Our presentation was titled “X Marks the Spot: Mapping Student Engagement at CCCU”…and from the response we received, we definitely hit the spot!!

The day began with a warm welcome from REACT and an interesting discussion about the nature of defining Student Engagement and the problematic term ‘Hard to Reach’.

Following this we attended 2 interesting sessions where the University of Brighton shared their new approach to partnership with a revamped student rep system and Newman University, demonstrated student-staff partnerships through individual research projects.

After a refreshment break we listened to Buckinghamshire New University and University College London discuss barriers to engagement.

After lunch, we learned how the University of Newcastle have begun running student-staff forums to create a sense of genuine partnership. And then it was us…!

Our presentation showcased the new ‘Student Engagement Mapping Tool’ we have been working on for the last year. The map will allow students to view all the opportunities for engagement available at the University, recognise their current engagement and identify areas of engagement which they might like to explore further. The map can also be used by staff to identify students who are not engaging with the core activities in the outer blue circle, and should be reached out to.

The presentation received a fantastic response, with delegates praising our creation, inspired to follow suit and create their own versions of our mapping tool, requesting our consultancy.

REACT’s afternoon keynote looked at the barriers to engagement and also compared student statistics from three of their institutions: Exeter, London Met and Winchester – discovering a correlation between students being engaged in ‘co-curricular’ activities and retention and attainment. We are in the process of exploring our data in a similar vein; once compiled, it will be interesting to compare our findings to these other institutions.

All in all, the conference was informative and interesting. It was great to get such a positive response for our ‘mapping tool’ and inspired us to carry on doing what we’re doing.