Current Students Support Student consultation process

Student consultation process

Every year, JCU Council reviews and approves JCU’s student consultation processes both for general purposes and for the specific purpose of expending the proceeds from the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) income.

James Cook University actively seeks to consult with and obtain feedback from its students, and to enable students to participate in decision making. This takes place by way of regular senior management meetings with elected student representatives, appointing student representatives to University decision-making bodies and a variety of consultation and feedback mechanisms with the student body across the institution, embedded in both the Academy and in the Service Divisions.

General consultation with students

JCU Student Association (JCUSA)

James Cook University recognises the JCU Student Association (JCUSA) as the elected representative voice of the student body. The University consults with the elected representatives of the JCU Student Association on matters generally pertaining to the interests of students through the following mechanisms:

  • Regular, scheduled meetings between the Vice-Chancellor and the JCUSA President;
  • Regular, scheduled meetings between the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) and the JCUSA President;
  • Regular meetings with senior staff and relevant elected student representatives;
  • A Vice-Chancellor-appointed nominee on the JCU Student Association Student Council (who is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students));
  • Extraordinary meetings;
  • Requests to JCU Student Association for opinion and comment

Student members on decision-making bodies

The University includes elected student members on its decision-making bodies (e.g. University Council and Divisional/College Boards) to provide a student perspective in the decision-making process. Academic Board also has student members who are appointed by the Academic Board Executive after an expression of interest process. The University regularly informs students about other opportunities to become involved in decision-making at JCU in order to seek student advice and feedback. Disciplines in the Academy also regularly hold student-staff liaison group meetings.

Brisbane and Singapore Student Councils

The University recognises the following Student Councils as the representative voice for students at the Singapore and Brisbane campuses and consults with their elected representatives on matters generally pertaining to the interests of students on these campuses:

  • Student Council JCU Singapore;
  • Student Council JCU Brisbane.

Other broad-based consultation processes

The University consults broadly with the student body on matters that are relevant to the interests of students using the following mechanisms:

  • Surveys to monitor the effectiveness of key student services
  • Surveys to gain feedback about subject offerings and teaching
  • General invitations for comment via the web, social media and student bulletins
  • Kiosks and Workshops.

Student Advisory Forum

In addition to the above, and to provide a further, broad-based, student engagement mechanisms for staff-student partnerships in decision making, on the 17 October 2016, the university’s Education Committee endorsed that a JCU Student Advisory Forum be established. The Vice Chancellor has accepted this recommendation on the basis that it would provide a much more consultative and representative student-driven focus. The Student Advisory Forum Handbook contains the Terms of Reference and FAQs, while a dedicated website has been designed to ensure that effective engagement and communication channels are maintained between students and James Cook University.

At a broad level of institutional quality assurance, these various opportunities, and now the addition of a Student Advisory Forum, speak to the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015, particularly as regards section 5.3 Monitoring, Review and Improvement. JCU’s Statement of Strategic Intent also specifically places students at the heart of our university, which is further enlivened by inclusive and collaborative engagement with our students.

Process for SSA Fee consultation

With regard to the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSA Fee) allocation process specifically, pursuant to the Student Fee Payments and Refunds Policy,  the SSA Fee Income Allocation Working Group is tasked with this function and consults broadly with students in order to advise the Vice Chancellor directly on an agreed, proposed annual allocation.

The Working Group plays a central role in the student consultation and fund allocation process, as it is constituted by a balanced membership of JCU Student Association (JCUSA) representatives, who work together with staff of the University with expertise in specific areas of the SSA Fee legislative remit, including, for example: facilities management; student administration and academic services; student support services; library and information services, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives and International student support. The Committee is chaired by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Students.

Each year, the Chair of JCU’s SSAF Income Allocation Working Group consults with JCU student representatives, via the JCUSA and the broader student body, regarding priorities for expenditure of the proceeds of the SSA Fee income. The Working Group then considers matters raised through the consultation process and develops a proposed expenditure plan, which details the established priorities, proposed heads of expenditure and projects to be funded.

The proposed expenditure plan is then published to the JCU student body and students are provided with a minimum of two weeks to provide feedback and comment. Through the consultation process and publication of the proposed expenditure plan, the elected student representation and the student body are provided with information about:

  • the purpose of the SSAF;
  • the amount of revenue anticipated;
  • the mechanisms to establish priorities for expenditure; and
  • the timing and mechanism available to comment on the proposed priorities.

Feedback received from students is considered by the SSA Fee Income Allocation Working Group, which then recommends a proposed SSAF expenditure plan to the Vice-Chancellor for approval.

Details of SSA Fee expenditure over previous years is available here.

Related links

Student Members and Representation at JCU

Student Services and Amenities Fee information

Student Fee Payments and Refunds Policy