A student-centric approach
Professor Jane Turner, Pro VC for Enterprise and Business Engagement at Teesside, talks the university's student experience
Posted by Rianna Newman | September 13, 2017 | Students
student-experience, university-life, wellbeing, interview, teesside-university

What best illustrates the excellent student experience you are offering? 

A collective passion, determination and commitment to make our students the best they can be. This involves ensuring that the more transactional elements of the student journey are as efficient and effective as they can be, but that students consider themselves to be important as individuals and that they have a personal identity within Teesside University.

To enable this outcome, we provide an experience that ensures students engage in opportunities that stretch and challenge their self-perceptions, values and beliefs. For example, securing an opportunity for students to engage in a Dragon’s Den event to senior leaders from Cisco, offering student consultancy to business across all sectors, and to have the opportunity to set-up their own business through our own range of business support initiatives. We also have an extremely vibrant VolunTees community, where a plethora of students engage, therefore developing and growing them as individuals and leaders of the future.

What recent developments best show your commitment to boosting student experience?

A Student Futures Strategy that will deliver a work-related learning experience for all. Specific activities including our investment in the Business Clinic: 70 students engaged in 2016-17 and 100 in 2017-18 and we have experienced a 220% increase in those students able to engage in start-up experiences. The engagement of Reed recruitment company to work with us to build attitude and confidence of our students, the set-up of our Digital Studio, where interns work on digital and animation contracts for business, and Hackathons, where students and staff work together to provide innovative options for businesses seeking to innovate, have all been key strategic initiatives. Our commitment for every student to engage in a work-related experience means every student.

With tuition fees continuing to rise, how might students’ expectations change?

Students will become increasingly focused upon the quality of their experience – are we exposed to motivated, knowledgeable role models in academic staff?; do we have access to a variety of learning pathways?; do we feel we have an identity as an individual?; do I want a more flexible learning experience?; do staff care about me?; and, ultimately, will I get the job I deserve – a graduate level job?. These are all key questions we must grasp. 

Finally, how would you sum up the best student experience?

One which is completely student-centred, which results in students feeling valued, cared for, stretched, challenged, motivated, engaged, confident and where they are able to articulate what they are becoming and become in terms of skills set, knowledge, behaviours and mindset.  This requires a culture which is completely student focused, where decisions are always looked at through the lens of – how will this benefit/impact the student?

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