Student Partners Program connects students to meaningful work

The MacPherson Institute Student Partners Program is currently accepting student applications to work on collaborative teaching and learning projects with faculty and/or staff for the summer 2021 term.

The program provides undergraduate and graduate students with paid opportunities to participate as partners with faculty, instructors and staff on projects that contribute to the enhancement of teaching and learning at McMaster. More than 425 undergraduate and graduate students from across all faculties have participated in the program since it began in 2014.

“Students provide a perspective that I just don’t have,” said Kyle Ansilo, the Program Lead for MacChangers, which is partially supported by the Student Partners Program. “The learning needs of students change on a year-by-year basis and the things that worked four years ago, probably don’t work as effectively in 2021. I deeply rely on them to help inform what it is we’re teaching and how it is delivered.”

As an undergraduate student, Ansilio was a participant in the Student Partners Program for various projects. He is now responsible for overseeing the MacChangers project in his role as Community Engaged Co-Curricular Learning Administrator in the Faculty of Engineering.

The Student Partners Program connects students to meaningful work on various projects like the MacChangers program, which is a co-curricular experiential opportunity that pairs multidisciplinary teams with community members to create innovative solutions to local and global challenges. Students not only provide faculty and staff with a unique perspective, but they also benefit from building valuable knowledge and skills. This year, Student Partners working with the MacChangers program are looking inward and providing support through research and evaluation of MacChangers.

“I didn’t expect it to be this awesome,” said Nassim Terzout-Yettou, a current participant in the Student Partners Program and a Level II Mechanical Engineering and Management student. “At first I was expecting to come in and learn about the research process, but then I realized I had a very welcoming environment where I could learn much more than that.”

For students who have an interest in teaching and learning and are looking to develop their skills, the Student Partners Program presents a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful work that can also have a direct impact at McMaster. Students can be involved with projects that allow them to design courses and curriculum, create resources for staff, faculty and students, develop conference presentations and co-facilitated events, and work on the International Journal for Students as Partners peer-reviewed journal.

“The research that we’re doing right now is to help give an unbiased view of MacChangers and review how students feel about the program,” said Terzout-Yettou. “To help either improve MacChangers in some areas, or maybe fix some things, if things need to be fixed, or just complement where MacChangers excels—we’re helping revamp MacChangers through the research we’re doing, I think that’s really impactful.”

Terzout-Yettou hoped to learn more about how to do qualitative research and has been able to do that and more. He acknowledges that his work to evaluate the MacChangers program is also helping to enhance the profile of McMaster among other institutions.

“MacChangers is one of the more innovative programs that we have at McMaster,” said Terzout-Yettou. “To compete with top universities across Ontario and even in the world, I think you need to have a really strong innovative program where students have a good foundation to have their solutions built properly and actually implemented into society.”

The Call for Student Partners Projects closed in February, eligible projects were reviewed and successful project application descriptions have been published for students to review during their applications. Student applicants should be prepared to review these project descriptions, identify 3 they would be interested in participating in and to provide a statement of interest and resume when they apply.

The call for student applications to the Student Partners Program is open until Friday, March 26.

Review the following resources Student Partners Program – Award Terms Summer 2021 and Student Partners Program Guidebook (2019-2020).

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