Student support champion’s wellbeing report can “inspire and challenge” education leaders

Professor Edward Peck is urging higher education providers to use their data to improve student services and support student wellbeing.

A new report from the government’s recently appointed student support champion is encouraging education leaders to place analytics and data governance at the heart of their services to support wellbeing.

'Student analytics: A core specification for engagement and wellbeing analytics', will be launched by Professor Edward Peck at Jisc's Digifest 2023 conference in Birmingham today.

Professor Peck, who is vice-chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, was appointed higher education student support champion by the government in June 2022. He has been canvassing opinion in the education sector to set clear priorities for the improvement of student services.

He has found they are coming under increasing pressure due to rises in student registrations, the cost-of-living crisis students are facing, and funding challenges across the sector.

In a speech at the annual event, he will discuss the potential for student analytics to tackle these challenges and how he aims to raise the profile and utilisation of analytics at scale.

He will outline his vision for using commonly collected data as the basis for predictive analytics, creating more responsive and scalable student services.

The new report has been produced with the support of Jisc’s data analytics team. It uses a pilot project at the Northumbria University, which was supported by the Office for Students, as a model of best practice.

Using data already collected by the university, the Northumbria project targeted resources more effectively, improving outcomes whilst reducing the strain on its student services.  

Professor Peck said that he wanted to show sector leaders that student analytics, and the data governance that underpins it, are vital to the effective scaling of student services as enrolments increase:

“My intention for this report is to help higher education providers higher education providers begin a journey towards good data governance to support student services. It illustrates that there are a relatively small number of data points required to deliver insights into student engagement and wellbeing and these are probably being collected by institutions already.

“I hope it inspires and challenges higher education providers to consider how an effective and sustainable system of support can be accomplished only through the integration of analytics into its design and delivery.”

Jisc CEO Heidi Fraser-Krauss said it was vital leaders create better student support and speed up digital transformation efforts by embracing data governance:  

“We are delighted to support Edward in his mission to improve student services through analytics. Data governance must become an acknowledged priority for higher education providers, alongside cyber security, estate management and financial planning. The sector’s leaders must invest time to build new data strategies involving infrastructure and training.

“These strategies will facilitate a new breed of student services, driven by data and predictive analytics, that will improve the whole student experience, reduce regulatory burden, and create efficient and effective services.”

To understand Edward Peck’s vision for data governance and student services, read the full report: Student analytics: a core specification for engagement and wellbeing analytics.