Student partnership agreement

Updated on 13 July 2020

The University and the Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) work together to develop an annual Student Partnership Agreement (SPA) to further enhance the experience of our students. Our SPAs detail agreed priorities for each academic year and include key performance indicators to help with evaluation of effectiveness.

On this page

Context of the agreement and overarching principles that define student engagement and representation

The SPA complements other strategic documents such as the Student Voice and Representation Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding between DUSA and the University. They have been developed to promote an understanding between students and staff about agreed enhancement-focused goals that are important to all individuals who are part of the University.

We believe that each annual SPA is an important statement of our commitment to the fostering of our University community within which we all have a role and a function to perform and where we all have rights and responsibilities. Our SPAs are designed to promote the engagement of students during their period of study at the University. All students are encouraged to provide feedback on their experience whenever possible.

The University and DUSA are proud of the contribution that we make to the City of Dundee, the rest of Scotland and beyond. The University has a central vision to transform lives locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge. Our student body and its relationship with academic and Professional Services staff is central to this purpose and vision. The University and DUSA value the diversity of our student population and work to make sure everyone feels supported and a part of the community. All staff and students should interact in a way which helps create an inclusive, pleasant and welcoming environment for everyone.

The term 'partnership' is used in a broad sense to indicate joint working between students and staff. Partnership working is based on the values of:

  • openness
  • trust and honesty
  • agreed shared goals and values
  • robust communication and understanding between the partners

Partnership working recognises that all members in the partnership have legitimate, though sometimes different, perceptions and experiences. By working together to a common agreed purpose, steps can be taken that lead to enhancement in a way that works for all concerned. The use of the term ‘partnership’ reflects a mature relationship based on mutual respect between students and staff.

The University is committed to involving students in decision-making processes and ensuring that students have the best possible experience during their period of study with us. All students are automatically members of the Students’ Association and are members of the University. DUSA primarily exists to be an advocate for students across the University by representing their rights, needs and opinions. The University and DUSA work closely together to ensure that students are represented on all relevant University committees and are supported and trained to fulfil their roles. Opportunities to become involved in student representation are described in our Joint Agreement on Student Representation.

Student partnership action plans


In 2018-19 Schools were asked to work with school student presidents to create a Student Partnership Action Plan, to complement the Student Partnership Agreement. Schools each produce a set of actions which are presented to Learning and Teaching Committee on an annual basis. The action plans are reviewed to inform the future development of the Student Partnership Agreement.

Comments / remarks

  • Most Schools identified several aims or priorities with associated objectives and some performance measures
  • Some Schools presented the action plan as their Student Partnership Agreement, rather than a separate document
  • There was variation in length and detail (2-5 page document) but overall Schools focused on a small number of key aims
  • Two plans were signed by the AD L&T and the School Student President
  • Generally there was good consistency in the approach used in the plans

Discussion points

  • How does the Student Partnership Action Plan differ from the Student Partnership Agreement
  • Should Schools produce two documents, i.e. should the action plan be an integral component of the agreement, or should a separate plan be produced after the agreement
  • Should L&T Committee / DUSA also review the action plans at the end of the academic year, to identify what has been achieved, so closing the loop


The template on the next page has been based on the action plans for 2018/19 and is proposed for use across Schools from 2019/20. It would bring consistency in the information provided while also allowing for personalisation.



Academic and Corporate Governance