Training and supporting student representatives

Throughout my Fellowship I have talked about the importance of training and support for students engaged in representative roles. The toolkit we are creating continues this discussion. It includes two very different examples of how training and support can be provided. The first comes from a pilot program hosted at UTS Faculty of Law.

A pilot project was initiated in the law faculty at UTS, working with students and staff engaged in the undergraduate LLB program to determine whether this type of engagement with students would be beneficial to staff, students and the program.
Student representatives received training before the committee met and were provided with ongoing support. Training was provided during a two-hour session that was run twice to suit student timetables. Two trainers worked together using slides and other tools to lead students through their responsibilities as representatives and how they could go about carrying them out.

Staff participating in the committee were recruited according to their roles and were briefed about the program through a staff seminar. No training session was provided, and it was concluded that staff training was likely to be desirable. This provided a valuable lesson in emphasising the importance of ‘bringing staff along’ with the partnership experience – in terms of their seeing the potential benefits of working with students for enhancement of their courses.

The second example is a leadership program that has been implemented at Charles Sturt University to assist with training and supporting student leaders.

STRIVE – A CSU Student Leadership Program is a pilot program that provided students with the opportunity to learn about leadership and develop their leadership skills, to get recognition for their existing leadership positions both within and external (local, national and international) to CSU.

The Program comprises four strands, each containing a collection of modules. STRIVE was designed to be completed through ten online modules taking about 30 hours in total to complete and the practical application of a leadership role, also involving about 30 hours of practical activities. On successful completion students receive a CSU Certificate in Leadership and recognition on AHEGS.

CSU have also held Student Leadership Conferences that aim to build a network of student leaders and assist with the development of student leadership skills.

These are just two examples of the potential gains for universities, their staff and their students in working together for enhancement.

Sally Varnham
11 December 2017

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