Empowering students in STEM outreach: a team leader pilot initiative

Hill, K. (Speaker), Linda Davis-Sinclair (Speaker)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch

Description

The University of Northampton has long provided STEM inreach and outreach opportunities for community groups, schools, FE and HE institutions. In addition to National STEM Ambassador recognition, the University coordinates its own STEM Champions programme, ensuring STEM activities are championed across the University. This, combined with an inter-disciplinary STEM Steering Group, provides staff and students with a dedicated programme of STEM training and events. This year, an innovative student Team Leader scheme was introduced to provide further support and leadership to STEM programme delivery. This paper will showcase the positive outcomes of empowering students as partners within these STEM initiatives. This paper will reflect on an innovative STEM Team Leader pilot initiative which was introduced last year at The University of Northampton. Northampton has over a decade of experience in providing STEM inreach and outreach opportunities for community groups, schools, FE and HE institutions. As an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, Northampton is dedicated to University-wide efforts which engage students as agents of innovation and social change. The University’s STEM approach includes a cross-university STEM Steering Group and a STEM Champions programme of dedicated training and events for staff and students. This ensures STEM representation across the university and that STEM activities are accessible to the local community. Student STEM Team Leaders are discipline-specific and, with the guidance of staff Senior Team Leaders, provide support and leadership to programme delivery. This creates a valuable STEM Champion support network, while empowering students as partners within STEM outreach. This work addresses not only the need for student representation and leadership in STEM outreach, but also the value that this initiative has on raising science aspirations, programme coordination and enhancing student employability. Student STEM Team Leaders are best placed to recruit Champions to the programme and identify, with support, current science themes and training needs. The leadership, project delivery, communication and motivational skills obtained by Team Leaders orient them for success beyond the acquisition of knowledge from their degree. Many Team Leaders have suggested that this experience will be directly relevant to their work once leaving university and identify more strongly with the University in doing so. Those interested in this paper presentation will be looking to enhance student employability and involve student representation in STEM outreach. This presentation will engage delegates by including insights from the student voice and feedback from students and staff involved. Educators and support staff within any discipline may be interested in this work. As well as reflecting on the value and positive enhancements of this scheme for students, staff and local communities, challenges faced during the first year of the Team Leader pilot scheme will also be outlined. Recommendations for future approaches will be provided, alongside practical implications for including empowering students in STEM outreach. The paper presentation will focus on the following areas: 1.The University of Northampton’s STEM Approach •Northampton’s Changemaker Ethos •STEM Steering Group and the value of STEM Activities •STEM Champions and programme delivery 2.The STEM Team Leader pilot scheme •The need for student representation •Team Leader roles and responsibilities •Challenges related to recruitment, engagement and communication 3.Conclusions and implications for practice •Empowering students in STEM outreach •Student employability •Implications for practice Key messages: 1.In order to form a valuable staff-student network and champion STEM activities across disciplines, HEA STEM provision must involve discipline-specific student representation. 2.STEM Team Leader initiatives empower students as partners in STEM outreach, with positive outcomes for students, staff and participants. 3.This work enhances student employability, STEM Champion recruitment and STEM project delivery, while helping to further raise the science aspirations of young people within the local community.
Period1 Feb 2017
Event titleHEA STEM Conference 2017: Achieving Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Event typeConference
Location
Degree of RecognitionNational