Ms Judith Marychurch1
1Melbourne Law School, University Of Melbourne, Carlton, Australia
This paper will discuss the author’s experience in implementing a whole of law school approach to wellbeing, focussing on aspects involving partnership with student associations for meaningful change. By deliberately cultivating strong relationships with key student associations over a sustained period, it is possible to generate partnerships between students and faculty to facilitate transition and to support student wellbeing during their degree. Melbourne Law School (MLS) utilises a student wellbeing committee comprised of student representatives from associations representing the general student body, international students and students entering law studies later than direct from previous study, as well as key academic staff liaison officers, who have responsibility for diverse student cohorts, such as international students and students whose first language is other than English; students who identify as LGBTIQ; disabled students; Indigenous students; and students with family responsibilities, including carers. This committee provides a structured opportunity for student partnerships to support wellbeing, as well as giving individual student representatives experience serving on a committee and a mechanism through which they can contribute meaningfully to the development of interventions to support student wellbeing. Informal partnerships with student associations beyond committee meetings facilitate joint interventions, such as the development of a guidebook for international students covering a range of transition, wellbeing, course planning and student support services. An annual welcome meeting with incoming executive members of key student associations ensures succession planning, as well as facilitating early contact to discuss student representatives’ key initiatives, fresh from campaigning for election by the student body.
Judith Marychurch is the Assistant Dean – Teaching & Learning at Melbourne Law School and a co-convenor of the Legal Education Associate Deans (LEAD) Network, which comprises leading teaching and learning representatatives from all Australian Law Schools.
Judith is a previoous recipient of a national Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning and a member of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Register of Experts in Law; Academic administration; and Curriculum development and design.
Judith’s interests include legal education, particularly student wellbeing and innovation in assessment; also evidence and corporate law, with a specialisation in the legal issues surrounding forensic accounting.