The foundational rationale for embedding students as partners across multiple levels of UQ is that there is inherent and untapped value, creativity, and innovation that comes from actively engaging students across all aspects of teaching and learning – including design, delivery, evaluation, and governance.

Engaging students as active partners with a deep knowledge of, and responsibility for, their own learning is particularly important in the complex external careers environment where graduates need to be equipped with transferable skillsets that extend beyond disciplinary content knowledge [Ref 7].

The guiding aim of the UQ Student Strategy 2016-2020 is to "offer a signature student experience that will change the way higher education is imagined’ to inspire "a new generation to ask the questions that create change" [Ref 8].

Such ambition requires transformational approaches to engaging students in their university experiences. One of four core goals of the strategy is ‘Dynamic people and partnerships’ which aims to  "strengthen a dynamic and enterprising culture that supports continued innovation, adapts to change, and is shared, valued and enriched by students and staff" [Ref 8].

A primary initiative to achieving this goal is ‘students as partners’ through which UQ plans to

"Develop a university-wide initiative that partners students with teaching staff, researchers and industry, positions student representation throughout all levels of the University’s governance structures and creates a culture of shared responsibility." [Ref 8]

UQ has a rich diversity of partnership work already happening in pockets of innovation across the university including partnership within individual courses; extracurricular activities; multiple Teaching Fellowships and one National OLT Fellowship.

UQ now aims to adopt a coherent and university-wide approach to supporting and embedding a culture of partnership. UQ aims to embrace the diversity of ways that students and staff can enact partnership by adopting a partnership approach to teaching and learning enhancement, design, delivery, evaluation, and governance, with activities within and outside of curricula.

References

1.            Kuh, G.D., Why Integration and Engagement are Essential to Effective Educational Practice in the Twenty-first Century. Peer Review, 2008. 10(4): p. 27-28.

2.            Cook-Sather, A., C. Bovill, and P. Felten, Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching: A Guide for Faculty, ed. M. Weimer. 2014, San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.

3.            Healey, M., A. Flint, and K. Harrington, Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. 2014, Higher Education Academy.

4.            ITaLI. About Students as Partners. 2016  [cited 2016 7 October]; Available from: https://itali.uq.edu.au/content/about-students-partners.

5.            Bovill, C., A. Cook‐Sather, and P. Felten, Students as co‐creators of teaching approaches, course design, and curricula: implications for academic developers. International Journal for Academic Development, 2011. 16(2): p. 133-145.

6.            Mercer-Mapstone, L., et al., A Systematic Literature Review of Students as Partners in Higher Education. International Journal for Students as Partners, 2017. 1(1).

7.            Matthews, K., Students as Partners as the Future of Student Engagement. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 2016. 1(1): p. 1-5.

8.            University of Queensland, Student Strategy 2016-2020 White Paper. 2016.