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Category Academic
Type Policy
Approved by Council, 8 April 2003
Date Policy Took Effect 1 January 2004
Last approved revision 25 October 2023
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible officer Manager, Policy and Compliance


The class representation system promotes communication and consultation between students and staff and supports the University's Strategic Imperatives of Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Student Experiences.  The Class Representative Policy provides guidelines on the administration of the class representation system, and aims to ensure that the value of having a class representative system is recognised by staff and students.

Organisational scope

This policy applies across the University and to the Otago University Students' Association.


Class Representative
A student in a given class who is nominated to represent their fellow students in that class and to serve as a conduit for communication between students and staff.
A Department, School, Faculty or other teaching unit at the University.
Otago University Students' Association.


1.    Summary

  1. The University supports an institution-wide class representative system, administered and facilitated by the OUSA.
  2. The University benefits from the class representative system through:
    • gaining constructive feedback from students on teaching and learning experiences; and
    • fostering harmonious relationships with the student body.
  3. Students who volunteer to participate as class representatives have the opportunity to:
    • enhance communication skills;
    • develop and enhance leaderships skills;
    • attend professional development training in a range of areas; and
    • demonstrate initiative for future academic and employment opportunities.

2.    Role and Responsibilities of the OUSA

  1. The OUSA takes a leading role in co-ordinating and facilitating the class representative system across the University, as well as providing ongoing training and support for representatives.
  2. At the start of each semester, the OUSA Representative Coordinator sends reminders to Departments, Schools and Faculties about the appointment of class representatives. Class representative volunteers self-register on the OUSA class representative database, which generates a report for each Department of representative names and corresponding papers. Alternatively, Departments can enter representative names directly into the OUSA class representative database.
  3. The OUSA invites all class representatives to attend an introductory training session on the responsibilities of class representatives, effective communication, and the OUSA's and other support services available at the University of Otago.
  4. The OUSA maintains contact with class representatives through regular newsletters providing information on upcoming events, training and volunteer opportunities. Representatives also have the opportunity to participate in the OUSA's Educom Committee.
  5. The OUSA maintains regular contact with Departments to share information about its training and professional development opportunities for representatives and to ensure the system is functioning effectively.

3.    Role and Responsibilities of Departments

  1. The Head of each Department has responsibility for ensuring that representatives for student groups within their department are appointed.  Usually there shall be one representative per paper, but this may be varied based on class sizes; for example a year-level, programme or postgraduate representative may be appointed where student numbers are smaller, or multiple representatives may be appointed in large papers.
  2. Each semester Departments shall ensure the names and contact details of class representatives are readily accessible to students, for example through publication on webpages, Blackboard and/or departmental noticeboards.
  3. Departments are encouraged to maintain regular contact with their class representatives, for example through regular meetings.
  4. Where appropriate, Heads of Departments are to take steps to recognise the value of the involvement of class representatives, for example through morning tea or lunch time meetings or the inclusion of class representatives in appropriate departmental occasions.

4.    Role and Responsibility of Divisions

  1. Each academic Division, in consultation with the appropriate student body and the OUSA, is responsible for developing processes for ensuring and monitoring the consistent implementation of a class representative system within that Division.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

The Manager
Policy and Compliance

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