There has been an unprecedented global surge in the numbers of young people going to university over the last few years and, for a multitude of different reasons, higher education worldwide is in a state of flux. To cope effectively, the universities of today will need to be more responsive to the needs of growing numbers of students and better attuned to their requirements.
Many complex factors are driving strategic change and influencing institutional decision-making processes, but what is clear is that students are becoming increasingly fundamental to supporting change processes at both national and local levels, and that institutions are working in collaboration with students in new ways in order to understand and improve the learning environment. Within this context, 'student engagement' is the catch-phrase of the moment.
This book highlights some of the national and global agendas and issues, from emerging sectors, to the meaning of student engagement for different stakeholders. It provides a backdrop to themes of student engagement as well as examples of innovative and inspiring means of engaging with students in practice, empowering them to take responsibility within decision-making processes and enabling them to lead and deliver change.
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Researchers undertaking study in Higher Education; practitioners wanting to improve provision for learning, teaching and collaborative partnerships; students who wish to engage in new ways with their institution or involved in student-led representation; Teachers addressing student leadership, institutional change, employability or work experience; those involved in curriculum re-design; Higher Education research centres/institutes.
Elisabeth Dunne is Head of Student Engagement and Skills at the University of Exeter. Her career has been devoted to the promotion of innovation and strategic development in education, always being at the cutting-edge of change. A major focus throughout has been on the student experience. She has spent many years teaching, as well as directing a large number of major research, development and evaluation projects of national interest. She has promoted a range of central initiatives across the University to support the improvement of learning, teaching and assessment, including 'Students as Change Agents' which now pervades institutional thinking, enabling students to take leadership roles and responsibility for enhancement of learning. She has written numerous educational books, articles and reports, and delivered conference papers, invited keynotes and workshops around the world.
Derfel Owen is Head of Academic Policy and Standards at the University of Exeter. His career has been spent in student facing roles. In 2007, Derfel joined the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA),and as part of his efforts to improve QAA's reach to students, he pioneered new approaches to communication and engagement, including launching the QAA podcast series, QAAtv, utilising social media, student led publications and a substantial redevelopment of QAA's website. Now at the University of Exeter, Derfel is responsible for leading the development of academic policies, working closely with students and staff to maintain academic standards and enhance student learning.
"It is a comprehensive, easy to read, with a very useful blend of theory, practical application, hints and tips. The references and citations appear to include all the key writers in the field and use their work effectively. I am particularly pleased to see reference to student as producer, a concept that we are increasingly using at UWS." Fiona Milne, Lecturer, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, University of the West of Scotland.
"...Of particular value are the numerous examples of innovative and inspiring means of engaging educators and educating policy makers... empowering those students to engage in the decision making processes and enabling them to create and implement change." James A Cox, Editor-in-chief, Midwest Book Review. (Read the full review here.)
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