#SBSResearch: Students as Partners

In 2017, a team at the University of Suffolk delved into the HEFCE Catalyst Call A funded project PlacementPAL(Peer Assisted Learning): a digital app to scaffold students’ learning and knowledgeable action in work. Through this project, two courses were used as pilots for the development of a mobile web application designed to support students out in work-based contexts as part of their degree programmes.

UCS Question mark (18)
(C) University of Suffolk

Through this work, Dr Suzanne Nolan has explored the developing and growing trend of using students as partners in learning and work within higher education. She has been conducting research as part of the PlacementPAL project, as well as taking this further by conducting focus groups and interviews with academic staff, in order to gain an insight into how current higher education professionals view students as partners, and how we can create better learning and teaching environments.

According to Healy et al (2014)

Partnership is essentially a process of engagement, not a product. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome in itself. All partnership is student engagement, but no all student engagement is partnership.

This has certainly been true of the research Dr Nolan has conducted thus far. Initial research suggests that higher education institutions still have a long way to go to embed a culture of communication and development alongside students within their organisations. Clearer understanding may be needed in the definitions of students-as-partners, and the impact (both positive and negative) on students and staff.

There is also a need for organisational support in developing this culture from all levels of management. With the adoption of the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework), there are increasing pressures on higher education institutions to hear and respond to the student voice. Engaging with students as partners in learning and teaching would be a effective way of doing this.

This work is part of ongoing research. If you work in higher education, and would like to learn more, or contribute to this research, please contact Dr Suzanne Nolan: s.nolan@uos.ac.uk

Dr Suzanne Nolan is the Lecturer in Employment Development at the Suffolk Business School, and is course leader for the Chartered Degree Management Apprenticeship (BA (Hons) Business Management Professional). If you would like more information on this course, please visit the website.

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Suffolk BME Business Awards 2017

The University of Suffolk and the Bangladeshi Support Centre (BSC), an award-winning community organisation, are partnering with the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star for the second Suffolk BME Business Awards.

Launch of the BME Business Awards 2017
Launch of the Suffolk BME Business Awards 2017. Photo by University of Suffolk.

The awards will be held on the evening of Wednesday 25 October at the University of Suffolk Waterfront Building, as part of the Suffolk Business School’s annual Suffolk Business Festival.

Boshor Ali, Chair of BSC, said, “BSC is delighted to be working with our partners to highlight the contribution of Suffolk’s BME businesses, which is much-needed in the current climate. Last year’s event was a great success and I am looking forward to celebrating again this year.”

Dr Will Thomas, Associate Professor at the Suffolk Business School at the University of Suffolk, said “We are pleased to be working with BSC again to recognise BME businesses and to acknowledge the contribution that they make to the local economy and to our local communities.”

Terry Hunt, Editor of the East Anglian Daily Times, one of the sponsors of the Awards said “It’s a brilliant idea celebrating the often hidden contribution of the BME community in the county. Last year’s awards were a great start and now we can build on that. I am very much looking forward to it in October.”

Cllr Sarah Barber, Mayor of Ipswich, said “I think the awards are a great idea, small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and we need to encourage them from every community. I am particularly pleased there is a Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award so I am looking forward to seeing who wins that but I think there will be worthy winners in all the categories.”

Award categories

Business of the Year
Businessperson of the Year
Startup/New Business of the Year
Community Business of the Year
Woman Entrepreneur of the Year
Charity of the Year

The final category will be a Judges Special Award.

Nominations

To nominate a business or person for any of these categories please complete the online nomination form HERE.

Paper copies of the nomination form can be obtained from the Bangladeshi Support Centre or the University of Suffolk. Completed forms should be submitted to:

Bangladeshi Support Centre, 19 Tower Street, Ipswich, IP1 3BE
Email: talkbusiness@uos.ac.uk

Nomination closing date: Saturday 30 September 2017.

The End of Summer and the Start of the New Academic Year

By David Collins, Suffolk Business School

Grey hair and failing eyesight are not, I suggest, the first signs of advancing years. As I look to the dull sky and low clouds above Neptune Marina (a wonderful setting for a University even in the rain) and feel what I fear are the first chill signs of autumn on my hands and neck it occurs to me that the first sure sign of ageing occurs at that moment when the summer vacation, rather than being full of endless sunny days, simply disappears in the blink of an eye.

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University of Suffolk is a great place, in all weathers. Photography by the University of Suffolk.

Yes you’ve guessed correctly: I’m feeling guilty about not posting for a while. And if I’m honest I am also feeling a bit sorry for myself: I’m feeling old and I’ve got the post-holiday blues. Of course, I really have no right to indulge this self-centred and mawkish emotion. The University of Suffolk is, after all, a great place to work and a great place to study, and the wonderful location is a delight in all weathers!

So it might be worth reminding myself and you, my faithful readers (and I offer my heartfelt thanks to both of you) of some of the highlights of the new semester:

During the academic session 2017-2018 we will launch our new Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. This degree is designed to allow participants to combine work and study. Indeed it prepares students for future careers in business and management, and so places great stress on learning in and through work activities. Degree apprenticeships, it is worth noting, are funded through employer levies so they will reduce personal student indebtedness.

If you are a large employer you are already paying for degree apprenticeships. But don’t worry – you can recoup your levy payments by enrolling staff members on degree apprenticeships with the University of Suffolk. Remember you don’t have to hire someone new for this initiative and it doesn’t matter if your preferred candidate already holds a degree in a non-related area!

During the coming academic year we will also offer a new optional module within our degrees. This module, developed with the Eastern Enterprise Hub, is entitled ‘The Enterprising Graduate’. It focuses upon enterprise and entrepreneurship and offers our students an opportunity to hone their management practice and their entrepreneurial skills. I think that this is an exciting development not least because it marks a unique collaboration between the University and its near neighbour.

The third annual Suffolk Business Festival will be taking place from 23-27 October, and we are hosting the second Suffolk BME Business Awards – an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the contributions of minority groups to business in the local area.

Finally it is worth observing that the Suffolk Business School will launch its Talent Academy in October 2017. This initiative which draws upon the skills and talents of our Visiting Professors and Senior Fellows has been designed to offer those tipped for future, senior, leadership positions a development challenge and a networking opportunity.

Enrolments to this programme are capped at just 16 delegates. Those interested in learning more about the talent Academy or about any of the other developments planned should contact me for further information (d.collins2@uos.ac.uk).