University of Nottingham Students as Change Agents receives award

November 1st, 2019

The European Consortium of Innovative Universities 2019 team award has been made to the University of Nottingham Students as Change Agents team for their inspiring work enabling Nottingham students to work in partnership with staff to make positive changes to the curriculum and to their experiences.

The European Consortium of Innovative Universities makes an annual award to a team who have successfully delivered an educational innovation that challenges contentional thinking.

Students as Change Agents (SACA) is an ongoing programme which provides structure, training, recognition and reward to enable student teams to lead projects which improve their university experience –  be it on their courses, in preparation for future careers or in relation to the community. In the last five years, the SACA team have supported nearly 200 students to become ‘Change Agents’ who have run over 50 projects which have benefited over 5000 students to date.

SACA was set up in collaboration with students, academics, the Students’ Union and Professional Services colleagues and has contributed to a culture change in the University, enabling greater openness and collaboration between staff and students. By having students involved in processes of change, it ensures that they are fit for purpose to the modern student.

Projects supported by SACA includes the PASS scheme to support first year Maths students develop their interpersonal, communication and fundamental mathematical skills. In addition to this students from the Afro-Caribbean Medical Network organised and ran the Journey to Success Conference in which a panel of healthcare experts gave personal and professional insight into their insight as medical professionals to a sold out Senate Chamber of healthcare students. Another project saw students founding PsychStart, a career-based mentoring scheme providing tailored support for medical students interested in psychiatry.

University Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Sarah Speight, said: “It is fantastic to see the Students as Change Agents team being recognised in this way by the ECIU. The SACA programme has helped us move beyond listening to students to working with them as full partners on a range of projects that are making a real difference to many students. And I know that staff love working on these projects too. The team are now consulting students about how best to spend their 2,500 Euros prize money – that’s absolutely in the spirit of SACA.”

Prizes will be presented at an award ceremony in Barcelona on Thursday 7 November and applications will be published on the ECIU website as examples of innovation in education.

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