Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the University of Manchester siteSearch Menu StaffNet

Leading the Student Experience

17 Dec 2012

On 5 November, the University’s inaugural Student Experience Leads Conference brought together for the first time members of PSS staff from Schools, Faculties and Directorates who have agreed to be the Student Experience Leads for their areas.

The role of Student Experience Lead was initiated by the Student Experience Management Group in July 2012 and was designed to provide:

  • an entry route into Schools/Directorates for Student Experience projects;
  • a shared communication channel;
  • the opportunity to develop a shared vision, to network and to share good practice;
  • the opportunity (for Schools in particular) to inform DSE on how it can best support delivery of the student experience.

Initially, the Leads’ role has focused on contact and communication. The Conference gave them the chance to share information and good practice, network, and develop the role definition.

Director for the Student Experience, Tim Westlake, who led the conference, said: “It has given us the opportunity to bring together, for the first time, all our colleagues who are committed to leading the Student Experience in School and the PSS.

“They are able to talk about best practice in different parts of the University and we believe that, by drawing on their combined experience, we are taking a significant step towards delivering an excellent student experience.”

When asked what they had found most helpful about the Conference, participants answered:

  • “It’s been valuable in bringing together all aspects of the Student Experience into a seamless whole.”
  • “I’m glad that we are striving for greater standardisation.”
  • “There’s been a chance to air a lot of issues around the challenge of delivering a better Student Experience, especially as a single team.”
  • “Schools differ so much from each other in terms of their students and their size: it’s good to hear about the different models in operation in different areas.”
  • “It’s great to have space for creativity, away from our daily routine.”

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the Conference was the chance to hear about the student experience at Manchester from the perspective of students themselves.

Sarah Beer, Director for Student Admissions and Administration in the Student Services Centre, said: “A student from the US told us that she’d decided not to attend a home university, because she knew she’d be treated as a statistic. Here, she is consulted and made to feel part of the University: as a result, she’s proud to represent Manchester and will remain so for the rest of her life.

“This testimony from a single student really brought home to me the value of our engagement process.”

Next steps

The Conference allowed the Leads to take part in discussions around the role definition which were extremely useful and will inform its further development. A revised version will be submitted for approval to the Student Experience Management Group in early 2013.

Planning has begun for the next Student Experience Leads event in March 2013. It will include increased student involvement and Student Experience Leads will be encouraged to lead some of the sessions.