Creating a student partnership agreement

Last week I talked about the toolkit we are developing as one of the deliverables for my Fellowship. This week I want to continue with that topic.

An important area of focus is the development of student partnership agreements. Their value is highlighted by Eve Lewis, Director of sparqs:

“We believe that Student Partnership Agreements will be a useful tool for institutions and students’ associations alike. They are a practical way in which to talk to the student body as a whole not only about what enhancement activity is taking place, but also about how they can get involved in it. This is an important step in helping students to help shape the quality of their education.”

Sparqs has published guidance for development of Student Partnership Agreements in different types of tertiary institutions:
Guidance on the development and implementation of a Student Partnership Agreement in universities

Guidance for the development and implementation of a Student Partnership Agreement in colleges

Although written for a Scottish context they contain many useful ideas and templates that can be used in creating agreements within Australian institutions. There is at least one Australian university that has utilised the sparqs approach and their story featured in the initiative sharing session at the 2017 symposium for my Fellowship.

The ANU Academic Board has endorsed a Student Partnership Agreement developed between the Presidents of their undergraduate and postgraduate student associations, ANUSA and PARSA respectively, and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (University Experience). It was drafted through consultation between the student body, the two Student Associations and the University.

The Student Partnership Agreement consists of two components. Part A outlines the Academic Board’s commitment to working with students as partners to improve the university experience. Part B outlines initiatives that will enhance student engagement. The Chair, Academic Board, Pro Vice-Chancellor (University Experience) and Student Representatives will meet annually to review the Student Partnership Agreement and initiatives.

The ANU agreement provides an inspiring example of what can be achieved in a relatively short timeframe.

Sally Varnham
27 November 2017

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