Student Experience Partnership Projects

Student-Staff Partnership Projects within the Student Experience Stream seek to enhance the academic, non-academic and social aspects of the UQ student experience. Examples may include: 

  • Student and Staff Partners co-facilitating workshops or events to enhance the student experience (such as: sense of belonging; networking with peers; employability development). 
  • Student and Staff Partners co-developing initiatives or programs that contribute to the UQ student experience.
  • Student and Staff Partners co-developing materials and support resources for educational campaigns (e.g. diversity, sexual misconduct etc.). 
  • Student and Staff Partners analysing the success of student experience initiatives. 
  • Student and Staff Partners collaborating on the enhancement of the SSP initiative (serving as Partnership Mentors; enhancing the processes or support resources for SSP). 

Case studies from projects within the Student Experience Stream can be found below:

Case Study 1

Designing a Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program, Business Global Mates: "Exploring the world by making global friends first"


  • Cate Clifford, Work Integrated Learning Advisor, Student Employability Centre
  • Daniel Du, Master of Commerce  
  • Katie Lau, Bachelor of Business Management/Arts  
  • Tony Madsen, Master of Project Management 
  • Han Pham, Bachelor of Economics 
  • Amy Zhang, Master of Business 
  • Charlotte Zhou, Bachelor of International Hospitality and Tourism Management 
Student-Staff Partnership Project Team
Above: Project Team

Aims & Methods:
In order to enhance and re-design the Rapid Acculturation Mateship Program pilot program, the partnership team conducted focus groups and interviews; piloted activities; raised awareness of the program through targeted marketing campaigns and developed a proposal for consideration of BEL leadership. For each part of this project, a team member self-allocated themselves as Content Managers, worked individually on their portfolio and reported back to the partnership team for feedback. 

This partnership project led to the development of a project proposal which was presented to the Business School leadership and successfully approved. Funding was obtained to roll-out the initiative in Semester 1, 2019. One of the student partners also obtained employment as a Project Officer to oversee the implementation of this revised program in 2019. 

Practical tips for engaging in partnership: 

  1. As the partners had various commitments, the team shared all content in a Google Folder. This was a great way for us to collaborate, and enabled us to provide feedback to one another virtually. 
  2. One of our student partners was overseas during the project. Consequently the team held all meetings via Zoom. This was a great way for all team members to feel equally included in the process as well as enhancing skills and awareness around developing meaningful productive relationships in an electronic platform. 
  3. There are always difficulties recruiting students for focus groups. The team however received help from the faculty to recruit participants through BEL SET Facebook. Each team member also recruited their friends and we eventually had enough participants.
  4. As a staff partner, ensure that you provide student partners with as much context as possible so that student partners understand the parameters of what is possible. 

Case Study 2

Enhancing Digital Literacy for UQ Students


  • Peter Condoleon, Bachelor of Engineering / IT, & EAIT 
  • Rheaa Thulasi Manoharan 
  • Kathleen Smeaton, Project Coordinator, UQ Library 

The primary aim of the project was to deliver a series of integrated pilot modules on Digital Literacy for staff and students at UQ. The student partners were brought on board to co-create these modules by giving input based on their experiences as students.

Student Partners worked on a variety of tasks throughout the partnership, including co-creating modules with library staff from research through to development. Student partners were tasked with co-developing the ‘Social Media’ module in the Digital Essentials suite. They worked alongside staff to research content and write content for the module. To be able to write content that was consistent with other modules, the student partners underwent web content training with the library website’s web content manager. Drawing upon their own experiences using social media, they were also able to make a significant contribution by writing original content on how social media can be used for learning and teaching. The student partners also reviewed other modules in the suite, suggesting changes and adding content based on their experiences. The student partners also helped to devise the name for the Digital Essentials suite which was critical for the project as it had to be something that not only appealed to students, but represented the entire project. The students designed a focus group to generate ideas with students who are likely to use the modules. The student partners ran two sessions over two days and came up with a shortlist of names for the module suite, before recommending Digital Essentials. 

At the end of the project the student partners had not only co-created one of the digital literacy modules, their input into the this module and others had helped to shape the final deliverables. Their input and feedback influenced the  overarching structure of modules, such as the content they contain, the way they fit together and the layout of the site where they are housed.  They were involved in the process of developing branding for the project and came up with a name for the suite and using their web content skills they also wrote a blog post detailing their experiences as a student partners. All the outcomes aligned with the co-developed project plan.   

Reflections of Student Partners:
One of the things that we learnt was writing for the web. Ironically, as students who are used to writing tons of reports, you might assume that we are very familiar with this aspect. However, when we sat through the training about writing for the web, we realised that most of what we are used to is not applicable for the web. Writing for the web called for simple and easy to read language. This proved to be very challenging initially as both of us were used to academic writing which includes plenty of technical terms.  However, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”. When we started writing up the content for the modules, we always bore this in mind and with more practice, we have acquired this new skill. 

Another thing that we learnt was that things don’t always go as per planned. For example, when organizing the focus group, we aimed to for 50 students but the turnout was less than a fifth of the expected number. As people who needs things to go as per planned, this was a little disappointing. But we learn to work with what you have and make the best out it. 

One of the challenges we faced as student partners was having to balance school and the library work. Even though the workload from the library was perfectly reasonable, it gets a little overwhelming from all the other university assignments. Thankfully, the team were very understanding of our priorities as a student and always encouraged us to focus on school and assignments. We overcame it by managing our time well and creating a plan for the week. We prioritize our work based on the deadline of the assignment or work.

We also learnt much about working in teams. Unlike the normal group work that we face as students, working in teams in a workplace environment is much more different. We are not just working with the people in the team but anyone else that come into contact with the organization. We learnt to treat each other with mutual respect and appreciate all the differing view that are brought to the table.

Reflections of Staff Partner:
Working with student partners was an invaluable experience. Having Peter & Rheaa as part of the team allowed us to develop resources that incorporated the student voice. Throughout the project Peter & Rheaa were able to challenge us to think differently about what we were doing, from why we were doing it, to how we were doing it. Having students as partners has ultimately led to the Library creating better resources for all students. 

Practical tips for engaging in partnership: 

  • Make sure that your student partners are involved wherever they possibly can be. Peter & Rheaa were part of all of our team meetings and always provided great ideas and feedback. We also invited Peter & Rheaa  to meetings with other areas of the Library and they were able to add value in many different areas. The more opportunities for student partners to sit around the table and share ideas, the better. 

To find out more about this project, contact Kathleen

Case Study 3

Measuring a Connection to Place


  • Diona Teo, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 
  • Sybilla Wilson, Service Improvement Manager—Engagement, Student Affairs 
  • Isabella Ye, Current PhD Candidate in Tourism, MITHM, BBA

The primary aim of the project was to research, through a sociological and cultural theoretical lens, how students are making meaning of their experience, in particular their extra-curricular engagement to support their study. A key objective of this project was to measure the complex nature of a person’s connection place. 

This partnership project involved co-developing research instruments to enable a greater understanding of how students make meaning and to what extent students are satisfied with the range of supports and opportunities. 

A range of recommendations for key indicators that can successfully measure the quality of student extracurricular connection to campus, their satisfaction and sense of belonging were identified. 

Reflections of Partners: 
The key benefit of this project has been the support that we have shown to each other by pulling all of the resources together. We all come from different fields with various skill sets and perspectives, which has positively contributed to the project. A key challenge has been coordinating meeting times due to our individual schedules and commitments. 

Practical tips for engaging in partnership: 

  1. It is important to have clear and meaningful goals that are achievable at the start of the project. 
  2. We also recommend to communicate clearly about each other's responsibilities and perspectives to avoid misunderstandings. 
  3. Finally, be prepared to handle unexpected situations and have contingency plans in place. 

To find out more about this project, contact Sybilla or Isabella

Contact Partnerships Team

Madelaine Marie-Judd
Student Partners Advisor

Further Information