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Working with our students to become 21st Century Australian leaders

November 28, 2017

Here at St Andrew’s College, our mission is to create a community of students who will grow to have a positive, significant and far-reaching impact as citizens of the 21st century. By providing a comprehensive student leadership training program, we endeavour to support our student members to actively engage in both our community at College and society in general.

To be eligible for student leadership at College in 2018, either to be nominated and then elected for a position on the House Committee or eligible to be selected as a student mentor for the incoming first year cohort, students needed to satisfactorily complete a range of requirements.

Theoretical basis for the training included the ‘Ethical Framework’; a four-part framework that asks what one ought to do based on a process of

1. Considering self,

2. Considering others,

3. Asking and negotiating and,

4. Reflecting on the outcome of action and seeking to change this if needed.

The leadership sessions covered a variety of topics, all aimed at supporting the candidates in developing the skills, knowledge and insight required to be compassionate and effective leaders at College.

The sessions included:

  • a face to face session with Professor Rufus Black on leadership as well as the St Andrew’s Annual Lecture
  • a face to face session with religious and ethical leaders. This was organised and facilitated by one of our Taylor Scholars, Bethany Cottee, and saw three faith leaders from the Christian, Islamic and Jewish faith and a humanist leader describe their experience of leadership and what this meant for them. This interfaith Q&A session was attended by close to 100 St Andrew’s College members
  • an introductory session on mental health issues to begin the process of upskilling as first responders
  • an online confidential survey reflecting their College experience. Students were asked a series of questions including: what aspects of College life they considered important, what was working well and what was not working so well. This survey asked participants to consider a real life challenging situation they had experienced where they needed to use the ethical framework to help them make a decision, or where the use of the ethical framework could have helped them make a decision in order to ethically deal with the situation. These answers were then used to start a discussion on how these issues might be resolved by the new leadership team as part of the final session
  • a face to face session on the roles of student leaders in College, the challenges and opportunities

To ensure that all students interested had the chance to participate, those who, due to other commitments, couldn’t attend face to face meetings were given the chance to watch a recording of each session and complete an associated writing task for the sessions.

In addition to these above sessions, Jaime Painter, another Taylor Scholar, as part of her work on supporting women in leadership, led a ‘Lean In Circle’, a leadership and development workshop for women at College.

The Taylor Scholar Program was established in 2015 by St Andrew’s College Chair of Council, CharlieTaylor. The program supports and encourages senior students of College to continue to engage significantly and meaningfully with College Life.

At the conclusion of our leadership program, over one-third of our student members had successfully completed the pre-selection component of leadership training and were eligible to either be elected to a position on the House Committee or be selected as a student mentor.

With an outstanding peer-elected House Committee, and a strong group of student mentors for the incoming first year students (selected by the House Committee with input from the Principal and Vice Principal), we move on to the process of selecting the Dean Team, Cultural Diversity Project (CDP) members, Academic Area Tutors and Taylor Scholars for 2018.

The Dean Team will take on a different format in 2018 and continue to support the health and wellbeing of our community. The CDP, up to six 3rd year students, will be selected by the House Committee and Vice Principal to assist the students to address inequities in representation based on diversity.

All student leaders will do further training to prepare for 2018.  This will build on the work done so far, including mental health first responder training, physical first aid training, diversity awareness training, making difficult decisions, and creating an environment that is fun, safe and inclusive for all members of College.

Moving forward, we will address the recommendations of the Broderick Cultural Review as they come to hand and work together as a team (Council, staff and students) to build on the strong culture already embedded in St Andrew’s College.  A culture that keeps what is good and strongly engages with the best of change, whilst supporting our students to grow, engage and positively lead now and in the future.

  • Dr Hester Wilson, Vice Principal and Director of College Life

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