Gaining awareness of the needs of an expanding ageing population is important for university students from all academic backgrounds. Student interns and older people collaborate with faculty members to design, deliver and evaluate this module, which has now run annually since 2013.
“Collaboration with module leaders allowed me to gain first-hand experience into the intricate and intense planning involved in organizing meaningful sessions.” (NUAGE student intern).
Ellen Tullo, Laura Greaves and Luisa Wakeling run an innovative, higher education module, Newcastle University Ageing Generations Education (NUAGE) aimed at undergraduate students from any academic discipline.
Our creative and unique collaboration, aiming to challenge the association of ageing with frailty and focus learning on healthy ageing, involves a team of older members of the public recruited through the user group VOICENorth. This multigenerational collaboration ensures learning is grounded in the realities of ageing in the community rather than solely reflecting academic research priorities. Students and older people help to shape the NUAGE curriculum, obtaining a holistic and dynamic view of ageing.
Impact of work
Early evaluation of NUAGE, as reported in a recent publication, suggested that students and members of the public really valued the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas about the importance of ageing in society in a multidisciplinary and multigenerational environment.
“Living on my own, I don’t have a lot of contact with younger people so that was great” (NUAGE older member of the public).
Plans for the future
Assessment of the educational impact of participation in NUAGE on all parties (students, members of the public and staff) is at the forefront of our plans for ongoing evaluation. Adhering to the principles of NUAGE, we are now developing an inclusive evaluation plan, working again in partnership with students and members of the public to develop research questions, design evaluation strategies, manage data and disseminate our findings.
A further objective of the NUAGE team is to share practice with other institutions, based on our collaborative approach, to support similar initiatives exploring the benefits and challenges of public involvement in HE, and improve teaching and learning about ageing.