Getting involved as a student

Contributing to your university or college’s TEF submission

The TEF 2018-19 exercise is now complete, however there will be plenty of opportunity to get involved with TEF at your college or university in the future.

We encourage colleges and universities to involve their students in the TEF submission process as much as possible. If you would like to play an active role in considering TEF data or contributing to your college or university's written submission, get in touch with your provider's TEF contact to find out how.

Working on the TEF panel

Students help to decide on TEF awards as panel members and assessors. If you have recent experience of representing higher education students at a university or college, there will be opportunities for you to apply to be a TEF panel member or assessor in the future.

Details on future TEF awards and how you can get involved as a student will be released here in the future. You can also sign up to our Student spotlight newsletter to find out about opportunities to get involved.

In the meantime, take a look at these videos from student panel members, explaining how they were involved with the TEF assessment process.

Sala was a student member of the TEF panel, 2016-18

'My passion in life is to be a voice for the voiceless. A voice for those marginalised by society, for those scared to speak up and those who cannot speak up. Being a young, black, African woman, I have had so many labels and have had my voice silenced and challenged for one reason or the other. Opening my mouth allows me to give freedom to other people’s voice – this is my motivation for representing the student voice.

'Being selected as a student panel member for the TEF was a new challenge. For a moment my voice quietened down again, as I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of academic achievements and experience I saw. TEF has given me the opportunity not only to raise the banner for students, but to build my confidence and people skills.

'The TEF team has been encouraging, supportive and open to the student voice.

'This process has shown me how our voice is not just taken on board but is actually making a difference.

'With the current changes in the higher education landscape, we have to ensure we are getting our money’s worth in our overall student experience. TEF is a platform that can allow us, as students, to activate the change we envisage if we do not want higher education to be a passive experience.

'TEF has given me a better insight and understanding of what higher education looks like in the UK and I have come to the conclusion that students are the heart of higher education. It is now our duty to ensure this organ stays healthy by us exercising every muscle within our student body that will allow the system to function effectively, and sustain life in higher education.'

This post was originally published on the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s website on 29 September 2017.

Amie was a student member of the TEF panel, 2016-18

'Students need to be heard when there are changes in the higher education sector. Not only that, they need to be there at the table, shoulder to shoulder with everybody else and have their concerns and praises acted upon.

'The TEF panel is a mixture of academics, employment and widening participation experts, and students, all working together.

'Being a panel member was a fantastic opportunity for me, as a student, to have a voice in educational policy and process.

'I initially doubted whether I was good enough to be a part of this, and I felt nervous. But as I started to contribute, people listened to me and valued my opinion which was a real confidence boost. I joined this process at the age of 23 and as much as people say age doesn’t matter, when you’re being referred to as an expert it can seem really odd at first! But keep in mind: you are the person who has experienced higher education most directly, most recently.

'As a panellist, I reviewed institutions alongside assessors, and was part of the wider considerations and judgements as final decisions on outcomes were made. I was involved in the process in its entirety, and had the opportunity to network with some incredible people. I learnt so much from everyone involved.

'Current work in the higher education sector is inspiring because it is looking more closely at what different types of provider do. Excellence comes in all shapes and sizes. Importantly, we’re asking questions such as: is practice inclusive enough, and closing attainment gaps? Are all students getting the employment outcomes they wanted?

'The education sector as a whole at every level has been grappling with this for a long time, and now as the TEF enters its next year and continues to evolve and adapt, perhaps it can get some answers and reward the hard work everyone is doing to provide a truly excellent education for all.'

This post was originally published on the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s website on 26 September 2017.

Last updated 24 June 2020
24 June 2020
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