Meaningful engagement between students and providers helps to create a greater sense of belonging for students and supports a whole provider strategic approach to access and participation.
By being informed about the experiences of underrepresented students, providers can improve their strategies and activities to deliver the ambitions set out in their access and participation plans more effectively.
Why does this matter?
It is good practice for providers to engage with students in all aspects of their work to ensure a student-focused approach.
In relation to access and participation, student engagement helps providers to understand the experiences of specific groups at different stages in the student lifecycle.
This input helps providers to put effective mechanisms in place to address the barriers and gaps that may be specific to particular groups of students.
Requirements for providers
Our access and participation plan guidance requires providers to demonstrate how students have had the opportunity to express their views about the content of the plan before it was submitted for approval, and what steps were taken as a result.
If the views of students have not resulted in any steps being taken, the plan must include an explanation of why students’ views have not been followed.
Student engagement is also a requirement of the public interest governance principles for all providers registered with the OfS.
Benefits for students
There are also clear benefits for students who participate in engagement opportunities.
Advance HE’s ‘What works? Student retention and success programme’ research report shows that meaningful student engagement can contribute to improved retention and success of students.
Engagement activities also offer students personal development opportunities and valuable experience as they progress into employment or further study.