20 Tavistock Square
A national, one-day conference to explore best practice for enhancing the student experience at a time of great change for the sector. The event is an opportunity for professionals with responsibility for the student experience to come together and discuss the key issues affecting the student experience. Delegates will be able to consider the experience of students at their own institution, explore new opportunities and take inspiration from others to ensure that their student experience strategy meets the needs of all students.
At a time of great change for the sector, it is vital that we do not lose sight of the importance of the student experience. Alongside policy and structural changes such as the embedding of the Teaching Excellence Framework and the introduction of the Office for Students, there are many issues affecting the student experience of individuals and groups of students. Mental health and resilience, student support and academic attainment, and the experiences and wellbeing of LGBT+, ethnic minority and commuter students are aspects to be addressed.
Receive a discount when you book your place for this event along with a place at our Enhancing the international student experience seminar on 14 December.
We have a range of sponsorship opportunities available at this event. Please contact Rachael Firth, Head of Events and Conferences for information. tel: 020 7419 5402; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of St Andrews
Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor, Edge Hill University
Edge Hill University is the Times/Sunday Times University of the Year 2018 for Student Retention and a recent past winner of the Times Higher title, having progressed from the bottom reaches of most league tables to the second quartile in fewer than ten years. It has sought to do this by focussing on the institution’s culture and ethos and how this plays into providing an outstanding student experience. It has not always succeeded, and the failures are as important as the successes, but it may offer some important signposts for those with similar ambitions.
This discussion will centre on the student voice and representation. Drawing on their experience, panellists will explore the changing role of students’ unions and the way in which they work alongside universities to engage students and ensure that their voice is heard.
Ali Milani, Vice President (Union Development), National Union of Students (NUS)
Professor Jane Powell, Vice-Provost for Education and Students, University of Surrey
Michael Higg, Cheif Executive Officer, Bedfordshire Students' Union
Professor Ruth Taylor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty, Anglia Ruskin University
Many universities still find themselves falling into a deficit model when it comes to student experience. Approaches to the retention and success, and student experience more widely, of particular groups of students often fall into this model, rather than a more positive and inclusive approach.
This problem-solving workshop will discuss a range of initiatives explored at Anglia Ruskin University and Robert Gordon University to actively intervene without reverting to a deficit approach. Professor Ruth Taylor will then pose some key questions, before facilitating a discussion allowing delegates to consider their own approach and learn from each other to ensure an inclusive approach to the student experience.
Dr Alastair Robertson, Director of Teaching & Learning Enhancement, Abertay University
The phrase ‘Sticky campus’ was originally coined in Australasia and is a very simple but profound concept which is not that easy to achieve: to create an environment where students will want to come and stay. At Abertay, like many other modern day universities, our students lead very busy lives, have multiple competing priorities and most undertake some kind of regular paid employment to help finance their studies. They are, therefore, increasingly strategic in their approach which can have a negative impact on their learning.
There is a wealth of literature to suggest that students who have a strong sense of belonging and connectedness with their peers and staff feel part of the University community and are therefore more likely to complete their studies, reach their academic potential and enhance their employability.
At Abertay, we have been putting considerable resource into creating our own sticky campus through new technology-rich science laboratories and other learning spaces; a refurbished library including informal break-out spaces and improved on-site catering facilities; enhanced infrastructure such as uniform wifi coverage, increased charging facilities for bring your own device and laptop vending and finally, piloting a new learning analytics system in conjunction with improved student support services.
Joy Collier, Academic Development & Enhancement Team, and Professor Jane Setter, English Language and Applied Linguistics, University of Reading
As a stimulus for discussion, this session will briefly outline the development and impact of the PLanT (Partnerships in Learning and Teaching) scheme at the University of Reading. The Scheme funds small-scale T&L collaborative projects which are co-designed by staff and student partners, and have been shown to bring significant benefits for both the staff and students involved. The Scheme was one of the first strategic steps the University took in acknowledging the importance of the active involvement of students in the development of their teaching programmes. Colleagues will have chance to consider the extent to which ‘partnership’ working exists in their own institutions and the potential opportunities and challenges this approach can present, both pedagogically and practically.
Professor Elizabeth Cleaver, Director of Learning and Teaching, University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) and Dr. Kelly Coate, Vice Dean Education, Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy, Kings College, London
The arrival of TEF in UK higher education has generated much controversy. While the metrics that form the backbone of Year 2 TEF (and the proposed Year 3 iteration) are argued to be ‘blunt’ or even misguided measures of teaching excellence, there is nevertheless widespread acknowledgment that the focus on teaching that these metrics bring, can potentially be harnessed for the enhancement of teaching.
To this end, many Universities are redesigning and refocusing their curricular and pedagogic development activities to create institutional approaches to teaching excellence which actively and explicitly coordinate and combine institutional mission, government expectations, and programme-level disciplinary or practice-oriented needs and strengths.
This session will briefly introduce two different approaches currently underway at Kings College, London and UWE, Bristol. The workshop will offer participants an opportunity to reflect on and discuss their own and other institutions’ approaches to teaching excellence, and to debate the formative potential of TEF.
Catriona Hanks, Outward Student Mobility - Policy Lead, and Katherine Allinson, Policy Researcher, Universities UK International; Alejandra Vicencio, International Partnerships and Mobility Manager and Head of Northumbria International Summer School, Northumbria University; and Maggie Wootton, Head of Operations, International Partnerships, Birmingham City University
Sarah Davies, Head of higher education and student experience, Jisc and Niall Sclater, Learning Analytics Consultant to Jisc
In this session Sarah Davies and Niall Sclater will outline some of the actions that are being taken by universities across the world to enhance their curricula based on data accumulated about students’ learning activities and their subsequent performance. Participants will be given a scenario to investigate involving the analytics around a particular course. They will have an opportunity to think about what the data shows and what interventions could be made to improve the course.
Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Officer, University of the West of England, Bristol
Mental health matters. It shapes how we learn and work. Supporting the mental health of our communities of students and staff is fundamental to universities' mission to nurture talent and optimise performance across not just educational journeys but all functions of higher education.
This session will explore the case for and benefits of adopting a whole university approach to mental health to support those experiencing difficulties as well as to enhance student success and staff performance.
A panel of students will reflect upon their first year of their course. They will discuss what their expectations were before starting their course, and how these compared to reality. They will consider their transition onto their course, outlining what (if anything) would have made it easier, and what more universities can do to support students like them. Delegates will have the opportunity to ask them questions to help with understanding and improving student experience in their own institution.