Voices Off? Using the Student Voice for Reflective Staff Development in a Whole-Programme Evaluation Process

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In its policy document ‘Towards 2020: a student centred Bologna process’, the European Students’ Union states, “We believe that the Bologna Process should be a catalyst for enhancing the quality of education within Europe and a move towards treating students as co-creators of their educational experience. .........putting the individual student at the centre of their learning experience.............(to) ensure that students are equal partners in all quality assurance processes........”( http://www.esib.org/index.php/documents/policy-papers/462-towards-2020-a-student-centred-bologna-process). Consequently, teachers in higher education must pay increasing attention to the ‘student voice’ if students are to become genuine ‘equal partners’ in and ‘co-creators of, their educational experience’

This workshop will explore a method for hearing the student voice that has potential beyond the mere gathering of data, with implications for reflective staff development. What is often missing in student evaluation strategies is a direct link between the student experience of learning and teaching, reflective staff development and enhancement of the student learning experience. This evaluation method is underpinned by the belief that the student voice should be the motor that drives reflective staff development and enhancement of the student experience. Providing a ‘rich picture’ of the student experience enables teachers to reflect more deeply on their own practice and to enhance student learning. This method allows students to be confident of ‘speaking their voice(s)’ and teachers to be confident enough to ‘hear’ those voices and to act on them.

The workshop will be as interactive as possible with the majority of the time (40 minutes), devoted to discussion and activities. For example, participants will be invited to produce a SWOT analysis of the process, in the context of their own institutional culture. The first 20 minutes of the workshop will:
• Outline the process
• Outline the perceived benefits
• Present student feedback on the process


Keywords: Student Experience, Student Voice, Staff Development, Reflective Practice
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Philip Verrill

Principal Lecturer in Higher Education (Continuing Professional Development), Department for Curriculum Quality and Enhancement 
Academic Development, University of Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

Phil Verrill is Principal Lecturer in Higher Education with particular responsibility for Continuing Professional Development at the University of Portsmouth. He works primarily in Academic Development but also acts as Deputy Course Leader for the PgCLTHE in the School of Education and Continuing Studies. Previously, Phil was Head of the Centre for Learning and Teaching at the University of Chichester. His research interests include hearing the student voice, reflective practice,assessment and feedback. Phil has been a consultant on learning and teaching to UK Higher and Further Education Institutions, Local Government Social Services Training Departments, Health Care Library Services and most recently, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland. He has been a peer reviewer for papers submitted to the Higher Education Academy annual conference and a specialist reviewer for the project strand of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme. His areas of expertise include individual and group consultancy work, continuing professional development,assessment and feedback,student evaluation of learning and curriculum and course design.

Ref: L09P1055