Yesterday was a very exciting day for me and for student voice in Australia as we had the first meeting of the institutions who have indicated their willingness to participate in the pilot program. It was wonderful that the leaders of the national peak student bodies were able to join us – Mark Pace (NUS), Natasha Abrahams (CAPA), Sadie Heckenberg (NATSIPA), Bijay Sapkota (CISA) with us in spirit. And we welcomed Ethan Taylor, the founding President of UATSIS – the newly formed association of undergraduate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students. Their input is central to this work.
At my Fellowship symposium in September 2017 I launched the STEPUP for quality enhancement Principles and Framework developed from the national sector-wide collaboration during the year (in which many of you took part). The pilot program, which involves ten institutions, aims to assist in facilitation of those principles across the sector by building on the initiatives already happening in the diverse range of institutions providing tertiary education in Australia. It takes a lead from NStEP Ireland and aims at the sustainability and progression of student engagement to student partnership in sector culture and practice. The pilot follows the sentiment of the symposium, expressed by institution staff and leaders, and students and student leaders across the sector.
Importantly the initiatives currently underway within institutions throughout Australia, many of which were showcased at the symposium, are student-driven. Many of the institutions have agreed to join the pilot at the instigation and through the work of their student leaders.
Yesterday’s meeting had open and valuable dialogue between institutional representatives and student leaders. It was agreed to form a Steering Committee made up of a representative and a student leader from each of the participating institutions. The most important step will be appointing the right person as co-ordinator.
For more details of the Fellowship, the Project which preceded it, and the Pilot as it progresses, watch this website and the Facebook page.
[Note – ‘university’ is to be changed to ‘institution’ as the work now rightly includes all institutions making up the tertiary sector].
I would welcome your comments in the Discussion section here and on the Facebook page.
More later …