Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Student Success

A weekend break in New York not too long ago provided an opportunity to wander about some new spaces, including the raised “High Line” walkway. Quite by chance I passed some of the offices of one of the Universities in downtown Manhattan. This prompted my mind to wander. Strange the things you think about on holiday.

Regardless of our thoughts on the Unites States’ higher education system, what struck me was the language used on the signage. Many of the services for New York students quite evidently mapped onto those that we would all be familiar with in our UK context: housing, study skills, financial support, learning needs, and the like. However, what struck me was the messaging used: a shift away from services that met needs or resolved students’ problems. Instead these services were billed as part of an overall strategy for student success. I reflected on two things: how our communications with students are changing in the new quasi-markets for higher education in the different countries of the UK, and, perhaps more importantly, what the essential features of a Student Success Strategy might be.

The attention we have all paid to recruitment over the last few months highlights the importance of ensuring students are informed about our programmes, and have appropriate expectations about the associated demands and opportunities they bring. The new Personal Tutor Principles, summarised below, provide a fresh perspective on the importance of this academic role, and I know that our students value the support they receive from tutors.

Principle 1

Students value their SHS personal tutor who support their academic, professional and personal development

Principle 2

The SHS personal tutor is always
interested in students’ health and happiness and views the student as an individual with their own goals and needs

Principle 3

SHS personal tutors are approachable and make themselves visible by providing contact details and availability for student/tutor meetings

Principle 4

The SHS personal tutor is keen to develop good interpersonal relations with students from the start through regular and frequent contact

Principle 5

SHS personal tutors make it their business to be knowledgeable about services students might require, and understand how to signpost as relevant

Principle 6

The SHS personal tutor acts as an intermediary and advocate for their personal students throughout the duration of their programme

Principle 7

The SHS personal tutor is a good role model enabling students to understand the requirements of professional behaviour

Principle 8

The SHS personal tutor helps makes students feel “at home”

I am mindful that student success is dependent on many other factors, some of which we are not always able to address. However, I know that all of us have pursued careers in health and care education to make a difference to the lives of our students, and ultimately those that they support in whatever career they pursue in the fields of health and care. Maybe the time is right for us to refresh our focus on the language of student success in all that we do. I look forward to discussing this over the coming months with colleagues, and seeing if there’s more that we can do to coordinate our students’ success.