Tactics and strategies to survive ‘student engagement’, or joining the Soil Society and other stories

A panel discussion

in Learning and Teaching
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  • 1 Newcastle University jacqueline.close1@ncl.ac.uk
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Abstract

In the U.K., ‘student engagement’, and the related ‘student experience’, are increasingly measured, interpreted and then marketed to students as a basis on which to choose the ‘best’ place for their higher education. This article summarises and reflects on presentations from five panel members at a conference on their experience of university life after that choice had been made. The panel included non-traditional students who embodied some of the characteristics (such as age, social class and ethnicity) that have become performance indicators in relation to widening participation and engagement in higher education. This article captures how students themselves understand a concept that occupies such a prominent, if contested, position in contemporary higher education. This analysis invites one to take a closer look at the identity work necessary for students to thrive (and for some just to survive) at university against a backdrop that tends to homogenise both ‘experience’ and ‘student’.

Contributor Notes

Jacqui Close is a Teaching Fellow at Newcastle University in the school of Geography, Politics and Sociology. Her research interests lie in the complexities and experiences of everyday lives, including identities, inequalities and social justice. E-mail: jacqueline.close1@ncl.ac.uk

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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