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RAISEing awareness of student engagement via Advance HE Connect

07 Aug 2019 | Rachel Forsyth Advance HE has awarded grants worth up to £2,500 to support the creation of community-led groups on Advance HE Connect. The Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) network is launching soon. Committee members Jill, Tom and Rachel explain what will be available via the service.

The RAISE network is creating a space on Advance HE Connect as a way of exchanging ideas and resources, and to develop some structured collaborative projects in the area of student engagement. With an existing membership of around 1000 students and staff in higher education, the platform will give us the technology to connect regularly with the network and co-create a bigger range of resources and online events.

Raise- brochure

The RAISE network has been established for 10 years and exists to connect staff and students in higher education across the world who are interested in researching and promoting student engagement. The network has around 1000 members on its mailing list and is co-ordinated by a small committee which runs an annual conference and a journal, as well as five Special Interest Groups which organise occasional meetings during the year.

RAISE network secretary Tom Lowe is excited about the possibilities of the new platform. He said:

“The Advance HE Connect platform is easy to use and available free to all subscribing institutions. It gives us a different way of networking with colleagues and expands our reach beyond what we can manage already with our existing website and mailing list, which is used only for announcements. We want to get some deeper discussion going about student engagement.”

Jill LeBihan, RAISE communications officer, has big plans for the new platform. She said:

“It’s quite difficult for students to talk to one another (staff and students) in other institutions. Sharing their experiences of collaboration, co-creation, and student voice work in a professional virtual environment could become a very useful way of getting advice or leading discussion of their initiatives. Students often create posters, podcasts and digital stories of their student engagement work, and this platform could become a place where some of that gets out in front of a wider community. As well as virtual sharing, one of the things we like students to do is have the opportunity to take part in mini-exchanges between institutions, via the PICNIC scheme, and this platform could make that exchange process a bit easier too.”

The RAISE network runs a peer-reviewed, open-access journal called Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal. The journal is about to be relaunched and editor-in-chief Rachel Forsyth is planning to start a webinar series linked to the twice-yearly issues. She said:

“We would like to get more discussion around individual papers and encourage people to add comments, challenges and suggestions for further work around student engagement. The journal already publishes student contributions and we’d like to see students getting more involved via Advance HE Connect as well.” 



The new community will kick off with a sharing and planning activity aimed at collecting top tips for student engagement and practical suggestions for implementation. We’d love a wide range of students and staff in higher education to get involved with this and to analyse the pros and cons of different approaches in different contexts. 



Find out more about Advance HE Connect


Jill LeBihan, Tom Lowe and Rachel Forsyth are members of the RAISE Network committee. Jill is Head of Student Engagement at Sheffield Hallam University and the Communications Officer for the RAISE Network. Tom is the Centre for Student Engagement Manager at the University of Winchester and Secretary for the RAISE Network. Rachel is Head of the University Teaching Academy at Manchester Metropolitan University and editor of the Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, the journal of the RAISE network.  

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