London WC1H 9HQ
Covid-19 has disrupted virtually all aspects of higher education, from student recruitment to mental health and international partnerships. But what impact will it have on student retention in both the short and long-term? What strategies have universities adopted to ensure that students become graduates? And how can we use online tools to make sure that students are not disconnected from their courses and communities?
Why should you attend?
This conference will bring together experts and policymakers to help guide the sector in finding practical solutions to immediate problems, as well as scan the horizon for challenges ahead. It will be a unique opportunity to come together with colleagues and experts, share learnings and ideas, and discuss best practice for student retention in your institution.
This event is essential for anyone working in retention, teaching and learning, student experience, or student success. Relevant job titles include:
If you have any questions about this or any other of our events, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07500 441505.
We have a range of sponsorship opportunities available at this event. Please contact Esther Dudley, Head of Events and Engagement for information, tel: 07500 441501; email: email@example.com.
If you want to stay up to date with our events, news, and publications, you can sign up for our newsletters here.
At the time of writing, UUK is planning to resume events and conferences in autumn 2020. We take the health of safety of our delegates, speakers and staff extremely seriously, and please note that all of our events will be run in line with government and public health advice, which we are constantly monitoring. Should this event be cancelled due to government advice, we will deliver the event online or endeavour to rearrange this event for a future date. You will also have the option for a refund.
Professor Iwan Davies, Vice-Chancellor, Bangor University
Dr Joan O' Mahony, Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching, Advance HE - invited
In September 2020, universities will have opened their doors either physically or virtually to fully operate for the first time in 6 months. Starting or returning to University for some students would not have been easy. Locked down during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic would have meant big gaps in academic learning, a lack of social events and potential issues with mental and physical health, either themselves or loved ones. This session will take a first look into the key challenges as providers transition out of lockdown and into some kind of normality.
Professor Julie Sanders, FRSA, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University
More speakers to be announced
Following the recent ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests around the world, organisations have been reflecting on what actions to take to stand-up against racism but also what more they should do to support the black people in their communities. Universities are no exception to this. In this session, we will hear how Newcastle University are committed to inclusion and social justice with the recent opening of ‘The Frederick Douglass Centre’ and the series of events and activities that aim to create a more inclusive study environment and ensure graduate success.
Professor Peter Francis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Northumbria University
In this session we will hear about how Northumbria University are using innovative approaches to assess and improve student retention. Through the powerful use of data and analytics, appropriate interventions have been made and can drive culture change.
Tom Lowe, Centre for Student Engagement Manager, University of Winchester
Maisha Islam, Student Engagement Research and Projects Officer, University of Winchester
For some students, before lockdown, forming a connection with their university might have been difficult for a number of reasons. For example, student commuting from their local communities or international students being far from home. Suddenly, all students may be experiencing some kind of estrangement from their universities due to lockdown, distance learning and other competing external factors. How are universities keeping students engaged and motivated? How are they monitoring progress and not leaving the most vulnerable students to fall through the cracks? What has been learnt from best practice in the past that can be applied to instil a sense of belonging?
Dr Andrea Patel, Head of the University Graduate School, University of Birmingham – invited
The key to a successful postgraduate degree is a smooth transition from undergraduate study and individual support throughout the process to avoid any feelings of confusion or stress. Research at the University Graduate School at the University of Birmingham aims to build a greater understanding of transition needs and barriers that postgraduate students face.
Piers Wilkinson, Commissioner, Disabled Students' Commission, Office for Students
Fay Sherrington, Director of Student Services, Edge Hill University, and Vice-chair, AMOSSHE - invited
Vince Mayne, Chief Executive, British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) – invited
More speakers to be announced.
How have higher education providers ensured that through the move to online teaching and the physical closure of campuses that all students have access to the technology, resources and adjustments that they need? Now universities and Students’ Unions are well into semester one of blended learning and virtual socialising, how can they ensure that all students are being supported to meet their full potential and have the best university experience possible? What can we learn from these changes that have been made that could enhance the student experience in the future?
John de Pury, Assistant Director, Universities UK
Speaker to be announced.
‘Stepchange: mentally healthy universities’ is a refreshed strategic framework for a whole university approach to mental health and wellbeing. It calls on universities to see mental health as foundational to all aspects of university life, for all students and staff. One of the key aspects of this framework is recognising the impact that mental health and wellbeing can have on retention. We hear from TBC about the progress that has been made at TBC with implementing and enabling this framework.
Dr Michelle Morgan, Independent Higher Education Student Experience Consultant - invited
Dr Anne Chappell, Divisional Lead, Department of Education, Brunel University
Dr Emma Wainwright, Senior Tutor and Reader in the Department of Education, Brunel University
Dr Ellen McHugh, Lecturer in the Department of Education, Brunel University
Rumnique Gill, Interim Associate Director of Student Wellbeing, Kingston University - invited
Melissa Hariz, Film Studies Student, Kingston University - invited
This session will highlight two case studies of how universities are being proactive in ensuring that their most disadvantage students don’t drop out:
Kingston University’s first-ever emergency appeal raised more than £140,000 to support students impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost three-quarters of Kingston University students have at least one part-time job to support themselves through university and the pandemic would have seen lots of students lose those jobs. Without being eligible for the furlough scheme and without necessarily having access to the safety net of a family home, a lot of students would have nowhere to turn.
Brunel University completed a research project entitled ‘successful students: exploring the factors that encourage and enable students from a widening participation background to stay the course’. The emphasis was to shift from looking at attrition and ask the students to share their experiences through questionnaires, interviews and photographs.
Paul Feldman, Chief Executive, JISC - invited
Mary Curnock Cook OBE, Chair of Trustees, The Access Project
To say that the Higher Education sector has been rocked by Covid-19 is an understatement. However, what are the long-term benefits that can be seen because of adjustments and the flexibility that providers had to make because of the pandemic? We ask our panel of experts, has the sector changed for good? What does the future look like? Will the adjustments that have been made be here to stay to help the most disadvantaged students?