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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Student engagement projects  

Research projects

QAA have funded two research grants for research into student engagement across the sector in 2012-13.

Student perceptions of Quality and Standards

The first project is with King's College London and is focusing on student perceptions of quality and standards. This project is being led by Camille Kandiko. The project aims to look at a minimum of 16 institutional sites covering a range of interests. Using focus groups, structured interviews and statistical information, these will offer a concise way of "taking the pulse" of the institution, triangulating findings through a range of sources of data. This project provides illustrative examples of the issues affecting students in the first year of a funding model in England that is significantly different both to that in existence in previous years and to that operated in the other countries of the UK.

The report is available on the King's College London website. 

Student Engagement in Quality Assurance and Enhancement:  Institutional and Student Body Practices

The research by the University of Bath, sheds new light on student engagement in UK higher education. It provides an up to date, thorough analysis of student engagement across the higher education sector, from large universities to smaller colleges and alternative providers. The research found that inevitably there are wide variations in the approaches institutions take to student engagement, and that many are highly innovative and effective. However, the research also highlights some common themes and particular issues, including:

  • the gap in student engagement at the level of school or faculty, compared to more developed representation at both programme and institutional level
  • a relatively common view among institutions of students as important stakeholders, on a path to becoming partners, rather than as consumers
  • the impact on students’ unions’ influence of their independence, credible representation of students and an informed student voice.

The outcomes of the project have been reported in Research Findings report and a Good Practice Guide for students’ unions.

Student events

Quality Matters

Quality Matters is a one day training and development event for new student representatives and sabbatical officers. The resources from our last event can be found here.

Developing Student Engagement

Developing Student Engagement #dse focused on supporting and enhancing the delivery of effective student engagement in quality assurance. Its purpose was to support higher education professionals in building and embedding effective student engagement at UK higher education providers. The resources from the last event can be found here.

Collaborative projects with NUS


QAA has funded NUS with a grant to work on two areas which are specifically about enhancing student engagement activities.

  1. Staff Development Programme
    The aim of this project is To ensure student union staff members in institutions that are subject to QAA review are able to effectively support students and student reps in engaging with quality assurance and enhancement processes by developing a train-the-trainer staff development programme. For more information on this project contact Ellie Russell at NUS via
  2. Annual Quality Reports
    To enhance institutional level quality and student engagement in the quality agenda through actively promoting and encouraging students’ unions to have an annual student submission process. For more information on this project, see the NUS website or contact Craig Best at NUS via


QAA launched a major student engagement project in 2010-12, carried out in partnership with the National Union of Students (NUS), through an investment of £218,000 by QAA.

The project covered three distinct but complementary strands over a one-year period:

Student Advisory Board

Our Student Advisory Board is a group of 20 students which holds discussions with QAA staff and feeds back directly to the QAA Board of Directors, to make sure that the student voice is heard and to help shape QAA's work.

Minutes from previous meetings of the Student Advisory Board, together with a list of Board members, are available from our Student Advisory Board page.

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