ACADEMIC ISSUES

It’s often difficult to know who to go to in the structure of the RCA. Here is a breakdown of the different people you should ask in case you have a question or a problem.


How do I know what my rights are as a student?

Your rights as an RCA student, and what you have been promised during your experience, come from a combination of sources.

1 – Your programme handbook, which your Head of Programme will share with you in your first week.
2 – The RCA terms of reference, which are available here.
3 – The MA Student Charter, which is available here.
4 – The information advertised to you during any open day you attended, or the RCA website.

Please be sure to thoroughly review these documents/sources , because should you need to raise a complaint with the college, much of it will depend on what the institution had stated they would agree to provide you through them.


2. There has been an issue in my programme that I/my peers and I are unhappy about.

This should be addressed with your programme rep(s), who should bring it up at your next programme forum. If the rep(s) is not able to have the concern resolved in the Programme Forum, or in their monthly meeting with the Head of Programme, and they are still dissatisfied with their answer, there are two routes you can take:

  1. Official Route: The rep(s) should have the Head of Programme submit a statement about their position on the issue raised by the students, and move directly to a Stage 2 complaint with the Dean of their School. The Students’ Union Officers can help you with writing your complaint and navigating the complaints procedure. Come to the SU office for more information.
  2. Informal Route: Alternately, you might decide not to take official action just yet. If it is evident that the Head of Programme is ignoring student feedback and it is having a detrimental effect on the curriculum, the rep should also let one of the Students’ Union officers know directly. We can either represent your concerns for you (option to be kept anonymous) with the Head of Programme, or we can mediate a meeting between you and the Dean of your school to discuss the issue.

  1. Over the course of the year, my course mates and I have felt generally dissatisfied with the quality of the teaching or organisation in my programme.

    If you have a problem with the overall academic or organisational quality of your programme, and the individual problems that have arisen have ultimately not been able to be resolved by the routes described in Question 1 (see above) – then you should encourage your peers to report the feedback in the Student Survey, which you will be invited to fill out in June. The programme must consider its academic and organisational quality every year in the Annual Programme Review (APR) process, and respond to student feedback to rethink their strategy for delivering the course.


  2. I am having an issue about the organisation of the final show.The final show is out of the hands of your programme – it is organised by the College centrally. We are involved in discussions about the planning of the final show starting September. This means any suggestions or feedback about how better it could be organised for your programme must be communicated as early as possible.If your concern arises before the beginning of the Show, let your reps know about your concerns, and they should bring it to the Final Show Subcommittee of the Students’ Union Assembly. Alternately, if you just need information, we are always happy to give you an update about where things stand with the planning of the final show.

  3. I am having a problem with a member of staff.

    If there has been any sort of inappropriate behaviour or comments by staff, especially instances you would feel uncomfortable sharing with peers (i.e., your programme rep) then either go to Student Support, who can help to mediate the issue privately. If the problem is occurring between a member of staff and several or more peers, or come and talk to a Student Union officer. We can help you to decide how to approach their manager about it.


  4. I am  having a problem with the technical facilities, library, or IT within my programme.

    Any local problems or issues about IT, library, and technical services – involving specific incidents, machinery, maintenance, or staffing problems, should be sent to the relevant Technical Services Manager of your School, or Library Services/IT Services at their offices directly. Your reps will know who these contacts are, so bring up your feedback through them. For wider concerns about provision, quality, or availability, also let your reps know. They are invited to an ILTS Forum which is held once a term on each site. It is attended by all managers of ILTS who take back suggestions on how to improve their service. If they happen not to have time to attend, you can attend as their proxy.If the problem is urgent and affecting your academic work, and the relevant manager has not responded to the issues you have raised, then we would advise you (and any peers who are affected) to begin the complaints procedure. Come to the SU Office to learn more about this.


  5. Over the course of the year, I have been generally dissatisfied with my course facilities, and though I’ve brought it up at the ILTS Forum it hasn’t been addressed. 

    If it arises that your course facilities are generally inadequate, and it has already been shared with the relevant manager either personally or at the ILTS Forum but without any response, you should be sure to include this into your feedback in the Student Survey in May. The Director of ILTS must respond to the results of the student survey every year in the Annual Programme Review process.


  6. I am concerned about the policies, decisions, or direction of the RCA as a whole.
    In this case, you should have this discussion about the specific issue that you oppose with your rep, who will bring your view to the School Assembly. The sabbatical officer chairing the Assembly will pass on those views to the relevant meeting of the college, since we are the ones who sit on college meetings to do with Equality and Diversity, Health and Safety, Union Consultation, Academic Standards, Senate, and Council. Alternatively, you can always email us directly .

  7. I would like the SU to change one of it’s policies – for example, pertaining to represented views, election rules, facilities, or operations.

Reps are able to submit motions at the SU Assembly to pass or strike down policies, and create initiatives. You should draft a motion with your rep, who should submit it at the next SU Assembly.


  1. I am having a problem with my studio facilities – i.e. Lighting, walls, electricity, water, maintenance, kitchens, toilets, or access

For any problems with college facilities, email buildings-and-estates@rca.ac.uk directly. If they do not respond within 5 working days, send them a reminder email, then please have your rep let us know about the issue at the next School Assembly, or if it’s urgent, email one of the sabbatical officers directly.


 

  1. I have failed my exam, and need to appeal the decision.
    1. We are usually notified in case of any appeal cases, because it is the Students’ Union Officers who help represent you to the panel who will review the decision. We can advise you on the best course of action to defend your case. Please come to the office to see us.

  2. I am having problems with my finances and need advice.

    1. If you are having financial trouble, please speak to the Student Support office. They manage a hardship bursary for students in emergency financial need.
    2. If you are in need of more time to pay your fees, please contact/send a reply to the Registry office. They are usually able to arrange for an alternative payment schedule for you.

  3. I am having personal problems affecting my study, with peers, or in general.

    1. Student Support provides private counselling sessions when it comes to personal and interpersonal issues, whether or not it has to do with your studies.

  4. I am having a hard time deciding whether or not to take a year off.

    1. Both Student Union and Student Support can have a conversation with you in case you need any advice on deciding the pros and cons of taking a year off – including any repercussions on your degree or visa. Come talk to us anytime.

  5. I need a document of some sort from the college for police registration, council tax, visa extensions, or other government procedures.

    1. If you have any inquiries that relate to the legal or governmental requirements that you might need as a student here, please  speak to the Student Support office.

  6. Where can I access the list of all of the resources that are available across all the departments?

    1. Technical Services (ILTS) put together a technical services handbook in June 2014. For the first time, all of the information about all of the equipment, technicians, and resources available across all of the schools is accessible in one place. Download the Essential Guide PDF here, from Space.