Steps to Partnership Supporting Authentic Student Engagement in Decision-Making

Duration 25 hours


The NStEP open course for staff in Irish higher education is an introductory exploration of theories, challenges, and opportunities for authentic student engagement in decision-making.

Student partnership or ‘students as partners’ has emerged throughout higher education policy and practice, ensuring that the value of student participation in shaping their own education and learning environment is recognised as an underpinning ethos in the sector. NStEP’s national Steps to Partnership framework sets out that by amplifying and understanding the student voice, meaningful student engagement practices can emerge, through which an active culture of partnered co-creation and collaboration can be supported for the benefit of both staff and students across an institution. NStEP works to support these efforts across four domains: governance and management; teaching and learning; quality assurance and enhancement; and, student representation and organisation.

The course is built around a series of online webinars, peer learning activities, workshops, and case studies, culminating in the creation of a student engagement and partnership plan for the learner’s professional context and practice.

Why you should take this course?

  • Develop greater awareness and understanding of concepts and theories of student voice, student engagement, and student partnership.
  • Explore challenges and opportunities for effective and authentic student engagement throughout decision-making processes.
  • Discuss the ways in which meaningful and sustainable student partnership schemes and initiatives can be designed and supported.
  • Map current practice in student voice, engagement, and partnership within your institution and/or professional sphere of influence.
  • Create strategies for enhanced student engagement practices that can foster partnership between staff and students in your professional context.

You’ll Learn to

  • Discuss the concepts of student voice, student engagement, and student partnership.
  • Develop meaningful and authentic approaches to student partnership.
  • Identify good practice in student engagement and partnership.
  • Create a plan for student engagement and partnership within your professional context.

On earning your open badge award for this course, you will have achieved further recognition in the following domains of the National Professional Development Framework for Staff who Teach:

  • Domain 1 The Self At the core of the domains is the centrality of ‘the Self’, recognising that the professional and personal values that the individual brings to their teaching are pivotal in their development as a teacher.
  • Domain 3 Professional Communication and Dialogue emphasises the importance of excellent, clear and coherent communication skills within the changing learning environment.
  • Domain 4 Professional Knowledge and Skills ensures the individual remains current in terms of their professional/disciplinary knowledge and can implement approaches which promote active learning and are underpinned by a strong evidence base.

Course Developers

This open course has been developed by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in partnership with:

Oisín Hassan

National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP)

Kevin McStravock

Union of Students in Ireland

Ruth Ní Bheoláin

Hibernia College

Caitriona McGrattan

National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Lee Bennett

TU Dublin Students’ Union

Marese Bermingham

Munster Technological University

Cliona Hatano

Munster Technological University

Cat O’Driscoll

National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP)

Roisin O’Grady

Munster Technological University

Sinéad O’Brien

Dublin Business School

Enroll in this Course

Facilitator Led

Learn as part of a group in an upcoming facilitator led programme


Facilitator-led courses run at different times throughout the year and result in a digital badge. Some are entirely online, some are blended, and others face-to-face. Additional facilitator training may be provided so that you can later facilitate your own open course.

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Developer Materials (OER)

All materials generated during the development of this open course have been created (or adapted, subject to licence permissions) for use under a CC BY-NC 4.0 licence as open education resources (OER).

Individuals are free to use, share, repurpose, and remix this material. Materials may include face-to-face workshop materials and eLearning materials.

Important: Individuals are required to hold an open course facilitator badge to be eligible to issue open course badges. Learn more