StudentShapers is an opportunity to...

  • Engage more deeply in an area of our education
  • Improve the student experience
  • Work closely in a co-creative environment across the staff/student community
  • Broaden your experience to draw upon when completing the Imperial Award
Staff-Student partnership in Learning and Teaching - building our learning community


StudentShapers is a programme developed at Imperial College London as part of the Learning and Teaching strategy to support partnership between staff and students.  StudentShapers supports a broad range of projects in educational development and educational research with the programme open to the entire Imperial staff and student body.

StudentShapers projects have covered a wide range of activities and strengthened our community"

Peter Haynes Vice-Provost (Education and Student Experience)

The StudentShapers programme will provide financial support to students to facilitate them taking part in partnership activities.  The StudentShapers programme provides a framework for staff and students to ensure projects have as high an impact as possible, achieve high quality outcomes and adopt the guiding principles of partnership. 

Guiding Principles of Partnership 

  • A partnership approach should equally value the expertise of staff and students; this includes a recognition of students contributing an expertise of being learners and of staff being teachers, administrators or managers as appropriate. This expertise should be recognised alongside subject specific knowledge and expertise.​ 
  • Partnerships should present equal opportunity for all students and adopt an inclusive approach; once the nature of the expertise required for a project is identified, the opportunity for partnership should be made equally available for all who are eligible.​ 
  • Both staff and students are able to benefit from the partnership – this does not mean the benefits are the same for staff and student partners, but the benefits should be similar in scale. 
  • Partnerships should achieve an appropriate distribution of power; staff and students should make the effort to familiarise themselves with one another’s approach in order to foster a culture in which partners are equally able to critique and challenge practices and approaches, and are able to suggest novel or innovative ways of working. 

Areas of partnership 

StudentShapers will support any project that further enhances the College’s world-class education and aligns with the Learning and Teaching Strategy .  Projects tend to fall within these distinct areas of partnership:  

Most projects take place during vacation time but longer term projects and projects with modest levels of student engagement during term time are also supported. Further details of all the project streams, plus information on how to make project proposals can be found on the ‘how to get involved’ page, including current projects in progress.

StudentShapers and the Academic Representation Network

The StudentShapers programme is designed to complement the Imperial College Union Academic Rep network.  The primary role of Academic Reps is that of consultation and feedback. Opportunities are provided at a range of levels for students to express and represent the opinions, perspectives, ideas and concerns of their fellow students.

Students involved in StudentShapers projects are supported to undertake a collaborative partnership with a staff member at much greater levels of time commitment.  StudentShapers projects involve joint ownership and decision making over both the process and outcome during a project. This is embodied in the Guiding Principles of Partnership.  When planning a StudentShapers project it should be considered what background and rationale for the project the Academic Representation Network could provide in support.  

Any questions around Academic representation in the context of StudentShapers can be directed to either or Imperial College Union Deputy President (Education).