Student and Staff Experience
What about the Student Experience?
The University has an ethos of listening to and responding to the student voice and we extend our partnership approach to learning and the enhancement of the student experience to our collaborative partnerships. Consequently, when establishing a new collaboration it is important to determine and ensure that the University’s practices, policies and procedures in relation to the student experience are, as far as possible, replicated or equivalent in the partner institution.
A partnership approach to learning
A partnership approach to learning is echoed in the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy which includes as an objective ‘To develop a student-staff partnership model that promotes student engagement with learning, and enhances student success’. Such a partnership emphasises the significance of the ‘student voice’ – both individual and collective – in enhancing the student experience of learning, teaching and assessment across the curriculum at Glasgow. Students in collaborative partnerships should be involved in all processes relating to quality assurance and enhancement and should be represented as widely as possible in each institution’s consultative and decision-making forums.
Listening to and responding to the student voice
Student representation arrangements should function in the same way as they do in the University, including the operation of staff-student liaison committees. Where a Joint Management Board or Operations Committee oversees a partnership arrangement, this will normally include a student representative.
Mechanisms for obtaining and responding to student feedback should reflect University norms (e.g. surveys and questionnaires; staff-student liaison committees, reviewing as part of annual monitoring, etc) and be consistent with the University’s Code of Practice Obtaining and Responding to Feedback from Students. The School/RI Learning & Teaching Committee (or in some cases a Joint Management Board) will monitor the nature of the feedback and the responses to it via the annual monitoring process.
Providing and assuring the quality of student learning opportunities
The University is responsible for assuring the quality of the learning opportunities for students. The School or RI might choose to delegate operational aspects of this responsibility to a partner organisation where it has confidence that the partner has the capacity to accept and discharge that responsibility. For example, are resources provided by a partner organisation relevant to the type, and adequate to, the volume of learning to be undertaken and appropriate to secure the achievement of the relevant learning outcomes (eg teaching and learning accommodation and equipment; and learning resources, including library, computing, audio-visual, etc. In the case of research degrees offered through a collaborative arrangement particular attention should be paid to the quality of supervision and the provision of an appropriate research environment.
It remains the responsibility of the School/RI to ensure that the learning environment is fit for purpose, both at the outset of the arrangement and on a continuing basis. A site visit to the institution may be required as part of the approval process.
Promoting equality of opportunity and effective learning for all students
The University needs to ensure that the partner institution has an ethos of promoting equality of opportunity and effective learning for all students. The initial approval of a partner institution requires confirmation that an appropriate regulatory framework and academic and administrative policies and practices exist, including equality and diversity policies. (i.e. equality, age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief and sexual orientation). Some aspects of equality and diversity might be challenging or problematic in some countries, consequently, this should be borne in mind when considering a potential partner.
What about the Staff Experience?
It is essential that students can rely on the quality of those who teach or supervise them and support their learning in other ways. For this reason, the University must be able to satisfy itself that any staff engaged in delivering or supporting a collaborative programme are appropriately qualified for their role, and that the partner institution has effective measures to monitor and assure the proficiency of such staff. A collaborative arrangement should also ensure, as far as possible, that the partner institution has in place similar policies, procedures and practices relating to staff, in particular, procedures relating to recruitment and to performance development and review.
Some collaborative arrangements may require that all staff appointments to teach on a programme are approved by the University, while the partner institution may be trusted to appoint staff based on agreed prerequisites that are written into agreements. The level of involvement of the University in staff appointments is usually based on the demonstrated capacity of the partner, and may change over time. Nevertheless, the University remains responsible for ensuring that the staff teaching its programmes, whoever they are employed by, meet the standards set by us.
The University is also responsible for ensuring that staff are properly trained and developed. For example, if staff from the partner institution are to become involved in formative or summative assessment, staff development may be required (training, briefing, mentoring or supervision) so that those involved are able to fulfil their roles and responsibilities and to ensure that expectations with regard to the robustness of assessment can be met. It will be unlikely that staff teaching overseas will be able to access the University’s Staff Development Service, therefore, it may be necessary to arrange distance training. There will be a cost associated with this so you should build this into your business case/costing model.
Staff from the University who travel overseas to undertake teaching (distance delivery) or research are likely to find the experience motivating as well as challenging. On the one hand a period abroad will allow staff to learn about new cultures and share expertise with contemporaries. On the other, they will be in an unfamiliar learning environment, plus having to deal with the planning, preparation and logistics of teaching or researching at a distance. It is important that staff involved in the delivery of transnational education or distance delivery arrangements are fully prepared for, and understand, the cultural assumptions about higher education in the UK, which may differ from the expectations of other countries. So understanding each others’ expectations and norms and reaching a common understanding will be essential for transparency and good communication. Consequently, University staff should be able to access opportunities to raise cultural awareness and be inducted to the learning environment in which they will be teaching or researching. The University’s Equality and Diversity Unit can provide further guidance on cultural awareness training.
Where the collaboration involves in-country teaching by University staff there may be range of HR and employment issues that need to be considered and addressed depending on how that input will be managed (flying in for intensive periods of teaching; secondment and relocation of University staff; employment of in-country staff). You should consult your College HR Manager at an early stage. Further information can also be found here.