23 Mar 2016

SPOTLIGHT ON.... City of Glasgow College's use of the Student Engagement Framework

Scotland’s Student Engagement Framework (SEF) is a vital tool for mapping and planning student engagement activity. The framework’s elements and features of student engagement offer an ideal basis for strategic planning of different areas of student engagement, and this is something that has been done recently at City of Glasgow College.

The college’s Student Engagement team, which has responsibility for all events and processes that engage students in shaping their experiences at college, first used the SEF in depth in 2013-14. This involved exploring the issues raised by the elements and features to guide the development of its work.

Then in 2014-15 the team created an operational plan, using the Balanced Scorecards management tool and the SEF’s element headings to group together and co-ordinate different areas of work. Within each area a member of the team leads on each framework element, and their work plan is also matched to college priorities meaning that there is clarity about the purpose of each piece of work.

For instance, in the team’s operational plan there is an objective to “support the processes and develop new opportunities that encourage students to work with their institution to shape the direction of learning”, clearly drawing on element 3 of the SEF.

That objective contains three work areas:

  • “You are the expert” – in which sessions are delivered to give students an opportunity to voice their views on the learning experience.
  • “Student representation” – where, in partnership with the students’ association, the college aims to ensure that the network of course reps engages with the various quality structures and processes.
  • “College focus groups and forums” – which aims to connect the student view of the learning experience with key staff including members of the college Board of Management.

The college’s Student Engagement team also works to ensure that the features of the SEF, which should underpin all student engagement activity, are evidenced throughout their operational plan.

The approach has allowed the college to effectively identify targets and actions in its student engagement activity, track progress, highlight successes and communicate its work to students, the students’ association and others.

We’re always interested to hear about how institutions have used the SEF, so please do get in touch with feedback if you’ve used it for a piece of work. Please contact Simon Varwell, Development Consultant – simon.varwell@sparqs.ac.uk

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