Partnership and Collaboration the Key to a Successful Student Leadership Program
The inaugural 2014 Murdoch Student Emerging Leaders (MSEL) program was a joint initiative between the Murdoch Careers & Employment Centre and the University Guild, with further support being provided by the Rotary Club of Booragoon. The development and implementation of the 2014 Leadership program relied heavily upon effective partnership and collaboration, resulting in a comprehensive program offering that would otherwise have not be possible via the Centre alone.
Additional collaboration included:
- Sourcing an Organisational Psychology student (through the School of Psychology and Exercise Science) to lead the full selection process (including an Assessment Centre) as part of a practical placement with the Careers & Employment Centre.
- Utilising Murdoch Alumni/Students/Staff and Rotary contacts as presenters and mentors (with assistance from the Murdoch Alumni Relations team).
- Engaging three not-for-profit community organisations (accessed via the Guild Volunteering Hub) for group project purposes.
Benefits to tertiary students, graduate employers and/or tertiary institutions
The 2014 MSEL Leadership program provided direct benefit to participating Murdoch University students.
The program was open to all currently enrolled Murdoch Students, primarily from second year and above. Both domestic and international students could apply, with two available places for the post-graduate cohort. Students were required to:
- have good academic standing (at least a credit average), to ensure that they could cope with both their academic studies and the demands of the program and;
- demonstrate leadership potential together with an interest in community development activities.
The key goals of the program were to:
- identify, enable and inspire potential future leaders at Murdoch;
- provide participants with the opportunity to learn and implement leadership skills and;
- enhance the employability of participants with demonstrable experience and application of their skills.
A total of 11 students successfully completed the program, some of whom recently volunteered the following about their experience.
“It was an excellent and worthwhile experience.”
“I felt I lacked many leadership aspects and wanted to be challenged for the purpose of demonstrating my ability, and assessed with feedback.”
“Highly engaging and very educative on what to expect on the job front.”
“It was a lovely experience, a great way to learn more skills and meet fantastic people from all disciplines.”
“I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. It really provided me which such a good learning experience. I have also made some very special friends along the way.”
In terms of increasing students’ employability, a participating Law student secured an internship following advice on her LinkedIn profile as part of the Leadership program. Furthermore, a Psychology student was the singleMurdoch student selected to attend the 23rd IAVE World Youth Conference and World Volunteer Conference in QLD held in September, having included her involvement in the MSEL program in her application. Finally, the Organisational Psychology Masters student who co-ordinated the MSEL selection process was not only recommended to apply for a position in the Murdoch Careers & Employment Centre (still in the recruitment phase) but also invited to meet EY senior recruitment staff (Perth office) by a Murdoch Alumnus and EY Partner whom he met at the MSEL Graduation Ceremony post-event networking session held in October.
Benefits to NAGCAS
The MSEL program has been an exemplar for effective partnership and collaboration as a means of expanding our service delivery and enhancing Leadership attributes amongst the Murdoch University student population. The Careers & Employment Centre would not have been able to develop and deliver a comprehensive 9 month Leadership program without extra resourcing, support and funding made available from external sources. Through partnership with the Murdoch Guild, the Centre gained access to SSAF funding for co-ordination purposes (previously inaccessible to the Centre) and the Rotary partnership added a further $5,000 to project funds.
The joint project has also since enhanced the general working relationship between The Murdoch Guild (and associated Volunteering Hub) and the Careers & Employment Centre. Previously we had largely operated on an independent basis, however since the program:
- we now have a “Careers & Employment” section in the fortnightly Murdoch Guild (G-News) e-newsletter (which has greater reach than our monthly Career Hub newsletter given we are not provisioned);
- Murdoch Guild Volunteering Hub now use CareerHub for posting volunteer opportunities (the first time a party outside the Careers & Employment Centre has been given administration rights to CareerHub) and;
- we have greater access to Guild planning documentation, giving us a clearer picture of Guild activities anticipated for next year, allowing the Careers & Employment Centre to better co-ordinate our Careers events/activities with complimentary Guild events scheduled for 2015.
The MSEL program is not a new concept as Leadership programs are common amongst tertiary institutions. The innovation lies in our mutual willingness and effectiveness in breaking down the University and Student Guild silos, allowing us to better service the student community. We have also fostered better relationships with Academic faculties (particularly the School of Psychology and Exercise Science and the School of Management and Governance), as well as with local community organisations. The latter is in keeping with the 2012 – 2017 Murdoch Strategic Plan which emphasizes the importance of societal engagement. The program increased awareness and benefited three local not-for-profit organisations through student group project work and we welcome the opportunity to benefit more next year. At the recent MSEL Graduation Ceremony a number of community organisations attended to find out more about the program and expressed a keen interest in joining the program in 2015.