Making a difference to student engagement

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A group of students have been working with the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services to work as partners with University staff to further improve the student experience and on learning, teaching and assessment-related projects.

Here they share their experiences…….

Sarah

My name is Sarah and I am a third year Early Childhood Studies student. I plan on becoming a primary school teacher in the future and enjoy volunteering in classrooms and after-school clubs in my spare time. I became a Student Engagement Officer (SEO) for the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services at the beginning of my second year of university. I applied for the job (through UniJob) because I really wanted to become more involved with the University and make a positive contribution in any way that I could. I also wanted to gain work experience that would help me learn to work as part of a team. I definitely feel as though I have achieved these goals. Working as an SEO has been a very positive experience for me, and I feel that I have learned a lot. During my time as an SEO I have designed a questionnaire to gauge student’s opinions on the marking and feedback they had received for their assignments. This included whether or not the students felt that their feedback was useful to them, and what they thought could potentially be improved. I then gave this questionnaire to two classes of students on my course and helped to analyse the results. Being involved in this project was a rewarding experience for me. It felt as though I was playing a part in improving how marking and feedback is done in the faculty. It also gave me an interesting insight into how the Faculty uses student feedback to improve the way things are run. I have also attended several staff board meetings where I was given the opportunity to voice my own thoughts and ideas about the Faculty. This has given me a greater understanding of how the Faculty operates.

Kerry

I have been an SEO for over six years. It has been such a positive and rewarding experience for me, both in terms of academia and personal development. I have been involved in several projects over the years such as reviewing assessment criteria, re-inventing the Workshop Wednesday Study Skills sessions at Riverside and exploring how ‘mature’ students feel studying at the University.

I enjoy this role so much that I have just successfully gained a similar role within another Faculty. Everything we (the SEOs) do is focused on improving the student experience by listening to the student voice and taking staff perspectives into account. I believe the University is exemplary at listening to and engaging students both in and outside the lecture rooms. It is a positive collaboration of excellent teamwork, effective communication and shared ideas.

After studying several teaching qualifications in the past and having teaching experience in colleges, it was very interesting to observe how teaching and education is delivered within the Higher Education sector.

Through this role I have had a piece of writing published which is an item ticked off my bucket list and made possible by the University:

Lees, B., Garner, W., Fletcher, M., Gradwell, N., Harris, M., Heathcoate,M…..Wright, E. (2016). Changing educational practices: A study from the University of Chester. Journal of Educational Development Today, 1(3), 6-9. Retrieved from: https://journals.gre.ac.uk/index.php/studentchangeagents/article/view/248

This role has helped me to improve my transferable skills which I am confident will assist me in life after university.

Debbie

Hi, I’m Debbie! I have just completed my BA Early Childhood Studies, and am currently pursuing an MA in Education in Society. I am an international student from Malaysia. I have outdoor and indoor interests: outdoors being hiking and walking long distances, walking to River Dee and gardening. M​y indoor hobbies include reading and calligraphy writing. I accepted the role as a Student Engagement Officer (SEO) as I like to connect with students as well as lecturers. During the past year, I was involved in looking at student assessments and engaging with international students. Also, as an international student, I wish to connect with more international students in the Faculty, to develop the international aspect and their experience as a student. I too hope that through undertaking my Master’s degree and as a Student Engagement Officer, I will get to engage with Masters students within the Faculty and enhance the overall student experience more widely.​

To find out more visit https://portal1.chester.ac.uk/education/Pages/students-as-partners.aspx