No ‘one size fits all’ – Individual institutions tailor student partnership initiatives to their particular needs

[Many thanks for the material for this blog to Maxine Courtier and Suzanne McKinnon at Holmsglen]

A big shout out for Holmsglen – now signed up to the Student Voice Pilot Project.  It is so great to have them with us as it is so important for this work to embrace each of the diverse wide-ranging institutions which make up the Australian tertiary sector. This is the case in our comparative sectors of Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand, and is as it should be for partnership to become embedded as a way of doing things across the whole sector here.
While confirming their involvement in the Project, Holmsglen have been working strongly to progress their student voice/partnership agenda through many major initiatives driven by a strong focus on student engagement and experience in the Institute’s new ‘Vision 2020’ Strategic Plan.
They have created a new role of student engagement manager with responsibility for liaising and co-ordinating initiatives with the Student Voice Pilot Project Officer. The person in this role will have responsibility for the training and support of members of a Student Council to be up and running by the end of 2018.   The members of this Council will come from each faculty’s student representative committees and two of its members will sit on their highest academic governance committee, the Council of Education and Applied Research.
In recognition of the diversity and particular nature of their student cohorts, they are working with an external company to provide a student online community platform. This aims to provide a forum to engage current and prospective students across a wide range of student voice and engagement initiatives. In addition, their student ‘buddy and mentor’ system, already highly successful in a couple of their programs, will be extended as a pilot across other of their higher education and their vocational programs.
As we explore student partnership possibilities in Australia, a recurring theme in all discussions is the diversity of the sector and the fact that there can be no ‘one size fits all approach’. It is of great interest to see how Holmsglen is furthering their commitment in ways which are particularly relevant to the nature of their institution. Hopefully their experiences will inform moves towards student engagement in similar bodies.
It is so interesting to see how this networking and sharing of experiences between institutions with similar characteristics is already underway with the recent visit of UNE student leaders to Federation University.
As I embark up a series of presentations in Scotland and Europe in the next few weeks, there is lots happening here for me to report on.

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