Engaging students in the development of their education, a practice referred to as ‘student voice’, started in the school sector, but is equally as prevalent in the higher education context.
Universities in the UK have been developing ways in which they can listen and respond to the student voice, to the benefit of their student body:
- At the University of Bradford, the university and the Students’ Union work in partnership to: “enable students to play a key role in shaping and enhancing the University of Bradford student experience – for both current and future students”.
The Sabbatical Officer team in the Students’ Union describe their role thus: “Through the work of our student leaders and our campaigning activity, our Student Voice team makes sure our students have their say and get their voices heard at all levels of the Students’ Union and University”.
- At the University of Bath, the university describes how: “listening and acting on the informed student voice is at the heart of our quality management strategy and we seek to involve students in key quality processes and decision-making. We therefore work closely with students to create an environment where they are encouraged to provide open and honest feedback on all aspects of their student experience”. The university and Students’ Union have jointly developed a University-Student Partnership Statement. The university also set up a Student Experience Forum which brings together professional services, academics and students to agree on enhancements to be made for the ‘Bath student experience’.
- The University of Portsmouth has a Policy for Listening to and
Responding to the Student Voice. The Student Engagement Partnership has published a case study highlighting the University of Portsmouth’s Students’ Union’s work in developing its Annual Quality Report which is one of the ways it describes working with the university on its students’ academic experience: “The Union works with the University to ensure that [students] get the best University Experience possible – two ways we do this are the Quality Assurance report and the Teaching Awards”.
Many universities will be looking in detail at student engagement in their respective institutions as they develop their Teaching Excellence Framework Provider Submissions. I certainly am.
This post highlights some of the good practice in universities in which I have worked, and at the university I am about to join to lead on student engagement…
From 6 February 2017 I shall be taking up my new position as Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Portsmouth.
Watch this space.