28 Feb 2013

Celebrating Student Engagement

Student engagement has become an ever more important part of the quality landscape in Scotland’s universities and colleges in recent years – forming a major pillar of the Quality Enhancement Framework, being a crucial element of internal and external review, and more recently being articulated in the new, nationally agreed, Student Engagement Framework for Scotland.

But there has not been an accurate measure of the progress made in student engagement for some years, nor any attempt to articulate the successes achieved and challenges that remain.

As such, sparqs has undertaken an extensive piece of research throughout the sector into how student engagement has changed, and two executive summaries – one for the university sector, one for the college sector – were made available at the sparqs Parliamentary reception held on 11th December 2012.

Informed by a range of research including institutional visits, literature review and interviews with key sector practitioners, the reports have attempted to highlight the main changes in student engagement in recent years, as well as celebrate the range of excellent work being done by institutions and students’ associations to put students at the heart of decisions about learning and teaching.

Some changes are obvious – for instance the use of Student Team Members in college reviews or the introduction of Student-Led Teaching Awards in universities. But there has also been a vast array of activities and progress in areas such as improving the impact of students on institutional level committees, the work and support of course reps, and the role that students play in shaping their curriculum.

Despite the huge challenges facing the sectors in recent years, progress has been impressive and is worth celebrating and as such the reports include a range of case studies of good practice. They also point to some of the current and future challenges faced in student engagement; challenges which will help inform sparqs’ work in the months to come.

The executive summaries can be downloaded from the sparqs website at http://www.sparqs.ac.uk/section.php?cat=146

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