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

So as our unique student experience event returns for its fourth year, were going to take the opportunity to get real about students – bringing together sector leaders and managers, as well as student leaders and students’ union managers, to get an accurate and unvarnished picture of the student condition in 2023 – so we can work out how to respond rather than just react.

Shifting from a surface-level understanding of students’ satisfaction with services to a deeper understanding of their motivations, ambitions and lives can be hugely rewarding and important both for them and those supporting them. It’s also vital in an age that seems quick to assume, judge and condemn them rather than listen, understand and act on their concerns.

What are students doing when they’re not in the classroom? Where is the line between their desire to collaborate and regulations that ban collusion? Is it true that they’re not prepared to debate and discuss controversial issues? Why do they rate assessment and feedback so badly on the NSS? And how many are confident about being “real” student – let alone what comes next?

On the day we’ll feature key findings into the student experience from the past year, and launch exciting new research into the student learning experience beyond the classroom. We’ll also be launching our new student insights platform Belong – a Wonkhe/Group GTI initiative, and sharing the first findings from its research. It’s an essential event for anyone working on policy and delivery for students.

The event will take place in person at the Shaw Theatre, part of the Pullman London St Pancras Hotel, 100-110 Euston Rd, London NW1 2AJ.

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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.

So as our unique student experience event returns for its fourth year, were going to take the opportunity to get real about students – bringing together sector leaders and managers, as well as student leaders and students’ union managers, to get an accurate and unvarnished picture of the student condition in 2023 – so we can work out how to respond rather than just react.

Shifting from a surface-level understanding of students’ satisfaction with services to a deeper understanding of their motivations, ambitions and lives can be hugely rewarding and important both for them and those supporting them. It’s also vital in an age that seems quick to assume, judge and condemn them rather than listen, understand and act on their concerns.

What are students doing when they’re not in the classroom? Where is the line between their desire to collaborate and regulations that ban collusion? Is it true that they’re not prepared to debate and discuss controversial issues? Why do they rate assessment and feedback so badly on the NSS? And how many are confident about being “real” student – let alone what comes next?

On the day we’ll feature key findings into the student experience from the past year, and launch exciting new research into the student learning experience beyond the classroom. We’ll also be launching our new student insights platform Belong – a Wonkhe/Group GTI initiative, and sharing the first findings from its research. It’s an essential event for anyone working on policy and delivery for students.

The event will take place in person at the Shaw Theatre, part of the Pullman London St Pancras Hotel, 100-110 Euston Rd, London NW1 2AJ.

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Agenda

9.30am Introduction: Time to get real

Team Wonkhe opens the event with 10 surprising things that we learnt about students in 2022.

9.45am Belonging in a cost of living crisis

The stats are dire and the initiatives have come thick and fast – but what sort of impact is the cost of living crisis having on the student learning experience? Do efforts to enable students to succeed in these circumstances normalise a thin and stretched student experience? 

10:15am TBC

11.00am Break

11.30am The real risks to equality of opportunity

Tacking equality gaps in higher education remains a huge concern – particularly when some initiatives and efforts seem to fall foul of government guidance and preference. In this session we’ll bust some myths and seek to understand what really works when it comes to narrowing the gaps.

12.15pm How to (re)calibrate the needle of trust

Post-Covid, there’s been lots of debate about the extent to which safety-net shifts in trusting students should be rolled back in the name of academic standards, as well as discussion about assessment methods that both appear to narrow awarding gaps and exacerbate allegations of cheating. How viable is it in 2023 to maintain the idea that every student should achieve a standard at the same pace? Where is the line between cheating and collaboration? And what could new AI tools mean for teaching, learning and assessment?

1.00pm Lunch

1.50pm Cracking the code

So your department has an NSS score on assessment fairness, and the Dean wants you to turn things around – fast. What next? In this session we’ll share new research from Wonkhe and Cibyl’s new Belong project that seeks to understand why students score the way they do – offering student led insight on how to improve the student experience.

2.15pm Why are students so left wing?

The political leanings of students have been central to the free speech debate that has played out in recent years – but is it nature, or nurture? Some would argue that the past decade has seen a huge expansion in higher education participation, opening up opportunity to more students than ever. Others would argue that politics is increasingly skewed away from students and young people’s economic interests. What’s really going on – and what should universities, SUs or governments do about it?

3.00pm Break

3.30pm Secrets of the student experience

Increasingly universities are expected to have a handle on “difficult” aspects of the students’ experience: alcohol and drugs, sexual harassment, and sex work. In this session, we will think through the various frames available for managing behaviours and the implications for students, university policy, and the competencies of university staff. 

4.15pm How to become a perfect student

Before they can succeed, we have lots of ideas about what a “good” student ought to know and be able to do – but are those ideas universal across generations, subjects and student characteristics? And how confident are students, their universities and their SUs that they’re meeting those ideals? We’ll share new polling and debate the issue with others involved in student “becoming”.

5.00pm Close

Tickets

Use the form below to book tickets – you can choose to pay by invoice or card during the booking process.

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

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

For details of our various subscription services, find out more here.

If you are unsure which level of Wonkhe subscription your organisation has, and for any problems or questions about tickets, please email events@wonkhe.com.

Programme subject to change.

Speakers

  • John Blake

    Director for Fair Access & Participation, Office for Students

    John’s role is to ensure universities and colleges are doing all they can to support learners from all backgrounds, especially the most disadvantaged, to access and succeed in higher education. John is an executive member of the OfS board.

  • Omar Khan

    Director, Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in HE (TASO)

    Omar Khan is Director of the Centre for Transforming Access and Students Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO). Omar joined TASO from race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust, where he had been Director since 2014. Prior to this, Omar was Head of Policy at the Runnymede Trust and led its financial inclusion programme. Omar holds … Continued

  • Michelle Morgan

    Student experience transitions specialist & Dean of Students, University of East London

    Michelle is a HE student transition and experience specialist and practitioner. She develops initiatives based on pragmatic and practical research to improve the experience of students and staff. The impact of her work is to enable students to succeed to the best of their ability in a high quality HE environment that challenges and supports … Continued

  • Mike Ratcliffe

    Former Academic Registrar

    Mike Ratcliffe was the Academic Registrar at Nottingham Trent University. Mike is a career academic administrator, who’s also held senior posts at Winchester and Oxford Brookes universities. Having become unnaturally interested in universities in themselves, he is particularly fascinated with their history and philosophy and has been doing postgraduate study at the UCL Institute of … Continued

  • Elizabeth Nixon

    Associate Professor in Marketing, Nottingham University Business School

    Elizabeth Nixon is Associate Professor in Marketing at Nottingham University Business School.

  • Eric Kaufmann

    Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London

    Eric Kaufmann is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

  • Gemma Mansi

    Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader, University of Greenwich

    Gemma Mansi is a Course Leader and Deputy Head in the School of Education at the University of Greenwich.

  • Nicola Watchman Smith

    Deputy Director Student Learning, Teesside University

    Dr Nicola Watchman Smith (PhD, PFHEA) is Deputy Director of Student Learning at Teesside University, and previously Head of the Teaching Excellence Awards at Advance HE. At Advance HE Nicola oversaw the CATE and National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) schemes and their Apprenticeships service, informing approaches to professional recognition in UK-based higher education. She sits on … Continued

  • Phil Newton

    Director of Learning and Teaching, Swansea University Medical School

    Phil Newton is the Director of Learning and Teaching for the Swansea University Medical School.

  • Tracey Horton

    Head of Student Lifecycle, Cardiff Metropolitan University

    Tracey Horton is Head of Student Lifecycle at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

  • Elizabeth Simon

    PhD candidate in the Social Statistics and Demography Department, University of Southampton

    Elizabeth is a PhD candidate in the Social Statistics and Demography Department at the University of Southampton.

  • Rosie Carter

    Senior Policy Officer, Hope Not Hate

    Rosie Carter is a Senior Policy Officer at Hope Not Hate.

  • Billy Wong

    Associate Professor in Widening Participation and Deputy Programme Director PG Research Studies at the Institute of Education, University of Reading

    Billy Wong is Associate Professor in Widening Participation and Deputy Programme Director PG Research Studies at the Institute of Education, University of Reading.

  • Tiffany Chiu

    Senior Teaching Fellow in Educational Development, Imperial College London

    Tiffany Chiu is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Educational Development at Imperial College London.

  • Andrew Wilson

    Student and Disability Officer, University of Derby

    Andrew is a Student and Disability Officer at University of Derby

  • Mark Leach

    Editor in Chief, Wonkhe

    Mark Leach is the founder, Editor in Chief and CEO of Wonkhe. Mark worked in policy, politics and public affairs in and around UK higher education and founded Wonkhe in 2011 while working as a jobbing policy wonk in the sector. The first part of his career took him to the National Union of Students, … Continued

  • Debbie McVitty

    Editor, Wonkhe

    Debbie McVitty, Editor, Wonkhe

  • Jim Dickinson

    Associate Editor, Wonkhe

    Jim is an Associate Editor at Wonkhe and takes a particular interest in the student experience, university governance, and regulation – and leads our work with students’ unions. His career background is in support for student leadership. He has held senior roles at the National Union of Students – where he led on SU development, … Continued

  • Sunday Blake

    Associate Editor, Wonkhe

    Sunday Blake is President at Exeter Guild of Students

Tickets

Use the form below to book tickets – you can choose to pay by invoice or card during the booking process.

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

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

For details of our various subscription services, find out more here.

If you are unsure which level of Wonkhe subscription your organisation has, and for any problems or questions about tickets, please email events@wonkhe.com.

Programme subject to change.