Enhancing the Student Experience: Strategies for Higher Education Institutions

With growing concerns over student fees and the cost of living crisis, understanding and improving the student experience has never been more critical. Recent insights from the HEPI/Advance HE 2023 Student Academic Experience Survey shed light on various aspects of student satisfaction and the challenges higher education institutions face in providing value for money. 

After attending the Times Higher Education Digital Universities UK event at the University of Exeter, we found that there were a lot of interesting ideas from the panel talks and workshops that we’re excited to support and develop across the sector.

This blog explores these findings and offers strategic advice for enhancing the student experience within higher education.

Considering the students’ perspective is vital

The HEPI survey highlights a complex picture of academic experiences overshadowed by broader economic pressures. The cost-of-living crisis, in particular, emerges as a substantial concern, affecting students' overall satisfaction and perception of value for money in their educational journey.

So, universities and higher education institutions must reassess and innovate around the student experience. By focusing on what truly matters to students, institutions can create a more supportive and enriching academic environment.

Three key factors impacting the student experience

Several critical factors influence the student experience, including academic engagement, mental health and wellbeing support, and financial guidance. Universities that successfully address these areas tend to score higher in student satisfaction and perceived value for money.

  1. Academic engagement: Active participation promotes student engagement by connecting students to their coursework, peers, and instructors. Innovative teaching methods, interactive learning environments, and opportunities for real-world applications encourage greater engagement. 

  2. Mental health and wellbeing: The survey indicates a rise in students' concerns about their mental health. Therefore, institutions must prioritise comprehensive support services. These include counselling, stress management workshops, and creating a campus culture that promotes wellbeing.

  3. Financial guidance and support: Given the pressing concerns about the cost of living, universities must offer robust financial support and advice. This ranges from providing information on scholarships and grants to offering budgeting workshops and part-time employment opportunities.

Four strategies for enhancing the student experience

To create a positive student experience, institutions should consider the following strategies:

  1. Integrate technology in teaching and learning: Technology can make learning accessible, flexible, and engaging. This should include online resources, virtual reality for practical simulations, and platforms facilitating interaction and feedback.

  2. Create a sense of community: Student participation in clubs, societies, and events helps to build a supportive and inclusive community. Peer mentorship programs can also bridge gaps between different year groups and courses.

  3. Enhance employability skills: Align courses with industry needs and offer work placements, internships, and opportunities for professional networking. Ensuring students graduate with relevant skills increases the value of their education.

  4. Continuously gather and act on feedback: Regularly seek out student feedback on their academic and overall experience. This should inform ongoing improvements and adaptations in teaching methods, support services, and campus facilities.

Recruiting to improve student satisfaction

Positive recruitment strategies can build great teams capable of driving change and enhancing the student experience. With expertise in talent advisory services, Global Resourcing can help institutions find the right mix of innovative educators, supportive staff, and visionary leaders.

Whether you're looking to revamp your curriculum, enhance student support services, or invest in cutting-edge technology, partnering with a specialised recruitment firm can be a game-changer. 

Building your dream team

Together, we can build a team that addresses the immediate challenges highlighted by the HEPI survey and sets a foundation for long-term student satisfaction and success. 

We’re proud to have supported the University of Exeter through our recent search for their new Director of Digital and supported the University of Sussex through a multi-hire campaign that optimised their recruitment spend addressed skills gaps and developed talent pools for the organisation.

To find out how we can enhance your people strategy and student satisfaction, contact Global Resourcing.

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