Savannah reflects on her experience working with Partners in Learning, where each month holds something new.

When I first saw the opportunity to work for this project advertised, I was extremely excited. I had previous experience as a project coordinator within a specified area of student engagement which I enjoyed, so naturally I swayed towards the opportunity to get on board. The Partners in Learning (PiL) project has been a completely different, new and exhilarating experience. The PiL project has not only become a job role but has become a passion, something I never thought I would experience at the age of 20. The level of responsibility myself and my colleagues have been given is incredible and it is extremely refreshing to have management and a board of people full of such passion and dedication to their work. If I had to select one experience the project has given me, it would be the bond we hold as a team.

There have of course been ups and downs throughout its journey, not something new to the nature of a project. Student engagement is a tricky area to work with due to the wide variety of students that need to be reached. It became apparent that the ‘hard to reach’ students really were just that, exceptionally hard to reach… which was initially underestimated. The consequence of this was that the original scope of the project and timeline had to be re-shaped but the benefit was that we came up with new, better ideas that enriched student engagement even more so. One of these ideas surrounded the Learning and Teaching strategy which took a new form as a student handbook which will be given to ALL students at the 2016 orientation by one means or another.

Being part of this project, watching it grow, change and impacting on it has been a privilege. Each month holds something new… this month I attended a conference with colleagues from REACT giving me an insight into student engagement across other institutions and perspectives on tackling the common difficulties faced within learning and teaching projects. As a student myself, student engagement should never be an area that lacks attention and staff and students should continue to work in partnership not only for best practice but for an important (somewhat essential) culture. It holds the power to change lives which I am living proof of.

 

Savannah Swan