On Thursday 28th May 2015 we held a day for international delegates, as a precursor to our national conference taking place the following day. We hosted delegates from Ireland, Kosovo, Slovenia, Spain and New Zealand to give them an opportunity to learn about the Scottish context of student engagement ahead of the main conference on 29th May.
Eve Lewis, Director of sparqs, began the day with an introduction and workshop to encourage open discussion about the institutions visitors work in. Gary Kyle, Associate Trainer, and Simon Jones, sparqs Development Consultant, then ran a workshop “Developing Student Expertise” covering the content of sparqs’ Course Rep Training provision, and the annual residential training for Associate Trainers which develops students as trainers for all purposes. Next, Nicola Mcintosh, Central Support Team Manager, and Eve Lewis gave a practical overview of the scheme and took questions from visitors.
Peter McGeorge, Vice Principal for Learning and Teaching at the University of Aberdeen, presented a session detailing the Scottish context of student engagement as seen at the highest strategic levels. The session covered the Quality Enhancement Framework, the work of SHEEC (Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee) and the Enhancement Themes and their history.
Lunch featured all the fineries of Scottish cuisine (venison, Orcadian oatcakes, haggis and Irn Bru), following which, Simon Varwell, sparqs Development Consultant, ran the “Making Change Happen” workshop which included identifying and evaluating the tools used in home institutions to further student engagement, with a particular focus on co-ownership and co-creation of tools in the future.
Lauren Miller, Depute President for Education and Welfare at the Students' Association of the University of the West of Scotland (SAUWS), spoke about the work done there to improve the Student Learning Experience. Especially interesting was their Student Fellows scheme, a form of lead rep engagement, and their Student Partnership Agreement.
Ailsa Crum from the Quality Assurance Agency spoke about the development of Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) and its current role, as well as the nuances of the processes around it. View the presentation.
The event drew to a close with delegates having had opportunities to share practice and ideas for the future ahead of the main sparqs conference the following day.