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Socially Distanced Campus and Education

Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education project

The next big question for higher education institutions is simply this, ‘when we open our campuses, HOW are we going to do that?’.

The forces for doing so are great, the uncertainties around how to do so are extraordinary, and the risks involved are profound. This article explains the context for the project and what it hopes to achieve.

The Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education project is an opportunity to engage with key facets of this question through collaborative and generative thinking and dialogue. While the ‘socially distanced campus’ is a very broad issue, the focus of this project is on the priority area of student education and experience.

This project includes a workshop series, a Connect group and Leadership Intelligence reports.

Registrations have now closed

Registrations have now closed to participate in this project. However, you can now register to let us know of your interest in any possible future phases, related activities and resources.


Why participate

Designed for those with responsibility for planning, leading and managing educational programmes, the aims of the project are:

  • To enable high quality conversations

  • To share information, inspiration and intelligence

  • To co-create solutions to specific aspects of the challenge.

Topic Areas

At this critical and precarious stage in the COVID-19 response journey, there has never been a greater need for collective learning, sharing and planning. Around that central question of achieving socially distanced on campus education orbit a number of key areas for close consideration. And student interests must be at the heart of every part of our conversations, along with their need to be valued and part of a community in which they belong. With a clear focus on student education and experience, the five topic areas for the project will be:

Topic 1 - Induction

The induction, socialisation and engagement of students, particularly new student cohorts, but also student transitions.

Topic 2 – Quality

Sustaining a clear focus on quality and good practice, including revising policy frameworks and guidance (teaching and assessment).

Topic 3 – Inclusion

The challenge of access, inclusion, belonging and supporting students from vulnerable groups.

Topic 4 – Design and delivery

Re-structuring and delivering teaching (and assessment) to meet both learning outcomes and student expectations, differentiated across courses and disciplines.

Topic 5 – Space and place

Modifying learning and social spaces, physical and blended on-line environments, safe practices and whole-person student support (community and belonging).

The project will also consider four overarching themes in relation to each topic area that should be threads running through the discussions:

  • Wellbeing – students and staff, mental and physical health and wellbeing,
  • Communication – with students and staff, including supporting staff development needs,
  • Leadership – inspiring collective commitment and achieving focus with kindness, care and compassion,
  • Partnership – ‘working with’ rather than just ‘doing for’ students.

About the project


The project comprised a workshop which ran six times during the week commencing 18th May 2020 lasting 3.5 hours: so, six identical workshops. Most of the workshop time was invested in facilitated group discussion amongst peers on a specific selected topic.

Workshop Dates and Times (BST)

  • 18th May - 10:00 
  • 20th May - 06:00 
  • 20th May - 13:00 
  • 21st May - 10:00 
  • 22nd May - 09:00 

Advance HE Connect

A group has been established on Advance HE Connect for on-line information sharing and exchange, including outputs from the workshops and links to resources from other organisations and contexts.

Post workshop Leadership Intelligence reports

The workshops at the heart of this project, attended by participants from the UK and around the World, have been focussed on five key topic areas: induction, quality, inclusion, design and delivery, and space and place. Drawing upon the information, inspiration and intelligence generated by these workshops, and following collective engagement and high quality conversations with a wide spectrum of senior colleagues with responsibility for planning, leading and managing educational programmes, a series of short and accessible Leadership Intelligence reports will be published. The reports published so far are:

The remaining reports will be published for those in  Advance HE member institutions in the Knowledge Hub in the following sequence:

  • Design and delivery
  • Quality
  • Inclusion.

Summary Report

Additionally, a sixth capstone publication focusing on the over-arching themes of wellbeing, communication, leadership and partnership will be produced and will be available to all.

The reports will be published for members from the beginning of June with the final capstone publication (available to all) coming later in the month. 

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Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education project – future phases, activities and resources

Complete the form to register your interest in any future phases, related activities and resources.

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