This year’s HEPI conference, which took place on 9th June at Great George Street in London featured keynotes from the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Minister for Higher and Further Education, and Michael Crick, broadcaster, journalist and author, as well as a panel discussion including Savanta’s own Josephine Hansom.
The theme of the conference this year was focused on: challenges for the future: the student experience, good governance and institutional autonomy.
The event celebrated the launch of the 2022 Advance HE / HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey, which records views of students (running for over 15 years). And YouthSight (now part of Savanta) has been behind the data collection and portions of the data analysis every year since its foundation.
Key highlights from the report included:
- In the wake of a return to face-to-face teaching across much of the UK, students this year are significantly more likely to feel they experienced good value.
- Differing Government guidance across the four parts of the UK may have impacted the student experience, with the results reflecting concerns about the level of face-to-face teaching in Scotland in particular.
- There has been an increase in the numbers of students whose experience exceeded their expectations, but this remains below the levels recorded in 2019 pre-pandemic.
- Analysis of open comments identified assessment and feedback as the single area where students would most like their experience to be improved.
- For many students, wellbeing concerns increased during the pandemic. Anxiety levels continue to be high and have only recovered slightly compared to last year.
- In regards to free speech issues, just over two thirds of students feel that they experience a range of different views on their campus and within their curriculum, and that they feel comfortable expressing their views.
- However, Black students are significantly less likely to feel their curriculum is diverse or that they experience a sense of belonging.
The full survey is available here to download.
About the survey:
The Student Academic Experience Survey is one of the most important surveys of its kind in the UK higher education sector. It provides long term tracking of the health of the student experience.
It has been recording the views of students for almost 15 years (usually annually), and YouthSight (now part of Savanta) has been behind the data collection and portions of the data analysis every year since its foundation.
This year’s survey has also sparked the appointment of Edward Peck, vice-chancellor and president of Nottingham Trent University, to the newly created role of student support champion.
Peck comments: “I am enthused and encouraged that minister Donelan has asked me to champion ways in which higher education students can be supported to continue and complete their studies. She is right to highlight the challenges both providers and students face, including those around mental wellbeing, in order for us to seek improvement.
There is a determination within higher education institutions to get this right and I will promote effective and evidence-based best practice across the sector, enabling universities to offer the widest possible range of ways to engage students.
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