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Leilani Davis is a final year modern languages student, studying French and Spanish.

She was recently awarded the 2021 RUSU (Reading University Students' Union) Excellence Award for Course Rep of the Year, across the entire university.

As RUSU explains on its website:

"Student awards categories:

Every year we recognise Reps that have excelled in their role and helped enhance the student experience, not only for other Reps but all students. The award celebrates their achievements and how they have used the role to inspire and motivate others."

They define the award as follows:

"For a Student Rep who has committed to their role as a representative from day one and has consistently gathered quality feedback from students throughout the year to fairly represent their cohort.

"Has attended SSPG meetings and participated in discussion, delivering evaluation and critical feedback from students to staff. Has encouraged problem-solving and helped close the feedback loop on any issues that have arisen regarding teaching and learning. Finally, who has gone over and above to support their course mates and improve the student learning experience."

More from Leilani about the award

"I was honoured and beyond grateful to receive the Course Rep of the Year award, which recognises efforts as a course rep across the university and is nominated by your fellow peers and staff."

What the role of course rep entails

"As a course rep, it is your responsibility to represent the voices of your peers on your course in a democratic way, and ensure that students are being heard and that their concerns are being responded to. The role of the course rep above all is to keep a clear channel of communication running between the staff and students.

"I have been extremely fortunate to be involved with other amazing projects in the Department of Languages and Cultures and the School of Literature and Languages, which have allowed me to work closely with my fantastic peers and extremely supportive staff as a result."

Using social media to support students studying online

"Initiated through my student-staff partnership, the Department of Languages and Cultures Instagram account was created in response to students' concerns that the new blended learning environment during the pandemic would disconnect them from the close-knit community of the Department that they treasured.

"Being a member of the social media team, I had the opportunity to create weekly content with my peers that would keep students feeling up-to-date with the Department's news, give study advice and ensure that students knew they were part of a community (but also making sure everyone had something fun to enjoy amongst assessments!)."

Contributing to the enhanced blended learning project

"I have also been involved in a project under the Partnerships in Learning and Teaching (PLanT) Projects scheme. The project – Partnership for Enhanced Blended Learning between Staff and Students (PEBLSS) – examined and explored effective teaching and learning practices in the online environment.

"I have loved every minute of my time at the University of Reading. There is not a single part of my experience that I regret.

"From the amount of projects and societies I've been involved in, to studying in a Department that truly cares about each and every one of their students. I will soon be beginning my master's degree in translation and interpreting, so I hope to start progressing in this professional field.

"Above all else, I hope to be able to use my linguistic skills as well as everything else I have learned at Reading to help others in the future."

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