Students as partners program

A rewarding opportunity to have a say in how the University supports students to develop their study and communication skills, and gain valuable workplace skills and experience.

What is the Academic Skills Students as Partners Program?

In this program, students can volunteer to work in partnership with the Academic Skills team to contribute to the continuous improvement of resources and services aiming to support students to develop academic, English language, intercultural and professional skills throughout their studies.

  • What does it mean to work in partnership?
    • Student partnership is a mutually beneficial process of collaboration and reciprocity between students and staff.
    • These partnerships create learning communities where students and staff can learn together and share responsibilities.
    • Student partnerships are a way of incorporating students as change agents and active collaborators.
  • What are the key values of student partnerships?
    • Authenticity - The reasons for students and staff to work in partnership are real and meaningful.
    • Honesty - The opportunities and limitations of partnerships are clearly communicated.
    • Inclusivity - The partnership challenges structural and cultural barriers to encourage opportunity and participation.
    • Reciprocity - Students and staff both benefit from working and learning in partnership.
    • Empowerment - Healthy power dynamics are promoted by the shared working and learning environment.
    • Trust - Students and staff treat one another with respect and fairness.
    • Courage – All partners are encouraged to make suggestions and develop new approaches. 
    • Plurality - The varied and unique perspectives of all partners are valued.
    • Responsibility - Partners take responsibility for their contributions to the partnership.

    References  

    Burnie, M., Henderson, A., & Dolan, H. (2021). Students as Partners: Building capability in staff and students. Proceedings of Students Transitions Achievement Retention &Success (STARS) Conference, Australia. https://unistars.org/papers/STARS2021/15D.pdf

    Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching higher education. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/engagement_through_partnership.pdf

    Matthews, K. E., Dwyer, A., Hine, L., & Turner, J. (2018). Conceptions of students as partners. Higher Education, 76(6), 957--971. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0257-y

Hear from Student Partners

Click on each Student Partner's name to learn more about their experience of the program.

  • Nakul

  • Charlene

  • Austin

  • Ivana

  • Nikola

  • Siana

Hear from Staff

Key gains reported by staff through working in partnership included:

  • Enhanced trust between staff and students

    “Acknowledging the Student Partners’ lived experience generated trust. Student Partners also increased their trust in us through learning how dedicated and passionate the Academic Skills team is towards improving the student experience.”

  • Deeper understanding of the student experience

    “It is amazing to see how involved the Student Partners are in uni life, juggling study, work and volunteering. These students are so engaged, and it is remarkable to see how they manage this.”

  • A perceived shift from traditional hierarchical models of expertise

    “Without getting students involved you’re just assuming what they want but getting students involved and being part of what we do changes practice. Collaborating with Student Partners not only improves content and experience, it also adds credibility."

  • Increased motivation

    “Through co-creating resources with Student Partners, my teaching approach and resource development have become more authentic. I also felt motivated to learn new skills and knowledge to make the most out of the collaboration.”

    Watch Hilary from Academic Skills reflect on her increased motivation since working with Student Partners:

What skills and experience will I gain?

This role is voluntary and provides a unique opportunity to develop your communication, teamwork, facilitation, presentation, project management and digital literacy skills.

You will also have an opportunity to work with a diverse range of Academic Skills student partners.

Portrait photograph of a female student named Stella. she is standing in front of a tree with green leaves.

"I have definitely gained skills in organisation and time management, as well as the ability to reflect on my own academic experience and then utilise those reflections to assist other students. I have also benefitted from the various professional training sessions that I have been able to attend, which have been very useful and informative. Thank you for facilitating this program" Stella, Bachelor of Arts

What do Student Partners do?

Drawing on your own experiences of studying at university, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Provide a student perspective on current and future activities
  • Participate in team decision making
  • Review, design and develop engaging services and resources
  • Co-deliver workshops and presentations

Learn more about the different types of projects you could be involved in as a Student Partner.

How do I apply?

Applications have closed for the current program. Applications are usually advertised on the student portal, as well as on our Academic Skills social media.

Program dates

Please check back in November for details of the next intake.

Express your interest

Add your contact details to the form and we will let you know when the next application period opens

Complete the form

Have questions? 

If you have any questions about the Academic Skills Students as Partners Program, please email Morag Burnie at: morag.burnie@unimelb.edu.au.