Representative Advisory Councils

Concept 'student as partner' discussed

10 Jun 2022 16:13 | Representative Advisory Councils

On 19 May, a session was held involving students, lecturers, Staff and Services policy officers, deans and the Executive Board. The purpose was to discuss the concept of ‘student as partner', which is part of our Strategic Plan.

‘Student as partner’ can refer to involving students in the development of our curricula, but it can also mean actively involving students in research. This idea assumes equality between students and staff. The goal of the session was to gain a clear picture of how to strengthen that equality.

As it stands now, ‘student as partner’ is a very promising concept, which the parties who were in attendance recognise. Yet there is still room for improvement. Discrepancies persist among views as to what the concept entails. The student perspective could be incorporated in a more effective and timely manner. In general, there could be greater consideration of where the needs of staff and students intersect and where there is friction. Fernon Longfur, student assessor: ‘One example of this is the extra exam opportunity in COVID-19 situations. While this was something students really needed, it raised questions for others. For instance, there was a concern that large groups of students might seize the opportunity simply because it was to their advantage. I think there is still room for improvement in terms of mutual trust, though I won't go so far as to say that no one misused the opportunity.’

After a session filled with discussion, brainstorming and heartfelt presentations, the participants were able to identify a number of tools to reinforce the concept of ‘student as partner’. Some examples: hire more students as employees, add a student member to every management team (much like the role the student assessor plays within the Executive Board) and appropriate facilitation. It is also possible to distil success factors from past positive experiences with the concept. This might result in a guideline for the mutual cooperation.