Student Engagement

Student Engagement

by Jo Barham, Yorkshire Universities, 16th January 2015
Student Engagement

“Higher Education (HE) is a partnership between universities and colleges and
their students.” Sir Alan Langlands, The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP), Chair

Student engagement is an important agenda in Higher Education (HE).  HE institutions are required to have their own definition of the term under the Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) Quality Code. Over the last few weeks, Yorkshire Universities has begun exploring the concept in more detail. 

The starting point was to understand what student engagement means. Student engagement is an umbrella term capable of several different interpretations, and driven by the context in which it is taking place. Although there is no fixed definition of the term, there are a number of dimensions where student engagement can (and should) occur. Most obviously, students need to engage with their academic courses. Then, more broadly, with the departments in which they are studying, contributing ideas (for example) on how the course offering could be improved. Beyond that, there is engagement with the institution, for example with its governance and strategy development. More immediately, students engage socially, with other students via societies, the clubs and their students’ union (they may take a part in running the union). Finally, there is engagement with the community within which students live – their neighbourhood, their town or city-perhaps through various forms of volunteering. 

There are some great resources for students and staff interested in student engagement; for example, The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP), is a HEFCE funded project which seeks to support sharing of good practice, by fostering a ‘conversation’ around student engagement. RAISE (Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement) is an on-line network where practitioners, students and academics can share ideas and resources.  

This brings us back to Yorkshire Universities’ interest in student engagement. We know that as well as supporting their own institutions’ strategies for student engagement, our members are keen to work together in this area, and the opportunities for collaboration across Yorkshire’s universities are really exciting. In order to develop this area of work further, we are currently organising a meeting with students’ union presidents to discuss their ideas for student engagement, and to explore ways in which collaboration could enhance this activity.We hope that this will lead to some exciting new projects in the region; we will keep you updated on our progress. 

By Jo Barham, Yorkshire Universities


Westminster heads to Yorkshire to learn about jobs and growth

17th July 2014
Politicians, leading industrialists and senior academics are holding a high level meeting in Yorkshire tomorrow (Friday) to discuss how the region can make the most of the huge potential for jobs and growth offered by a boost in the bioeconomy.
 Members of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Yorkshire & Northern Lincolnshire have been invited to the region by Yorkshire Universities, the membership association that represents all 12 higher education institutions in Yorkshire.
The invitation-only event is called ‘Harnessing the bioeconomy for jobs and growth in Yorkshire’ and will bring business, policy and higher education together with the very people who can influence policy.
Emily Wolton, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities, said: 
“We greatly value the work of the APPG and are very pleased to have the opportunity to host this meeting; we want to get the message out that the bioeconomy has unique benefits for jobs, businesses, rural economy, society and the environment across Yorkshire.
“Yorkshire and Lincolnshire represents 10% of the UK’s bioeconomy and has a unique complement and concentration of knowledge, agriculture and industry combined with the largest concentration of food and drinks businesses in the UK. Yorkshire is equal if not greater than other areas of the country in key biotechnology sectors.”
The event will be held at the University of York and will be chaired by Andrew Percy MP. The keynote political speaker is Anne McIntosh MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Select Committee, who will talk about the impact of the current political landscape on the development of the bioeconomy.
Sarah Hendry, Director of Rural Development, Sustainable Communities & Crops Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will share the government’s wider policy context and perspective with delegates.
Barry Dodd CBE, Chair of York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership will share his vison for the scale of opportunity that the bioeconomy represents and Professor Ian Graham, Head of Biology at the University of York, will discuss the commercial role of the universities.
Cllr Stephen Parnaby, chair of the Local Government Yorkshire and Humber (LGYH) and leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said:
“Local authorities across Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire have been delighted to work with our universities and business partners on this event, which will demonstrate how we can work together as a region to make the very most of the huge potential that exists for economic prosperity, job creation and skills improvements across the bioeconomy sector.
“The very concept of an APPG for Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire first came out of a cross-party delegation of local government leaders, which met with MPs to galvanise their support around the huge economic and employment potential of the renewables sector – and, just like renewables, the region has unparalleled potential to be a leading, Global centre for the bio-economy sector too, and we are determined to work together across Local Government, Parliament , Academia and Industry to unlock these great opportunities for growth.”
Yorkshire Universities is a key member of the APPG and Emily explains that higher education has a significant contribution to make to the future prosperity of the region. She added: “The vital contribution our universities make to the region can be measured in many ways - economic development and growth, income generation, job creation, world leading research, innovation and knowledge exchange, business start-ups, and record numbers of graduates from the UK and overseas.
“Yorkshire Universities is delighted to be hosting this APPG where we can really showcase to policy makers what powerhouses Yorkshire and Lincolnshire are in UK’s bioeconomy.”

Yorkshire businesses offered unique help to break into international markets

Yorkshire businesses offered unique help to break into international markets

7th April 2014
Yorkshire businesses offered unique help to break into international markets
Businesses across Yorkshire looking to boost their export sales or break into new overseas markets are being offered a unique chance to work with specialists from the region’s universities.
Universities have a long history of successfully placing graduates with companies looking for specific skills. However, it is the first time that businesses are being offered the chance to select graduates and masters level students who have the specialist skills and expertise needed to capitalise on international markets.
The Graduates for International Business project is being coordinated by Yorkshire Universities, the membership association that represents all 12 higher education institutions in Yorkshire.
Emily Wolton, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities, explained what business in Yorkshire can expect: “Our universities attract students from over 150 countries, including postgraduate students who already have a degree and are working towards a higher level qualification.
“Their cultural awareness and connections in international markets, language skills and other specialist knowledge could be a massive boost for companies and this project will help to make that happen.”
Enterprise Rent-A-Car was quick to recognise that students with specialist international skills can give them a competitive advantage. Lynne Mounsey, Group HR Manager, said: “We’ve found that international students working with Enterprise Rent-A- Car on specifically tailored projects, have not only enriched our working environment but have brought with them added diversity of language skills, cultural perspective and labour market insight; all crucial in a competitive global market giving our business an industry advantage.”
Emily added: “The Student Business Project is really easy for companies to use. They simply contact Yorkshire Universities, tell us the profile of the person they need – for example, specific language skills, specialist knowledge of a country or international marketing experience – and we will put a call out to the higher education institutions to find candidates that fit the bill.”

Students are paid by the businesses that employ them as part of the Graduates for International Business and companies must be based in Yorkshire.
For further information contact Sarah Clothier, press officer, on 077 402 02728.
Editor’s notes:
For companies in Yorkshire to find out more about the Graduates for International Business, they should visit and add the profile of the person they need. 
The role of Yorkshire Universities is to promote the reality of Yorkshire nationally and internationally to politicians, students, business and investors and other stakeholders, to ensure that the many opportunities created within the region are known and maximised.
Founded in 1987, Yorkshire Universities is a charity and company limited by guarantee. The vice-chancellors and principals of Yorkshire’s higher education institutions are the members of the company and form its board of directors. 
YU represents 12 higher education institutions in Yorkshire: Bradford, Hull, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan, Leeds Trinity, Leeds College of Art, Leeds College of Music, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, York, and York St John.