#UCISA12 UCISA Management Conference 2012 Day 2 Part 1

Session 1: A good student experience in changing times, Ruth Farwell/VC & CEO, Buckinghamshire New University

Introductory video by John Lynch asking students what they use technology for & what their expectations are. Want to connect their own stuff, use University stuff, about as expected. One comment: downloaded University app but useless so dumped…would be interesting to know why.

Ruth Farwell: kicked off with emphasising the heterogeneous nature of the student body. White paper emphasises student focus – but focus may be on regulation, not students. & the Bill may never happen. But irrespective of the outcome, student expectations have been raised, including greater expectation of engagement in the business. Need to develop an ethos of shared action planning & partnership with students.

In these changing times (as opposed to the time when the times didn’t change?) need to consider the proposition that the student experience should be defined by the students. Hmmm. Needs to be mission specific. Mustn’t see students as consumers – HE is both transactional & transformational. Student engagement must permeate all levels – fact that a good relationship exists at a senior level doesn’t mean this necessarily happens.

Impact on sustainable IT service: financial (increased pressure on resources); environmental – maybe high priority for students; & most significantly, human: does this make us more dependent on having the right people & culture, the right mix of skills? That would be a yes. So need our people to engage with technology in a way that enables them to engage with students in the way they want to be engaged with (?) – I think I know what that means! Refocus the IT department on engagement & relationship management, & away from technical infrastructure – services not systems, yet again.

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