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University leaders commit to pension talks as strikes begin

University leaders have written to the University and College Union to formally outline their commitment to continuing to work with UCU to deliver long-term reform of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. The move comes as UCU members at 60 universities begin strike action in disputes over both pensions and pay.

Gateway to university expertise now provides 'smart match' with business

A platform providing a single access point for businesses to university expertise and funding opportunities has been further developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business, Research England, and UK Research and Innovation, to help 'smart match' business and industry with higher education institutions, in a bid to boost R&D collaboration. Shivaun Meehan, Head of Communications at the NCUB, outlines the latest features of Konfer.

Survey pinpoints ways to make postgraduates even more satisfied

Eight out of 10 postgraduate students taking a taught course in the UK report continued satisfaction with the experience over a five-year period.But a survey of more than 70,000 postgraduates across 85 higher education institutions who responded to the Advance HE Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) highlights for the first time areas where institutions could do better still to boost satisfaction levels.

Government should listen to employers on graduate employment

The next government should adopt policies on graduate employment that reflect a less simplistic outlook than the current regime, argues Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer at the Institute of Student Employers, which has just published its manifesto wish list.

Unite students publishes report on student resilience

Unite Students has published what it describes as the "first in-depth UK report on student resilience". Authored by Dr Emily McIntosh from the University of Bolton and Jenny Shaw from Unite Students, the report draws on a large survey dataset and an extensive literature review to provide a fresh definition of resilience.

The report makes a positive case for resilience, shining a light on, and proposing a way forward for, what has become something of a debate within the sector. Some of the key findings include:

 ·         There is a growing issue of student mental ill-health:

This research reinforces the view that there is a growing issue with student mental health, isolation and stress.

·         Resilience is tangible:

Resilience can be defined and is influenced by both internal and external factors, with students’ social environment having a significant role to play.

·         Resilience is linked to satisfaction:

Higher resilience is associated with higher life satisfaction.

·         Resilience can be developed:

Individual resilience isn’t fixed; it can be developed - through innovative pedagogies and students’ social and living environment.

·         Greater understanding is required:

The evidence is that a better understanding of resilience could have a significant impact on improving outcomes for both students and universities.

·         Cultural exclusion:

Students from socio-economic groups D and E have similar ‘internal resilience’, but score lower on social factors, suggesting that the culture of university can be less welcoming to students from a working class background.

·         Peer support:

Peer support, including flatmates or housemates, can play an important role in resilience.

The report also sets out an academic case for resilience, arguing that it embodies the traditional values and mission of higher education: to nurture strong, independent learners and to support the development of rounded individuals that can contribute positively to society.

However, the authors argue that there is ambiguity associated with the word resilience. This has been, in part, due to a lack of qualitative and quantitative data assessing its impact and how it can be used and applied to the overall student experience, particularly in relation to student support, retention and success. 

This is addressed by:

1.     Reviewing the existing literature on student resilience;

2.     Presenting new insights based on a quantitative dataset collected for the Unite Students Insight Report in 2016; and

3.     Shedding light on the ambiguity of the term resilience by offering a more concrete definition of its significance and application in the area of student experience. 

Resilience addresses mental wellbeing across the whole student population and potentially offers the key to useful strategies and interventions. It is rooted in positive thinking, is developmental, avoids labelling and is empowering for students.

Mainstreaming resilience approaches within higher education offers opportunities to improve student outcomes, to nurture independent learners and ultimately to empower a whole generation with valuable skills for uncertain times.

The Student Resilience report can be downloaded from www.unite-group.co.uk/studentresilience You can follow the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #studentresilience

 

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