Student consultation process

Students Support 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 (Academic) 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 (Academic));

Student representatives on decision-making bodies

The University includes elected student representatives on its decision-making bodies (e.g., University Council, Academic Board, and Divisional/College Boards) to represent the interests of students. 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 holds 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.

A new JCU Student Advisory Forum from 2017

In addition to the above, and to provide a further, broad-based, student engagement mechanism 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 and held twice yearly as from 2017.  The Vice Chancellor has accepted this recommendation and the intent is to have the first meeting of the Forum in April 2017.

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 Services and Amenities Fee 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 SSA Fee 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 (Academic).

The Chair of JCU’s SSAF Income Allocation Working Group consults with JCU student representatives, annually via the JCUSA and biennially with the broader student body by way of a survey, 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 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.

In order to encourage further collaboration with students around SSAF consultation in 2017, it is proposed that pop up Student Kiosks will be set up during Orientation Week on both Townsville and Cairns campuses.

Related links

Student Representation at JCU

Student Services and Amenities Fee information

Student Services and Amenities Fee Policy