sparqs' News - 2015

Teaching Excellence Framework proposals – What are the implications for Scotland and the QEF? 18 Dec 2015

In November 2015 the Westminster Government published the much anticipated Higher Education Green Paper. The Green Paper proposals come at a time when discussions about the review and development of the Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF) in Scotland are ongoing. In… Read More

Course Rep Training Co-ordinators' Network meeting - 17th February 2016 18 Dec 2015

This academic year, we have thus far held two meetings with our new network for co-ordinators of Course Rep Training, with the third due to take place on Tuesday 26th April 2016. Our first event of the academic year took place in… Read More

Launch of sparqs' report on recognition and accreditation of academic reps 18 Dec 2015

In November 2015 sparqs published a report highlighting practice and challenges in the recognition and accreditation of academic representatives. The first piece of dedicated research by sparqs in this area, it aims to explore the kinds of activities universities, colleges and… Read More

Learner Transitions Events Round-up 18 Dec 2015

Taking in four cities in ten days, and bringing together over 70 students and 40 staff, sparqs’ and the HEA’s Learner Transitions events finished on 30th November at the University of Glasgow. Introduced by Frank Coton, Glasgow’s Vice Principal for… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Iain Morrison 18 Dec 2015

In this interview we talk to Iain Morrison, the Dean of Students at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Iain has taught in Japan, Greece, England and Scotland and was part of the team that set up the newest… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Jasmin Davies-Hodge 18 Dec 2015

In this interview we talk to Jasmin Davies-Hodge, Organisational Learning Co-ordinator at Forth Valley College. She manages Moodle/Mahara team and co-ordinates all Learning Technologies with staff and students. 1. You presented recently at a Jisc event about how you worked in… Read More

Learner Transitions Events - November 2015 13 Oct 2015

During November 2015 sparqs and the Higher Education Academy Scotland hosted a series of four subject-specific workshops exploring successful learner transitions. The events aimed to facilitate dialogue and new links between educators and students from local universities, colleges and schools. Developed… Read More

Lead Rep Systems 13 Oct 2015

sparqs is currently working on revising its 2012 Toolkit on Developing Departmental Representation. At the time this was ground-breaking work which brought together figures from the FE and HE sectors to discuss how lead rep systems might best be set… Read More

sparqs Annual Support Visits 13 Oct 2015

We are currently in the process of contacting universities to arrange this year's sparqs Annual Support Visits (ASVs), so you can expect an email from your sparqs key contact soon, if you've not already heard from us.  The focus of the… Read More

Course Rep Training - still open for bookings! 13 Oct 2015

Now that our 2015-16 Course Rep Training is in full flow.....with 36 sessions delivered during the first week!..... just a reminder that we are still taking bookings!  Bookings should be made at least 3 weeks in advance of the requested training date to allow us time… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Tam Baillie 13 Oct 2015

In this interview we talk to Tam Baillie, who is Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People. He was one of our speakers at our national conference in May 2015, but very sadly had to withdraw at short notice. We… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Rebecca Maxwell Stuart 13 Oct 2015

In this interview we talk to student engagement researcher and practitioner Rebecca Maxwell Stuart, who is a former sabbatical officer, international student and sparqs team member. She has just completed a thesis on transnational student engagement which you can read… Read More

Redefining excellent L&T in Scotland event - 22nd October 2015 13 Oct 2015

NUS Scotland and sparqs held an event on Thursday 22nd October 2015 to consult with student officers in universities about the ongoing discussions around the Teaching Excellence Framework and what it means for Scotland; proposed changes to NSS; help set the direction… Read More

Preparing for your College Review event - 5th November 2015 13 Oct 2015

sparqs held an event on Thursday 5th November 2015, aimed at student officers and students’ association staff in colleges who will undergo an Education Scotland review in 2015-2016. The event assisted colleges preparing for review to:  Develop a deeper understanding of the college review… Read More

Course Rep Training Co-ordinators' Network Meeting - 10th November 2015 13 Oct 2015

On Tuesday 10th November 2015 we held the second in our series of events for institutional or SA staff who co-ordinate training for course reps, focusing on ongoing course rep development. The theme of this meeting was the ongoing training and development of reps… Read More

SPA events for both colleges and universities are open for bookings! 30 Jul 2015

Student Partnership Agreements (SPAs) have been in focus again at colleges and universities recently.  Many colleges are considering or already implementing SPAs as part of their work around the Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students’ Associations in Scotland. … Read More

Bookings are now open for sparqs 2015-16 Course Rep Training 30 Jul 2015

We are now taking bookings for 2015-16 Course Rep Training…. for sessions delivered from Autumn 2015 onwards. Please read the information on our products and the guide to booking training before completing the booking form. These are all accessible on our… Read More

Welcome to our new student Associate Trainer team! 30 Jul 2015

We are delighted to announce the appointment of an excellent team of student Associate Trainers for the coming academic year. The new team, including three returners from previous years, will begin delivering Course Rep Training from October 2015 onwards. Their… Read More

SPOTLIGHT ON..... SAUWS Student Fellows Scheme 30 Jul 2015

The Students’ Association of the University of the West of Scotland (SAUWS) has developed the Student Fellows Scheme, a form of Lead Rep System, to develop a group of students to lead on specific projects with university staff, to enhance learning… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Rob Henthorn 30 Jul 2015

In this interview we talk to Rob Henthorn, the newly elected Vice-President (Education) of NUS Scotland. He has just completed his second term as President for Education and Employability at Aberdeen University Students’ Association. He studied History and Philosophy prior… Read More

Student engagement in supported education event - 19th August 2015 30 Jul 2015

sparqs currently offers and delivers Course Rep Training to students in supported education classes in colleges. On Wednesday 19th August 2015 we held a half-day workshop which took participants through the specially designed materials and discussed how best this training can be… Read More

That's Quality 2015 Colleges - 13th August 30 Jul 2015

On Thursday 13th August 2015 sparqs held the inaugural That’s Quality Colleges training event for college student officers and students’ association staff. This event was designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to national arrangements and procedures that help colleges ensure… Read More

Launch of Student Partnership Agreement Guidance for Colleges 29 Jun 2015

The exciting growth of Student Partnership Agreements in Scotland entered a new phase in June 2015 with the publication of sparqs’ Guidance on the Development and Implementation of a Student Partnership Agreement in Colleges. A new document specifically designed to… Read More

Launch of the Colleges SA Framework 29 Jun 2015

The Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students’ Associations in Scotland took place on 3rd June 2015 at an event hosted by Forth Valley College at which the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Angela Constance… Read More

sparqs National Conference 2015 29 Jun 2015

The sparqs national conference was held on Friday 29th May 2015 at the Edinburgh Conference Centre, Heriot-Watt University. We were delighted to have over 180 delegates attending from Scotland, England, and a good number of international delegates. Initial feedback shows that people found it an… Read More

sparqs Student Engagement Awards 2015 29 Jun 2015

sparqs introduced Student Engagement Awards at the 2015 national conference to recognise formally the enormous range, breadth and quality of student engagement activity that is now taking place across our colleges and universities - partnership working between students’ associations and institutions on… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Dash Sekhar 29 Jun 2015

In this interview we talk to Dash Sekhar, who served as sabbatical Vice-President (Academic Affairs) at Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA). Prior to that, he completed a Joint Honours degree in Mathematics and Music, coming here as an international student.… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Shona Struthers 29 Jun 2015

Shona Struthers is chief executive of Colleges Scotland, the campaigning and policy membership organisation for the college sector. She was appointed in August 2014 after working in other roles at the organisation. Prior to that she ran an education consultancy… Read More

That's Quality 2015 Universities: 14th & 15th July 29 Jun 2015

On Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th July 2015, sparqs held its annual quality induction event for university student officers and those who support them. The aim of the event was to equip student officers with the knowledge and capability to use the… Read More

Save the dates! sparqs' summer training for college and university education officers! 06 May 2015

Dates have been confirmed for our annual induction event for university education officers. The event will take place over two days on 14-15th July 2015 in Edinburgh. This year we will also be running an event for college officers on 13th… Read More

Developing College Students' Associations 06 May 2015

 sparqs is excited to be working closely in partnership with colleges and students’ associations on further development of the student voice and enhancing its impact on the quality of learning and teaching. Following the recent letter to colleges from the… Read More

SPOTLIGHT ON..... Glasgow Clyde College 06 May 2015

The student voice in the enhancement of learning and teaching at Glasgow Clyde College has increased this academic year by the introduction of two Students’ Association initiatives which have been noted specifically in its recent Education Scotland External Review. The… Read More

Supporting Apprentices 06 May 2015

The week beginning 18th May 2015 sees the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week. Hosted by Skills Development Scotland, last year saw over 150 events take place celebrating and showcasing the work apprentices do, and drawing publicity to Modern Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Celeste McLaughlin, Jisc 06 May 2015

In this interview we talk to Celeste McLaughlin from Jisc, an organisation which champions the use of digital technology in education. Celeste has worked with the organisation since 2005 in a variety of roles, currently as Subject Specialist for Teaching,… Read More

Jisc Summer of Student Innovation – Student Competition – deadline 18th May 2015! 06 May 2015

As technology becomes an increasingly important aspect of the student learning experience, sparqs is keen to support initiatives which put students at the centre of shaping innovations. The Jisc Summer of Student Innovation competition, now in its third year is… Read More

sparqs Conference Update.... Student Engagement Awards Shortlists announced! 06 May 2015

We are pleased to announce the shortlists for the sparqs Student Engagement Awards!  Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations, they were of a very high standard and it was a tough decision for panel members to choose between them.   The awards… Read More

Enhancing Learning Transitions – forthcoming sparqs and HEA Scotland events 31 Mar 2015

sparqs and the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in Scotland will be running a series of events across Scotland in the new academic year, bringing together teaching staff and learners from Scotland’s schools, colleges and universities. These will provide an exciting… Read More

Update on the Quality Enhancement Framework review 31 Mar 2015

In January 2015 the Scottish Funding Council invited responses to a consultation on the review of the Quality Enhancement Framework. The Universities Quality Working Group which oversees the quality arrangements, recently met to review the responses of the sector and… Read More

'Talking Student Engagement' Interview with Amy Hamilton, Borders College 31 Mar 2015

In this interview we talk to Amy Hamilton, Students’ Association Development Officer at Borders College.  Amy took up her post at the college in 2014, after many years in the retail and hospitality sectors and a stint teaching in primary schools. 1.… Read More

sparqs is recruiting for Associate Trainers! 31 Mar 2015

A fantastic opportunity for students..... Will you be a student during 2015-16? Do you have experience as a course rep? Would you like to earn some income?  ....apply to be a sparqs Associate Trainer!   Apply to join our team of students to deliver training to… Read More

Embedding E&D in the Curriculum event – involving students in curriculum design – 15th April 2015 31 Mar 2015

sparqs, the Higher Education Academy in Scotland (HEA) and NUS Scotland co-hosted an event on Wednesday 15th April 2015, to explore how students can be involved in designing and developing an inclusive curriculum. This event was aimed at university students, student officers… Read More

SPOTLIGHT ON..... EUSA Teaching Awards 31 Mar 2015

This year, EUSA (Edinburgh University Students’ Association) has received nearly 3,000 nominations for their Teaching Awards, up on 2,500 nominations received the previous year. The EUSA Teaching Awards recognise excellence in a number of fields and are a really valuable way… Read More

College Student Surveys Event – 31st March 2015 27 Feb 2015

April 2015 marked a first for Scotland’s college sector, with thirteen colleges participating in a trial run of a survey that it is hoped will eventually go Scotland-wide. This is the first time the college sector has asked the same questions… Read More

Course Rep Training Co-ordinators' Network Meeting - 27th April 2015 27 Feb 2015

This event was the first in a new series of three network meetings per year, which will allow practitioners to share good practice, develop ideas for their own training, and inform sparqs’ work in this area. It was aimed at those staff or student officers… Read More

Update on... sparqs Articulation Project 27 Feb 2015

Over the last few months sparqs has been working with ELRAH (Edinburgh, Lothians, Fife and Borders Regional Articulation Hub) to increase student engagement in articulation. In Autumn 2014 we established a regional student articulation group. Members of the group are students… Read More

Engaging Apprentices Event - 25th March 2015 27 Feb 2015

sparqs and NUS Scotland co-hosted an event on 25th March 2015 to explore how apprentices can be better engaged in college quality and representation systems.  The event was aimed at apprentices, college staff and students associations’ working with apprentices. The nature of… Read More

sparqs National Conference - 29th May 2015 27 Feb 2015

The call for conference proposals and submissions for the Student Engagement Awards are now closed and registration for the conference is open! Please contact David Scott if you wish to discuss any proposals you have made - - 07977980867   Call for Proposals The call for proposals for… Read More

SPOTLIGHT ON.... New College Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire College Students' Associations 27 Feb 2015

The Presidents and Vice President from New College Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire College (Jules, Ashley and Michelle) identified a need for staff training around what a students’ association does and how staff and the students’ association can work together. Working with… Read More

Review of the Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF) 27 Feb 2015

On Wednesday 21st January 2015, sparqs and NUS Scotland held a 'Future of Quality Conversation' event at the University of Stirling on the consultation on the review of the Quality Enhancement Framework. Aimed at student officers and students’ association staff, the… Read More

Developing Post Graduate Taught student engagement 27 Feb 2015

On 17th December 2014 sparqs ran a consultation event to explore what PGT engagement could and should look like and what resources are needed to support it. We began with the “Mastersness” workshop, to kick off discussions and get participants thinking… Read More

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