Professional standards framework for student engagement

sparqs’ Professional standards framework for student engagement (PSFSE) exists to enhance how we understand, articulate and develop student engagement roles within our sector, and to provide a frame of reference for those undertaking or working with such posts.

Launched in June 2022, the PSFSE describes the values, knowledge and activities that might feature in a student engagement role, and places these in the context of current policy in student engagement in quality, Scotland’s Student Engagement Framework, as well as other comparable professional standards frameworks in Scottish tertiary education.

It has been developed with a primary focus on roles that have operational responsibility for student engagement in quality, such as permanent students’ association posts with academic representation remits, or posts within institutional quality, student engagement or student experience teams who support institutional student engagement activities or develop the student voice in quality assurance and enhancement.

The framework can be used by individual student engagement practitioners or those they work with to reflect on such posts and root them in sector-agreed practice, and to be a basis for conversations about professional development in such roles. There is scope to use the framework to reflect on the student engagement dimensions in wider roles too, for example in teaching, support and leadership. sparqs understands the PSFSE to be the first and only such framework in the world and therefore it may also be useful for exploration of professional standards in student engagement beyond Scotland.

We are developing a series of documents to accompany the PSFSE, to further outline how the framework might link into specific activities such as recruitment and professional development of student engagement roles. An accreditation programme is also being considered for the future. The first such accompanying resource, published in February 2023, is An Induction Guide for Academic Representation Co-ordinators, helping new members of student engagement staff understand more about student engagement and their own role within the wider sector. Further accompanying resources will be published in due course.

Thanks go to participants from our Student Engagement Staff Network (SESN) and other sector colleagues, mentioned within the PSFSE document itself, for their help in shaping the framework and rooting it in sector policy and in the experiences of student engagement practitioners across Scotland’s colleges, universities and students’ associations.

For more information, please contact Simon Varwell

Student Engagement Framework

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