The 5 Principles of Student Engagement

The five principles are embedded through individual and collective actions, which foster valued, meaningful, and collaborative relationships. 

While these principles should be viewed as continuous, they can also be perceived as a journey. Meaningful dialogue (dialogue) builds trust (building trust), developing equitable and inclusive (equity and inclusivity) relationships and structures that can empower each partner (empowerment), ultimately making room for both staff and students to work together to co-create processes and outcomes (students as co-creators).

Dialogue

Engagement that can meaningfully lead to partnership between students and staff requires a dialogic approach, open and transparent relationships, the nurturing of connections, and the development of a sense of belonging. Dialogue denotes communication that is multi-directional and responsive to concerns and ideas, underpinned by recognised processes of providing feedback and taking actions that close the feedback loop. Authentic debate and discourse thrive in an environment where the outcomes of that discourse are valued and actionable, where opinions and experiences are treated with legitimacy, and expectations are discussed openly. Reciprocity and cultural values are defined in tandem to avoid the imposition of traditions.

Building Trust

For students and staff to develop engagement and partnership with one-another, the existence of relationships of trust is crucial. Transparency in processes, a willingness to share information, communication that is multi-directional, and honest dialogue are core to building practices that can support sustainable partnerships. Nurturing constructive and collegial relationships requires space to generate a deeper understanding of both shared and competing goals. Providing clarity and clear rationale is crucial to creating an environment where solutions are not always easily identifiable and allows partners to address issues of power imbalance. Navigating challenges, seeking compromises, and building consensus necessitates mutual respect, accountability, empathy, and ethics. A sense of trust shapes spaces for cooperation, as well as shared roles and responsibilities.

Equity and Inclusivity

An increasingly diverse student and staff body requires diverse approaches to student engagement, underpinned by universality, inclusivity, and representation. Partnership recognises that the learning experience is shaped by the lived experiences of each individual engaged in higher education. Equitable processes can ensure that tokenistic approaches to diversity are avoided, underpinning a culture where engagement is accessible and attainable for all students and staff, and ultimately begin to address issues of exclusion or non-engagement. Building structures and processes that value understanding and visibility for lived experiences, strengthened by practices that create equity of access to opportunities for engagement, can ensure that institutional cultures are truly inclusive, supportive of equality of outcomes, and able to realise the development of all students and staff. 

Empowerment

Empowerment in decision-making, both individually and collectively, is required for both students and staff to realise the full potential of engagement and partnership with one another. The recognition of inherent power imbalance and the impact of power dynamics is required to recognise meaningful pathways to build the capabilities of students and staff to work together to influence and inform change. Developing agency and self-efficacy through dialogue can allow for more inclusive spaces for both disagreement and consensus to exist more harmoniously. Parity of esteem, supported by empathetic mentoring and leadership development, generates the opportunity to overcome tokenistic approaches and afford all students and staff the chance to participate in a process that provides meaning and value to their input.

Students as co-creators

Partnership cannot exist without the co-creation and co-design of knowledge, actions, and outcomes, where engagement culture shifts from passivity to collaboration. Developing this culture elevates partnership from conceptual to tangible, where the role of students can be focused on both the process and the product of engagement. Co-creation develops a sense among both students and staff that their dialogue can lead to the co-development of solutions, underpinned by listening, understanding of the expertise of each individual, shared goals, and agency. Co-creation emerges from the ability of staff and students to be able to jointly navigate existing norms, practices, and assumptions, while allowing space to anticipate challenges and competing pressures. Developing this active agency, for both staff and students, can grow roots from small-scale initiatives at all levels of education, and is embedded by the gradual realisation of both confidence and potential.

Get Your Free Steps to Partnership Report
To get your free copy of the Steps to Partnership report, just fill in your name and address and we will do the rest! GDPR notice: By providing your name and postal address through this form you are only giving NStEP permission to send Steps to Partnership in the post to you once. Your details will not be used for any other purpose. NStEP will not retain your details after postage.
Please include your Eircode or Zipcode.
The 5 Principles of Student Engagement

The five principles are embedded through individual and collective actions, which foster valued, meaningful, and collaborative relationships. 

While these principles should be viewed as continuous, they can also be perceived as a journey. Meaningful dialogue (dialogue) builds trust (building trust), developing equitable and inclusive (equity and inclusivity) relationships and structures that can empower each partner (empowerment), ultimately making room for both staff and students to work together to co-create processes and outcomes (students as co-creators).

Dialogue

Engagement that can meaningfully lead to partnership between students and staff requires a dialogic approach, open and transparent relationships, the nurturing of connections, and the development of a sense of belonging. Dialogue denotes communication that is multi-directional and responsive to concerns and ideas, underpinned by recognised processes of providing feedback and taking actions that close the feedback loop. Authentic debate and discourse thrive in an environment where the outcomes of that discourse are valued and actionable, where opinions and experiences are treated with legitimacy, and expectations are discussed openly. Reciprocity and cultural values are defined in tandem to avoid the imposition of traditions.

Building Trust

For students and staff to develop engagement and partnership with one-another, the existence of relationships of trust is crucial. Transparency in processes, a willingness to share information, communication that is multi-directional, and honest dialogue are core to building practices that can support sustainable partnerships. Nurturing constructive and collegial relationships requires space to generate a deeper understanding of both shared and competing goals. Providing clarity and clear rationale is crucial to creating an environment where solutions are not always easily identifiable and allows partners to address issues of power imbalance. Navigating challenges, seeking compromises, and building consensus necessitates mutual respect, accountability, empathy, and ethics. A sense of trust shapes spaces for cooperation, as well as shared roles and responsibilities.

Equity and Inclusivity

An increasingly diverse student and staff body requires diverse approaches to student engagement, underpinned by universality, inclusivity, and representation. Partnership recognises that the learning experience is shaped by the lived experiences of each individual engaged in higher education. Equitable processes can ensure that tokenistic approaches to diversity are avoided, underpinning a culture where engagement is accessible and attainable for all students and staff, and ultimately begin to address issues of exclusion or non-engagement. Building structures and processes that value understanding and visibility for lived experiences, strengthened by practices that create equity of access to opportunities for engagement, can ensure that institutional cultures are truly inclusive, supportive of equality of outcomes, and able to realise the development of all students and staff. 

Empowerment

Empowerment in decision-making, both individually and collectively, is required for both students and staff to realise the full potential of engagement and partnership with one another. The recognition of inherent power imbalance and the impact of power dynamics is required to recognise meaningful pathways to build the capabilities of students and staff to work together to influence and inform change. Developing agency and self-efficacy through dialogue can allow for more inclusive spaces for both disagreement and consensus to exist more harmoniously. Parity of esteem, supported by empathetic mentoring and leadership development, generates the opportunity to overcome tokenistic approaches and afford all students and staff the chance to participate in a process that provides meaning and value to their input.

Students as co-creators

Partnership cannot exist without the co-creation and co-design of knowledge, actions, and outcomes, where engagement culture shifts from passivity to collaboration. Developing this culture elevates partnership from conceptual to tangible, where the role of students can be focused on both the process and the product of engagement. Co-creation develops a sense among both students and staff that their dialogue can lead to the co-development of solutions, underpinned by listening, understanding of the expertise of each individual, shared goals, and agency. Co-creation emerges from the ability of staff and students to be able to jointly navigate existing norms, practices, and assumptions, while allowing space to anticipate challenges and competing pressures. Developing this active agency, for both staff and students, can grow roots from small-scale initiatives at all levels of education, and is embedded by the gradual realisation of both confidence and potential.

Get Your Free Steps to Partnership Report
To get your free copy of the Steps to Partnership report, just fill in your name and address and we will do the rest! GDPR notice: By providing your name and postal address through this form you are only giving NStEP permission to send Steps to Partnership in the post to you once. Your details will not be used for any other purpose. NStEP will not retain your details after postage.
Please include your Eircode or Zipcode.
The 5 Principles of Student Engagement

The five principles are embedded through individual and collective actions, which foster valued, meaningful, and collaborative relationships. 

While these principles should be viewed as continuous, they can also be perceived as a journey. Meaningful dialogue (dialogue) builds trust (building trust), developing equitable and inclusive (equity and inclusivity) relationships and structures that can empower each partner (empowerment), ultimately making room for both staff and students to work together to co-create processes and outcomes (students as co-creators).

Dialogue

Engagement that can meaningfully lead to partnership between students and staff requires a dialogic approach, open and transparent relationships, the nurturing of connections, and the development of a sense of belonging. Dialogue denotes communication that is multi-directional and responsive to concerns and ideas, underpinned by recognised processes of providing feedback and taking actions that close the feedback loop. Authentic debate and discourse thrive in an environment where the outcomes of that discourse are valued and actionable, where opinions and experiences are treated with legitimacy, and expectations are discussed openly. Reciprocity and cultural values are defined in tandem to avoid the imposition of traditions.

Building Trust

For students and staff to develop engagement and partnership with one-another, the existence of relationships of trust is crucial. Transparency in processes, a willingness to share information, communication that is multi-directional, and honest dialogue are core to building practices that can support sustainable partnerships. Nurturing constructive and collegial relationships requires space to generate a deeper understanding of both shared and competing goals. Providing clarity and clear rationale is crucial to creating an environment where solutions are not always easily identifiable and allows partners to address issues of power imbalance. Navigating challenges, seeking compromises, and building consensus necessitates mutual respect, accountability, empathy, and ethics. A sense of trust shapes spaces for cooperation, as well as shared roles and responsibilities.

Equity and Inclusivity

An increasingly diverse student and staff body requires diverse approaches to student engagement, underpinned by universality, inclusivity, and representation. Partnership recognises that the learning experience is shaped by the lived experiences of each individual engaged in higher education. Equitable processes can ensure that tokenistic approaches to diversity are avoided, underpinning a culture where engagement is accessible and attainable for all students and staff, and ultimately begin to address issues of exclusion or non-engagement. Building structures and processes that value understanding and visibility for lived experiences, strengthened by practices that create equity of access to opportunities for engagement, can ensure that institutional cultures are truly inclusive, supportive of equality of outcomes, and able to realise the development of all students and staff. 

Empowerment

Empowerment in decision-making, both individually and collectively, is required for both students and staff to realise the full potential of engagement and partnership with one another. The recognition of inherent power imbalance and the impact of power dynamics is required to recognise meaningful pathways to build the capabilities of students and staff to work together to influence and inform change. Developing agency and self-efficacy through dialogue can allow for more inclusive spaces for both disagreement and consensus to exist more harmoniously. Parity of esteem, supported by empathetic mentoring and leadership development, generates the opportunity to overcome tokenistic approaches and afford all students and staff the chance to participate in a process that provides meaning and value to their input.

Students as co-creators

Partnership cannot exist without the co-creation and co-design of knowledge, actions, and outcomes, where engagement culture shifts from passivity to collaboration. Developing this culture elevates partnership from conceptual to tangible, where the role of students can be focused on both the process and the product of engagement. Co-creation develops a sense among both students and staff that their dialogue can lead to the co-development of solutions, underpinned by listening, understanding of the expertise of each individual, shared goals, and agency. Co-creation emerges from the ability of staff and students to be able to jointly navigate existing norms, practices, and assumptions, while allowing space to anticipate challenges and competing pressures. Developing this active agency, for both staff and students, can grow roots from small-scale initiatives at all levels of education, and is embedded by the gradual realisation of both confidence and potential.

Get Your Free Steps to Partnership Report
To get your free copy of the Steps to Partnership report, just fill in your name and address and we will do the rest! GDPR notice: By providing your name and postal address through this form you are only giving NStEP permission to send Steps to Partnership in the post to you once. Your details will not be used for any other purpose. NStEP will not retain your details after postage.
Please include your Eircode or Zipcode.