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Adapting Your Student Success Strategy
Author: Wil Flanagan

We saw last week how the University of Winchester has developed a strategy for attaining student success. However, this can not serve as a standardised framework that can be implemented directly to all institutions; we must, instead, tailor our strategies to reflect our respective and particular institutional characteristics. This is clearly realised by the employability team at the University of Middlesex, who have adopted an approach to student success that is expertly tailored to their unique student demographic and institutional needs, as explained by their Director of Employability: Alan Stuart.

Alan advocates how wider skills development, through a “focus on practice and experiential learning”, is key to achieving student success at Middlesex, encapsulated by his belief in “potential over polish” and “capability over capital”. 

He also emphasises the importance of the reflection of these skills by the students so that they can truly understand, and communicate, their “individual distinctiveness”. These ‘reflective exercises’ are often overlooked in higher education, despite research showing that they are critical in the student development process through ‘deep learning’. This is highlighted in JISC’s “Transforming assessment and feedback with technology” guide, created on the basis that:

“It's only when learners actively engage with the assessment criteria and process of evaluating performance against those criteria that they are able to use feedback in a way that leads to improvement.” [1]

For more information on the methods used for effective student reflection, check out the University of Edinburgh’s ‘facilitator’s toolkit’, providing specific activities that can be easily implemented to start fostering this reflection (some being as simple as a short 5-minute exercise conducted at the end of lectures).

Join us next week to see how, through 'mapping' skills, we can identify the skills gaps of our students, with practical examples of methods used by the University of Winchester.

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