Interested in becoming a Faculty Rep? Elections are held in August/September each year, and are open to all full-time undergraduate students (there is also a position for a postgrad. rep as well).

More info, and information about Department and School-level Student Reps here:

What is Student Representation?

So, what does a Faculty Representative do?

The Faculty Reps deal specifically with issues that affect the whole student body in Arts and Social Sciences (around 8000 students), while liaising with the student representatives at the School and Department levels, as well as the staff at Student Support Programs, in order to discuss these issues.

Areas of discussion have included:

  • Library renovations
  • Staff cuts
  • Changes to degrees
  • Changes to units of study/departments/schools

Responsibilities of the Faculty Reps. include:

  • Meeting with the Dean of Arts twice a semester (as part of the Student Advisory Committee)
  • Attending Faculty Board meetings
  • Sitting as representatives on one of: Academic Board, Teaching and Learning Committee, or Undergraduate Committee

Will be held in the first week of November,


Let us know is there are any issues you want us to raise.


Facebook: Student Representation in Arts and Social Sciences
Twitter: @artsfacultyreps

SAC Meeting (03/10/2012)

Issues covered:
— Change Plan (i.e. staff cuts)
— Refocusing the majors
— Honours

1. Change Plan

The process is almost entirely concluded. At the moment there is a review process going on for the remaining staff who have appealed for their position.

We are, we are told, very close to having met our budgetary targets for 2013–15.

2. Refocusing the Majors

This process is occurring now, and most departments have submitted reviews and plans for the next few years.

The key issue facing the redevelopment of these courses is the attempt to strike a balance between the prudent use of available resources (i.e. with limited staff, and financial constraints), while still being able to justify the presence (or, indeed, absence) of a given area, or unit of study academically.

Several new postgraduate courses are being planned in order to streamline the Masters program, making it less confusing and with clearer attainable goals.
These include:
– Master of English
– Master of International Relations
– Master of Museum and Heritage Studies
– Master of Advanced Studies (we will do a separate post about this
particular degree when we find out more information, it’s quite new)

3. Honours

The University (apparently the entire Go8 as well) is in discussion about how viable Honours is as a pathway towards a PhD.

There is a possibility of having an 18-month Masters program intended for PhD progression, as it may allow the Faculty to focus more on giving students the skills and knowledge necessary for that PhD.

Regardless, Honours will still exist.

This proposal is very much in its infancy, and as we receive more information, we will keep you updated.

So as you may have heard, next semester the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will be running a pilot program for online enrolments. Then, as of next year, all enrolments across the university are expected to be done online.


Although we haven’t had a chance to play with the system ourselves, we have it on good authority that over the course of the last few months almost all of the bugs have been worked out and now the Online Enrolment system is easy to use, information is easy to find, and the whole enrolment process is actually pretty straightforward.

This will be especially useful come January next year.

Note, for current students: although everything will now be run through Sydney Student, the interface and process for pre-enrolment (which starts in September) will mostly likely be exactly the same. More updates on this closer to the date.

Second, we wanted some clarification on the current status of the Change Development Plan, and were given this information:

— The final letters were sent out 2 weeks ago and, at present, staff have the opportunity to either negotiate around the terms given (such as dates and details), or to appeal their case to a joint committe made up of representatives from university and the NTEU.

— Their decisions must be made in the next week or so.


— There will probably not be a substantial cut in the number of units of study offered in the next semester and year (though this is not necessarily definite, and will obviously have to be dealt without over the course of the next year)


— Issues of supervision (of postgraduate or honours students) will be dealt with separately from these proceedings.


That’s all the information we have at present regarding the Change Development Plan, though as the issue continues, and the decisions are finalised, we will update you with anything new we learn

We had our second meeting of the year with the Dean on Monday afternoon, and a couple of important points came out of it:

1.  Last week we posted about the ‘Refocusing the Majors’ Policy that has recently been approved through Faculty Board (that post can be found here) the Dean gave us some more information regarding these upcoming changes:

— The plans will, or have already begun to be developed the by departments and programs themselves in order to be implemented for students enrolling at the beginning of 2014.

Departments will be required to restructure the units they offer (it could be as simple as just changing the number from 2000 to 3000, or some departments may elect to develop entirely new units of study).

As well as offering a clear and simple kind of ‘mission statement’ about their major that can be understood by students, staff, and the public including: how it is structured; possible and clear pathways through the major; and what enrolling students can expect to get out of the major.

The key goals of these changes are:

– Clear progression through the major

– The removal of issues such as unclear pre/corequisites, and the ‘accidental major’ (where someone has completed a major without knowing it).

Since exams are looming, and we have been getting some questions, here is some of the latest information about the Fisher Library Renewal Project, as they are calling it:

They apparently opened up some space on Level 4 filled with desks and things on Friday (May 25), which — following the opening of Level 2 a few weeks ago — means there is now space available on levels 2, 4, and 5 for study, as well as the unbelievably limited spaces in the stacks on the upper floors.

The bathrooms problem has still not been dealt with.

The project is just over halfway done, so the final completion date won’t be until nearing the end of the year (October/November, most likely, but due to the nature of these projects there is no definitive date).

Good news, though, is that sections of Level 3 are supposed to be opening in the next week or so, which will help alleviate pressures during stuvac and exams.

All the information — as well as fairly regular updates, and announcements as things change can be found on the Renewal Project’s website:

There is also a feedback form there I guess for questions — they aren’t bad at getting back to you either.

Key points:

— Major redefined to “36 senior credit points including at least 6 at a 3000 level”
— Gone through Faculty Board and in final stages of process

So, you may or may not have heard, but a few weeks ago the Faculty Board endorsed a program based on the redevelopment and “Refocusing” of all the majors in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Unlike the last time (the ‘capstone’ issue) this will be done internally (i.e. by the department) and generally revolves around re-defining that a ‘major’ actually is in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

That is, while a major is currently 36 senior credit points in any one discipline , it will soon be changed to 36 senior credit points, including at least 6 credit points (one unit of study) at a 3000 level.

What will be required then, is for each department to restructure the units of study they offer into 2000 and 3000 level units. Understandably this may require significant changes for some departments, but since most already teach units that are designated ‘pre-honours’, such as methodology, research technique, or ‘advanced’ units, it will generally just require changing to course code for these units.

However, the Faculty Reps are having a meeting with the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences next Monday (May 28), where we will raise this issue and pass on the information to you

(Apologies for the delay)

This was our first meeting of the year (04/04/2012) between the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Reps and the Dean, Professor Duncan Ivison. It was relatively short, with the  main item on the agenda being the Change Proposal (known to most of us as “staff cuts”) and the recent Fair Work Australia decision about that (this having been made only a week or so before).

Although not a lot of entirely new information came out of this meeting, it was good to hear it relatively unmediated.

On that note, here is a link to the NTEU’s page regarding this decision, which is fairly straightforward.
In addition, here is a link to the University’s own page regarding the same decision.

Both pages have links to the actual documentation from FWA.

Now, we are reaching the end of the consultation period (27 April), and, in just over 2 weeks the process will essentially begin again, with notifications being sent out to staff whose positions are at risk on May 7th.

More info as we get it.

Just in case anyone was wondering what is happening on the part of the students with regard to the Final Change Proposal and current staff cuts:

Today the Education Officers of the SRC hosted a meeting for the student representative of each faculty as well as the Presidents of the USU Clubs and Societies.


The purpose of the meeting was to outline the SRC’s proposed plan to organise students against the staff cuts, the first stage of which will involve a large petition available for students to sign throughout O-week and the first two weeks of classes.


In addition, a member of the CPSU (Community and Public Sector Union — that represents the general staff at Sydney Uni) gave a presentation at how the cuts to the general staff (an issue that has been somewhat overshadowed by the cuts to academic staff. There were 2 pieces of information drawn from this that are important to note when considering the issues surrounding the Final Change Proposal:


1. All the strategic plans for the University (including the White paper) specifically mentioned that it was the University’s goal to decrease the intake of students in favour of lowering the staff-to-student ratio and the continual problem of overcrowding.


2. The University has, for some time, been trying to save money by not filling vacant positions — i.e. if someone left and it was decided by the University that they were not entirely essential to the running of the University, their position would not be filled. This has resulted in there currently being 17 unfilled positions with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and 277 vacant positions across the University.

This means that, with the 340 proposed cuts, the University will be operating at 617 people below its full capacity.


Now, although these points do not specifically effect the outlined changes, it is important to keep these in mind as the changes are implemented.


I imagine the SRC will update you all as their campaign progresses, though keep checking back for running reports.

Information for Economics Majors

Not quite sure what's happening now that Economics is in Arts?

Check out our info here.

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