The student association Curriculus won the award for student association of the year. They include everyone, build relationships and are passionate about a good study environment.
It is the first time the award is given, and it consists of NOK 5,000. The award is the result of a cooperation between the Student Organisation of Agder, the Student Association of Agder, Sparebanken Sør and the Welfare Council.
Curriculus has been active for four years and is therefore quite new. The secondary teacher training programme at UiA scores highly on social and academic environment in the national student survey.
Buddy volunteers and student associations provide good support for students. If you are new, it is easier to strike up new friendships and settle in when someone looks out for you. The student associations provide an arena for both social and academic development and wellbeing throughout your time at the university.
Curriculus received the award for good learning environment and sound financial management. They are open to all and are a role model for other student associations. In August, they invited all students from all faculties and departments to a party in the student canteen. The student association has 450 members.
The secondary teacher training programme is a 5-year integrated master’s degree. It is based on disciplinary studies, combined with subject-specific modules and teaching practice in schools. So, the secondary teacher students are spread across the 11 available subjects in the teacher training programme where they join other students. They have some teaching-specific sessions during the first few years, but do not meet again as a group until the third year of the programme.
“Curriculus gathers students across classes and subjects already from the outset. They get to know each other and start to construct a secondary teacher identity together”, Hilde Inntjore, who cooperates with the student association, explains. She is head of studies of the teacher education unit.
The secondary teacher training programme has an event during the first week which Curriculus organises entitled ‘Being a student in the secondary teacher education.’ There are group sessions for the new students where they can ask questions and get information about the study programme and life as a student.
“I think this is priceless and they are good ambassadors. We have great confidence in them and are pleased with our good cooperation”, Inntjore says.
Some student associations have entry requirements where you have to do something strange to be admitted, but not Curriculus.
“Here, all we do is say: ‘Congratulations, you’re in!’ There is no enrolment, and everyone is welcome. At the moment you start your studies, you are in, then you can decide for yourself how active you want to be. When you join, there is always someone to talk to, even though you may not know each other so well”, Camilla Ulstad Kristiansen and Kristin Sigholt Mageli say. They are members of the board and among the driving forces behind the association.
Both the student associations, Curriculus and Pedagogstudentene, turn up for the study start event for new students on the secondary teacher education programme. A lot of information is given then, but the head of studies still wants the student associations to present themselves and invite new students to join. She wants the new students to see the whole team working on the secondary teacher training programme, to see the cooperation with the student association and experience that there is a good framework around the study programme. Curriculus takes charge of social events and cooperates with Pedagogstudentene on academic events for teacher students. Pedagogstudentene is a national organisation in the teachers’ union which has a local branch in Agder.
Kristiansen and Mageli are avid buddy volunteers and they enjoy seeing that students they’ve been buddies for have people they spend time with. They think of themselves as buddies all throughout the year. The first two weeks at the university are supposed to give students a good foundation and enable them to thrive. A lot more buddy volunteers are needed then. Curriculus contributed with 57 buddy volunteers this year.
The two students look forward to getting to know the students who arrived this autumn and enjoy being included in cooperation with the management. Several of those who have completed their studies still keep in touch with the student association.