FACILITATING COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE BETWEEN PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND FACULTY TO ENHANCE THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
Charles Sturt University (AUSTRALIA)
Much research exists to suggest that the provision of student services plays a pivotal role in student success and retention. A supporting body of literature points to the practice of embedding these services within the curriculum as an effective way to provide and normalize such support. To achieve this goal, faculty and professional staff must work collaboratively. Despite the potential benefits to the student experience and the organisation, a systematic and scaled approach to collaborative practice between faculty and professional staff continues to elude many universities. There are many reasons for this including the disparate cultures of academic and professional staff, the different priorities and work practices and the lack of structures and systems to promote and support such collaboration.
Charles Sturt University(CSU) is large, regional, multi campus university in Australia where nearly 60% of its students study by distance education. The Academic Success portfolio is responsible for supporting student success through the provision of services such as learning support, Indigenous student and disability support, career development and bridging and enabling programs. Student awareness and take-up of these services is largely dependent on faculty engagement and collaboration made all the more challenging due to the geographically dispersed locations of CSU staff.
This paper reports on the strategies used in one of the programs within Academic Success to cultivate collaborative practice between their team and the faculty and the outcomes to date.