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Starting a new conversation- towards a national framework

 A National Senior Teaching Fellowship has been awarded to Professor Sally Varnham to undertake a sector-wide collaboration towards agreeing a set of principles and a framework for student engagement in Australian tertiary education institutions.  This Fellowship follows completion of the Australian Government's Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) Strategic Commissioned Priority Project: Student Engagement in University Decision Making and Governance: towards a more systemically inclusive student voice.  This research addressed the questions:

  • What is ‘student engagement’ leading to ‘student partnership’ in university decision-making?
  • Why is student partnership valuable to universities, their students and to the sector as a whole?
  • How may student engagement processes be embedded effectively to lead to a culture of student partnership?

Central to this Fellowship’s sector-wide collaboration are workshops taking place in major centres in the first half of 2017 to capture input from all stakeholders into shaping these agreed principles and Framework.

Self-reflective questions to consider for the collaboration:

  • To what extent is the student voice embedded in your institution’s processes and structures?
  • What evidence shows that the student voice has made a difference to decisions and the quality of provision?
  • How is an active and independent student voice encouraged?
  • How does your institution demonstrate that it is listening to student voice? Do you consult students early in decision-making processes?  Do you ask them at appropriate times?  Do you give them enough time to respond?  Do you incorporate their views into the decision?
  • Are student representatives trained, supported and well informed and prepared for their role. How do they work with other students to ensure the views they put forward are genuinely representative?

Fellowship activities and workshop outputs will be reported here throughout this year.

Fellowship contact details:
Sally Varnham (Fellow)
Email: Sally.Varnham@studentvoice.uts.edu.au
Tel: (02) 95143455
Mob: 0415 392 834

Ann Cahill (manager)
Email: Ann.Cahill@studentvoice.uts.edu.au