Sparq at CIT regards partnership to be a relationship in which all involved are actively engaged in, and stand to gain from, the process of learning and working together. Student engagement through partnership is important. It enables and empowers students to engage deeply in their learning and enhancement. For staff, working in partnership with students can help transform thinking about learning and teaching practices.
Sparq at CIT aims to support students to take responsibility for successful learning, enabling them to shape their own experience and the outcomes they want to achieve. It is about encouraging students to be active partners in the learning process. This includes processes and activities which give students appropriate opportunities to influence the way in which curricula are designed and implemented. The role of students in this partnership is not just about identifying problems, but working with staff to develop solutions, implement actions and explore/identify future developments.
Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation:
Sherry Arnstein’s seminal article describing the Ladder of Citizen Participation retains its role as one of the pillars of community engagement practice today. It set out to distinguish different levels of participation in relation to levels of, or access to, power.
The eight-rung ladder is a simplification, but it helps to illustrate the point that that there are significant gradations of student partnership and participation and provides a useful tool for reflection in our practice of partnership.