November 22, 2023
New Students as Partners Agreement affirms commitment to student-centred education
New agreement cements collaboration and cooperation between staff and students to create inclusive environment
The University of Wollongong (UOW) has affirmed its commitment to a student-centred, holistic, and inclusive approach to education with the launch yesterday (Tuesday 21 November) of the Students as Partnership Agreement and Framework.
UOW has long demonstrated a commitment to engaging with students across the university’s faculties and divisions, but that commitment was formalised and cemented at the end of 2021, when the University and the Student Advisory Council (SAC) signed the first Students as Partners Agreement.
UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson was joined by members of the Student Advisory Committee yesterday to sign the updated Student as Partners Agreement and launch the Students as Partners framework and resource toolkit.
The launch event reiterated the University’s pledge to creating an institution-wide approach to support strong, productive, and dynamic partnerships with students. At the heart of this is inclusion, diversity, collaboration, consultation, and feedback.
UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Davidson said that UOW’s Students as Partners framework takes forward the University’s commitment to empower students to be active participants in shaping their own learning experiences.
“The student experience has always been at the heart of UOW. We have always placed a tremendous value on ensuring our students have the support and guidance they need to achieve their potential and gain everything they can from their time at UOW.
“But being a student is not a solo journey. It takes a village to complete a degree. The Students as Partners Agreement is a valuable framework that ensures collaboration and consultation underpins everything we do. Students have the power to shape their own learning, and to contribute to the higher education community as a whole.
“I am delighted to launch the Students as Partners Agreement and continue the shift towards a more student-centred and inclusive approach to education.”
The Students as Partners Engagement Framework encompasses six commitments, all built on a foundation of respect, empathy, integrity, community, and inclusion:
- A culture of partnership: promoting a culture where students are active contributors and co-creators of their educational experience
- Diversity of partnership opportunities: diversity and inclusion will be at the core of design, recruitment and selection of partnerships
- Training, mentorship and professional development: provide and endorse training, mentorship and professional development for students and staff
- Recognition and celebration: the contributions of students and staff will be celebrated in a variety of ways
- Governance: embedding the Student Staff Partnership practices with institutional structures
- Reporting and Evaluation: striving for excellence in evidence-based evaluation and transparent reporting
UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic and Student Life) Professor Theo Farrell said greater student collaboration will foster a stronger, more equitable university community, one that considers the experiences and expertise of both students and staff.
“We are working towards a university built on true partnerships between staff and students,” Professor Farrell said.
“UOW has always prided itself on our sense of community, on our strong relationships between staff and students. The Students as Partners Agreement will provide a tangible framework that solidifies our desire to create a truly collaborative environment.
“We want our students to know that their aspirations, their ideals, and their skills are truly valued and seen. And we want our students to recognise and respect the knowledge and capabilities of our staff. This agreement will contribute to an environment where collaboration and mutual respect are at the core of our ethos.”