We are working with various partner organisations to develop student-engagement policies and inform institutional practice. We are currently working with the Quality Assurance Agency, the Higher Education Academy, the National Union of Students, The Student Engagement Partnership, Universities UK and Guild HE.
In this section you will find links to the work of other agencies and also other resources. These include:
Higher Education Academy (HEA)
Students as partners is a key theme of the HEA. Their work focuses on partnerships in learning and teaching which emphasise:
- Student engagement in learning, teaching and research
- Enhancement of learning and teaching practice and policy
Framework for partnership in learning and teaching in higher education. A short practical guide to support institutions and their students’ unions/associations/guilds, and staff and students, to inspire and enhance practice and policy relating to partnerships in learning and teaching.
Students as partners activities designed to support staff, students and organisations develop policy and practice relating to partnership in learning and teaching.
Students as partners publications:
- Student engagement through partnership toolkit (2016)
- Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education (July 2014). This HEA publication draws together extensive UK and international scholarship and research to propose a new conceptual model for exploring the variety of understandings of students as partners in learning and teaching
- Student engagement case studies (July 2010)
- Student engagement frameworks for action for institutional decision makers, articulating key considerations on the implementation of effective student engagement in higher education (November 2010)
- Dimensions of student engagement (April 2010)
The HEA’s What works? student retention and success programme has published the following:
- ‘Building student engagement and belonging in higher education at a time of change’: final report from the what works? student retention and success programme (July 2012)
- An Executive summary: summary of findings and recommendations from the what works? student retention and success programme (March 2012)
- The compendium of effective practice in higher education retention and success derives from seven institutional projects focused on improving the student experience and includes reports, tools and resources
- Compendium of effective practice in higher education: volume 2, which includes a wide range of contributions each focusing on enhancing student engagement and belonging within HE (March 2012)
Students as change agents: new ways of engaging with learning and teaching in higher education (2011). The University of Exeter has developed an innovative and exciting student-led action research initiative that brings students and staff together to improve experiences of HE. Students from across the university have contributed to this initiative, carrying out a series of research projects on their learning and teaching environment, selecting concerns raised through student-staff liaison committees (SSLCs), and providing recommendations and solutions to improve their experience.
The hearing the student voice project focused on using the student voice to enhance professional development in learning, teaching and assessment within HE. The team developed in-depth case studies of innovative practice, which were shared with the sector.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
HEFCE is working with various partner organisations through The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP) to develop student-engagement policies and inform institutional practice.
Student perspectives on technology – demand, perceptions and training needs (October 2010). In June 2009, HEFCE established the Online Learning Task Force. Chaired by Dame Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library and independent of the Funding Council, the task force examined how to maintain and develop the position of UK HE as a world leader in online learning. The four key initial areas of investigation included an examination into the level of demand from students – new and potential – for online learning provision in UK HEIs and student perceptions of online learning in UK HE. The task force commissioned the National Union of Students (NUS) to undertake a small research project to investigate this dimension in more detail.
Report to HEFCE on student engagement (February 2009): HEFCE commissioned The Open University’s Centre for Higher Education Research and Information to undertake a study on student engagement. The study is concerned with institutional and student union processes and practices – such as those relating to student representation and student feedback – which seek to inform and enhance the collective student learning experience, as distinct from specific teaching, learning and assessment activities that are designed to enhance individual students’ engagement with their own learning.
Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE)
Student engagement toolkit for leaders is designed for use by leaders in HE wishing to enhance and promote student engagement in, and beyond, their institutions. It can be used alongside the NUS/HEA student engagement toolkit, which focuses on improving three specific areas of student engagement, namely representation, module feedback and curriculum design. In this toolkit you will find:
- Conceptual overview of student engagement
- Leading for engagement in higher education
- PowerPoint presentations on student engagement
- Workshop resources
- References and resources
Report of the ‘leading academic engagement with students and students’ union project’ (LFHE and the University of Winchester)
Over the last decade there has been a steady and considerable increase in focus on student engagement. Rather than rehearse the well versed arguments about whether student engagement is important or not – it clearly is – this project has sought to examine four leading models of student engagement to capture their strengths and benefits for the students involved.
Student engagement is also a strong theme in the changing the learning landscape programme. The final project report is entitled ‘Changing the learning landscape – connect to the future’.
NB: The final report is openly available but access to the Changing the learning landscape site and resources requires membership login.
National Union of Students (NUS)
2014 NUS report, radical interventions in teaching and learning. This report articulates a different future for teaching and learning described as “further away from the marketised, consumer-based discourse still prevalent and further towards a vision of students as genuine agents in the development of their own education”.
Manifesto for partnership – Launched in 2012 by Rachel Wenstone (NUS vice president – higher education).
The toolkit is divided into sections: enhancing engagement practices including feedback from students, representation and curriculum design; resources and tools to support institutions and students; the benefits of student engagement – perspectives on the benefits of student engagement for various stakeholders, including students and students’ unions.
NUS/QAA collaborative projects
Student experience research: as part of a 12-month project with the NUS, QAA commissioned research into the student experience of UK HE in the 21st century. For this report, the first of four, NUS surveyed over 5,000 UK HE students on their experience of teaching and learning.
Student experience research (2008-2012) including mini reports on a range of subjects as well as a full report published in June 2012.
Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
Quality code – chapter B5: student engagement: the quality code is the definitive reference point for all those involved in delivering HE that leads to an award from or is validated by a UK HE provider. It makes clear what institutions are required to do, what they can expect of each other, and what the general public can expect of all HE providers. These expectations express key matters of principle that the HE community has identified as important for the assurance of quality and academic standards.
This chapter covers student engagement at undergraduate and postgraduate level, irrespective of location, mode of study, teaching delivery, or discipline. The chapter focuses on the provision of an inclusive environment for student engagement.
In this paper, the University of Exeter write about their innovative ‘Students as Agents for Change in Learning and Teaching’ project, which is encouraging students across the university to engage in active research into ways of improving their learning and teaching experience.
The ‘understanding the barriers to student engagement’ report, which is designed to contribute to the knowledge of the HE sector on the barriers to engaging students in their learning experience.
Student partnerships in quality Scotland (sparqs)
Sparqs (Student partnerships in quality Scotland) puts students at the heart of decisions being made about the quality and governance of the learning experience. Founded in 2003, the organisation is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, hosted and managed on their behalf by NUS Scotland, and directed by a steering committee with sector-wide membership. Sparqs work includes:
- Supporting students to shape the quality of their learning experience
- Supporting universities and colleges to develop structures and cultures for student engagement
- Supporting the sector by developing the student voice at a national level
- Developing a culture by leading and facilitating discussion and research on engaging students in quality
The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP)
TSEP exists to support, develop and promote student engagement activity in the HE sector across England.
TSEP work with academics, students, senior managers and student engagement practitioners to advance student engagement work in colleges and universities and is supported by a wide range of organisations from across the sector.
- Insight – news, analysis and case studies from the world of student engagement exploring the latest ideas and practice from the HE sector
- Events and training opportunities
- Student engagement tools and training materials via the TSEP hub. They also offer a series of resource digests bringing together resources focusing on a particular area of student engagement work
Quality and student engagement programme – a three week course open to all student engagement practitioners within institutions and student unions that is particularly targeted at newer staff. The course is based around three online modules and supported by webinars and discussion forums, with targeted peer support from other staff who work in quality and student engagement.
Partnership: the crib sheet – A briefing with questions to help you to think about what partnership means in your context.
Building a framework for partnership with students (NUS, UUK and BIS, 2014). This publication offers guidance to students’ unions and higher education providers in how to use their student charter to build and enhance partnership between students and staff. It explores the different responsibilities of students, providers and the students’ union and the difficulties in bringing student charters to life.
Digital student engagement and UNITU – a case study on the use of UNITU software programme at two universities to enable more effective student voice within higher education.
Digital Student Engagement and UnionCloud – a case study on the use of UnionCloud at Nottingham Trent Students’ Union. The student voice module offered by UnionCloud enables students to propose ideas for change, track progress and garner support from other students by raising awareness and collecting votes.
Student partnership activities specific to Wales
Future directions for the HE in Wales: students as partners – a report by HEA Wales for HEFCW (2012)
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
- Policy guidance on learning and teaching including student involvement and good practice regarding student engagement in governance
- Welsh Government remit letter to HEFCW 2013-2014. Note the distinctive focus on Welsh-medium (para 13-14), also emphasis on student engagement (para 16) and graduate employability (para 31)
- HEFCW enhancing learning and teaching through technology strategy (2007/2008-2016/17)
students as partners in Wales: the students as partners work strand group from the HEA in Wales consists of representatives from all institutions and students’ unions in Wales, as well as key sector agencies. The group is exploring different perspectives of students as partners, sharing best practice, and discussing models of innovation for future development.
Future directions for higher education in Wales: students as partners. This publication presents a series of themed case studies showing the various ways that partnership activities are being developed and embedded in the project members institutions.
- Welsh government HE policy statement (June 2013) introduced a future directions enhancement theme of global graduates: enabling flexible learning. Students as partners is explicitly acknowledged as a key dimension across all new work strands
- Open & online: Wales, higher education and emerging modes of learning. Report of the Online Digital Learning Working Group (March 2014). Whilst the focus of the report is not particularly on students as change agents/partners, it may potentially influence policy and activity in the sector regarding flexible learning, online delivery, open practice etc
- Estyn remit study on learner involvement in the post-16 sector (July 2013). This is the second interim report resulting from a three-year Estyn remit study on learner involvement in the post-16 sector. It focuses on FE institutions and Welsh for Adults (WfA) language centres
WISE Wales (Wales initiative on student engagement) is a collaboration of sector organisations working to create a culture of meaningful partnership between educators, students’ unions and students across Wales. They challenge the status quo, create opportunities for practitioners in Wales to share best practice, and above all put the collective student voice at the heart of what they do.
See also the NUS WISE campaign site.
Links to our other partner services and resources
Journal of educational innovation, partnership and change is a peer-reviewed journal that welcomes articles, case studies and opinion pieces relating to learning, teaching and assessment within the context of students and staff as change agents. Find out more on the change agents' network blog.
Blended learning delivery: supporting institutions to develop more flexible and creative models of learning delivery in order to support the development of lifelong learners, adept at planning for their personal, educational and professional development.
A set of external links focused on student partnerships and engagement.
The RAISE network is a network of academics, practitioners, advisors and student representatives drawn from the HE sector who are working and/or interested in researching and promoting student engagement.