quality enhancement themes

The Enhancement Themes are selected by the Scottish higher education sector and they provide a means for institutions, academic staff, support staff and students to work together in enhancing the learning experience.

Each Theme facilitates both sharing and learning from current and innovative national and international practice. In addition, the Themes promote the collective development of new ideas and models for innovation in learning and teaching.

Support for the Enhancement Themes is provided by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Scotland (QAA).

The QET for 2014-2017 is STUDENT TRANSITIONS 

stirling enhancement themes work

Accessing Higher Education Conference 2015

The event included a mixture of keynote speakers, stall holders and workshops.  The keynote speakers were Ann Russell; one time non-traditional student and now Access Course Tutor at the University of Stirling and Robert Foster; non-traditional student and currently VP Education at NUS Scotland.  The workshops included; Is the Access Course for Me, Lifelong Learning; Overcoming the Challenges and Supporting Young Carers.  

The conferences two main aims were, firstly, to serve as a best practice sharing exercise, encouraging staff to learn from one another and discuss the barriers that many non-traditional students face, and secondly, to offer an opportunity to potential students’ who identify as non-traditional to see what support is available to them, and to realise that Higher Education is an option for them.

Overall, the conference was successful in starting a conversation that is much needed in Higher Education.  Non-traditional students cover so many individuals; all with different support needs, and there needs to be more done to encourage these students in Higher Education.  Hopefully the momentum this conference has initiated will help to push forward with the bigger plans to continue annually, as well as setting up outreach community work to bring more non-traditional students into Higher Education.

Graphic Facilitation Workshop on Student Transitions 2016

In mid-March 2016, we hosted a Graphic Facilitation Workshop in which we invited a trained graphic facilitator to create a large scale piece of artwork which demonstrated the opinions and views of current students on three main areas of transitions; transitioning in, transitioning through, and transitioning out of University. (Settling, staying and moving on)

The workshop ran for 4 hours and was based in the main Atrium of the University; on the day we spoke to over 150 students and asked them what they thought about their own transitions and what could have been done to make them smoother.  Our graphic facilitator was then able to use this data to create the piece of art work which demonstrates student transitions in an exciting, innovative and fresh way, direct from students living these transitions.

We believe that by creating a piece or artwork such as this, we have devised a way to talk about, and share student’s experiences of different transitions in a new and engaging way.  The visual aspect allows for more discussion and debate as people can view the whole spectrum of transitions, and not just one individual experience or case study.  We can visually see parallels and overlaps; we can see what are the most common issues, or the hardest transitions to deal with, and all of this is displayed in a colourful,  aesthetically pleasing way that makes people want to stop and take a look, untimely ensuring more people take notice and engage with transitions.


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University of Stirling Students' Union
The Robbins Centre
The University of Stirling

email: theunion@stir.ac.uk
phone: 01786 467166

a registered Scottish Charity: SC023788

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© University of Stirling Students' Union 2013