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Student voice project

Finding out how student voice is heard and acted on and building a culture of student-staff partnership.

How do we make best use of the opinions and ideas of our students to improve the UCL education?

This two-year project, led by the Office of the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs), seeks to:

  1. find out how student voice is heard and acted on, within departments and at an institutional level
  2. develop resources, tools and guidance to build a culture of student-staff partnership.

Designing the future of UCL education

We want our students to help design the future of education at UCL.

To make this happen, we need to build a culture of student partnership and leadership, using the views and ideas of our students to guide and influence decision-making. Through open and ongoing dialogue, staff and students can collaborate with the aim of improving the student experience together.

There is wide variation in the way student voice is facilitated across UCL.

In particular we need to get better at closing the loop with our students, so they know how their feedback has been used.

By celebrating our successes and offering guidance and tools to support this process, we will help our students to feel valued members of our community.

Project aims

  • Develop a shared understanding among staff and students of ‘student voice’ and its value, establishing key messages and embedding student voice into our communications throughout the student lifecycle;
  • Map formal and informal student feedback opportunities, identify examples of best practice, and make recommendations for improvements;
  • Review how we track actions or projects around student priorities at department and institutional level and develop central resources or systems to support this work;
  • Evaluate the central resources designed to help close the loop at a local level and develop more/improved resources as required;
  • Explore ways of enhancing the roles of Faculty Representatives, particularly in support of the work of the Student Experience Committee;
  • Develop a range of tools and guidance to support staff to work with students;
  • Explore ways to improve training for Student Representatives (or other formal roles).

Meeting with academic departments

The heart of the project is getting a better understanding of how the opinions and ideas of our students are heard and acted upon; where it’s working well, what the challenges are and the possible solutions.

To date we have met with the following departments:

  • Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
  • Department of Information Studies
  • Department of Science and Technology Studies
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Centre for Spatial Awareness
  • The Slade
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of BioChemical Engineering
  • Centre for Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Department of English Language and Literature
  • Department of Anthropology

Project timeline

March – September 2019

  • Meet with a range of postgraduate and undergraduate departments to understand the challenges of facilitating and acting on student voice and highlight examples of best practice - in progress.

March – June 2019

  • Conduct an institutional UCL ChangeMakers project to gather Student Academic Representatives perspectives on the effectiveness of Student Voice mechanisms and make recommendations - complete.

September 2019

  • Review findings and circulate outcomes (with recommendations) to department contacts for feedback - complete.

October 2019 – May 2020

  • Develop new toolkits, workshops and guidance as based on outcomes of review - in progress.

How you can get involved

Submit a case study – if you’ve found ways to make sure student voice plays an effective and valuable role in your department, we want to know about it.

Meet with the project team – if you would find a meeting to discuss particular challenges or opportunities around Student Voice in your department useful, please get in touch.

Review the outcomes – the recommendations will be circulated to the departments that we have met with so far. If you would like to receive the draft recommendations and make suggestions, please let us know.

Contact

Sally.mackenzie@ucl.ac.uk - Sally Mackenzie, Associate Director (Student Partnership)

Further information and contacts

The Project reports to the Student Engagement Steering Group.

Project Team Members

  • Deborah Gill, Pro-Vice-Provost (Student Experience) 
  • Sally Mackenzie, Associate Director (Student Partnership)
  • Simon To, Leadership Development & Change Manager, Students’ Union UCL