Students as Partners in Quality Processes
We are proud of our level of engagement with our student body, giving students the opportunity to share their opinions and to participate as our partners in the University's decision making processes. Student involvement in quality assurance is an important element of our academic governance and quality system and fulfils expectations outlined in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. The code highlights that providers must take deliberate steps to engage all students, individually and collectively, as partners in the assurance and enhancement of their educational experience.
Within our Strategic Plan we are explicit about our commitment to “working in partnership with our student community to deliver high-quality and distinctive education” and student engagement is key to our culture of shared endeavour.
We are particularly proud of our deeply embedded partnership approach to support the student experience here at Herts. It ensures we maintain one of our core values (Student-Focussed) at the heart of all we do and shapes our strategic and operational decision making. The active contribution made by our students to the enhancement of learning and teaching and our academic quality system ensures that it is informed by and reflects the student perspective. We value the contributions made by our students which support us to develop and deliver innovative and high-quality programmes.
Student involvement occurs through a range of mechanisms:
Student membership of committees
The Hertfordshire Students' Union (Herts SU) has representation on all University committees and working groups including the Board of Governors, Chief Executive’s Group (CEG), Academic Board, the Education and Student Experience Committee (ESEC) and Academic Standards and Audit Committee (ASAC).
We also work in partnership with Herts SU to ensure that well-trained student representatives are members of School and programme level committees. Through programme committees students are key contributors to the Continuous Enhancement Planning (CEP) process, in that actions for programme enhancement must be considered by programme committees.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience) chairs a Student Advisory Group which helps to inform the strategic direction of our education provision. The membership of the group enables representation of students from different backgrounds and experiences, for example, a BAME Student Advocate, a disabled student representative, a student parent/carer, a mature student representative.
The student rep system
Programme teams work in collaboration with Herts SU to ensure that every programme has student reps in place to collect the views of students. Herts SU organises the election of student reps and provides training. In 2022/23 there were over 540 student reps at Herts.
In partnership with Herts SU, we recruit and employ 30 School Community Officers (SCOs) working within the Academic Schools to organise and support the student reps and work directly with senior managers, namely the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) and Dean of School. Students collaborate with us in the creation and review of courses, support community activities and inform the design of physical and online learning spaces.
Final year students complete the National Student Survey (NSS) and postgraduate students complete the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES). Programme and module leaders gather student views about their immediate experience on the module through informal mid-module feedback. They respond to the feedback and inform students on how this has been acted upon. Students are then surveyed at the end of each module using the SVQ.
Student surveys are conducted about the wider student experience of being a Herts Uni student e.g. about accommodation, classroom facilities, Wellbeing, catering other services.
Student involvement in periodic review of existing programmes and validation of new programmes
When a programme of study has run for six years, the programme is reviewed to ensure that it is still of excellent quality. All students are consulted about their views as to the quality of the existing programme. Having taken stock of how the programme is currently running, a development team will look at any changes that should be made. Students on the programme are then consulted about the changes. In addition, a student or alumnus from the School joins a Panel of internal and external experts to decide whether to recommend approval of the changes that have been proposed by the development team to the Vice Chancellor and Academic Board.
When an entirely new programme is developed a student or alumna/us from the School joins a Panel of internal and external experts to decide whether to recommend approval of the programme to the Vice Chancellor and Academic Board.
Student Staff Partnership Network
The Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre (LTIC) hosts a Student Staff Partnership Network, which welcomes members from across the University community to share and develop partnership practice.