Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Arjun Prasad - An Official Proposal to Harvard College on the Creation of Student Advisory Councils in Academic Departments

            Student Advisory Councils are used in myriad fashions in academic institutions, anywhere from advising Deans at the highest administrative levels all the way through the academic departments and institutional organizations. In this study, I am hoping to analyze at the potential pathways to creating Student Advisory Councils within each of the academic departments at Harvard College, using the Educational Studies Secondary Student Advisory Council (Ed SAC) as a case study. I open my report using a review of literature to better understand the importance of student representation in higher education, ultimately finding it has two primary roles: first, giving students a voice in academic policies and second, creating a social community of undergraduate students within academic departments. I used my own experience serving on the Ed SAC in addition to interviews with six other Ed SAC Members and various Harvard Administrators and Faculty (all interviewees detailed in the report) to ultimately create three deliverables. First, a list of actionable suggestions for the Ed SAC which can hopefully improve their capabilities in the coming years. Second, a more generalized List of Best Practices for any other already existent student advisory board to adopt such that they can also improve their own capacities at the College. The third deliverable is broken up into two pieces: a Start-up Guide and a 1-Year Plan. The Start-up Guide will be a list of steps which departments can use to develop their own SAC and the 1-Year Plan will be a list of events they can plan to host to showcase the breadth of their capabilities.

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