Learning aims Student engagement and partnership – an overview Analysing a strategic approach to partnership Identifying examples of student-staff partnership and their impacts Critiquing student engagement in a Union – University context
BCU context Independent colleges – Polytechnic – UCE – BCU Million+ University ~24,000 very diverse student population 6 (now 4!) Faculties over 8 (now 7!) Campuses Learning and Teaching focussed – Vocational approach Localised and well defined communities with mixed identities Challenging NSS results!
The national context “Students' unions now focus on cooperation, not opposition” (Greatrix, THE, May 2012) “However, of late, the “them” and “us” are no longer so diametrically opposed; we often stand side by side” (Grattan & Meakin, walesonline.co.uk Oct 2012)
“We have to move beyond defining a good relationship between an institution and a students’ union as students’ union officers and senior management working together. This will mean enabling academic staff, as well as students, to be part of the conversation on determining how partnership will work. (NUS Manifesto for Partnership, 2013)
“…business model reinvention…” “At some point, you need to feel the love from the other side…there are, however, increasing numbers of unions that have developed a real partnership with their institution and where the university welcomes the more independent ‘critical friend’ role that the students’ union can play as the sign of a mature, mutually beneficial relationship.” (THE, April 2014)
What does that all mean? Debunking the consumerist model? Students are not Consumers The broadening debate on Student Engagement Pedagogy and/or Politics The emerging role of students Partners / Producers / Collaborators / Change Agents Multi-Agency Focus NUS Manifesto for Partnership HEA Student as Partners QAA Student Engagement Code of Practice HEFCE / NUS Student Engagement and Partnership Unit
(Draft HEA Framework on Student-Staff Partnerships for consultation)
A match made in heaven? “I see a struggle taking place in students' unions at the moment between taking the adversarial role of watchdog on behalf of students and a collaborative approach which involves taking a seat at the table where all future planning of the student experience will take place” (Van der Velden, Talking about quality QAA, May 2012) “ ‘Student Experience’ and mission theft” (NUS UK Strategic Plan, Strategy and Scrutiny, 2013 )
BCU History Four year journey towards partnership Secondment of Head of Engagement Partnership approach to most activity Numerous SU and Uni. Change Programmes Plenty of challenges!
Learning from Copenhagen Business School Retreat on Fielding (2001) ‘...agents of change’ Student Academic Partners and joint ownership QAA Student Written Submission and funding A desire to intervene A request to ‘proof’ activity Funding equals greater influence? This is what partnership is about - sharing 2009
10-50% Secondment of Head of Engagement Times Higher Award for SAPS RoLEx Unusual SU invites which are welcomed! Flexible lines in the sand Tension within Representation and Democracy Emergence of Faculty based, student roles Faculty Student Advisory Board vs. Student Voice 2010
Emergence of a ‘Centre for Student Engagement’ SAP and Student Academic Mentoring Student Partnership Agreement with funding HEA Change Academy – OpportUNIty Faculty Student Liaison Officer SAB, School Council, Conservatoire Council Emergence of Student Engagement champions Student Partnership Agreement fails 2011
HEA SU based Student Voice Project ‘Extra Mile’ – Student Led Teaching Awards SAP, StAMP and Co-Lab Programmes OpportUNIty based in the SU Conflict with Uni. ‘Tell Us Your Story’ Awards Graduate Interns breed Increase in employed Student Roles Rise of University ‘Partners for Success’ 2012
HEA Equip Project – ‘Dealing with Q23’ HEA What Works? Joint project lead SU based Student Voice Assistants x7 HEA and NUS ‘Institutional Partnership’ Award Secondment ends – steering group to be created Conflict: ‘Partners for Success’ vs. core funding Faculty influence on Student Representation Faculty ‘Programme Success Partners’ 2013
New Strategic Plan 2020 vision Sector leader in Student Engagement Students at every decision making point ‘Partnership Working’ Joint Extra Mile Awards Increased challenge to SU core funding Impact from Faculty / School restructure Increased localised, school based activity 2014
In numbers Over 5 years the SAP Scheme has employed 560 students in 232 partnership projects Over 3 years StAMP has employed 209 students in 49 projects Over 2 years Inter-Disciplinary Projects have employed over 220 students in 34 projects Since September 2012 OpportUNIty has placed 1047 students within 1755 work assignments
Our approach (in retrospect) 1 – Strategic / Philosophical Alliance E.g.. Joint strategic plans / Shared Values / Ability to challenge 2 – People / Operational Alliance E.g.. Shared roles / Co- Project Management and Ownership 3 – Project / Front line Alliance E.g.. Joint projects
EMPHASIS ON THE STUDENT VOICE STUDENTS AS EVALUATORS OF THEIR HE EXPERIENCE (THE STUDENT VOICE) Students offer feedback, views and opinions and are listened to on an institutional basis, in order to build an evidence-base as a basis for enhancement and change. Decisions for action tend to be taken at subject and/or institutional level. BCSU Examples: Extra Mile Teaching Awards Formal and Informal Student Voice Activity Students engaged in ‘Quality’ systems Academic Manifesto STUDENTS AS PARTICIPANTS IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES Students engage in institutional decision- making, in order to influence enhancement and change. Decisions for action tend to be taken collaboratively with staff and students. BCSU Examples: Student Representatives Student Advisory Boards Student Councils Student Partnership Agreement STUDENTS AS AGENTS FOR CHANGE Students are collaborative partners in pedagogic knowledge acquisition and professional development, with the purpose of bringing about change. Decisions for action tend to be promoted by students and engaged with at subject and/or institutional level. BCSU Examples: Student Academic Partner Projects OpportUNIty Collaborative Projects Academic Manifesto EMPHASIS ON THE STUDENT AS DRIVER EMPHASIS ON STUDENT ENGAGEMENT STUDENTS AS PARTNERS, CO- CREATORS AND EXPERTS Students are collaborative partners in curriculum provision and professional development, in order to enhance staff and student learning. Decisions for action tend to be taken at subject and/or institutional level. BCSU Examples: Student Academic Partner Projects OpportUNIty Collaborative Projects Student and Graduate Interns Student Academic Mentors EMPHASIS ON THE UNIVERSITY AS DRIVER Integrating students into educational change
Organisational Relationship of Old Students SU – Executive VC – University Staff Committee
Emerging relationship SU Students VC – University Staff SU – Executive S.U.
What do you think? 1.How does your institution view partnership? 2.Partnership strengthens the Students’ Union? 3.What are the blockers to real student engagement and partnership?
A bit of a conclusion Who owns the student voice? Does it need to be owned? What about student reps? Can the University react to the avenues they control and ignore ours? This activity doesn’t automatically strengthen the SU’s voice but we think it gives more opportunities to be heard: Stronger, Louder, more impactful Difficult to identify, monitor and measure direct impact on students It takes time; culture change over 3-5 years. It starts at both the top and bottom and meets in the middle There will be tension; a need to understand both cultures Partnership isn’t equal Think about difference as well as similarity
Further information BCU: Student Engagement – Identity, Motivation and Community HEA: Students as Partners RAISE Network QAA: Developing Student Engagement #DSE The Student Engagement Partnership: www.tsep.org.uk Change Action Network: www.hei-flyers.org/
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