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National Students as Partners Roundtable

In early October I was given the opportunity to attend the fifth annual National Students as Partners Roundtable hosted by the University of Queensland. The roundtable had previously been hosted by The University of Adelaide in 2017 and will be heading to The University of New South Wales in 2019.

Students as Partners shifts the educational paradigm as something staff do to students to education as a shared endeavour done with students. At its core, the partnership process is one based on respect and authenticity, allowing all voices to be heard. It is a mentality switch for Universities that is picking up momentum as the overly didactic approach to education is increasingly perceived as out of touch with the way most learners absorb information.

Carrying the dual role of student and staff member myself and working in this space, it was interesting to hear the shared experiences and challenges that students and staff encounter when they engage in partnerships in a teaching and learning context.

The roundtable had a jam-packed schedule with 150 staff and student attendees from 23 Universities all across Australia, our name tags identified our name and University only, specifically designed to blur the lines between staff and students. The day kicked off with a highly interactive discussion facilitated by the keynote, Catherine Bovill from the University of Edinburgh. Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to hear about particular partnership case studies in each Uni represented at the roundtable via poster presentations and brief ‘interview style’ sessions and a student led panel on future directions in this space.

The University of Adelaide in in the process of endorsing University-wide partnership values and, along with hosting the International Students as Partners Institute in 2019, I hope this will establish a framework that encourages more partnership opportunities.

If you’d like to discuss any Students as Partners ideas in learning and teaching, please email me at ellen.wildman@adelaide.edu.au.

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