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Engaging students: achieving meaningful, active participation

18 May 2022 | Advance HE Our Student Engagement Conference 2022 explored how to achieve meaningful and active participation and create engaged students.

Almost 200 delegates joined the Advance HE virtual Student Engagement Conference 2022 on 12 May, more than a quarter of which were students themselves taking advantage of the free student places offered for every paying delegate from a higher education institution.

As keynote speaker, Kathleen M Quinlan, Professor in Higher Education and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Kent explored some of her research around creating powerful learning experiences for all students. She discussed students’ hopes for, and experiences within, HE referring to her survey work that helped to identify a framework that captures how to engage students. She encouraged institutions to embed opportunities that reflect the hopes and experiences of students across the university whilst identifying areas for improvement and communicating the value of these opportunities with students.

Dr Sarah Marley is an ecologist and lecturer at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and was a delegate at the Student Engagement Conference. She live tweeted her thoughts throughout the day in Twitter streams, some of which are captured below to expand on the conference themes.

Professor Quinlan’s keynote was followed by several panels and workshops focused on good practice in engaging students, the student voice and participation in governance and decision-making processes.

An interactive session led by Dr Kay Hack, Principal Adviser Learning and Teaching at Advance HE, provided an opportunity to reflect on, and share, co- and extra-curricula opportunities and how engagement with them is measured.

Dan Tinkler, Governance Manager at Advance HE, guided a student panel exploring opportunities beyond the core curriculum. Reflecting on the panel he said, “Students may not always want to engage in every opportunity but knowing there is the option to is key. Our panellists reiterated the importance of not just measuring success on the metrics of how many students participated in an opportunity or event, but what this led to in development of soft and hard skills, measuring the diversity of opportunities and building belonging amongst others.”  

Jonathan Neves, Head of Business Intelligence and Surveys at Advance HE, chaired a staff panel connecting engagement with student success and discussing good practice examples.

Dr Celia Brigg, Associate Director Conferences and Events at Advance HE said, “Our Student Engagement Conference 2022 was a fantastic place for real honest discussions between staff and students on how we really achieve student engagement within and outside of the curriculum.

“So many delegates turned cameras on, joined in discussions, asked questions and shared their experiences. The best moment for me was when we invited one student on screen to share his views and he said that no one had ever been this interested in what he has to say.  Well, we were, the delegates were and he made our day as much as we made his!”

Teaching and Learning Conference 2022: Teaching in the spotlight: Where next for enhancing student success?

5-7 July, Northumbria University, Newcastle

Our Teaching & Learning Conference returns to Northumbria University to explore how we are enhancing student success through all aspects of the student experience including transitions, curriculum design and development, enterprise and employability, assessment, engagement and inclusion, sustainability and much more. Join us to share and learn, network with passionate colleagues and work together to enhance the success of future HE students. Find out more

We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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