Benefits from engagement and leadership achieved by students co-creating science through Student Environment Research Teams (SERTs).

  • Anita Diaz Department of Life & Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, UK
  • Charles King Department of Life & Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, UK
  • Michelle Brown National Trust, Purbeck Estate, Dorset
  • Elizabeth Franklin School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • Dawn Morley Solent Learning & Teaching Institute, Southampton Solent University

Abstract

This case study evaluates the Purbeck Wildlife Student Environment Research Team (SERT (http://www.cocreate4science.org/serts/)) project, a collaboration between Bournemouth University (BU) and the National Trust (NT) with the overall aim of fostering student engagement and employability through team-based research that informs habitat management for wildlife conservation. The project has been supported by internal funding from BU since it began in 2015 and by funding in-kind from the NT since 2016. We report our findings on the challenges and opportunities arising from the project as identified from analysis of the overall experience of 42 students studying for a range of degrees in a range of environmental sciences and from the personal perspectives of three key stakeholders; a student leader, an academic mentor and our NT partner. Our key finding is that the SERT model is effective as a student engagement tool both for student leaders and participants. However, it is through fostering leadership skills that SERTs can most powerfully develop student learning and employability. We discuss how our partnership with the NT as an external organisation helps address challenges for some students of visualising how they can demonstrate tangible leadership skills and so develop vital transferable “soft” as well as subject- specific employability skills.

Author Biographies

Anita Diaz, Department of Life & Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, UK

Anita Diaz, an Associate Prof. in conservation ecology, founded SERTs to inspire student learning through co-creating science. 

Charles King, Department of Life & Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, UK

Charles King is reading for a degree in Environmental Sciences BSc. and was the student team leader for the Purbeck SERT 2017.  

Michelle Brown, National Trust, Purbeck Estate, Dorset

Michelle Brown is the Citizen Science officer for the National Trust Purbeck Estate as has been a key partner for all the Purbeck SERTs. 

Elizabeth Franklin, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Elizabeth Franklin is a researcher in entomology who was an academic mentor in the 2015 and 2017 Purbeck SERTs
Dawn Morley, Solent Learning & Teaching Institute, Southampton Solent University

Dawn Morley is a post-doctoral research fellow with a particular research interest in the value of work-based-learning in higher education.

References

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Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into practice, 41(4), 212-218.

Morley, D.A., Diaz. A., Blake, D., Burger, G., Dando, T., Gibbon, S, & Rickard, K (2018). ‘Student experience of real-time management of peer working groups during field trips’ Chapter 8. In: Morley, D. ed. Enhancing employability in higher education through work based learning. Palgrave Macmillan.

Walkington, H. (2015). Students as researchers: Supporting undergraduate research in the disciplines in higher education. The Higher Education Academy.

Published
2019-09-22
How to Cite
Diaz, A., King, C., Brown, M., Franklin, E., & Morley, D. (2019). Benefits from engagement and leadership achieved by students co-creating science through Student Environment Research Teams (SERTs). Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 2(2), 181-191. Retrieved from https://sehej.raise-network.com/raise/article/view/772
Section
Case studies/Practice Pieces