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Institutional efforts to engage and work with students have become an emerging theme of the UK higher education environment over past years. Many institutions are reflecting upon their relationships with students and seeking to establish formal cultures of co-production, with students involved in addressing areas for improvement. This session will explore the issues and realities of engaging in this way: Who really benefits from these activities? What does it mean for the students who are involved?
The University of Exeter’s innovative ‘Students as Change Agents’ scheme has attracted much attention in recent years. Conceived in 2008, the programme has since supported over 50 student-led projects across a range of subject areas. Each year, students are encouraged and empowered to research and change an aspect of learning and teaching of their choice, with university staff employed to directly support students, mentor projects and assist development in order to realise students’ project visions together.
Drawing on this experience and featuring two students, this session will identify how the passion, creativity and energy of our most talented students can be embraced to make a tangible, lasting and hugely positive difference upon our institutions. Furthermore, the lasting impacts of giving students ownership of such innovations will be examined in an environment where distinct graduate attributes are an increasingly valued outcome.
Following the presentation, there will be an extended question and answer session with all presenters, allowing delegates to explore these issues in greater detail.
Themes: Students as [producers/consumers/co-constructors]
Dale Potter coordinated a set of Students as Change Agents projects in 2009-10. Since then, he has continued to work closely with students on institutional projects to develop innovative high-tech resources, and currently as part of a JISC-funded ‘Cascade’ project to enhance the use of digital technologies as part of students’ study and research
Jemma Singleton (3rd year Archaeology) co-created and co-organised two Change Agents projects during her time as Subject Chair for the Archaeology Student-Staff Liaison Committee. Her projects focused on developing a GIS practical skills workshop and departmental careers fair. Both projects enhanced employability skills within her department for the benefit of fellow students
Jeremy Wildeman (PhD Politics) is a part-time intern on the Exeter Cascade project. He has established a student-led Facebook group, designed to support students in research techniques and effective use of technology as part of their studies. Prior to his postgraduate studies, Jeremy co-founded the Palestine-based charity Project Hope and International Relations blog www.thinkir.co.uk.