Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students is all about doing student experience differently. We’ll bring together the research and intel, and review everything we learned about students in 2019 – asking what that means for government, regulators, universities and their SUs.

It’s about getting beyond the stale debates and case studies and rethinking the student experience – bringing together experts, sector leaders and managers, as well as student leaders and students’ union managers, to forge a new agenda for students.

What does the new government and associated regulatory agenda mean for students? What might major changes to funding, the TEF and the National Student Survey mean for universities and their SUs? If Generation Z treasures “fairness”, how can we respond to strengthen students’ rights? How is teaching and learning changing to adapt to 2020’s busy students? And what does student influence and partnership mean in a world of big data?

We’ll also ask how we might we get beyond reductive debates on free speech and build a culture of democratic engagement on campus. We’ll find out what happens when we listen to students on their own terms. And we’ll explore what safety means to students, and what “safeguarding” really means.

It’s an essential event for anyone working on policy and delivery for students.

In partnership with:

In partnership with:

Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students is all about doing student experience differently. We’ll bring together the research and intel, and review everything we learned about students in 2019 – asking what that means for government, regulators, universities and their SUs.

It’s about getting beyond the stale debates and case studies and rethinking the student experience – bringing together experts, sector leaders and managers, as well as student leaders and students’ union managers, to forge a new agenda for students.

What does the new government and associated regulatory agenda mean for students? What might major changes to funding, the TEF and the National Student Survey mean for universities and their SUs? If Generation Z treasures “fairness”, how can we respond to strengthen students’ rights? How is teaching and learning changing to adapt to 2020’s busy students? And what does student influence and partnership mean in a world of big data?

We’ll also ask how we might we get beyond reductive debates on free speech and build a culture of democratic engagement on campus. We’ll find out what happens when we listen to students on their own terms. And we’ll explore what safety means to students, and what “safeguarding” really means.

It’s an essential event for anyone working on policy and delivery for students.

In partnership with:

In partnership with:

For any problems or questions about tickets, please email events@wonkhe.com

Agenda and themes

The day opens at 9.45am

Morning Sessions

What did we learn about students in 2019?

Advance HE’s Alison Johns on everything we learned about students in 2019 from their mental health to attainment gaps and everything in between – along with the questions that the data raises, and what should be done about it.

Delivering for students – where OfS goes next

It’s two years since the OfS was founded, and it’s been a busy time for the new regulator. Much of its work has been on registering providers – but with a new student engagement strategy and consultations out on harassment and sexual misconduct, student protection and work coming on student contracts, OfS is about to move into an arguably more interesting phase. In conversation with Wonkhe’s founder Mark Leach, Nicola will discuss OfS’ work in the student interest and the role it sees for students (and their representatives) in informing and shaping its work in the future.

A fairer student experience

Generation Z places huge value and importance in fairness and fair treatment, but do they get that as students? What should all students be entitled to? What rights should students have? When are students treated unfairly, or exploited, and what impacts does that have? Are some students treated more fairly than others? Our panel will set out an agenda for a fairer student experience, identifying actions that universities, SUs and government should take.

How far should “student safety” go?

Much of the contemporary debate surrounding students focuses on safety – feeling safe is surely a prerequisite for learning – but there are significant conflicts over the approach that schools, universities and others should take in relation to being a student at university. Is the right approach to warn students about the dangers they may face? Is work for disadvantaged students sensible or virtue signalling? Should more be done than just warning people – should we help students with tools and skills to navigate those dangers – or id that “victim blaming”? Or should we all be working together to eradicate dangers? This session will feature a preview of research on what students mean by “safety” and give participants a chance to consider policy responses.

Afternoon Sessions

The new government, students & the TEF

For many a glance at the incoming government might suggest some hostility towards students. Other than nursing bursaries students only got a mention in the manifesto in relation to freedom of speech – and the political chatter and post-poll analysis suggests that students were not exactly core voters for the incoming Government. What will it do on “poor value courses” and “value for money”? And how does the new administration see students – and what might be done about the core student experience concerns of day to day costs, student accommodation, value for money, mental health and harassment on campus?

The secret life of students’ learning

If the world of information and knowledge is open like never before, why is so much of students’ learning hidden? University curricula carefully curate resources to support students learning – but increasingly students are taking a DIY mentality and drawing on a much larger range of online and digital sources of knowledge. Drawing on new qualitative research commissioned by Pearson and conducted in partnership with Wonkhe SUs, we explore the role of informal sources in students’ learning, consider whether this trend should this be a source of celebration or concern – and ask, how should universities respond?

A more democratic student experience

In the run up to, during and after the election, “student union politics” was deployed as an insult, used to denote a dated type of democratic engagement focussed on “win/lose” debating and grandstanding. If higher education is supposed to engender citizenship, how might the student experience change? How do we kill the idea – in image or reality – that universities are a “monoculture”? How can we ensure that underrepresented groups have an authentic voice? And what can universities and their SUs do to help students and graduates navigate and influence the world around them?

Living the partnership through the pedagogy

Many universities aspire to build meaningful partnership to engage students in learning. What would it mean to live those values in practice? How can universities articulate what they’re trying to do with the learning environment in a way that makes sense to and includes a diverse group of students? How can they translate and embed those principles in practice? And how can students be active and effective partners in shaping learning and teaching?

Day closes at 5.30pm

Confirmed speakers

  • Nicola Dandridge

    CEO, Office for Students

    Nicola Dandridge

  • Alison Johns

    CEO Advance HE

    Alison Johns is CEO at Advance HE

  • Felicity Mitchell

    Independent Adjudicator

    Felicity Mitchell is the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in England and Wales

  • Sue Rigby

    Vice Chancellor, Bath Spa University

    Sue Rigby

  • Ann Olivarius

    Senior Partner, McAllister Olivarius

    Ann Olivarius is a Senior Partner at McAllister Olivarius 

  • Iain Mansfield

    Head of Education, Skills, Science and Innovation, Policy Exchange

    Iain Mansfield is Head of Education, Skills, Science and Innovation at Policy Exchange

  • Jenny Shaw

    Unite Students

    Student Experience Director, Unite Students

  • Jayne Aldridge

    Chair, AMOSSHE

    Jayne Aldridge

  • Amatey Doku

    Consultant, Nous Group

    Amatey Doku is a consultant at Nous Group

  • Andreas Pavlou

    Network Lead, Involve

    Andreas Pavlou is the Network Lead at Involve

  • Amy Eberlin

    Quality Enhancement Specialist QAA

    Amy Eberlin is Quality Enhancement Specialist at The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

  • Liani Mannifield

    Student Accommodation Manager at the University of Surrey

    Liani Mannifield is Student Accommodation Manager at the University of Surrey

  • Hillary Gyebi-Ababio

    Undergraduate Education Officer at Bristol SU.

    Hillary Gyebi-Ababio is Undergraduate Education Officer at Bristol SU.

  • Jackie Yip

    President, Cardiff SU

    Jackie Yip is the President at Cardiff SU

  • Eve Alcock

    President at Bath SU

    Eve Alcock is President at Bath SU

  • Jake Verity

    President, Sheffield SU

    Jake Verity is President at Sheffield SU

  • Jim Dickinson

    Associate Editor, Wonkhe
  • Debbie McVitty

    Editor, Wonkhe

    Debbie McVitty, Editor, Wonkhe

  • Mark Leach

    Editor in Chief, Wonkhe

In partnership with:

In partnership with: