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Collaboration statement

The University and Students’ Association have worked together to develop the following Collaboration Statement which was agreed between the Students' Association Director of Education and Senior Vice-Principal (Proctor) in July 2017.

Statement regarding Collaboration amongst Staff and Students at the University of St Andrews: 2017-18

Partnership and collaboration amongst students and staff at St Andrews operate at all levels throughout the institution and have done so for very many years. Indeed, the relative closeness of staff and students that is possible in a small University, the mutual respect this closeness fosters, and the many productive outcomes of staff-student exchanges, are among the hallmarks of our community.

Many of these arrangements are organic, informal and exist because it is has become a natural reflex for staff and students to engage in dialogue: for example, students may be asked for their views on sourcing food for University catering (and can even help to produce it); the activities of student-led academic societies are often attended (and sometimes financially supported) by lecturers and professors; student focus groups are consulted over specific projects (for example, regarding the new academic year or the taught postgraduate experience). In addition, student interns in various parts of the University are frequently appointed precisely for the student-centred focus they can bring to the role they occupy and are invited to offer opinions.  It would be out of character not to collaborate amongst staff and students as part of our regular activity.

More formally, sabbatical officers and other elected student representatives give voice to student interests on a wide range of University committees, including the most powerful and senior ones such as Court, Academic Council, and various subcommittees of each. Every Hall of Residence has a student Hall Committee chaired by a Senior Student, who works closely with the Warden and Residence Manager, and meets regularly with the senior team of Residential and Business Services. Other services, such as the University Library and the Sustainability division of Estates, have identified students who attend meetings, discuss policy, and advise on future enhancements.  Student inclusion provides for a contextualisation of University decision-making processes regarding the student experience and offers different approaches to problem solving and prioritisation.

In turn, the Students’ Association Board and Athletic Union Board include a senior member of University staff nominated by the Principal’s Office.  Staff from Student Services and the Students' Association collaborate to promote positive student wellbeing through their joint Stand Together Project and through awareness campaigns delivered by the Students' Representative Council's (SRC) Wellbeing Subcommittee.  The University and Students’ Association jointly deliver training to School Presidents and class representatives.  Staff inclusion introduces a viewpoint informed by the institution’s history and priorities and lends staff expertise to the development of student-led projects.

In the areas of learning and teaching and quality enhancement, student engagement is energetic and extremely positive. There are two seats reserved for students at the Learning and Teaching Committee and Postgraduate Research Committee, both sub committees of Academic Council: these are usually occupied by the Students’ Association Director of Education (DoEd) and Postgraduate Academic Convenor. A student (usually the DoEd) is a full member of the University’s Academic Monitoring Group; and students are regularly invited to be members of LTC and PGRC Working Groups as well as having a key role in University-led Reviews of Learning and Teaching. Students are represented on the Student Experience Committee, the Enhancement Themes Group and can bid for funding from that group and also the Teaching Development Fund.

The DoEd and Postgraduate Academic Convenor are supported by a further network of student representatives in the academic Schools. Each School has an elected School President who leads a group of class representatives and chairs their School’s Student-Staff Consultative Committee. The School Presidents liaise closely with the Director of Teaching in their School, as well as with the DoEd, who sets their central agenda and organises regular meetings of all Presidents. The DoEd also arranges the bi-semestrial School Presidents’ Forum, chaired by the Rector and attended by the Proctor and Deans, for discussion and clarification of academic policy and processes. A similar structure exists for postgraduate student representation. School Presidents also attend academic monitoring dialogues along with their Head of School and Director of Teaching.

For the current academic year and 2017-18, the Senior Vice-Principal (Proctor) and the Students’ Association Director of Education have agreed that two main topics will form an additional, overarching focus for staff-student collaborations under the general heading of quality enhancement. This selection follows wider discussion of these issues in fora such as LTC and PGRC, the School Presidents’ Forum, Postgraduate Executive Forum, Academic Monitoring Group and Proctor’s Office meetings. The topics are:

1)    Postgraduate Experience: staff and students will work together to improve satisfaction with the postgraduate student experience, by improving student representation, by improving cohort identity for taught postgraduate students and building a sense of community for postgraduate research students, by improving the welcome and induction arrangements for new students, and by creating opportunities for postgraduates to provide feedback throughout their time at St Andrews.

2)    Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL): students and staff will work together to introduce new technologies to enhance and transform the student learning experience, by supporting staff who wish to participate in lecture capture, by the ongoing development and engagement with Moodle and by ensuring that TEL is undertaken in association with the ongoing review of learning and teaching spaces generally. 

 

Professor Lorna Milne
Senior Vice-Principal (Proctor)
University of St Andrews

Zachary Davis
Director of Education
Students' Association

August 2017

General enquiries

Nicola Milton
Head of Education Policy
nam6@st-andrews.ac.uk
tel: +44(0)1334 462131

Zachary Davis
Director of Education
doed@st-andrews.ac.uk
+44(0)1334 462700