During Summer 2014 sparqs has been visiting students’ associations to talk to student officers on how they can use the Theme to support their campaigns and work over the year in regards to learning and teaching.
The feedback so far has been very positive, and student officers are enthusiastic to integrate the Themes into their work. In particular, a large proportion of officers expressed interest in the following areas of work, which may fit well into the current Theme:
- Work on the experience of incoming international students and, in particular, their better integration into campus life, including the development of more appropriate representation systems.
- Looking at the experiences of students coming to university from college, whether through established articulation routes or otherwise, and working to improve that experience.
- Working to increase the number of students undertaking study abroad, and improving the guidance and support offered to these students whilst abroad.
- Enhancing the representation of postgraduate students, particularly taught postgraduates whose courses are frequently very short.
sparqs will be working with QAA Scotland for the duration of the new Theme to support students’ associations and encourage sector-wide student involvement in the Themes. We are confident that by making their involvement as relevant as possible to their objectives we will increase student engagement in the Enhancement Themes. This may involve changing the way in which student officers engage with the Theme, so it is based around projects rather than through their institution. We hope to support more projects led by students and students’ associations, and perhaps even projects involving collaboration between students at different institutions.
The Enhancement Themes are a key component of the Scottish Quality Enhancement Framework. The Themes aim to enhance the student learning experience in universities by focusing on particular areas for development in turn and producing helpful resources for students and staff. Throughout each theme, staff and students across Scotland’s universities are encouraged to work together to explore new and innovative ideas to enhance teaching and learning.
For the next three years (until June 2017) the new Enhancement Theme is called Student Transitions. The new Theme will take a broad view of the student journey through higher education. There will be four key strands of the Theme which are:
- The transition from school or college to university and the first year experience.
- Considering the experience away from the student’s normal place of study through an international exchange or work placements and the transition before and after these experiences.
- The transition into further study and the postgraduate student experience (both taught and research opportunities).
- And finally the end of study where students prepare to graduate and enter into the workplace.
If you would like more information or are interested in getting involved please contact Mike Williamson, sparqs Development Advisor – email@example.com