Published on February 26, 2014
Developing a strategic, long-term whole institution approach Michael Hill Action on Access/HEA Gill Molyneaux University of Salford • February 2014
Structure • Demonstrating a strategic approach - the OFFA guidance • An approach to tackling retention using What Works methodology and findings • Case Study – Salford University • Discussion and questions
A strategic, whole institution approach “When developing your access agreement for 2015-16, and your longer-term access and student success plans, we encourage you to ensure that it is a whole-institution process and a driver for positive change and internal collaboration.” OFFA February 2014
Reference to the guidance Demonstrating a strategic approach “Most access agreements follow the structure laid out in our guidance which is a helpful approach. However, the detail provided in access agreements does not always set out how the different elements of the approach link together strategically. For example, a key part of an access agreement is the initial assessment of an institution’s performance in relation to access and student success, and it’s essential that this assessment is clearly evidenced, and that the priorities identiﬁed in this assessment are reﬂected in the access and student success measures or targets. January 2013/01 Guidance How to produce an access agreement for2014-15
Guidance suggests five stages are followed a. Assess performance to identify areas for improvement b. Address these areas in your access and retention strategy c. Choose appropriate access and retention measures d. Set targets to measure and show improvement e. Monitor, evaluate, collect evidence January 2013/01 Guidance How to produce an access agreement for 2014-15
But how does this work in reality and is the approach useful for other reasons than a demonstration for OFFA? A case study focussing on one university’s approach to tackling retention (especially in the first year) which uses: A. The What Works findings to guide choice of measures (interventions) and approach to implementing institutional change B. An approach which follows the OFFA guidance AND takes account of the practical implications of addressing retention
What works? Student retention and success change programme (Phase 2: 2012-15) 1. The What Works findings 2. University of Salford’s approach 3. Question and Discussion Would this approach work for other aspects of the access agreement (SASS) Outreach, Recruitment, Admissions, Progression?
Key message 1 At the heart of student retention and success is a strong sense of belonging in HE for all students. This is most effectively nurtured through mainstream activities that all students participate in. 8 8
Key message 2 The academic sphere is the most important site for nurturing participation of the type which engenders a sense of belonging. 9 9
Key message 3 Specific interventions cannot be recommended over and above each other. Rather the institution, department, programme and module should all nurture a culture of belonging through the way they function and relate to people. 10 10
Key message 4 Student belonging is an outcome of: •Supportive peer relations. •Meaningful interaction between staff and students. •Developing knowledge, confidence and identity as successful HE learners. •An HE experience which is relevant to interests and future goals. 11 11
Institutional management and co-ordination Staff capacity building Student capacity building Early engagement extends into HE and beyond 12 12
Strategic implications 13 13
Case Study – University of Salford Gill Molyneaux Executive Policy Officer
Case Study – University of Salford Some headlines: •17,800 students, mainly undergraduate •More than half of new undergraduates enter with BTEC or other non-A level qualifications •Around 70% of students live within the region and commute to the University
Case Study – Salford University HOW did you: Assess performance to identify areas for improvement? HOW did you: Address these areas in your access and retention strategy? HOW did you: Choose appropriate access and retention measures (interventions)? HOW did you: Set targets to measure and show improvement? HOW are you: Monitoring, evaluating, collecting evidence?
HOW did we: Assess performance to identify areas for improvement? Performance 2011/12 indicator performance State school/college 97.9% 2011/12 benchmark NS-SEC 4-7 45.5% 36.8% LPN 20.2% 13.3% Mature LPN 23.0% 14.4% FT DSA 6.9% 7.0% PT DSA 3.7% 3.2% 94.5% Extract from University of Salford Access Agreement 2014/15. Data source: HESA
HOW did we: Assess performance to identify areas for improvement? Performance indicator 2009/10 performance 8.4% 2009/10 benchmark N/A 14.3% 11.2% Young FT, 1st degree 13.3% 10.1% Young FT, 1st degree LPN 14.8% 12.2% Young FT, 1st degree, ON 12.8% 9.6% Mature FT, 1st degree 16.1% 13.3% Average non-continuation England Salford non-continuation Source: HESA
HOW did we: Address these areas in your access and retention strategy? “Each access agreement will be informed by the circumstances of your institution, and the characteristics and needs of your students…an institution with a more representative student body, but relatively high non-completion rates, should do more to improve student success.” January 2013/01 Guidance How to produce an access agreement for 2014-15
HOW did we: Address these areas in our access and retention strategy? • • • • Admissions and Retention Policy (2009-10) Student Participation Policy (2011-12) Student Engagement Policy (TBC) Learning and Teaching Strategy (2012-17) – Accessible HE – Student Focused – Pedagogically Excellent – Internationally Orientated – Research Informed – Employability and Enterprise Led – Sustainable
HOW did we: Choose appropriate access and retention measures (interventions)? Institutional management and co-ordination Student capacity building Staff capacity building Sustainable
HOW did we: Choose appropriate access and retention measures (interventions)? • 3 targeted discipline interventions – Aeronautical Engineering: peer assisted learning – Music and Performance: personal tutoring – Sports Science: induction • Disciplines selected by Salford • Interventions chosen from a list prescribed by What Works?
Sports Science intervention Implementation Mainstream Proactive Extended level 4 induction Timetabled in curriculum Compulsory for all students Relevant Covers key areas, e.g. study skills, links to future careers At the start and throughout the academic year Informal staff-student interaction Quantitative and qualitative review Well-timed & appropriate media Collaborative Monitored
HOW did you: Set targets to measure and show improvement? • Sector benchmarking – 87% continuation by end change programme • National comparators at discipline level – Retention rates in the top two quartiles for the subject • Salford’s new Strategic Plan – Student progression – Student reps – Students engaged in SU extracurricular activity
HOW are you: Monitoring, evaluating, collecting evidence? • • • • • Activity defined Activity output Expected change in behaviours or attitudes Change indicators and methods of data collection Expected contribution to engagement and belonging (the rationale) • SMART indicators • Qualitative and quantitative evidence • Internal and external data collection
HOW are you: Monitoring, evaluating, collecting evidence? 4.80 4.60 Belongingness 4.40 4.20 4.00 All Salford 3.80 Engineering 3.60 Music 3.40 3.20 3.00 Performance Sports Science
Discussion and questions Observations on the strategic approach including the roles of central staff and academic staff? Would this approach work for other aspects of the access agreement (SASS) Outreach, Recruitment, Admissions, Progression?
References What works? Student retention and success change programme (Phase 2: 2012-15) http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/retention/PHF/retention_and_success_change_p rogramme_2012-2015 Summary briefing report: What works? Student retention and success change programme, December 2013 http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/retention/What_works_change_programme/S RS_Briefing_report_December_2013_SUMMARY.pdf QAA good practice case study on the role of ASPIRES in guiding and promoting enhancement activities http://www.qaa.ac.uk/ImprovingHigherEducation/GoodPractice/Pages/Good-Practice-CaseStudies-.aspx
Contact Details • Mike Hill, Action on Access: firstname.lastname@example.org • Gill Molyneaux, University of Salford: email@example.com
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