Student Engagement

There is a drive across the British higher education system and in many other countries for students to be ‘engaged’. They may be engaged in their own learning experience; wider social, political and civic activities; and in decision-making and change. Research shows however that engagement in any of these spheres is shaped by the opportunities for engagement that are offered to students by the institution, and more students are likely to be engaged at a local rather than an institutional level. Student engagement results in positive outcomes for students, staff and institutions.

We can offer services to develop and review your student engagement opportunities drawing on evidence about:

• Types, levels and sites of engagement
• Learning and teaching activities
• Social engagement
• Student engagement in representation and decision-making

In particular you may be interested in: policy review and development, staff capacity building, evaluation, workshops.

Relevant publications

Jones, R. and Thomas, L (2012) Promoting social engagement. Improving STEM student transition, retention and success in higher education. Birmingham: National HE STEM programme

Thomas, L. (2012) Building student engagement and belonging at a time of change in higher education. London: Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Thomas, L. and Tight, M. (2011) Institutional transformation to engage a diverse student body. Emerald Books.

Thomas, L. and Jones, R. (2003) ‘Examining Bourdieu’s concepts of capital in relation to student retention. An expanded role for social capital’, in Saunders, D., Payne, R., Jones, H., Mason, A. and Storan, J. (eds) Attracting and Retaining Learners: Policy and Practice Perspectives, London: FACE

Thomas, L. and Jones, R. (2000) ‘Social exclusion and higher education’ in Thomas and Cooper (eds) (op cit)

Other activities

Student engagement is at the heart of the What works? Student retention and success change programme that Liz is directing. Student engagement in their learning is the focus of the programme, while students are actively engaged as change agents and in ensuring the student voice is heard as part of the evaluation process.
In October 2013 Liz was external examiner for a PhD student at Lancaster University examining student engagement in decision making in higher education.