How to get involved
The StudentShapers programme is open to all Imperial students across all Departments. Postgraduate research students should access the dedicated For Graduate research students pages. If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student and interested in fostering a partnership with a specific member of staff we would encourage you to be proactive and approach them with your ideas. If you are struggling to find an appropriate member of staff for your idea, please contact us as the StudentShapers team will be able to advise you, and help you develop your ideas further.
Staff members across all areas of the college are invited to submit a proposal for funding and support that aligns with the StudentShapers programme. StudentShapers is distinct from other initiatives within Imperial in that it is a co-creative process for both staff and students. Project proposals can be developed in partnership with students but the final project proposal should be made by the staff partner.
Opportunities that have been approved are listed in the 'Current Projects' area of the website, and will be advertised within a department or faculty in addition to being listed on the StudentShapers website. Students should express an interest in projects through the ‘Student Expression of Interest form’ on the Current Projects page.
The links below provide more information on the types of project that StudentShapers supports, with featured projects to provide more detail on the nature of the partnership.
What are the benefits?
Taking part in a StudentShapers project is a significant commitment but is highly rewarding. Research has identified and articulated the following key benefits for students that get involved;
"We had an input on what should or should not be taught in the new curriculum, which was an extra layer to this experience - a layer that I really enjoyed being part of. It really felt as though my opinion was highly valued."
- An opportunity to engage more deeply in an area of your education
- Time and space to improve the student experience for you and your peers
- Increased confidence and awareness of your own learning
- A chance to be a part of the implementation of the College's Learning and Teaching Strategy
- To receive financial support for the activities you undertake
- Dependent on the project, an opportunity to contribute to the field of educational research
Above all taking part in a StudentShapers project can be transformational; in other words you may make a noticeable change in your professional skills and/or the way you approach your own learning. Acknowledging this prior to the project will enable you to engage in the project more deeply and in a more creative way.
Engaging in a student partnership approach has been widely shown to be beneficial whenever adopting this approach is appropriate and desirable. Key benefits include:
"The most useful aspect was being able to better observe student perceptions of… how they perceive learning takes place and what they believed would be most beneficial to their peers in order to improve their learning experience."
- An opportunity to work closely with students to better understand their perception of learning and teaching at Imperial
- A method of attracting funding for education development work into your department
- An opportunity to recognise and utilise the expertise that students can deliver to your project to achieve better project outcomes
- A way of providing clear evidence of engagement with students to fulfil promotion criteria
In the same way that students engaging in partnership with a member of staff may be transformational to their learning, your approach to teaching may also be changed as a result of working in partnership with students.
Developing a project
Please consider the following during the development and before submitting a proposal:
- Have you considered the timeframe expected for your project?
- Have you considered the expected budget? (Please note: consumables are not normally included within the bursaries that StudentShapers provides. Please discuss with your department whether they are able and willing to fund this aspect of your project)
- Does the project have the support of staff and student peers? As StudentShapers is designed to have a positive and lasting impact upon the Curriculum, it is valuable for both Staff and Students to have discussed the direction of their project with their colleagues - this may involve liaison and feedback from the Academic Rep Network.
- Has the expected impact of the project been outlined and how will the impact be assessed?
- Student bursaries are normally paid at £330 per week if undergone full-time during holidays. Term-time work is normally paid at £55 per week on the assumption of half a day weekly engagement in order to not disrupt term-time workload.
If internal dissemination is a potential aspect of the project, any costs associated with this should be outlined in the proposal after considering the further guidelines here: Student conference attendance guidelines
Opportunities that have been approved are listed in the 'Current Projects' area of the website, and will be advertised within a department, group of departments or a faculty etc., in addition to being listed on the StudentShapers website.
Assessment Criteria for Proposals
Project proposals will be judged on the following criteria:
- Planned timetable for the work
- Resources requested; funding proposal is cost-effective
- The project has an appropriate rationale for its inception; this rationale may be based on (but not limited to):
- Student feedback
- Education theory/literature
- Industry liaison
- Evidence from Curriculum review or other education enhancement work taking place in the department
- If applicable, ethical considerations are taken into account when planning the project
- The project adopts the guiding principles of partnership
- The project outcomes are clearly defined and should result in changes to learning and teaching that align with the Learning and Teaching Strategy or should result in an improved understanding of an educational activity at Imperial.
- There is long-term sustainability and impact of the proposed innovations and if applicable how/where research will be disseminated
- The evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of the project is robust
- Achievements in learning and teaching of staff-applicants, and/or demonstration of an ongoing commitment to developing professional practice in teaching within higher education
- Student partners gain clear professional development outcomes, commensurate with Imperial’s Graduate Attributes.
After the project has concluded
Submission of a project report form (which can be downloaded from the sidebar) is a prerequisite of receiving StudentShapers financial support; this should be completed with one month of the project concluding.