22 Jun 2016

New practice guide on engaging students in Institution-led Review

May 2016 saw the launch of a new practice guide developed by sparqs, in conjunction with The Robert Gordon University, on engaging students in the university quality process of Institution-led Review (ILR).

With universities responsible for managing their own mechanisms for quality enhancement, ILR is a key opportunity for students to comment on and shape their learning experiences.

While sparqs has provided guidance on engaging students in Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR), and has also supported the training of student members of ILR panels, this is the first time that a resource has been produced for those “on the other side of the table” of ILR.

The practice guide is relevant to all types of reviews led by institutions, such as reviews of subject areas, service departments or cross-university themes. It is shaped around the process of engaging students before, during and after the review, with obviously a considerable emphasis on the role student representatives or researchers can play in exploring and reporting on students’ views as part of preparation for a review.

The guide includes tips for supporting students in research roles, focus group models and other similar approaches, and guidance on engaging student reps in the decision-making process around review preparation and responding to action points and outcomes.

The work was substantially informed through our close work with two recent reviews at The Robert Gordon University – the 2015 Student-Facing Review of IT Resources and the 2016 Institution-led Subject Review of Gray’s School of Art.

In both reviews, sparqs was able to provide guidance and suggestions on the process of student engagement to staff and students, but also had the opportunity to gain an understanding of how students were shaping approaches and informing perspectives through their views and research. We are extremely grateful to all involved in those reviews for their support for this work.

The practice guide was recently launched at The Robert Gordon University’s 2016 Learning and Teaching Conference and presented to the University’s Learning Infrastructure Sub-Committee.

With forthcoming revisions to the Quality Enhancement Framework, it is possible that this practice guide will require some minor changes to reflect developments, and as such a slightly revised guide will be produced in due course.

The full practice guide, plus a separate two-page executive summary, can be found on our website. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with staff and student representatives in universities to explore how the guide can be of use to those involved in managing or preparing for Institution-led Reviews, and we would also be keen to receive any new case studies of effective practice which could be included in the revised version.

For further information, please contact Simon Varwell, Development Consultant on 07815 938966 or simon.varwell@sparqs.ac.uk

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