Sarah Parkes, Julie Blackwell Young, Elizabeth Cleaver and Kenny Archibald, Newman University Birmingham
Download the OT-Ext-03 LtSE Final Report (including Literature Review and Case Studies)
Download the LtSE Summary Report and Self Assessment Toolkit
Download the LtSE Self Assessment Toolkit - (Institutional Use)
This research project explored good examples of how academic and professional staff are working together in new ways to deliver the best possible student experience.
Foreword: Final Report
Marketisation of higher education, contrary to expectation, has not led to a highly differentiated sector. Students see that they are paying more for their education and consequently have greater expectations of their university experience. The reality for institutions is that they are having to spend more on attracting and retaining students, whilst financial drivers tend toward cost savings, efficiency and greater cost effectiveness. Institutions are convinced of the need to provide a high quality student experience but in the most cost effective way. However, many of the things that students expect and value in relation to their time at university involve more contact time with academic staff and greater personal support.
There are many different models in the way such support can be delivered but students appear to be less inclined to accept support if it is delivered by professional staff (no matter how highly they are qualified) than by their own, disciplinary academic staff. This highlights the need for closer and more collaborative working between academic and professional staff on issues where the latter may be the more experienced but the former can provide the disciplinary discourse and context.
This timely pilot study, whilst the authors recognise its limitations, provides an overview of the current state of collaborative working within a range of higher education institutions, explores the challenges and barriers faced in developing such working and provides some case studies to illustrate how this is being implemented in different institutions. The study has also resulted in a tool that can be used as a prompt to guide the development of collaborations between academic and professional staff.
This study will act as a stimulus for higher education to break down the barriers between academic and professional staff and provide a holistic, high quality and cost effective approach to the student experience.
Professor Lesley-Jane Eales-Reynolds BSc PhD PFHEA NTF
Pro Vice Chancellor (Education), Kingston University
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