De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s latest Course Rep of the Month has spoken about how he has academically represented his fellow students at De Montfort University (DMU).
Nizamuddin Patel, a second-year Mechanical Engineering student, has been named as the Course Rep of the Month for January 2017 – an award open to all 655 Course Reps at DMU.
Course Reps are the vital link between students and their lecturers, and are responsible for letting academics know about the key issues that students face.
Nizamuddin, who was also the Course Rep for Mechanical Engineering in his first year, explained what first attracted him to the role.
“A person from the students’ union came to do a talk, and I thought it was really interesting,” he said. “It was all about how you can talk to the leaders [at the university] and how you can make a change for everyone. I thought it was perfect for me.”
One of DSU's main roles is to academically represent every single student at DMU.
He was selected as January’s Course Rep of the Month after submitting three ‘wins’ and improving the experience for his course mates – and beyond.
“Some of it was the usual extensions [to deadlines], but there was one that carried on from last year.
“In one module, certain tutorial classes were getting extra marks and the people in another tutorial class weren’t getting that. I put across the issue at a meeting with the course leaders, and they’ve now made sure that everyone is on a level playing field.”
Elsewhere, Nizamuddin spoke about a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) module that some students on his course had described as a ‘shambles’.
“We had three [assignments] and they were all set by different tutors,” he explained. “The first one; the tutor retired halfway through so we got left with half of the stuff.
“The second one; I don’t know what happened, but he left as well, so we got left with half the teaching on that one as well.
“And with the third; we were using some out-of-date software and we were being taught by some PhD students who were used to different software, so they didn’t really have an idea of what was going on!
“All three of those issues were addressed and the course leaders managed to change the whole module for this year. They gave us extra marks here and there as we weren’t taught properly, and we’ve had extra classes to pick up those skills that we didn’t get last year.”
Nizamuddin also successfully campaigned for changes to the downstairs area of the Kimberlin Library and software provision.
Nizamuddin, originally from Leicester, also persuaded the lecturers to add in extra sessions for a maths module that students on his course felt they needed more time for plus gave feedback on services for engineering students in the library – namely, the introduction of 20 new computers with specialised CAD software.
But it’s the personal development that comes with representing 120 students which is most important to him.
“There has been a massive development for me,” he continued. “I can speak better with more people now as my communication has improved, and on top of that my professional skills as well.
“The best thing is talking to the people just like me on the course and taking it onto the module and course leaders, and up to the highest level of the university.
Augustus Mbanasor, DP Education at DSU, said: “Nizamuddin is January’s Course Rep of the Month as he has done extraordinary work with his programme leader.
“He has managed to submit three wins and this shows dedication in representing the students on his course. This is massive and deserves to be recognised by DSU.”
To find out more about becoming a Course Rep, click here. If you are a Course Rep and want to report a ‘win’ from your programme, you can use the form here.
Have you heard the news? We’re changing the way we elect Course Reps – it’s now completely online. You can put your name down here, but hurry! Nominations close Friday 24 February.
Nizamuddin hopes to continue his work as a Course Rep in his third year of study – or even step up to become a School Rep Coordinator (SRC).