Student engagement through recognition

Last year our Students’ Union representatives set about trying to find a way to improve student engagement. After attending several conferences on quality assurance and student engagement, it became clear that recognition could play a key part in delivering on this initiative.

President of the Students’ Union, Charlie Bertoia, approached Principal, Haymo Thiel, with a proposal for Staff-Led Student Awards (SLSA’s). Based on the already successful Student-Led Teaching Awards, the tried and tested recognition blueprint would be reversed and rolled out, this time with staff voting for outstanding students excelling in all areas of student life.

Students' Union representatives 2016

The categories are:

1. Academic Engagement Award

For the student who consistently participates in the academic process

2. Practical Skill Development Award

For the student who excels in their practical development at the college

3. Professionalism Award

For the student who demonstrates professionalism both inside and outside the classroom/clinic.

4. AECC Community Award

For a person who embodies the ethos of a healthcare institution, i.e. who promotes the college, is helpful to students, staff and visitors alike and who otherwise receives little to no commendation. 

With staff engagement being a significant factor when considering student engagement, the awards served to bring staff and students together. A panel of academic staff assessed all the nominations and selected the winners based on pre-set criteria including going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty and being a true ambassador for the college and our healthcare ethos.

Although 2016 was the first year the SLSA’s were run, a huge number of staff got behind it. Naturally students were incredibly receptive, having their achievements both academic and otherwise recognised and made public. This has led to greater student participation across a range of college activities. In turn, staff participation in engagement college activities has also increased. Charlie Bertoia, President of the Students’ Union commented: “This is a great way for college staff to commend students who are excelling and leading in the areas of academia, practical development, professional development, and community support. It has been shown time and time again that recognition in this manner is a very effective way to encourage students to continue with excellence.”

With the scheme being so successful in its first year, we are continuing to run the SLSA’s and expect to see both continued student and staff engagement. Principal, Haymo Thiel, commented: “Initiatives such as the Staff-led Student Awards, in addition to the already established Student-led Teaching Awards, are excellent schemes which recognise and reflect the efforts of our students, not just within an academic context, but also in relation to extra-curricular life within and outside the College community.”

Voting is currently underway for the 2017 SLSA's and members of Programme Steering Group will convene a panel which will decide on the students deserving of awards on the basis of the nominations received. The awards will be presented on 5th May.