19 Feb 2019

Final week to register for #sparqs19 on 28th March 2019!

If you've still to register for the sparqs' conference, please book by Friday 22nd February!

Student Engagement for All is taking place on Thursday 28th March 2019 at Surgeons' Hall in Edinburgh.  #sparqs19

The conference is aimed at students, managers and practitioners in colleges, universities and other post-16 providers, from within Scotland and beyond.  We invite you to join us to explore activity from across the sector on student engagement in relation to widening access, equality and diversity, transitions, representation of non-traditional students, staff development…and more! The conference will provide an opportunity to showcase this work, share expertise and learn from good practice!

Conference speakers

We are delighted that the conference will be opened by Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council. The day will be a blend of keynote sessions, panel discussions and a range of workshops, presentations and displays, including the following speakers: 

  • Carol Hunter - Student President, Fife College
  • Maxine Jolly - Young Inspectors' Programme, Education Scotland
  • Rob McDermott - Quality Manager, Forth Valley College
  • Dr Aileen McGuigan - Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Dundee
  • Ciaran Stewart - ex Course Rep for BA Performance in BSL/English, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Dr Pauline Hanesworth - Senior Adviser, Advance HE
    ~ Introduced by: Liam McCabe, NUS Scotland President

You can read the speakers' biographies for details about their background and experience.


You can view the conference programme for details of the day and timings for both the conference and the Student Engagement Awards' reception. 

Choose your sessions before booking!

When registering, you will be asked to choose which sessions you would like to attend at the conference. Please read the Workshop and Presentation Outlines document to enable you to make your choices - you will be asked to choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd preferences for each session. If you are a presenter, please choose your own workshop/presentation under the relevant session. 

Student Engagement Awards

In a fitting end to the day, the conference will be rounded off with the third sparqs' Student Engagement Awards.  Congratulations to all those shortlisted, and good luck to everyone!

View the awards shorlists to find out who's in the running for the awards in each category!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to make submissions, they were of a very high standard and it was a tough decision for panel members to choose between them. 


Additional opportunities for delegates from outside Scotland

In addition to the main conference, we are once again offering some further opportunities for delegates attending from outside of Scotland, including an International Delegates’ Day on Wednesday 27th March, the day before the main conference, and optional site visits during the same week, to universities, a college and a sector agency. The opportunities are primarily aimed at international delegates, but those from the rest of the UK are also most welcome to attend. 

The International Delegates' Day will provide an opportunity to learn about the Scottish context of student engagement, including a visit to the University of Dundee and some local sightseeing, rounded off with dinner back in Edinburgh in the evening.  Attending this day incurs a cost, and can be booked at the point of registering for the main conference. 

The optional site visits include a mix of college, university and sector agency sessions across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley and Perth, allowing people to hear more about Scotland's student engagement and quality processes, whilst enabling visitors to see a bit more of the country!  The visits are now open to book!  While there is no cost for the actual visits, delegates will need to arrange and pay for their own travel to/from them. Please note that the deadline for signing up for the visits is Friday 15th March 2019

See the International delegate programme page for all the details, including the agenda and costs for the International Delegates' Day and the site visits schedule (including details of how to sign up to attend).

How to register

See the conference booking page to register to attend....please book by Friday 22nd February!

Queries and further information

If you have any queries regarding the conference, please email admin@sparqs.ac.uk or contact the office on 0131 622 6599.

Practical information

For visitors to Edinburgh, we have prepared some useful information about the city, including maps, travel and accommodation options and tourism information.  We hope that you find this helpful. 

See our conference map for locations of the main conference, the International Delegates' Day and the site visits, as well as locations of Edinburgh Airport and Waverley train station. 

For further information about the conference venue, please see the Surgeons' Hall website.

Delegates are required to book and pay for their own travel and accommodation. 

The conference hashtag, for use on Twitter, is #sparqs19.

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