The Green Paper outlines the challenges we must address to ensure The University of Queensland (UQ) continues to be a destination for the world’s best and brightest students. It also includes proposed strategies that encompass all areas of the student experience from curriculum delivery to campus design and student support.

Peter Høj

Outstanding students, staff and alumni, cross-sectoral partners, imaginative teaching, and supporters in government, industry and philanthropy, have all combined to position The University of Queensland in the top echelons of the world’s universities.

UQ graduates become national and international leaders and contribute to solving some of society’s greatest challenges. They are sought-after employees, valued for their ability to think on their feet, work in cross-cultural settings, and identify opportunities for innovation often overlooked by others. This is in no small part a reflection of the tireless efforts by UQ staff to provide high-quality learning opportunities through student-focused, researchbased teaching. It also reflects the emphasis in the UQ Strategic Plan on student success and the development of ‘must-have’ graduate employees as the first of UQ’s six foundations for the future.

We have already taken a number of steps to welcome students to UQ, enhance online systems and services, develop employability strategies and produce world class online learning materials, and are looking at strategies to free up resources to be re-directed to the academic purpose. There are also many examples of effective, future-oriented practices in student learning across UQ from which we can learn. However, there is a clear view that the University should do more.

Drawing on the perspectives of students, staff and alumni, several data sources have informed this Student Strategy Green Paper, which intends to open a discussion across UQ and its stakeholders on UQ’s distinctive student experience. Following the synthesis of feedback on this Green Paper, a White Paper will be released in early 2016. The next steps will prioritise goals and assess resource implications. In turn, the student strategy will inform UQ’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, thereby setting an ambitious, five-year enhancement process that will include all UQ coursework students, staff, and stakeholders and enrich the career and life prospects of graduates. I hope you will engage actively with this process.

Peter Høj

6. Students as change agents

The student voice ‘is now taking a more central role in educational policy, guidance and thinking’[52]  and it is increasingly recognised as critical for effective and impactful continuous improvement where the expectations of both students and employers are changing. The central argument for the importance of student voice is that students are the intended beneficiaries of their degrees and should therefore be consulted; others have argued for greater student involvement in curriculum design and development.[53] [54] [55]

The Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom has recognised the transformative power of ‘students as partners’ to advance teaching, learning and curriculum. The Higher Education Academy's approach is based on the premise that a partnership approach can increase student engagement and success, enhance learning and teaching and lead to benefits for staff and students.[56]  The Higher Education Academy notes the potential for:

  • increased student engagement with learning,
  • development of knowledge and skills to support employability,
  • greater sense of belonging and community,
  • transformed staff experience and thinking about practice and
  • deeper understanding of contributions to an academic community.

The University of Nottingham gives students the opportunity to have roles as agents of change through the Students as Change Agents initiative launched in November 2014 with the students’ union.[57] Voted number one for student experience in the 2014-2015 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, Sheffield University stated that they, ‘sought productive dialogue with students through a partnership based on trust and mutual goals, rather than a commercial relationship dictated by a market and fees’.[58] Research and league tables show that universities engaged in a strong partnership with their students thrive.

Increasingly, students need to be self-motivated, active agents prepared to take responsibility for their own learning and skill development. They need to understand how to build value and act as the entrepreneur of their own career.[59] [60] The relationship that students should have with their university is therefore that of co-creator, empowered to shape their own experience and derive as much benefit from higher education as possible.[61] UQ attracts many of the brightest students nationally and internationally and their talent and potential is one of our greatest assets.

Challenge 3:

How can UQ authentically partner with our outstanding student cohort across the learning enterprise?

Key strategy to consider

3.1 Create opportunities for students to collaborate with staff in learning, leadership and outreach


[52] Bragg, S. (2007). "Student voice" and governmentality: The production of enterprising subjects? Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 28(3), 343-358.

[53] Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York, UK: The Higher Education Academy.

[54] Cook-Sather, A. (2002). Authorizing students’ perspectives: Toward trust, dialogue, and change in education. Educational Researcher, 31(4), 3-14.

[55] Jenkins, E.W. (2006). The student voice and school science education. Studies in Science Education, 42(1), 49-88.

[56] The Higher Education Academy. (2015). Students as partners. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/enhancement/themes/students-partners

[57] Student engagement. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/teaching/strategypolicy/ttp/studentengage/index.aspx

[58] Hillman, N. (Ed.). (2015) ‘What do I get?’: Ten essays on student fees, student engagement and student choice. Oxford, UK: Health Education Policy Institute.

[59] Barber, M., Donnelly, K., & Rizvi, S. (2013). An avalanche is coming: Higher education and the revolution ahead. London, UK: Institute for Public Policy Research.

[60] Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York, UK: The Higher Education Academy.

[61] Beer, J. (2012, February 17). Students as co-creator, not consumer? [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.unialliance.ac.uk/blog/2012/02/17/students-as-co-creator-not-consumer/