University gives green light to student engagement strategy

The University of Lincoln has given the green light to a new student engagement strategy, which is aimed at getting more students involved with schemes on and off campus.

The University of Lincoln catering department, located in the Main Admin Building, is in discussions to find out how they can provide some good engagement for students. Photo: Tom Larken

Until now, the university has had no specific plan detailing student engagement and the job of getting students involved around campus has often fallen to the University of Lincoln’s Students’ Union.

Student Engagement Officer for the University of Lincoln, Dan Derricott said: “We are trying to improve the quality of courses all the time at the university. All universities try to do it, but we’re quite clear here in Lincoln that, to do it well, you need to involve the students in those discussions about how exactly you can improve them.

“Rather than just doing survey after survey, we try to get students actually involved with the decision making process, get them on the committees where decisions are made on things like academic departments and service departments, to see where changes can be made to the student experience.”

Derricott continued: “That’s not just in raising complaints; it’s about being involved with the process of how to solve those problems. In catering, for example, they are looking at developing a catering brand, because there is no set catering brand at the moment. So catering are going to work with a bunch of marketing, advertising, journalism and PR students, among others, to create a brand.”

Head of catering at the university, Chris Whaley said: “We’re in discussions with a number of people to find out how we can provide some good engagement for students that is going to offer some value for everyone involved in the project.

“We are talking with HR about employing students to work in catering. It’s done in a lot of other universities and we’ve not done it here before. It’s not looking at replacing staff, it’s supplementing.

“We’re looking to promote and develop the marketing of the department. Over the last couple of years, varying things have been done and they’ve worked in some ways, but we’re going to talk to students and really create a brand.”

This policy, while being supported by the Students’ Union, is not an SU strategy, though is recommended. Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Wesley Wells said: “I think it’s a very positive step. The university looks to be industry leading in this area.

A couple of other universities are looking at developing things like it and I think there are a couple of little things in there that are going to really put Lincoln on the map. Other universities are already talking to us and asking if we can go and talk to them about it.”


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