Midlands Conference 2013 - supporting student transitions


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  • My name is Shell Morgan and I describe myself as a SE practitioner.
  • First can I askWho works in administration?Who would classify themselves as an academic? A manager? Who works in a faculty, school or departmentWho would state that they work in a central university unit? Who would call themselves a practitioner in improving the SE and I mean anyone who changes practices no matter how big or small in helping to improve systems and processes?I do not intend speaking at you for 45 minutes in this keynote but want it to be interactive.So as a warm up to get you talking, I would like to do a quick exercise. How many of you have attended a residential conference?What do you want from a conference to get the most out of it?What would stop you from going back to the conference the year after?This is the SE for students.As you can see, you have put learning at the heart of your conference experience and it is the same for students. It is very common for the first week at Uni to evolve around admin duties but research tells us this is not want students want. I will touch upon this later
  • How is the student different today?You will not hear me call a student a customer. They are consumers of education and there is a difference.Just paying for their education does not give them a right to a good degree.They must take responsibility and engage in that activity. A common analogy used to describe the relationship between the student and an institution is the gym analogy. Just because you pay for gym membership doesnt mean you are going to get fit. Thinking or looking at the treadmill will not help. You need to work at it!These changes have affected us greatly.
  • We have increased student numbers and declining resources.The sector in England especially feels exhausted with the constant changes.
  • Academic qualifications- A levels not only entry qual. Further, the traditional pre entry university qualifications have changed in terms of teaching style and assessment whether they be A levels in the UK, SATs and ACTs in the USA or UAI, ENTER and TER qualifications in Australia. Rote learning is a common teaching and learning style, coursework has increased as a means of assessment and there is a different approach to analytical and critical thinking skills. This means that students entering via a traditional entry route are entering university with a skill base that could be different from that required by a university. The challenge for institutions is to bridge the gap so the student doesn’t fail in making the transition from school or college to higher education.In the UK, in 1989-90, 77% of all home domiciled students on entry to full time and sandwich first degree courses held A levels. By 1993/94 it was only 62% Domiciled status- increase in OS students In PG area, OS have been keeping PG numbers up as UK numbers decrease. Social class- does make a difference to attitude of student-Uni SW of England 1994- engaging the student voice- one site campusWhat changes have you noticed?
  • I sent out an exercise earlier and ask you to quickly look at it and provide and identity/s for each student.DO exerciseWhen we look at our student body, we categorise whether through work our through our own discrimations. That is reality.Is their someone from finance here?....... You are likely to look at students in terms of money- UK, EU or OS domiciled.Someone from Disability Unit may look at them in terms of their disability.Students are not aliens but have complex identities like us.Who here is a parent who commutes into work? Of you, how many are PT?
  • So we need to consider...............
  • Today is about getting you to think about the first weeks before and after arrival.What is essential is that you think about where those few weeks sit in the student journey.For the next 5 minutes in your tables, I would like you to think about where the first few weeks sit in the student journey.Up here is the HEFCE model of transition from raising aspirations to uni and beyond from 2002.Think about the different stages a student goes through from first contact and admission with a HE institution.
  • Write up results.
  • We need to think about all the stages.This is how I describe it.You could call the stages something different as long as you identify them and support them.For the keynote, I will use my stages for ease.
  • Write up results.
  • I argue that the key to a quality SE is:1) The key to success is linking up these stages and ensuring that we seamlessly support the transition of the student in, through and out of each stage2) Key service providers need to talk to one another and coordinate and join up their activities. – give validation of a programme as an example.For example, when a new course is being validated, the validation process shouldn’t just concentrate on the academic content. It should consider a range of things. If a new course aims to deliver a part-time course to students of an evening, the type of questions that should be considered as part of the validation process include;Will the library have the resources to support the course whether it be in terms of books or opening hours? Will the students have access to a canteen for food and drink during lesson breaks?What welfare support should this cohort of students be entitled to and how will they access it if they only come in of an evening? If the university is situated in place where there is little car parking and limited public transport, how will students get to and from the institution of an evening? 3) How do we join up the dots of the academic and personal journey of the student with an effective and efficient service provision?THAT IS OUR CHALLENGEI believe that if we think about our student body and what we need to deliver, we can do it more effectivelyFirstly, the home unit tends to have the most contact with the students throughout the lifecycle whether it be academic or personal so are better placed to identify the needs of the student. They act as providers of support as well as gatekeepers referring students on to other key services when necessary. Further, most home units have a range of staff that support students and indentify where extra help is needed. These might be either an academic, who is a personal tutor, or a dedicated student support officer, or a course administrator who provide certain levels of information, support and advice. The home unit should be the first port of call for students needing assistance.  Secondly, it is critical for there to be ownership of the student lifecycle. The logical place for this is the home unit, whether that responsibility is managed by a team or individual. This provides a better opportunity for the success of the initiatives because there is less bureaucracy and confusion about who should take responsibility. It is critical that the home unit is involved in all stages and where possible manages them all. For example, in some institutions, the admissions process is run and operated centrally rather than by the home unit. If this happens, the central admissions process must involve the home unit so applicants start their relationship with their home unit from first contact. 
  • Midlands Conference 2013 - supporting student transitions

    1. 1. Michelle Morgan AUA Midlands Conference
    2. 2.  Identify the different transitions in the student lifecycle  Discuss how the different student transitions can impact on retention rates and student progression  Look at how to plan and develop activities around a diverse student population
    3. 3. Social • Introduction of fees • Introduction of loans • Changes in the job market • Pressure to attend university to improve job prospects • Requirement to work to supplement income whilst at University • Post degree debt and associated problems • Play hard Academic • Change in approach and style of 16-18 Qualifications • A levels-England  SATs and ACTS – USA  UAI, ENTER, TER- Australia
    4. 4. Massification  Increase in student numbers especially in the past 10 years  Globally increase translates into 4.6% increase in participation in HE annually  Increase in overseas competition  1970 1 in 2 studied in North America and Western Europe  Today it is 1 in 4
    5. 5. Diverse  Academic qualifications  Domiciled status  Social class  Students with disabilities  Mature students  Mode of study  Entry level
    6. 6. UG domiciled status (82% of student body) ◦ UK domiciled 89% ◦ EU domiciled 6.5% ◦ OS 4.5% PG domiciled status (18% of student body: research and PGT) ◦ UK domiciled 80.4 % ◦ EU domiciled 6.6 % Disability 10% ◦ OS 13.3 % Ethnicity Age on entry 18-21 62 % ◦ White 76 % ◦ Asian 6 % ◦ Other 5 % Female participation in all levels 60% ◦ Non-disclosure 13% Male participation in all levels 40% Source: HEFFA (Higher Education Fudged Facts Association) Bubbleton University “Seeking the bubble of reputation”
    7. 7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    8. 8.  Student today is multifaceted which are not always obvious  All new students whether UG or PG need to go through the same transition stages  A student‟s reason for going to university and prior learning experiences (personal/formal) is likely to have a big impact on their expectation and experience  Reasons for going to university are changing  Not sure what I want to do  Parental expectations  A degree will get me a better job. I am not interested in the journey  I need a degree as a bare minimum  No longer for the love of studying and self development
    9. 9. „ we have students from different ethnic groups and non-English speaking backgrounds, international, lower socio- economic backgrounds, mature aged students, students with disabilities, as well those for whom higher education is the first family experience „ (Crosling et al, 2009)
    10. 10. In tables: Identify what you think are the important transition periods in a student‟s journey at University. Raising aspirations Pre -entry activities Admission First term /semester Moving through the course Employment Source: HECFE 2002
    11. 11. Source: M Morgan (2011) Improving the Student Experience- the practical guide for universities and colleges, Oxon:Routledge.
    12. 12. In tables: Discuss in your groups what you think the key issues are for your stage allocation
    13. 13.  Supporting students in, through and out of each stage  Key service providers need to talk to one another and coordinate and join up their activities  Effectively combining aspects one and two  Academic imperative must be heart of all activity  Must be owned by the Student‟s home unit (faculty, school, department).
    14. 14. For every initiative developed within a stage or theme, the following questions need to be addressed. •What is the aim and objective of the initiative? •Who needs to be involved in the development of the initiative? •Who is the target group? •What do they need to know? •What information is going to be delivered? •Who will deliver it? •When is it going to be delivered? •Is the timing appropriate? •How will it be delivered? •What is the cost of the initiative? •What is the timeline for the initiative? •Is it financially viable? •Can the initiative and information be adapted for another group of students? •How will it be evaluated and monitored? .
    15. 15. Themes Issue Staff involved Curriculum and Assessment • Start the process of learning by giving out and explaining timetables (if not available before) • Explain course documents and Home unit academics and non- academic staff, Central Units such as Academic Registry, LRC, IT, external examiners, student representation Pedagogy • Start the process of teaching students how to study at university such as having a fun lecture in a large LT • Get students to start working in groups on fun activities (e.g. Fun subject quiz or rocket building competitions) • Light touch study skills (LRC?) Home unit academics and non- academic staff, university L&T academic centres, staff development, LRC, IT, student representation Finance • Costs related to study (e.g. accommodation, uni fees, • Money management of advice for students Home unit academics and non- academic staff, university financial services, student representation Support • Light touch reinforcement of support available students (e.g. disability, dyslexia, financial guidance Home unit academics and non- academic staff, disability/dyslexia/equal opportunity units, financial services, student representation Employment • Job fair • Reminder of purpose of education and how to transfer learning skills into the workplace in PT work, placements or post study Home unit academics and non- academic staff, university careers and employability/ enterprise units, student representation Stage = Arrival and Orientation Activity within the theme = First week‟s orientation programme
    16. 16. LRC Careers and Employability Academic Registry Home unit academic and non- academic staff Disability/ Dyslexia/Equal Opportunity Units EnterpriseFinance Orientation Working Group Chair and Clerk Student Representation Orientation Working Group
    17. 17.  Students lives are complex  Student Experience is multi-dimensional  Supporting transitions is applicable to all UG and PG  Do not silo students or unit functions.
    18. 18.  Support in terms of stages not specific years  Home unit manages the Lifecycle  Key players to coordinate and collaborate  Map Practitioner Model to length of course
    19. 19. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o pq r s t u v w x y z
    20. 20. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o pq r s t u v w x y z
    21. 21. „We need to inspire new generations to engage in higher education, to believe in the benefits of HE and to invest in it. By ensuring that no student is forgotten or left behind, through adopting an inclusive strategy in all its activities, sustainability should be achievable‟. Morgan, 2013
    22. 22. Thank you for listening Any questions? michelle.morgan@kingston.ac.uk or itse@hotmail.co.uk www.improvingthestudentexperience.com Editor and Author of:
    23. 23. Thank you for listening Any questions? michelle.morgan@kingston.ac.uk Author and Editor of www.improvingthestudentexperience.com Editor and Contributor to Improving the Student Experience-A practical guide for universities and colleges (Routledge, 2012) and Supporting Student Diversity in Higher Education (Routledge, 2013)