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Engaging students in meaningful, active participation

04 May 2022 | Advance HE In advance of our Student Engagement Conference on 12 May, we asked our panel speakers to share their definition of student engagement and how it is achieved.

Student engagement has never been more important or more challenging and the Student Engagement Conference 2022: Meaningful, Active Participation will provide an opportunity for the sector to come together to review ‘where we’ve been’ and to consider ‘where next’.  

We’ll focus on the engagement of students in all aspects of their higher education, from the ‘classroom’ to extra-curricular activities including leadership and governance; asking what does it mean to lead student engagement, and how can we continue to improve our vision of student engagement? We will consider leadership of student engagement through a 360-degree lens including the role of all staff, the Student Union and the community, as well as how we ensure inclusive and equitable engagement. 

Dr Kay Hack, Principal Adviser, Learning and Teaching, at Advance HE, said, “Student engagement often gets conflated with presentism, participation in extra-curricular activities and quality assurance procedures, or just being entertained. Whilst these are important aspects of the student experience, critical analysis of student engagement should examine the ways in which students are engaging with their learning. This requires teaching that inspires learners, feeds their curiosity and provokes interest to encourage them to engage in independent and self-directed learning.” 

We asked three of our panel speakers at the Student Engagement Conference 2022 what student engagement is and how can we achieve it… 

For me in the work I do, student engagement is about involving students and allowing them to have agency in shaping their learning and teaching experience. We do this through creating space, letting go of power, and equipping them with the tools they need to act or make change.”

Tamara Reid – Inclusive Curriculum Consultant Programme Lead, Kingston University

Student engagement for me, is about providing accessible opportunities for students to interact with what you can offer beyond their core curriculum. It’s about working closely and consistently with them to understand what they want to gain from their student journey, and what attracts them to engage with your services with their first touchpoint with you being crucial.”

Dan Chevalier – Vice President, Education & Welfare, Winchester Student Union

Student Engagement is dependent on value and sense of belonging that student communities feel from their environment. This might be from the lecturer in the classroom, to the IT department. we must think about the student experience holistically and build meaningful opportunities and structures for development, implementation, and evaluation.”

Callum Perry – Student, UEA

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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