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Behind the HE headlines is one key question – the purpose of universities

The past week’s higher education news demonstrates that there are certain expectations of universities that policymakers, HE leaders and the Augar review are expected to address, says Johnny Rich, Chief Executive of the Engineering Professors’ Council and Chief Executive of outreach organisation Push .

30 VCs sign new Civic University Agreement

Leaders of thirty universities have signed a Civic University Agreement, reaffirming their institution's commitment to their local communities by pledging to put the economy and quality of life in their home towns and cities at the top of their list of priorities.

How to improve the student experience -- ask the students themselves

Jenny Shaw , Student Experience Director at Unite Students, draws lessons on the higher education sector's efforts to improve the student experience from a week of HE news and views.

HEi-think: Why universities should support two year degrees

From this September, students will be able to opt to study an accelerated two year degree, as opposed to a traditional three year course. Professor Malcolm Todd, Provost (Academic) at the University of Derby, discusses why universities should consider the change in legislation and look to offer accelerated degrees.

Research England names KEF pilot institutions

Research England has selected 21 English universities to take part in a pilot Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), which will run between February and May 2019.

HEi-think: NewDLHE -- the future of graduate outcomes

rtimages / 123RF

As the Higher Education Statistics Agency launches a consultation on plans to reform the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey, Dan Cook, HESA's head of data policy and development, outlines the proposals and the reasons for the review. 

 

Data around graduate outcomes has never been more important. With a shifting higher education landscape, and significant changes in the graduate labour market, it is vital that we have meaningful and robust data on what HE students do after graduating. HESA, working with a wide range of experts, have been running a review to ensure we capture and publish this high quality data (informally referred to by its hashtag as the ‘#NewDLHE’ review).

We have developed a new model which better reflects the diversity of HE provision and the growing variety of graduate outcomes. This model will capture rich, robust and comprehensive data using a more efficient and future-proof methodology. It will also contain new questions which will redefine how we discuss successful graduate outcomes.

We are currently running a public consultation on our website to gain feedback on these proposals, which is open until 7 April. If the proposals are accepted, we anticipate running the first NewDLHE survey in December 2018, with the first data published in January 2020.  

What is the model?

The NewDLHE review proposes a model for data collection which will replace our current Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education surveys that contact graduates 6 months and 3 years after graduating.

This new model will combine a universal census survey of graduates with linked data from other sources (such as salary information from HMRC). This survey will take place 15 months after the graduate completes their studies, which gives graduates a meaningful opportunity to progress in their post-graduation activities, while still being close enough to the point of completing studies that high response rates should be achievable.

How will the survey be administered?

We have developed a model of open centralisation. This means the survey will be administered centrally ensuring the we capture the most rigorous and reliable data through a consistent approach to data collection. But the survey will be governed collaboratively by a steering group comprising staff from HESA along with representatives from universities and colleges, HE sector bodies and other key partners. 

Through this move to open centralisation and the use of linked data, we anticipate realising significant savings across the HE sector. Current graduate destinations survey activity – including the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey in both HE providers and FE colleges, and the Longitudinal DLHE survey – costs the HE sector over £6 million a year. We have developed projections that show the NewDLHE will potentially realise savings in the region of £1.5 million per year.

What data will be captured?

We will continue to publish salary data and the percentage of graduates in graduate-level employment (two traditional measures of graduate outcomes). But we have also created new ‘graduate voice’ questions to capture alternative measures of graduate outcomes. These measures capture three areas: meaningfulness or importance of the activity to the graduate, skills utilisation and graduate’s progress towards future goals.

The survey will also include new questions to gather insights into graduates pursuing non-traditional career paths, including those developing creative portfolios or starting their own businesses.

Next steps

Our consultation is now open. We are seeking your mandate for us to deliver this proposed model which we believe will significantly improve understanding of graduate outcomes.

The consultation invites feedback on the different aspects of the model and asks for your guidance on the issues we need to be aware of should we gain support to implement it. The deadline for responses is 7 April 2017.

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