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Learning from Students’ Union governance

25 May 2022 | Advance HE A one-off podcast special discussing the unique and important world of Students' Union governance, and the lessons that can be learned from it.

Advance HE’s Governance Development Manager Dan Tinkler hosted a one-off special podcast focusing on the lessons that can be learned from Students’ Union governance.

Dan was joined by Nick Smith, an Advance HE associate with over 15 years’ experience in Students’ Union governance whilst currently being a secretary to five Students’ Union boards, and by Victoria Aurora Bennett-Salvador, the current President and Chair of the Trustee Board at Birmingham City University Students’ Union. Together they explore what makes Students' Union governance so unique, how to engage student governors based on what works in students’ unions, achieving a positive board culture, supporting a diverse governing body and embedding inclusivity practices, and other lessons that higher education institutions, universities, colleges, and small and specialist institutions can learn from the world of Students' Union governance.

One aspect pointed out by both Nick and Victoria in the podcast was the required turnover in staff and students on the board. Victoria said that this makes Students’ Unions unique “in the best way...because students are voting those people in that it keeps the board so relevant to the output of what they need to be doing. She said part of the best bit about SU governance and the most unique part is "the representation of students…  a lot of our students who are coming in will range in ages and that also lends itself to SU governance in that the people involved will never necessarily have the same outlook on the way that the board should handle themselves. What that allows for is really good, diverse conversation.”

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

Understanding and assuring academic outcomes and the student experience 
The next virtual event in our Governor Development Programme (GDP) on 29 June, Understanding and assuring academic outcomes and the student experience, will feature a panel session asking - How do we hear the student voice in our governance? Find out more


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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