Student engagement - and learning and teaching broadly - is an ongoing partnership between staff and students. This partnership requires a conversation about how to improve the quality of the learning experience, and both partners in that conversation require support to effectively engage in it.
To support students to engage in this conversation, we provide a range of training and events for a range of different levels of student representative. You can find out more about this in the Supporting Students section of our website.
But we also support staff to engage with students. For example, we have a staff workshop on student engagement in quality, the materials for which were revised in early 2016. The workshop can be delivered by sparqs, or alternatively institutions are welcome to download the materials and deliver their own sessions.
In Summer 2020, we collaborated with Advance HE on their Strategic Organisational Response Initiative (SORI) for senior leaders in universities on a session entitled ‘Engaging Students as Partners in Shaping the 2020-21 Academic Year’. The session was attended by senior staff from institutions across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and explored how senior staff can facilitate student partnership within their organisation. The session focused on the Student Perspective and included student feedback collated by sparqs about their concerns for the next six months, followed by a panel discussion with two student sabbatical officers, Emmanuel Akerele (Robert Gordon University) and Liam Brady (University of Glasgow). sparqs then led a reflective session focused around the question of ‘Students as Partners: Where are you now?’ before splitting attendees into breakout room discussions to explore this theme further with discussion around ‘Students as Partners: Where do you want to be?’ and ‘How are you going to get there?’ Attendees were provided with an interactive workbook to use throughout the session. You can view the presentation from the session and a recording is also available. sparqs is continuing to work with Advance HE in developing a follow-up session in February 2021.
We also offer a specific workshop that helps staff to understand the Student Engagement Framework and how they can use it to reflect on their own practice.
Working with institutions and staff development practitioners we are developing opportunities to engage with staff who are engaged in teaching qualifications in the college and university sectors. In 2015-16 we facilitated a session on student engagement for a cohort of TQFE students from across the college sector and we have agreed a further session for pre-TQFE students in early 2018. We are also currently working with Edinburgh Napier University to develop bite-sized e-resources which can used on a range of CPD programmes including the PG Certificate in Academic Practice. Additionally, we are working with the College Development Network on the development of resources and a webinar on student engagement for their Management and Leadership CDP Framework.
We delivered a number of sessions on student engagement and board roles and responsibilities in 2016-17 at the College Development Network induction training events for college Boards of Management. For the 4 sessions delivered in 2017-18, we revised the format of these sessions to make them more participative.
Finally, we co-ordinate a Student Engagement Staff Network (SESN), a professional network for staff in universities, colleges and students’ associations with roles relating to the co-ordination and development of student engagement in quality. The events engage participants in discussion around key sectoral developments, consultation on new initiatives within sparqs, and opportunities to share and reflect on personal and professional practice in supporting academic representation. The network meets three times a year and more information can be found on the SESN webpage.