Communities for better governance: Pathways from Students as Partners to engaged citizens

Aidan Cornelius-Bell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Definitions and understandings of student voice, participation and partnership vary across the higher education sector (Ahmadi, 2021; Barrineau & Anderson, 2018; Boland, 2005; Bovill, 2019; Brooker& Macdonald, 1999; Cook-Sather, 2018; Gore et al.,2017; Lizzio & Wilson, 2009; Mendes & Hammett,2020; Menon, 2005). In Australian higher education, student participation tends to encompass the gamut from students’ participation in and co-creation of learning and teaching experiences through to full-scale student decision making in formal governance positions. Implicit in accepting the spectrum of students’ varied participatory modes is an understanding that students do more than just learn on and off campus (Allin, 2014; Boland, 2005; Brown, 2015;Lizzio & Wilson, 2009). Student roles in higher education governance spaces are often uneasy, rife with power imbalances and other challenges which make fulsome participation difficult. This short article, drawn from my PhD research, explores three problems with students’ democratic participation in higher education in Australia and offers three solutions to such problems based on in-depth qualitative interviewing with 24 student sand peer-reviewed literature. First, it is necessary to turn to an understanding of the problem in a multidimensional approach to student engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilding Better Partnerships
Subtitle of host publicationRepresentation, engagement and sustainability
EditorsPiper A. Bell
Place of PublicationAdelaide, South Australia
PublisherStudent Voice Australia
Pages25 - 28
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-646-84922-5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventStudent Voice Australia Symposium - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 25 May 202127 May 2021
Conference number: 2nd Annual


ConferenceStudent Voice Australia Symposium
Internet address


  • Student voice
  • Higher education
  • governance
  • teaching experiences
  • Student roles


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