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Student Engagement in Higher Education

From formal theory to real-world solutions

Research impact story

Paul Trowler and Vicki Trowler were funded first by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and then the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) to conduct research into student engagement. Vicki wrote what is the most current large-scale review of the literature on student engagement and together they:

Both Paul and Vicki Trowler have been invited by many universities and organizations to talk about their work on engagement (see diagram below from EFMD conference in Budapest). Vicki’s keynote speech at Heriot Watt University was at the invitation of SPARQs, who have extended her 3-fold elaboration of student engagement into 5 discrete forms. Paul was invited to join the QAA advisory group on student engagement, contributing to the engagement chapter of the new (2013) QAA Quality Code.

This work is part of the Department of Educational Research’s continued research and development thrust towards improving learner engagement, especially among ‘disengaged’ or ‘at risk’ groups. Work by Don Passey, Colin Rogers and Murray Saunders explores pupils’ motives for engaging with, or disengaging from, academic work. Carolyn Jackson’s research was prompted by concerns that ‘laddish’ attitudes and behaviours among boys and girls impede pupils’ progress in schools.



One of several visual recordings of the lifeboat sessions at EFMD conference 2011, Budapest. Copyright Szilart Strennar, graphic facilitator, Grafacity.


Dissemination activities provided by Vicki and Paul Trowler

Dissemination activities

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