sparqs resources, such as our guidance documents, training materials, etc. can be found in our Resource Library, under the sparqs Resources category, and also accessible via any other relevant category headings.
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Below are links to some more general publications about the work of sparqs and/or the sector:
At the sparqs' Conference in March 2019, our new Chair, Sir Andrew Cubie, launched our new Strategic Plan, to take our work through to 2022. The plan includes a new Vision, Mission and Strategic Priorities, detailing how these will be achieved through our programme of work.
Aiming to support student engagement that leads to a positive and rewarding educational experience, our four Strategic Priorities are:
- Diverse Voices
- Diverse Settings
- Learning and Teaching
- A Scottish Approach
At the heart of our work is a set of Principles and Approaches, which will underpin our programme of work, in order to achieve these Strategic Priorities.
This short leaflet explains the purpose of sparqs, our principles and values, and our key work areas.
Celebrating Successful Partnerships in 2020-21
Alongside our 2021 Awards we were pleased to publish a report from sparqs that showcases effective partnership in quality across our sector during an exceptionally tough year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, Celebrating Successful Partnerships in 2020-21, was published, during our online awards ceremony on Tuesday 22nd June 2021.
The report highlights the importance of partnership in how our institutions and students’ associations responded to the challenges of the pandemic. It celebrates good practice, featuring examples of many of the awards nominations and our ongoing engagement with the sector. The report stands as a testament to the tremendous work staff and students have undertaken in 2020-21 across our institutions, students’ associations and agencies to ensure that partnership remains at the heart of Scotland’s sector as we face the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Launched at the sparqs Conference in March 2017, the publication celebrates the work of sparqs since our last conference in 2015, as well as the successes of the institutions, their students' associations and the students and staff that we work with, in Scotland and across the world.
Accompanying the above report is the Celebrating Achievement video, which hears from some of our sector colleagues on the impact of student engagement.
The report provides a summary of our work over the 2014-15 academic year, highlighting a variety of publications, resources and areas of work. It has been a busy year, with much progress made and many new work areas and new partnerships being progressed. There have been many highlights throughout the year and we hope that the report gives a good flavour of our work.
The previous annual reports can also still be viewed:
2012/13 Celebration Reports
College Celebration Report (Executive Summary)
University Celebration Report (Executive Summary)
There had not been a comprehensive investigation of student engagement in Scotland’s universities and colleges for a number of years, and much had changed at sectoral and institutional levels in the sector. Therefore, in 2012/13 sparqs undertook research to inform two key reports, one each into the university and college sectors, that aim to track the trends, practice and systems that have developed in student engagement in recent times, and highlight some useful case studies from around the country.
The reports aimed to celebrate the excellent work that had been done by staff and students, and mark the significant distance that the sector had travelled. The executive summaries were launched at the sparqs Parliamentary reception in December 2012.
While we can all claim to support student engagement as a key principle in quality, there are many different interpretations as to what this means.
In 2011/12, therefore, sparqs engaged in a major research exercise to ask staff and students throughout Scotland’s universities and colleges what they thought student engagement meant.
The result was five distinct but overlapping elements of student engagement, and six features that underpin it.
The framework, published in 2012, provides a basis for interpreting, exploring and developing student engagement practices within institutions, students’ associations and the sector as a whole.
It strongly informed the creation of sparqs’ new strategic plan and is the basis for its new resource library.
2005 mapping reports
The last major research into student engagement on this scale undertaken by sparqs was in 2005. It is interesting to see the differences in the sector over those seven or eight years, and so for reference you can download both the FE Mapping Report and the HE Mapping Report.