Student charters should be ‘brought to life’, says report

Universities need to do more to “bring to life” their student charters, which set out what students can expect of their higher education experience

December 6, 2014

This is according to a report by the National Union of Students and Universities UK, which found that although student charters - introduced in England three years ago - have been widely adopted by higher education providers, more can be done to ensure that they encourage students to adopt what the union describes as “active and engaged learning behaviours” that will contribute to their success.

“Engagement with the charter should be built into key stages in staff and student lifecycles such as student induction, staff development, interactions with personal tutors,” Building a Framework for Partnership with Students says.

“Specific programmes will create new opportunities and spaces for staff and students to engage in dialogue about learning and the enhancement of learning.”

Megan Dunn, NUS vice-president for higher education, said the charters were important “because students have a right to know how they will learn, how they will be supported and what they need to do themselves to reach their potential”.

“The best learning environments are those where students are challenged to contribute as partners as well as being supported with high quality teaching and learning provision,” she said.

Janet Beer, Universities UK deputy chair and vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, said she was “delighted” universities “have embraced charters so comprehensively”.

“Charters provide an excellent opportunity to increase understanding of how students and institutions can work together to ensure the best possible student experience,” she added.

But she said the report demonstrated that student charters needed “to be seen as living documents, catalysts for on-going discussion and engagement with students”.

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