20 Tavistock Square
This one-day conference will give delegates a full understanding of the policy landscape surrounding retention, as well as the knowledge you need to approach the challenge of student retention in your own institution.
Delegates with strategic responsibility for student retention will hear from policy makers, experts in retention, and a range of best practice case studies.
The focus on student retention has been sharpened in recent months by the changes to the higher education landscape.
The removal of student number caps, the discussion around the metrics that will feed into the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the changes to the architecture of the sector have brought student retention to the top of institutions' agendas.
This conference will be a unique opportunity to come together with colleagues and experts, receive the most up to date policy information, and discuss best practice for student retention in your institution.
Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive, Universities UK
Professor Patricia Broadfoot, Chair, What Works? Advisory Group, Paul Hamlyn Foundation
The What works? Student retention and success programme was initiated in 2008 to identify and implement whole institution approaches to improving student retention. During phase 1, seven projects - involving 22 institutions - identified, evaluated and disseminated best practice. Phase 2 looks at improving the strategic approach, enhancing specific interventions, and the priorities, challenges and impact of changes at both strategic and programme levels. Professor Broadfoot will use this session to explore the work and findings of the programme and discuss how you can use this information to inform your own student retention and success strategies.
Professor Helen Marshall, Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford (INVITED)
Dr Joan O' Mahony, Academic Lead Student Retention and Success, Higher Education Academy (HEA)
Chris Shelley, Director of Student Services, and Amy Kellehar, Associate Director, Events and Engagement, King's College London
The session will outline the objectives and outcomes of the King's Community Ambassador Project, a peer-to-peer support scheme developed in collaboration with the Behavioural Insights Team. The pilot, now in its second year, supports first year students in settling in to university through a series of calls at key times of year. Delivered by a trained group of student ambassadors, the calls encourage students to reflect on their experience so far, to make connections beyond the classroom and to access services. The conversations are designed to “nudge” students towards planning for upcoming events and make proactive choices about their time at university. These interventions play a key part in increasing engagement and supporting student success.
Dr Melanie Thorley, AccessAbility Project Co-ordinator, University of Greenwich
The *AccessAbility Team, within the University of Greenwich Education Support Unit, has developed a new model of widening access for prospective and current disabled students. This In&Outreach model combines preparing prospective disabled students (outreach) and supporting current disabled students (inreach). The support is primarily facilitating peer support with the added benefit of workshops potentially relevant to disabled students. We are also intending to develop webinars to enable the dispersed population (including international prospectives) to participate in the workshops. We also utilise social media to ensure nobody is excluded because of their geography. STAART also provides bespoke induction days for students who have accepted a place at the University of Greenwich. This enables them to orientate themselves, meet other new students on their campus and register early before their peers.
Whilst STAART has been developed especially for disabled students, this model could be used for other non-traditional students.
Luke Millard, Head of Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and Jack Hogan, final year BSc (Hons) Media and Communication student, Birmingham City University
This session will explore how the university has built upon its involvement with the What Works initiative to bring the first year experience to the forefront of institutional thinking. Through pre-transition programmes and targeted staffing, initiatives and successes have become embedded and shared across the university. The latest example of such work sees an extra-curricular, personal development framework (Graduate+) being implemented that harnesses belonging and employability drivers to engage with over 5000 students in its first year of operation. The institutional and student perspectives of this and the pre-transition work will be shared and explored through this session with participants.
David Woolley, Head of Schools, Colleges & Community Outreach, Nottingham Trent University
NTU has the components which transform the lives of thousands of students: a large intake, strong course identity, excellent extra-curricular programmes and expertise in student data analytics. To further improve student retention and also student engagement and ‘success’, the Collaborative Engagement and Retention Team (CERT) will combine these components into a University-wide peer support scheme. Launching in September 2017 for all 7000 new students, this scheme will be a step change in how the Academy, the Student’s Union and Professional Services collaborate to improve student retention and engagement at scale. This session will explain the scheme and cover the practical, cultural and ethical challenges faced.
Janet Peters, Director of University Libraries and University Librarian, Cardiff University
Recruitment to (taught) post-graduate study is under threat across the sector for many reasons including student debt and lack of flexible post-graduate study options. As a consequence, an increasing number of those that may have moved directly from undergraduate (UG) to postgraduate taught (PGT) study in the past are delaying and seeking to return to PGT study much later, often as part of professional development following employment. This is changing the nature of the PGT community and the academic study support needs they have. The HEA Transition, Retention and Attainment Strategic Enhancement Project enabled Cardiff University to undertake a piece of work to identify the particular study skills needs of PGT students and to develop appropriate online resources. We shall consider our evaluation of the approach and discuss the barriers faced in mainstreaming this kind of provision.
Benjamin Stein, Director of Student Success, Hobsons
Retention seems hard and the challenges institutions face in moving the needle seem insurmountable. In reality, small, un-glamorous changes can make a huge difference. This session will explore key challenges and show case studies of how institutions have solved them including academic buy in and action, tracking and measuring student progress and providing students with access and more real-time feedback.
Dr David Grey, Educational Developer, York St John University and Technology Coordinator, UK Advising and Tutoring
Dave Lochtie, Student Opportunities Manager, University of Derby Students Union and Executive Committee Member, UK Advising and Tutoring
Personal tutoring has long been part of the higher education landscape and makes a demonstrable difference to student outcomes. It is receiving renewed attention because of its potential impact on retention, the student experience and Teaching Excellence Framework metrics.
Drawing on experiences from the UK and US, this session explores the relationship between personal tutoring and retention, identifying different approaches to personal tutoring in a data-rich and metrics-driven environment. The key challenges are identified and recommendations given for gaining maximum benefit from personal tutoring by making it a valued and integral part of a seamless student support system.
Susannah Hume, Principal Advisor and Head of Skills, The Behavioural Insights Team
Helen Pritchard, Vice-President of Education, University of West London Students’ Union (INVITED)
There is no question that everyone within a university is responsible for ensuring students complete their course successfully, but how can colleagues across the institution work together most effectively to support student success? Panellists will bring their expertise to this discussion, and examine the various ways in which universities can collaborate across departments and with students.