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Use and Abuse of the Student Voice

Stella Jones-Devitt and Dr Jill LeBihan (Sheffield Hallam University)

Project summary

Project leaders: Stella Jones-Devitt and Jill LeBihan 
 
 
The Use and Abuse of the Student Voice project emerges within the higher education context of evaluation of teaching by students. It investigates the experience of academic staff as the subjects of student evaluations and the challenges this presents for academic leaders. 
 
Through a brief literature review, the project explores the construction of the ‘student voice’ and identifies five key areas for consideration.
 
Using the literature review, interviews with academic staff and by drawing on the researchers’ own experiences in the sector, the authors constructed a set of fictional scenarios and potential solutions for use by academic leaders in managing student evaluations of teaching. 
 
These scenarios, along with the possible solutions and the literature review, have been tested as tools for stimulating positive discussion and problem solving. The workshop was convened as a means of testing the tools. This provided the basis for the development of a network with a focus on meaningful and constructive understanding of the student voice in the context of teaching evaluation in the higher education sector. 
 
The outcomes of the project are: 
 
A set of resources that can be used as problem-solving and reflective tools. 
A nascent community of practice interested in enhancing the discussion of the use and abuse of the student voice. 
A set of recommendations for the development of additional research, analysis and resources.
 
Research themes:
Culture, change and organisational development, HE context and landscape, Understanding leadership, Developing leaders 
 

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