I’m on an early train from Exeter to Leeds. I’m one of the keynote speakers at their annual student education conference, the topic is a good one “Great Expectations”, I’ll taking about how we identify, set and meet those expectations in the £9k environment.
I’m looking forward to it, there are plenty of interesting speakers and workshops lined up. The thrust of my argument will be that there are four things any University must do if it is to successfully meet the growing expectations of its students:
- Respect them
- Understand them
- Empower them
- Trust them
Understanding and empowering are not easy but relatively straightforward, you put systems and structures in place to gather intelligence about student views and opinions and give them opportunities to be involved in decision making etc. I say this isn’t easy because I know that almost all Universities have been striving to improve these systems and structures in recent years. I think Exeter is quite good at it and leads the sector in many ways (I would say that wouldn’t I!) but is by no means perfect.
Respect and empower are tricky. These cannot be address by putting systems and processes in place, they are cultural. Once you have gathered intelligence about your student body, it is important to take it at face value, your students are who they are, not who you want them to be. Easier said than done.
I intend to show this short video at one point during the presentation, I haven’t tried showing it to a large audience yet so I hope it works!
I won’t give the game away by saying what the lesson is, the conference delegates can look forward to that!! Guesses welcome . . .