The University is committed to working in partnership with students. In 2020 the University worked with students to co-create its Students as Partners Framework (SaP). The SaP provides case studies and examples of how staff can work with students in partnership and how this can be embedded into life at London Met.
Going one step further than the work of the SaP, in 2021 the University worked in partnership with the Students’ Union and other stakeholders to develop London Met’s first ever Student Partnership Agreement (SPA). This project recognises a cultural step change as we move closer to best practice approaches in authentic partnership working.
The SPA is a key document that will help all stakeholders understand the approach we wish to take, ensuring everyone enters into the process of partnership with the commitment to act in good faith. The SPA also allows us to have a frame of reference to evaluate what good partnership looks like so that we have a shared language and understanding. The SPA covers the values and principles that we wish to embed in all aspects to improve the student experience and further embedding co-creation at London Met and ensuring that the Students’ Union, students and institution can be critical friends.
Who are our Curriculum Partners and what do they do?
London Met’s Student Curriculum Partners (SCP) work in partnership with academic teams by reviewing course materials to help academics reflect on their practice. Facilitated by the Centre for Equity and Inclusion, and recruited from our postgraduate and undergraduate cohorts, SCPs advise on how courses can be made more engaging and accessible to all students, ensuring they embed London Met’s principles of inclusivity to support our students' success and fair outcomes.
The SCP scheme aims to improve the experience, skills and attainment of all our students by contributing to the creation of a curriculum that ensures all students, regardless of background, are able to participate fully and see themselves reflected in their learning.
Why participate as a student?
The scheme is a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop their inclusive leadership skills; becoming changemakers during their time at London Met and onwards into the professional world. Within this flexible, part-time role, students will develop their skills in confidence, critical thinking and presentation, whilst building a lasting relationship of trust between students and staff. SCPs will have the opportunity to have their voices heard as they work in collaboration with staff to help shape and design a curriculum that is reflective of all our students.
Why participate as staff?
Whilst participating in this scheme, academics will have the opportunity to reflect on how to embed the principles of inclusivity into their curriculum. The scheme aims to improve the relationship and trust between students and staff whilst staff increase their understanding of “others’ experiences”. Academics will have the opportunity to rethink, reframe and restructure, and help to decolonise academic practices by developing curriculum materials.
Why now? Why London Met?
At London Met, addressing racial and social justice sits at the heart of our mission. We are committed to delivering real and positive change across the University. In line with our Race Equity Strategic Plan (2020/21–2024/25), the SCP scheme strives for equity in education. Throughout their work, our curriculum partners actively promote the Education for Social Justice Framework whilst participating in the facilitation, co-designing and enhancement of our curricula.
What is next?
As we continue to challenge institutional hierarchy, academic practices and strive to create a more equitable university for our students and staff we aim to have reduced the awarding gap at London Met by 10% by 2025 as well as eliminating disparities in non-continuation rates. We will continue to empower our students and staff as we develop our inclusive curriculums.
“... Students from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds are disadvantaged by institutional cultures that place them as other… a need for initiatives to focus on ‘cultural’ aspects of the academy such as methods and styles of teaching and learning” (Read et. al, 2003:275)
“I joined this scheme in February of 2021 when learning was online due to the pandemic. My major responsibilities consisted of reviewing module and course materials for reviewing the aspects of modules that relate to the University’s commitment to equity and inclusion. This not only made me very aware of the different subject areas offered by the University, but also how each subject area could have different approaches to inclusion and how each subject area could use continuous improvements that could make the course more inclusive. I was able to combine my views and opinions of a student belonging to a diverse background and my experience and knowledge of this role that I worked on for almost two years along with my studies to come up with actionable suggestions for module leaders and lecturers. That made me feel an important part of the University and feel that I left a footprint here when I graduated.
I was given the opportunity to present for the Learning and Teaching conference for 2021 and 2022, and, as one of the first participants of the scheme, I was able to present how the scheme had been faring for these two years and make prominent lecturers and module leaders aware of the scheme and its benefits for the scheme. Especially the face-to-face conference in 2022, where a lot of the University teaching staff saw the importance of the work done by us and encouraged more and more module leaders to want to be a part of this scheme. I was also given the opportunity to present at the Learning and Teaching conference at Northumbria University in London where I was able to present my views to other major universities around the UK and abroad.
The importance of this scheme is being seen widely across academic staff as they feel that they are getting a bigger picture of the aspects of their module through the viewpoints of students. Especially since there is increasing importance across education to make it more accommodating – everyone across all backgrounds should feel welcome and should feel education is an enjoyable process in order to perform their best and succeed. The diversity of students in the University makes it a wonderful experience. Something that adds on to this experience is that the learning environment should remain enjoyable and inclusive from the moment the students first step in to the moment they graduate – that is something that I experienced and only wish that everyone that has yet to come should have an experience nothing short of mine.
It only takes small changes by students and staff today to make a major impact for staff and students tomorrow. It is also a continuous process of making small changes and viewing results to make even more little changes so that continuous benefits are reaped and we see a learning environment that suits the modern environment.”
"The learning environment should remain enjoyable and inclusive from the moment the students first step in to the moment they graduate – that is something that I experienced and only wish that everyone that has yet to come should have an experience nothing short of mine."
“When I first read the job description for the role of Student Curriculum Partner (SCP), I was immediately drawn to and excited by the work that the SCP scheme undertakes. After undergoing a year of online learning, I was very eager to engage with the student body and get involved with ‘behind-the-scenes’ activities that contribute to making university life a smooth and enjoyable experience for students. Therefore, I felt that the way the essence of the scheme was very focused on incorporating the six aspects of the Education for Social Justice Framework into academics and curricula was a brilliant way to improve the student experience at London Met. I instantly wanted to be involved.
When I started working at the beginning of the recent academic year, I was pleased to find that it was exactly what I had expected, if not better. There were issues or difficulties I had anticipated having that I never experienced throughout my year as an SCP. When working with professionals and academics in order to provide feedback on how curriculum content can be improved, one would expect to feel intimidated or underqualified to raise matters or introduce ideas – but I was relieved to be met with very approachable, understanding and cooperative members of staff who were happy to have productive conversations openly.
I felt that interactions I had with academics through reports and meetings as well as workshops and focus groups I had with colleagues were highly constructive and beneficial throughout the year; really managing to stay true to what the initial reasons behind setting up the scheme were. I felt comfortable with and confident to use my voice and my perspectives as a student as a tool for insight and improvement within the academic content side of the University. It was truly a collaborative space whenever I engaged with others regarding SCP work and I am grateful that this was my experience.
The scheme is a way to bridge the gap of perspective between staff and students in a very direct and actionable way. As the student body expands and develops from year to year, it is important to keep that consistent line of communication about the student experience from those who are experiencing it, and thus give staff the chance to start conversations about how curriculums and content can be enhanced to improve chances of student success. It is important for academics to be kept in the loop of how students feel about their material and the way they can access it – otherwise they may only be left to speculate on how students may be receiving their studies.
The SCP scheme is an effective way to help better ensure that the hard work of both the students as well as the staff and academics are paying off; therefore, paving and maintaining a path for shared success, fairness and contentedness within the university environment. I hope the scheme, that is currently only two academic years old, continues to be more and more celebrated and utilised going forward as I believe this is great progress towards academic fairness and inclusivity within the London Met community.”
"The scheme is a way to bridge the gap of perspective between staff and students in a very direct and actionable way."