The research presented in this paper shows that the ‘student as consumer’ label fails in many respects to describe the complex motivations that students have with respect to the HE institutions. Indeed, given the opportunity, some students decide to undertake and publish their own research, to participate in curriculum and policy development, and to spend time encouraging other students to do the same. Meaningful student engagement of this kind challenges models of HE that emphasise binaries between research and teaching and between staff and students. Student researchers as producers of original knowledge and designers of curriculum raise important questions about the status of participants in HE and the resources allocated to their interests. Such questions lead in turn to broader debates about the role of the contemporary university.
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