Students as Partners in the Real World – A Whole-Institution Approach


  • Natasha Shaw Queensland University of Technology
  • Caroline Rueckert Queensland University of Technology
  • Judith Smith Queensland University of Technology
  • Jennifer Tredinnick Queensland University of Technology
  • Maddison Lee Queensland University of Technology



students as partners, student engagement, whole of institution approach


Students as Partners (SaP) is an approach to student engagement that has gained much traction in recent years. Evidence shows that it adds value to the learning experience and provides opportunities for students to develop the capabilities needed in their future pathways. This paper documents one university’s approach to embedding partnerships in its institutional culture. The paper begins by contextualising the process in relation to wider institutional goals and outlines the three phases of implementation. This case study argues that to enable a whole-institution approach to SaP, it has been necessary to invest in strategies at a number of levels that enable partnership, from high-end policy and protocols to providing opportunities for staff and students to shape their own partnerships.


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Author Biographies

Natasha Shaw, Queensland University of Technology

Natasha Shaw is the Coordinator- Students as Partners at QUT. Her background is is community cultural development and education. She is particularly interested in pedagogies that facilitate transformational learning.

Caroline Rueckert, Queensland University of Technology

Caroline Rueckert is Director, Student Success at QUT. Prior to commencing at QUT, Caroline was Program Director for First Year Student Initiatives at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Her interests are in building partnerships to enhance employability, student learning, cross-cultural issues in higher education, and facilitating student resilience and well-being through coordinated approaches to learner support. 

Judith Smith, Queensland University of Technology

Judith Smith as Associate Director, Academic - Real World Learning at QUT is responsible for providing university-wide leadership to curriculum transformation and real world learning in strategy, policy, curriculum design and pedagogy. Judith is also a Board member of Australian Collaborative Education Network and chair of their Research Subcommittee.  

Jennifer Tredinnick, Queensland University of Technology

Jennifer Tredinnick is Coordinator- Volunteer Development and Management at QUT. Jennifer is experienced in supporting partnerships in both the UK and Australia in community, school and university contexts. Particularly, Jennifer is interested in the participatory and collaborative inquiry processes that underpin successful partnerships.

Maddison Lee, Queensland University of Technology

Maddison Lee is a 4th Year Law and Justice Student who  has recently joined the Student Success and Retention team to develop resources for QUTs SaP initiative. Maddi has previously worked in student engagement and mentoring and is passionate about developing a new culture that encourages students to take advantage of opportunities in shaping their own learning environment.


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How to Cite

Shaw, N., Rueckert, C., Smith, J., Tredinnick, J., & Lee, M. (2017). Students as Partners in the Real World – A Whole-Institution Approach. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(1), 124–131.



Case Studies