Study group convenor information
Are you a study group convenor or thinking of becoming one? Here are some facts to help you run your group and the forms you'll need too.
What we need from you
As a study group convenor, we need your help to keep track of where DSA funding is going. So we ask you to fill in three forms - which we keep as short as possible. Your forms are:
- Budget protocol form (xls). For approval if you are planning any events. Fill this in to approve spending before you spend it.
- Report what you did last year. Please complete the questions outlined in the first part of this short Word document, every year. The facts from your annual report on group activity will go in the SG co-ordinator's report. Your report helps secure your group's funding for next year.
- Business plan - when submitting your annual report, complete the questions in the second part of the form in (2) above, setting out your plans for the year ahead.
You must read these convenor guidelines (PDF) - which were updated in 2017.
Who to ask for help
If you have a specialist question on running your study group just ask any of our three Study Group Co-ordinators:
Dr Ben Jones email@example.com
Professor Giles Mohan firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Helen Yanacopulos h.yanacopulos(at)open.ac.uk
General DSA enquiries: membershipadmin(at)devstud.org.uk
Frequently asked questions
What does being a study group convenor involve?
It all depends on what activities you organise. We expect you to hold at least one meeting a year, though many groups hold more than that. Some groups work through email discussion lists, and some even collect together papers and publish books. What you do is very much up to you, but we will help wherever we can.
How do people join a study group?
Usually prospective members will email you. Just add them to your email list (or other records). Some convenors set up a standard email reply as a response – this might be handy if you would like to send new members information about the group, or if you email the list quite infrequently. If you would like any advice on filtering emails automatically into a study group email folder or managing email distribution lists, you can always contact the DSA Administration for help – we can suggest ways to streamline your admin.
Do you have to be DSA member to join a study group? How do I check?
Anybody can join any number of study groups. Please do help us by encouraging people to join the DSA! If somebody contacts you asking to join DSA, please point them here. We do, however, expect the Convenor(s) to be an individual member of the DSA, unless their institution has an institutional membership with the DSA. In that scenario, convenors do not need to take out individual memberships of the DSA. If you are unsure if your institution is a DSA member, you can email membershipadmin(at)devstud.org.uk to find out. You can use the members directory to see if somebody is already a member.
DSA income largely comes from membership fees, and as these membership fees help fund study group activities, we are keen that paid-up members feel the full benefit - rather than subsidising non-members..
Can I get any help publicising events?
Yes. Most SGs have a mailing list for informing SG members of events and for discussion within the SG, but you can reach the entire DSA membership by adding your group’s news to our website and our monthly Bulletin, by emailing the information you want sent out to the DSA administration. The email newsletter goes out at the beginning of each month, but updates can be added to the website at any time.
If you've just taken over running a study group, you should inherit an email list from the previous convenor. If not, contact the DSA administrator. If you are convening a new group, we can help you set up an email list up. If you are a new convenor, you should read the study group guidelines (PDF).
How do I update my group's webpage?
All study groups have a page on the DSA website. You might like to use your web page to inform members about recent events, upcoming events, papers from meetings - they can download from the website, links to topic-specific research. To update your pages email content/edits to membershipadmin(at)devstud.org.uk.
Your web page can help you simplify your email messages - just include a link to your web page rather than sending large attachments to a big list.
Funding for study groups, and refunds of expenses
DSA funds study group activities to help you organise events and refund expenses. Study group funding is decided at the start of each financial year. For 2016/2017 this was £500 per group though we are happy to go above this if a case can be made.
Budget protocol form - complete this before your meeting and send it to the Study Group Co-ordinator. If you forget to do this, we may not be able to refund your costs.
Study group expense claim form (Word doc) - to reclaim your expenses. Just complete and sign this form and return it to the DSA Secretariat, with the original receipts. First you will need to get us to sign off all your group's planned expenses. We will only refund current DSA members. We refund travel expenses aat the lowest cost available, and we prioritise students or people who can't get their organisation to pay.
To check how much funding your group has left, contact the DSA Administration.
What are policy workshops?
Policy workshops, or dissemination workshops are one-day events to look at a particular topic in detail. They tend to be slightly larger-scale than typical study group meetings, and you can get extra DSA funds for them. Contact the study group co-ordinators for more details.