How we got started: Looking at how to embed SaP in the SSCC
In 2017 two staff members supported two Students as Partners project in the School of Education, and at the end of that year we wanted to find a way to make the projects more sustainable. So, in 2018 we decided to try embedding the Students as Partners approach into the Bachelor of Education’s Student Staff Consultative Committee.
The goals were to empower these students, who were there to represent their peers, to make changes in their program (rather than focussing on providing feedback), and involve more program staff in the workings of the SSCC.
We hoped this idea would appeal to the SSCC representatives, and we used part of their first SSCC meeting of the year to share our ideas about Students as Partners with them, and see if they were willing to adopt this approach. (See our initial presentation to the SSCC.) They were, and we then scheduled the kick-off workshop with them, and invited key academic staff members from the program to join. Students were tasked with finding out what issues were important to their peers, and bringing those to the meeting to propose as areas to work on.
The meta project
Supporting the projects required some planning and organisation outside the small project teams, and we had a ‘meta’ project team that did this. To try to operate in the true spirit of partnership, we had two students and two staff members as part of this team, and we jointly planned and delivered workshops to the project teams. All four of us had been part of the 2017 project, and were able to build on our learning from that work.
What about the regular SSCC business?
One aspect that we didn’t initially build into our project was a space for the regular SSCC business that happens: students raising concerns about courses, assessments, or other aspects of their program that didn’t fit with the Students as Partners projects they were working on. This we made sure to do in later check-in workshops, so that there was an agenda item for “SSCC business”.