Student and academic co-chairs in Subject/Programme Committees - help or hindrance?

Bishop, Daniel and Miller, Kirsty and Keeley-Smith, Leanne and Muzangaza, Kudzai (2016) Student and academic co-chairs in Subject/Programme Committees - help or hindrance? In: RAISE - Researching, advancing and student engagement: Student engagement: Excellence in Student Engagement, 8th - 9th September 2016, Loughborough University.

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Abstract

Shared authority and independent responsibility are important in institutional governance and the development of learning and teaching and whilst historically administrators primarily undertook the traditional roles and responsibilities for decision-making, students have been provided with an increased representation at various levels of governance structures in Universities. However, the extent to which students are given decision-making powers in teaching and learning is limited, with students often afforded more of a consultative role, lacking agency and voice (Klemenčič, 2014; Bovill et al., 2015).
The notion that students can assist in a role beyond consultation has increased in recent years (Bovill et al., 2011). An area that has been under explored is how students are involved in assuring and enhancing teaching and learning at a programme or subject level. Subject committees or staff-student liaison committees/forums are regularly used by institutions as a mechanism to gain student feedback on programmes. The relationships and engagement between academics and student representatives within these meetings are essential in forging an effective partnership to enhance the design and delivery of a programme. Bishop et al. (2012) conducted a research project to identify how subject committees could be made more participatory, one of the recommendations of this research was the use of student co-chairs to work in partnership with academic staff. The University of Lincoln have now adopted the model of students and academics co-chairing subject committees as standard practice across all subject areas in the institution.
The aim of this paper is to explore how the practice of students and academics has been adopted across the University. The research uses qualitative methods, with students and staff working together to implement all stages of the research. Specifically, the paper will explore the experiences and practice of how student and academics have co-chaired subject committees and how this positioning of students and academics has facilitated or hindered the extent and nature of student and staff engagement within the meetings. The findings will be of value to the wider higher education community offering insight into how students and academics can work collaboratively within the design and development of curricula to enrich and enhance the collective learning experience.

Keywords:Staff and students in partnership, Quality assurance, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:24939
Deposited On:11 Nov 2016 09:04

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