Spent the best part of the week in London and actually had in-person meetings. Also gave me a chance to try out the new Elizabeth Line which was fast and smooth.
On Monday we had some teach coaching which was, well let’s just say it was interesting.
Tuesday we had the first of our new PVC Education and Student Experience Group meetings. This is an evolution of the Senior TEL Group I use to run, but now with a more strategic focus. I am hoping that we grow and evolve the group over time, but the participants did provide us with useful and valuable insights into the challenges and issues that universities face. There was also an implicit validation of the Jisc HE sector strategy.
The next day I had a meeting with the University of Leeds about their plans for some future collaboration.
Wednesday also saw me running a drop in session on our sector strategy. These sessions are about supporting staff at Jisc to see how their work supports the delivery of the strategy.
Thursday I focused on planning for next year. Looking at various parts of the HE sector strategy that may need further support and development.
Michelle Donelan announced that the government was appointing a student mental health support champion (or wellbeing tsar) in response to findings that mental health is the main reason given by students who are considering leaving university. Universities would be expected to use supermarket customer-tracking software to identify struggling students.
Universities are to be told to electronically track students to get early warning on mental health and reduce drop-out, as the government appoints a new student mental health leadership role. The Times this morning reports that a speech from Further and Higher Education minister Michelle Donelan is expected to respond to findings that mental health is the main reason given by students who are considering leaving university by appointing Nottingham Trent vice chancellor Edward Peck as a student new mental health support champion, who will provide leadership on ensuring students remain supported and engaged with their course.
Donelan is expected to say that a student becoming disengaged with their course is not just a problem in its own right, “student disengagement is a critical warning sign for mental health issues which, as we know, when left unchecked can have devastating consequences. These critical warning signs present an opportunity for prevention, hitting the problem at the source and helping to defend students from mental health issues before they strike. Ensuring that we are focused on combating student disengagement will result in better attainment and better outcomes, too.”
Friday was about preparing papers for a meeting coming up, so that the participants can have the papers in advance.
My top tweet this week was this one.
In London today. Oh and there is a tube strike.
— James Clay (@jamesclay) June 6, 2022