Who are the ASRs? The importance of UniSA’s Academic Student Representatives

Who are the ASRs? The importance of UniSA’s Academic Student Representatives

Whether you are a UniSA undergraduate or postgraduate, the Academic Student Representative program is a great way, as a student representative put it, to “bridge the gap between academics and students and improve learning and teaching.”(Image source: University of South Australia)

By Ashleigh Buck | @ashkbuck

The Academic Student Representative (ASR) Program is in place to encourage University of South Australia’s (UniSA) students to get involved with the university’s teaching and learning outcomes.

Through communication with their ASR, students can help improve and develop the university by offering positive and constructive feedback about their course, the academics involved and their experience with their learning.

Project Officer at UniSA’s Student Engagement Unit and ASR Claire Papoulis talks about the relevance of the program to students in a short video.

“ASRs are here to support you by being the connection between you and the faculty,” Claire says. “We are there to liaise for you and advocate for you when things might not be going perfectly.

“But also we’re there to take your feedback on if there’s things we can improve or make the courses better.”

In the video, Claire shared an example of the assistance that ASRs can provide to encourage students to get in touch and get involved.

Claire says a “success story” from the ASR program was when students were running a committee organising an end of year exhibition.

“The exhibition was on a particular day, which was the same day as the last assignment” Claire says. “The ASR group were able to negotiate an extension for those students to help mitigate the stress involved and we were able to liaise with the faculty and communicate what was going on and how the student body were feeling.”

Students enrolled in UniSA College – which includes diplomas and foundation studies – can also apply to be ASRs.

Graham Carter is a College ASR and spoke about the benefits of joining the program and being able to improve the university through his own experience from studying.

“As a College ASR you are attending workshops and meetings to give a student’s point of view on the topics being discussed,” Graham said. “This will help improve the quality of the learning and teaching at UniSA College through the input that you have as a student leader.    

“A normal day for an ASR is no different to a normal student, apart from the fact that you can influence the years to come with your input, an ASR also gets feedback from the current students to then bring this feedback to the academics on the student’s behalf.”     

Through the ASR website, students can get involved with the program and become an ASR. And while it does come with its own challenges, it is an encouraging role to have.

“As a college ASR you gain experience in a leadership role and problem-solving skills that will help with the rest of your studies and beyond,” Graham said. “There is also a sense of pride that comes with the role as your input may have influence even after you have moved on from the role as a college ASR.    

“To students considering getting involved with the program I’d recommend applying for the position of ASR as it is rewarding and gives a fresh perspective  on how UniSA is run behind the scenes.”      

For more information head to the ASR website and follow the links.

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