On 10 March 2022, NStEP hosted its second annual Student Voice Summit. This event is aimed at students who take on representative or advocacy roles, who are interested in student engagement issues, or who work with staff or other students for the benefit of the whole learning community in Irish higher education. This year’s theme explored inclusive practices and student-staff partnerships with keynote speakers Maisha Islam (University of Winchester), and Cameron Keighron (NUI Galway). Both keynotes delved into core issues surrounding partnership practices and offered valuable recommendations for making partnerships inclusive.
Recordings of keynote addresses are available below, and will be of interest to any students or staff involved in partnership activities at their college.
Building inclusivity and equity into our partnership practices
Drawing from current research in the field and examples of best practice, Maisha’s keynote addressed the importantance of placing inclusivity at the heart of partnership practice and design.
‘We have to reflect on our own practices about how we are engaging with diverse students in the classroom, and are those considerations at the forefront of … the work we do. We should really see this as an exciting moment because there are so many possibilities to improve the experiences of our minoritised students’.
Lessons learned and how to have your voice heard as a student partner in research
‘The student voice should be included in all aspects of research design from the initial idea to the execution of the project, and sometimes the execution of the results afterwards. Sometimes people create really important avenues to research, and they have the best intentions…, but they’ve not consulted with anyone that’s affected by the research they’re doing…, designed a set of questions that people want to answer, they haven’t designed a set of questions that actually tackle the problems that students are facing, and they haven’t included or built in any of that trust with the student population that they are then proposing to research.’
Drawing from their experiences from as student partner on two inclusive learning projects, Cameron presented eight ‘lessons learned’ about how to structure meaningful and effective partnership practice.
The Student Voice Summit is run as part of NStEP’s Student Training Programme. Participants have the option to submit a written reflection on their takeaways from the event to earn a ‘Student Engagement Event’ milestone award. This milestone can be used by students working toward one of NStEP’s national Student Engagement Recognition Awards.