Education (HE) is a partnership between universities and colleges and
Student engagement is an important agenda in Higher Education
(HE). HE institutions are required to
have their own definition of the term under the Quality Assurance Agency’s
(QAA) Quality Code. Over the last few weeks, Yorkshire Universities has
begun exploring the concept in more detail.
The starting point was to understand what student engagement means.
Student engagement is an umbrella term capable of several different
interpretations, and driven by the context in which it is taking place.
Although there is no fixed definition of the term, there are a number of
dimensions where student engagement can (and should) occur. Most obviously,
students need to engage with their academic courses. Then, more broadly, with
the departments in which they are studying, contributing ideas (for example) on
how the course offering could be improved. Beyond that, there is engagement
with the institution, for example with its governance and strategy development.
More immediately, students engage socially, with other students via societies,
the clubs and their students’ union (they may take a part in running the
union). Finally, there is engagement with the community within which students
live – their neighbourhood, their town or city-perhaps through various forms of
There are some
great resources for students and staff interested in student engagement; for
example, The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP), is a HEFCE funded project
which seeks to support sharing of good practice, by fostering a ‘conversation’
around student engagement. RAISE (Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student
Engagement) is an on-line network where practitioners, students and academics
can share ideas and resources.
us back to Yorkshire Universities’ interest in student engagement. We know that
as well as supporting their own institutions’ strategies for student
engagement, our members are keen to work together in this area, and the
opportunities for collaboration across Yorkshire’s universities are really
exciting. In order to develop this area of work further, we are currently
organising a meeting with students’ union presidents to discuss their ideas for
student engagement, and to explore ways in which collaboration could enhance
this activity.We hope that
this will lead to some exciting new projects in the region; we will keep you
updated on our progress.
By Jo Barham, Yorkshire Universities