The Secret Life of Students is the essential event for anyone working on policy and delivery for students in higher education.

Now in its third year, the Secret Life of Students is all about how we rethink the student experience – bringing together experts, sector leaders and professionals, as well as student leaders and students’ union managers, to tackle difficult challenges and work together to transform higher education to better meet the needs of the next generation of students.

This year we’re doing diversity differently, rethinking the outdated model of designing learning environments based on an imagined “normal” student and then applying sticking plaster interventions based on diverse student characteristics. A new approach is needed to stay in step with how students think about diversity, experience higher education in diverse ways, and what a genuinely diverse student body might need from professionals, and each other to feel that they belong in higher education.

We’ll reflect on the findings of the UPP Foundation’s Student Futures Commission on tackling the challenges for students post-Covid, and we’ll consider developments in regulatory regimes for access, diversity and equality. We’ll think through how engaging with students’ lived experience can transform strategy, policy and delivery, and we’ll consider what students are experiencing and saying about harassment and discrimination, and the boundaries between security and freedom.

We’ll have a wealth of new insight to share from our own research with students and higher education professionals and leaders – and if you have research or emerging findings on an aspect of student experience you’d like to share at the event, please get in touch.

Agenda (subject to change)

9.15am Introduction and welcome

9.30am Student futures are about belonging

The question on everyone’s mind as the higher education sector emerges from the global Covid-19 pandemic is about how to foster a sense of student belonging and inclusion for a diverse student body accessing education in diverse ways. 

The UPP Foundation Student Futures Commission, chaired by Mary Curnock Cook, in its consultation with universities, students’ unions and student polling has identified belonging as a key theme that encompasses the importance of inclusion, and authentic communication and co-production with students. 

And at Wonkhe, we’re working with Pearson and students’ unions on a major year long project to extend our understanding of student belonging and inclusion and how universities and students’ unions can take action to foster belonging and inclusion. 

This session will feature key findings from all this work and ask what the sector’s priorities and actions should be in the years ahead to generate the sort of step-change required.

10.15am Is the culture war a generational conflict?

The battle between free speech and the prospect of harm to marginalised groups continues to rage on campuses and in public discourse – but how can understanding differences in generational values help universities and students’ unions navigate these difficult conversations?

10.45am Break

11.15am Equality of opportunity and equality of outcome – where OfS goes next

The Office for Students is moving into an interesting new strategic phase, with a new Director of Access and Participation at their desk, a new chief executive on the way and a new strategy being rolled out. There’s also ongoing work on quality and standards, the ongoing issue of harassment and sexual misconduct and persistent attainment and awarding gaps. In conversation with Wonkhe’s founder Mark Leach, OfS chief executive Nicola Dandridge 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.

12.00pm Doing diversity differently in research and practice

In this session we’ll hear from students’ unions who are breaking new ground in tackling some of the most difficult challenges in student life including access and participation, racism, and alcohol and sexual misconduct at induction – turning the tables on power and strategy, and taking a “diversity first” approach in the student interest. 

1.00pm Lunch

1.45pm Breakout sessions:

  • Learning and teaching strategy in the post-Covid landscape
  • Supporting mental health and wellbeing at scale
  • Careers 2032: the future of careers services and employability support

2.30pm Breakout sessions:

  • What should students’ relationship with academics be?
  • The connected campus
  • Learning and engagement analytics

3.15pm Break

3.45pm Breakout sessions:

  • The changing assessment challenge
  • What do universities need to know about students?

4.30pm Plenary: What is social mobility and how is it being redefined?

5.15pm Close

 

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The Secret Life of Students is the essential event for anyone working on policy and delivery for students in higher education.

Now in its third year, the Secret Life of Students is all about how we rethink the student experience – bringing together experts, sector leaders and professionals, as well as student leaders and students’ union managers, to tackle difficult challenges and work together to transform higher education to better meet the needs of the next generation of students.

This year we’re doing diversity differently, rethinking the outdated model of designing learning environments based on an imagined “normal” student and then applying sticking plaster interventions based on diverse student characteristics. A new approach is needed to stay in step with how students think about diversity, experience higher education in diverse ways, and what a genuinely diverse student body might need from professionals, and each other to feel that they belong in higher education.

We’ll reflect on the findings of the UPP Foundation’s Student Futures Commission on tackling the challenges for students post-Covid, and we’ll consider developments in regulatory regimes for access, diversity and equality. We’ll think through how engaging with students’ lived experience can transform strategy, policy and delivery, and we’ll consider what students are experiencing and saying about harassment and discrimination, and the boundaries between security and freedom.

We’ll have a wealth of new insight to share from our own research with students and higher education professionals and leaders – and if you have research or emerging findings on an aspect of student experience you’d like to share at the event, please get in touch.

Agenda (subject to change)

9.15am Introduction and welcome

9.30am Student futures are about belonging

The question on everyone’s mind as the higher education sector emerges from the global Covid-19 pandemic is about how to foster a sense of student belonging and inclusion for a diverse student body accessing education in diverse ways. 

The UPP Foundation Student Futures Commission, chaired by Mary Curnock Cook, in its consultation with universities, students’ unions and student polling has identified belonging as a key theme that encompasses the importance of inclusion, and authentic communication and co-production with students. 

And at Wonkhe, we’re working with Pearson and students’ unions on a major year long project to extend our understanding of student belonging and inclusion and how universities and students’ unions can take action to foster belonging and inclusion. 

This session will feature key findings from all this work and ask what the sector’s priorities and actions should be in the years ahead to generate the sort of step-change required.

10.15am Is the culture war a generational conflict?

The battle between free speech and the prospect of harm to marginalised groups continues to rage on campuses and in public discourse – but how can understanding differences in generational values help universities and students’ unions navigate these difficult conversations?

10.45am Break

11.15am Equality of opportunity and equality of outcome – where OfS goes next

The Office for Students is moving into an interesting new strategic phase, with a new Director of Access and Participation at their desk, a new chief executive on the way and a new strategy being rolled out. There’s also ongoing work on quality and standards, the ongoing issue of harassment and sexual misconduct and persistent attainment and awarding gaps. In conversation with Wonkhe’s founder Mark Leach, OfS chief executive Nicola Dandridge 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.

12.00pm Doing diversity differently in research and practice

In this session we’ll hear from students’ unions who are breaking new ground in tackling some of the most difficult challenges in student life including access and participation, racism, and alcohol and sexual misconduct at induction – turning the tables on power and strategy, and taking a “diversity first” approach in the student interest. 

1.00pm Lunch

1.45pm Breakout sessions:

  • Learning and teaching strategy in the post-Covid landscape
  • Supporting mental health and wellbeing at scale
  • Careers 2032: the future of careers services and employability support

2.30pm Breakout sessions:

  • What should students’ relationship with academics be?
  • The connected campus
  • Learning and engagement analytics

3.15pm Break

3.45pm Breakout sessions:

  • The changing assessment challenge
  • What do universities need to know about students?

4.30pm Plenary: What is social mobility and how is it being redefined?

5.15pm Close

 

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Tickets

Want to bring your whole team to this event? Contact us for group discount information.

On Monday 14 February we are hosting Making sense of higher education – click here for more information. If you’d like to attend both events, claim a discount by using this combined registration form.

If the registration form does load correctly, please use this alternative version.

For details of our various subscriptions, find out more here.

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

Tickets

Want to bring your whole team to this event? Contact us for group discount information.

On Monday 14 February we are hosting Making sense of higher education – click here for more information. If you’d like to attend both events, claim a discount by using this combined registration form.

If the registration form does load correctly, please use this alternative version.

For details of our various subscriptions, find out more here.

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

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