the beginning of each academic year. These are the individuals who will be responsible for writing messages to faculty members when the questions/issues apply to the whole study group or whole study year, respectively. They will also be responsible for disseminating the response of faculty members to their group/year, or in the case of more complex situations, summarizing the resolution that was reached.
In addition, the Student Senators who represent the international program in ŠČAS (student part of the academic senate) are voted into their positions by the students of the international program. Therefore, it is important to ensure we all have quality candidates in senate and that we participate in the ŠČAS elections.
After making our selections for Group and Year representatives, the only thing left for us to do is work closely with them and the rest of our study group/year to keep communication clear. It is a team effort.
How do we stay connected?
While each study group/year/program is welcome to use whichever platform they see fit, the most effective form of communication amongst Student Representatives has proven to be WhatsApp. The groups for communication are outline as follows:
· A group chat for the study group is where the GR can collect questions/concerns from their study group and share information in response to their questions.
· A group chat for all GRs + the YR of a study year is where issues brought up by GRs are discussed, questions that we can answer among ourselves are answered, and requests for the YR to write a message on behalf of the year are written (which can be addressed to a faculty member or the YR from a higher year, depending).
· A group chat for all YRs across study years/programs is where the YRs work together to answer each other’s general questions about procedures at our faculty (taking the load off study department and other faculty members since many of the questions are basic to students in higher years), and where any positive/negative feedback about education is shared and discussed.
· When needed, the YRs communicate directly with the Student Senators to share constructive feedback about specific, wide-spread issues in education.
THE ROLE OF REPRESENTATIVES EXPLAINED:
· Communicates actively with group members to remain aware of issues and collect questions to ask teachers, or to send into the study year’s GRs + YR Group Chat
· Communicates with teachers and other staff members (using proper titles) on behalf of the entire study group to ask questions and/or clarify confusion about issues that pertain to the whole study group
· If an issue/question pertains to multiple study groups (e.g., groups that have practical education together), the GRs decide among themselves who will contact the teacher for clarification on behalf of the groups and ensure all members of the relevant groups are aware
· Ensures all group members are aware of updates provided by faculty staff members and/or the YR
· Embodies and encourages teamwork and professionalism
· Maintains a good working relationship with fellow GRs and with the YR to ensure the YR is aware of any issues in the study year
YEAR REPRESENTATIVES (YR):
· Communicates actively with GRs to remain aware of issues and collect questions to ask teachers, or to send into the group chat of YRs from higher years
· Communicates with teachers and other staff members (using proper titles) on behalf of the entire study year to ask questions and/or clarify confusion about issues that pertain to the whole study year
· Communicates with the Year Tutor (a faculty staff member who has been chosen by the faculty to be a contact person for the YR of a given study year/program) to ask for guidance or advice about the best course of action or who to contact about a particular issue involving the entire study year.
· Ensures all GRs are aware of updates provided by faculty staff members and/or YRs from higher years
· Embodies and encourages teamwork and professionalism
· Maintains a good working relationship with GRs, fellow YRs, and with Student Senators who oversee their study year/program.
STUDENT SENATORS IN SČAS (STUDENT PART OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE)
· Formally elected by their peers in the ŠČAS elections
· Assigned by the chairman of ŠČAS to communicate the issues of specific study years/programs to all other members of ŠČAS, and to offer guidance to the Year Representatives, when needed
· Works in collaboration with all other Student Senators to address questions/concerns presented by students via the YRs, and provides YRs with updates to share with their respective study year/program
· When appropriate, communicates with faculty leadership to address questions/concerns presented by students via the YRs
· Embodies and encourages teamwork and professionalism amongst all students by offering guidance and advice to help students better understand how to effectively communicate with faculty staff members and/or faculty leadership.
YEAR TUTORS (STUDY CONSULTANTS)
ROLE OF THE YEAR TUTOR
· Provides the YR with advice in case of unclearness regarding the study (schedule, replacement of teaching, dates of exams, principles of credit study, etc.)
· Monitors current information on the websites of institutes and clinics.
· Registers student suggestions to improve the quality and realization of study of individual subjects.
· Informs about serious problems, ambiguities and suggestions and then solves them with the study vice-dean
YEAR TUTORS FOR GENERAL MEDICINE
|1st year of study||MUDr. Hisham El Falougy, M.D., PhD.||Institute of Anatomy||hisham.elfalougyfmed.uniba.sk|
|2nd year of study||assoc.prof. RNDr. Jana Muchová, PhD.||Institute of Medical Chemistry||jana.muchovafmed.uniba.sk|
|3rd year of study||prof. Beata Mladosievičová, M.D., CSc.||Institute of Pathological Physiology||beata.mladosievicovafmed.uniba.sk|
|4th year of study||prof. Ján Pečeňák, M.D., PhD.||Department of Psychiatry||jan.pecenaksm.unb.sk|
|5th year of study||assoc. prof. Tomáš Dallos, M.D., PhD.||Department of Paediatrics||dallosdfnsp.sk|
|6th year of study||assoc. prof. Alexandra Krištúfková, M.D., PhD.||1st department of Gyn. and Obstetrics||a.kristufkovagmail.com|