The Students as Change Agents project of the University of Nottingham has won the prestigious European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) Team Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. Carina Neil, Matthew Watts and Dean Lymath received the prize at the special ceremony held at the University of Barcelona on the occasion of the ECIU Board Meeting.
The ECIU Team Award 2019 was given to the Students as Change Agents team for their inspiring work in enabling Nottingham students to work in partnership with staff to make positive changes to the curriculum and to their experiences there. The students design their own project to improve teaching and learning. By doing so, not only do the students developing the projects learn a lot, but other students will be positively influenced by the results, thus amplifying the impact on student development. 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.
Students as Change Agents has contributed to a culture change in the university enabling greater openness and collaboration between staff and students. By having students involved in the processes of change, it ensures that they are fit for purpose to the modern student. More specifically, changes that the projects supported by SACA have established the Peer Assisted Study Support scheme to support first year Maths students and develop their interpersonal, communication and fundamental mathematical skills. ‘Students as Change Agents’ is an excellent example of the ECIU slogan ‘challenge conventional thinking’.
The second place was given to the ‘C-lab’ project from the University of Trento. In this project the students work in multidisciplinary teams on entrepreneurial challenges, and alumni have a role in the project as coaches. The central idea in this project has a very strong relationship with the community outside academia; as such it is a very strong learning environment for the students.
The ECIU Team Award is given to the team who have successfully delivered an educational innovation that challenges conventional thinking. This prize has the purpose of promoting, celebrating and disseminating innovative projects in teaching and learning developed by inter-disciplinary groups. It is an initiative of the ECIU members, who share a commitment towards high quality educational practice and who seek to give visibility to exemplary, innovative pedagogical practice.
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