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Why should students take charge of higher education?

The University of Groningen currently employs over 700 student assistants and has opened up all of its governing bodies to student participation. Some of these students recently visited FutureLearn and in this post, they discuss what they learnt and why more students should take charge of higher education.

The University of Groningen currently employs over 700 student assistants and has opened up all of its governing bodies to student participation. Some of these students recently visited FutureLearn and in this post, they discuss what they learnt and why more students should take charge of higher education.

Student assistants from the University of Groningen visit FutureLearn

We were waiting at the entrance of the British Library. We had a view that would have made a great painting – an enormous bookshelf, studying individuals and a major exhibition area. The combination of a classic learning environment, like a library, together with a modern learning organisation, such as FutureLearn, brought a smile to our faces.

Visiting other universities to get inspired

All student advisory members of the executive boards from the University of Groningen were on a study trip. We visited universities and institutions in the UK to learn more about active learning methods and to get inspired by best practices.

At FutureLearn, we were being shown the possibilities of MOOCs for higher education institutions. Eventually, the aim of our trip was to get inspiration for improvements for education at the University of Groningen. We are students who are taking charge of improving our own university!

Taking charge of higher education

For students, it can be very interesting to take charge at their own university. There are many ways in which students could take charge.

Universities could offer positions especially for students – for example, a student could tutor first-year students or assist a professor with his or her research. Students could apply for council positions to influence the policymaking process. At the University of Groningen, we even have students in the executive boards. As a student, you could initiate change by developing a plan and proposing it to the involved parties – it is that easy.

More students should talk with their university about the possibilities of taking charge. There are many reasons to do so:

  1. Higher education institutions are great employers.
  2. You will learn what it means to participate in a professional organisation.
  3. It will help you create a very interesting network.
  4. Future employers will love you, because you have some work experience.
  5. You can make a difference in changing your higher education institution.
  6. It is beneficial for the learning process – you can learn by explaining.
  7. It is not all work – you have lots of fun and amazing experiences with other students.

If you’d like to find out more about getting involved in student participation in your organisation, join the University of Groningen’s free online course Students Taking Charge of Higher Education.

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