There were a few of us at the Annual HEA conference last week in Nottingham - it was a brilliant two days, and the SE stream had some fantastic stuff in it.
I was running a workshop on the second day, and was listening to all the presentations on the first day with an eye on how mine would fit in to the themes; and this came across strongly in nearly all the presentations:
Partnership is greater
So many people across the sector are really 'getting it' that when students are true partners in the engagement agenda, equally creating and shaping it with staff, then HE becomes a better place for both staff and students to practice and learn in.
Obviously, we are still in the minority with our crazy student-empowerment heresy, but individuals and institutions are slowly getting on board with the notion. Yes, maybe that's stimulated by many Universities creating their "2012 offer" and sorting out their "KIS", but this really is a fantastic window of opportunity for us.
I guess I'm posting this as an encouragement to those of you who weren't there - and to encourage you to book onto the RAISE conference, as it's going to be a great opportunity to hear about others' successes and how failures have been overcome.
But before then, maybe you could update your page with a blog about what you do, or why you've joined the RAISE site? And we can be sharing our good practice (and struggles!) with each other.
I was struck by the onservation in listening to these papers at the HEA that progress to student empowerment and a joint partnership cannot be introduced overnight. There are phases to go through and it needs to built. The starting point is to create trust relationship so students feel they can engage with staff in an authentic way, ie what they say and do makes a real difference. So I don't think it's wise to create a focus group after a whole programme curriculum has been designed and then dump it in their lap for comment. And there is something else missing there too. Students need to involved from the start of the process as co-creators - consultation after the design stage rather smacks of pseudo-participation - it's too late to make a real difference.
Of course the road to partnership needs to be started right away, where it is not (which is 98% of HE at the moment!). But it would be great to hear about examples where this has been thought through more strategically (especially where that 'thinking through' process has involved students!!!)