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Chairing the CBHE Network - celebrating its first year

26 Jul 2023 | Dr Jo Tyssen In this blog, Dr Jo Tyssen, Lead Contact of the College-Based Higher Education (CBHE) Network reflects on working closely with Advance HE over the last 18 months to set up the network and develop its collaborative work and outputs, and as her tenure as Chair.

Reflecting on the first year

The College-Based HE (CBHE) Network was launched in March 2022, following successful tender by University Centre Leeds (UCLeeds) through the Advance HE Collaborative Development Fund.

Being able to launch this CBHE Network was very welcomed and has provided an opportunity to bring together Advance HE College members to share practice and collaborate on solution-focused approaches to the challenges and complexities of CBHE. The first meeting was held in March 2022 with 64 individual members from across 43 institutions. The Network now boasts 99 individual members form 59 institutions across the UK and Channel Islands.  

Festival of Scholarly Activity and Research 

Collectively, network members have worked together to drive focused activity of the group and in the development of tangible outputs. On Monday 10 July we were thrilled to hold our inaugural Annual Festival of Scholarly Activity and Research, developing opportunities for research dissemination and to support the sharing of action research and in developing a research ethos among CBHE practitioners. The event, hosted at The Sheffield College, welcomed more than 60 delegates to an offering of 22 presentations, workshops and posters. Delegates heard about a range of themes, including:  

  • widening participation and supporting students from underrepresented groups and/or students with protected characteristics  

  • teaching, learning and assessment methods, strategies and tools   

  • mental health and wellbeing   

  • research engagement   

  • artificial intelligence   

  • precarious employment and students during the cost of living crisis  

  • HEI-SME alliances 

  • Professional Standards Framework (PSF) 

Feedback from delegates on the day included: 

"It was great to hear about the range of initiatives taking place across CBHE, with Institutions demonstrating that they are punching above their weight."

"An excellent and very informative event, packed with knowledge and networking opportunities, impeccably organised and highly impactful."

"It is so pleasing to see so much emphasis placed on HE in the FE environment, enabling great networking and discussion pertinent across the sector."

"Great to explore the scholarly activity and research being conducted by higher education providers within a further education setting; this forum provided an opportunity to explore, collaborate and develop ideas specific to our sector."

"An excellent day which demonstrated the great work that CBHE does and the achievement of those who teach there"


Scholarly Activity & Research Toolkit   

At the event, we launched a new toolkit for practitioners working in UK college-based higher education institutions, another amazing output from the Network. The CBHE Scholarly Activity & Research Toolkit was developed through collaboration of the CBHE Network members, and provides guidance for CBHE practitioners to participate in, and advance, scholarly activity and enhance the learning experience for students within the HE sector from a college-based perspective.   


Bitesize videos are a new resource being co-created by the network members and Advance HE to provide insights into understanding regulatory requirements and expectations, explaining HE governance and the HE landscape to help us as a network explore what is considered good governance within CBHE settings. 

Looking to the future

The work of the CBHE Network to date has been inspiring, motivating and stimulating and this is evidenced in the outputs achieved within its first year of existence. It has been a privilege to have chaired the Network during this time and I cannot wait to see what comes next for the Network and its members.  

I hand over the role of Chair to Miki Evue, Head of Department for HE and Professional at Salford City College, and look forward to further celebrating CBHE and working with network members to develop solutions and spread the voice of CBHE.  


Jo is the Head of HE Quality and Student Support at University Centre Leeds and has 17 years’ experience within the CBHE sector. Her role involves managing Registry, widening participation and outreach, and student support projects and initiatives, across the student lifecycle, that support student personal development. Jo has been Chair of the CBHE Network since March 2022 and will hand over to Miki Evue for the 2023-24 academic year.  


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