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Study finds progress on tackling hate crime and sexual harassment on campus

Universities awarded funding as part of a large-scale programme to tackle hate crime and sexual harassment on campus have made good progress, an evaluation of the scheme has concluded.

Hinds urges OfS to take “ambitious” measures to protect HE standards

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has urged the Office for Students to adopt “ambitious” new measures “in order to tackle risks to the world class quality of higher education” in the UK.

"Open border" universities perform best in new U-Multirank rankings

The most internationally engaged "open border" universities perform best in the quality of their education, research impact, and knowledge transfer, according to U-Multirank, which has published its latest set of global rankings.

Augar proposals must not mean supporting FE at the expense of HE

The Augar review panel was right to highlight under-funding of further education, but addressing this should not mean cuts in the higher education budget, argues Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB).

Three HE leaders' first thoughts on Augar

As the sector begins to respond to the report from the post-18 education and funding review panel headed by Philip Augar, HEi-know asked three HE leaders for their initial impressions. Sir Peter Scott, professor of higher education studies at UCL's Institute of Education and former Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University; Dr Rhiannon Birch, head of planning and research at Sheffield University; and Professor Liz Barnes, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University all offered their thoughts.

Students who need to switch universities need better support, says report

Students who need to switch universities mid-course for personal reasons need greater support within the sector to prevent them dropping out of their studies altogether, a new report led by the University of Sheffield has found.

The report, Should I stay or should I go, examines student perceptions about mobility and credit transfer and calls for the Office for Students to approach its new duty on this issue using a student-focused perspective, with the view that higher education providers could better facilitate transfers when the need arises.

According to the study, conducted by a consortium of seven higher education (HE) providers led by the University of Sheffield, students see mobility as a welfare matter: if a student realises they may need to change not only a course but an institution – often due to personal circumstances –  current support offered by universities across the sector is limited.   

Student feedback suggested that better mobility can help a student move to a university more suited to their changed needs, rather than ‘dropping-out’ of HE altogether. Currently students fear transferring to another university will be difficult, will devalue their degree and make them look unreliable, with lecturers equally expressing concerns about the intellectual integrity of a degree ‘broken’ across locations.

The report makes several recommendations to better help students in need. Universities should locate the issue of student mobility and credit transfer within student support, welfare, advice and guidance rather than treating it as a student recruitment activity, with independent and impartial advice services to help students identify when transfer to another provider is the right decision for them.

The study also recommends universities provide support networks and mentoring to facilitate a smooth transition.  Greater transparency and clearly available information on university websites about the option of credit transfer should accompany this. In addition, the report states that when credit transfer may be suitable it should be made clear, including details of what disciplines or courses students may be able to transfer to and from.  This will help students make informed choices about how and when to move, if the need arises and make clear to them any pre-requisites or prior learning.

The study also called for Access Agreements to support widening participation students to relocate if needed and be provided help with the financial implications related to fees, as well as more immediate personal costs such as for an unexpected or unplanned move, which could create barriers to fair participation and access.  

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield said: “The vast majority of students settle into university life and complete their studies.  A small number will, for usually unforeseeable personal reasons, need to move location before they have completed their course. In those circumstances, rather than leaving their studies or starting again, the option of moving to a local higher education provider with credit already accumulated can allow a student to continue to realise their potential. 

“The value of a university degree has been proven time and time again so helping students to achieve their university aims and to complete their studies, especially when life throws up unexpected events, presents challenges to universities and students. However, with goodwill, cooperation and a determination that the interests of the student are paramount, obstacles can be overcome and students can and do succeed.

“This timely report offers practical recommendations about how universities can support students who need to relocate their place of study and will I hope spark a step change in how this option is presented to students.”

Dr Tony Strike, University Secretary, said: “It’s important the Government, universities and  sector bodies work together to  make moving higher education provider frictionless for those who need to move and to change perceptions among students and employers so degrees awarded by accumulation of credits from different universities are not seen as of lesser value than a degree awarded by a single university.

“This report aims to begin challenging these perceptions and makes important recommendations to universities and the Government on how we can better meet the pastoral needs of students on this important issue.”

 

 


 

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