Student Experience and Engagement

Laptops, mobiles and workers round a table

Photograph: Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Increasing student numbers and the transformation of labour markets have contributed to changing social expectations of universities. We have seen and are still seeing fundamental changes in the way universities treat students and include and engage them, and in what kind of services they provide and how they work with various groups.

With the aim of providing research support to institutional and national policy makers, this theme examines the experience of student life and the factors that enhance or detract from students’ engagement with their university. These factors include the relationship between their participation in higher education and other aspects of their lives, including those outside of the academic.

We use interdisciplinary approaches to lead the intellectual agenda around studying student experience and engagement.

We look at student experience beyond teaching and learning, such as the university infrastructure, campus and space. We are interested in the experiences of students who identify as disabled and investigate how universities can best support them. We also look into community engagement, community-university links, and we take a broad view of the widening participation agenda - thinking of inclusivity, outreach and the civic duty of higher education.

Key research interests within this theme:

  • Paul Ashwin: student engagement; students’ transformative relationships with knowledge; student identities; student engagement policies.
  • Brett Bligh: learning spaces, collaborative learning, international branch campuses.
  • Richard Budd: student-oriented policy; students' experiences of higher education; educational inequalities; international comparisons; universities’ organisational cultures; campus geographies.
  • Melis Cin: refugees access to and through HE.
  • Ann-Marie Houghton: widening access and participation evaluation; student life cycle; inclusive curriculum.
  • Carolyn Jackson: sexual harassment and violence in university contexts.
  • Janja Komljenovic: lifelong-learning 2.0; students consumers.
  • Natasa Lackovic: art-informed research methods; university-community engagement and outreach; impact.
  • Lynn McAlpine: interaction of personal and workplace factors in identity development.
  • Jan McArthur: higher education and society; transformative experiences.
  • Kayleigh Rosewell: gender and education, transformative experiences, students’ experiences of higher education.
  • Paul Trowler: ideologies and student engagement; engagement and social practices: policy enactment around engagement.