Commonalities and thoughts for the future

A couple of issues which have stood out for me over the last few days is talk of people’s perceptions (or maybe misconceptions) (both students and staff), and the lack of connection between academic departments and support services.

As someone who has recently moved from academia to student services there is actually a lot in common between academia and support services when we think about student perceptions of themselves as customers. As Martin Hall noted on the first day of the conference we want to develop engaged learners. To me this would benefit everyone and shift the focus away from university as a marketplace to university as a place to learn about life not just about a particular discipline.

But the battle is that students might not see the value in this so they remain in the mindset that they are customers, and if they don’t receive what they would expect as customers, how will they ever be satisfied with support services? If academic staff and support services are striving towards the same goal then greater collaboration and partnership working is surely critical to changing perceptions and there is certainly evidence of this happening in different ways at this conference, for example in Gill Jack’s workshop presentation yesterday about embedding emotional intelligence teaching into the curriculum which is an interesting approach.

Blogged by Leanne Thompson, Lancaster University

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