Student partnership values
The University is committed to working in genuine partnership with students to ensure the high quality and the continuous enhancement and innovation of our curriculum, learning and teaching, and wider student experience.
A working group was established in 2018 to develop values that should underpin partnership approaches to student engagement in relation to student participation in governance, in enhancement and innovation of academic programs, courses and learning and teaching, and in ongoing enhancements of the wider student experience.
The development of the Student Partnership Values was informed by sector defining work from the Higher Education Academy1,2 and the OLT funded national leadership of Sally Varnham on student partnerships in governance3. The University’s Student Charter (2018) was also considered.
The values were endorsed by Academic Board in May 2019.
- Authenticity – partners identify and communicate a sound rationale for each partnership
- Trust – partners take time to get to know each other, engage in open and honest dialogue and are confident they will be treated with respect and fairness
- Honesty – partners act with integrity and honesty, by being transparent about the partnerships, their expertise, agreed boundaries and desired outcomes
- Courage – partners challenge barriers, structures and practices that may inhibit genuine partnerships
- Inclusivity – partners seek opportunities to identify and incorporate varied experiences and perspectives, for the benefit of their shared communities
- Empowerment – partners enable positive outcomes by establishing distributed authorities
- Development – partners commit to identifying, creating and engaging with development opportunities to sustain authentic partnerships
- Respect – partners trust and value diverse perspectives, talents and experiences – treating all with respect and fairness
- Reciprocity – partners genuinely invest in, and stand to benefit from partnerships
- Ownership – partners take responsibility for, and own, the contributions they make individually, and the collective outcomes
- Support – partners have confidence that academic and student leaders will support activities and initiatives created through partnerships.
How should I use the partnership values?
The partnership values are proposed as a way of approaching student engagement in learning, and in governance, enhancement and innovation of students’ learning experiences and wider student experiences. For example, academic-student partnerships for learning may be developed at individual level (e.g., design of a student’s assessment task), at course level (e.g., how students engage with a course, or within the context of course development/review), or program level (e.g., in enhancement of program outcomes or development of professional capabilities). The values apply to both small- and large-scale partnership opportunities and will be relevant to different types of student partnership including between:
- students and academic and professional staff;
- students and students;
- faculties and student cohorts;
- divisions and student representative bodies.
They may be used to set the scene for discussions at the start of a new partnership initiative and as appoint of reference in monitoring and resolving issues that arise during partnership work.
Partnering with students for curriculum innovation
Learning Enhancement and Innovation works with student partners and ambassadors to support co-design and provide feedback on courses, activities, assessment and other initiatives. For more information see
Student partners in University governance
Student partners are a vital component of university program and school reviews, sitting alongside discipline experts. For more information see Student Participation in Program and Organisational Unit Reviews.
Student Voice Australia project
Student Voice Australia 2019 was a pilot project funded through contributions of ten collaborating tertiary education institutions. It aimed to build and implement practices to facilitate authentic student engagement through partnership in institutional decision making and governance. The project aimed to develop and sustain a culture of student partnership in the sector nationally.
In 2021 the SVA project is being hosted by the University of Adelaide. All of the resources from the SVA pilot are available via the SVA website.
1. Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education Healey, Flint and Harrington (2014)
2. Framework No. 4 Student Engagement through Partnerships (2016)
3. Student Voice Australia
Creating a National Framework for Student Partnerships in University Decision Making and Governance (2017)