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Case study: Student Experience Network

The Student Experience Network is an informal network of departmental staff with student experience roles including Directors of Student Experience and Progression (DSEP), and a wider group of Faculty Student Engagement Coordinators and wider professional services staff with a commitment to enhancing the student experience.

Department(s) / colleagues involved

We have representatives from most Warwick academic departments including Directors of Student Experience and Progression (DSEP) and other staff with student experience roles and representatives from professional services.

Our aim was to …

Our aims have evolved over time. Initially we were a handful of individuals in departmental student experience (now often known as DSEP) roles in Life Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and PAIS who met to discuss developments and shared challenges in order to share ideas and support. The focus of these roles varies depending on the departmental context and priorities but the shared focus on the student experience and engagement has always led to fruitful discussion. Over the years most academic departments have appointed at least one member of staff with a role in developing the student experience and we have invited interested colleagues from professional services departments to join to feed into our discussions to enable collaboration.

What we did …

We hold termly Student Experience Network meetings with an open agenda where student experience staff can put forward items for discussion and gather ideas and feedback on developments and approaches which will benefit students. Where there are particular areas that members of the Network want to know more about we invite people from central services to come along to take part in the discussions.

In Summer 2018 we held our first Away Day for those with substantive DSEP roles and following on from this have planned a series of more focused sessions in areas such as the development of the Employability Strategy and Student Communications where DSEPs have a significant role in implementing policy. We are also working with Strategic Planning to ensure that DSEPs are fully aquainted with the information on the education dashboards to support their departmental strategic planning.

The benefit/impact has been …

A lot of discussion, ideas and collaborations around the development of the student experience. We have tried to remain informal so that people feel able to bring their honest accounts of trying different approaches and engaging colleagues. Embedding practices that have a really positive impact on students often relies on DSEPs leading significant culture change within their departments. There has been huge value in understanding the successes and challenges experienced in other academic departments and considering how ideas in those contexts might play out in different contexts.


This supports the Education Strategy by …

DSEPs and other Student Experience staff play a significant role in shaping the way that the strategy is implemented and in working with departmental colleagues to interpret the strategy within their departmental contexts. The Network brings this group together to enable us to form a shared understanding and feed into policy development.

With the development of the Student Learning Engagement and Experience Committee (SLEEC) and the Deputy PVC Student Experience, discussions around the student experience have taken a central position at Warwick and as a Network we are working to feed into the development of University-wide policy and practice.

The response of students/staff has been …

Really positive. Our membership has grown from 4 in 2014 to over 65 in 2018 in line with the greater strategic focus on student experience and engagement at Warwick.

Professional services have always been really supportive of the Network with representatives of the Students’ Union, Wellbeing, Marketing, Teaching Quality, Academic Technology and the Library regularly attending and contributing to discussions to facilitate joined up working between academic departments and central services.

Our next steps will be …

We continue to meet each term with an open agenda and have a number of themed sessions planned for this year. The DSEP away day in July 2018 was a great opportunity to spend some dedicated time identifying areas for development for DSEPs and thinking about how the role that student experience staff have in the embedding and delivering of the education strategy and we hope to make this an annual event.

We are also working with the Chairs of SLEEC to feed into discussions about the role of DSEPs within the University and how the significant experience and experitise that those working in these roles have can be valued and contribute to policy structures.

To find out more, you can contact …

Rebecca Freeman, Head of Student Engagement and Recruitment

R dot Freeman at warwick dot ac dot uk