The Faculty of Human Sciences Partnership Program has certainly kicked off with a bang and is going full steam ahead for its inaugural first semester.
The initial pilot program has been implemented in four units within the faculty (LING120, LING121, EDUC264, PSY349), and 43 student volunteers have joined forces with unit convenors to create collaborative teams of student and staff partners. After undertaking an online orientation session, each of the four teams attended a team induction session with the Partnership Program facilitators in Week 3.
I was happy and excited to know that I had been accepted into the Faculty of Human Sciences [Partnership Program], I want to make my experience memorable at Macquarie and I know this is a step in the right direction for not only my career but also for me to make a difference for this faculty and possibly even the university.
The online orientation introduced the philosophy overarching Students as Partners initiatives and asked the student partners to identify their skill development goals, personal values, and consider how these might manifest through their participation in the Partnership Program:
During the induction session, the teams came together for the first time. With a focus on organic and non-prescriptive development of ideas, each team undertook exercises in identifying mechanisms and strategies to gather student feedback, areas for improvement in the learning experience, and practical problem solving techniques, which could be encountered throughout the semester.
I really enjoy how flexible/unstructured the program is – we can be creative and tailor it to however we see fit, and how it might work best for our peers and the subject as a whole. I like that us students are treated as equals with facilitators and teaching staff and our contributions seem to drive the way the program will play out within our subjects.
It was great to see the teams so enthusiastic about taking initiative to collaborate and problem-solve as representatives and advocates for their peers, and the students seemed excited about the opportunity to work on equal ground with the staff partners in making progress and enhancing the learning experience.
I expect my fellow student peers to be passionate, good-natured and open-minded as we strengthen our bonds through teamwork and communication.
The induction finished up with each of the four teams making plans for the next steps and implementing ways in which they are now communicating with each other and with each unit’s cohort of students. In the next few weeks, we are eager to see how the teams progress and to gather feedback about the framework and operations of the program along the way. We are planning to host some social events for the partners to offer support and create further connections among the different facets of operations within the faculty.
The next important item will be the first cumulative team meeting, in which the student and staff partners will compile feedback gained thus far and begin the practical, problem-solving stage. We are eager to see the practical solutions in action and for the cohort of students in each unit to see these results and hopefully, benefit from having their voices heard and responded to.
Written by Cassandra Crone
Faculty of Human Sciences Partnership Program Facilitator