Conceptualising the Student-University relationship within a UK higher education university

Bishop, Daniel (2018) Conceptualising the Student-University relationship within a UK higher education university. In: RAISE Conference 2018: WORKING BETTER TOGETHER: COLLABORATIONS IN STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, 5th-7th September 2018, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Student voice in higher education has the potential to empower students to influence change and improve the collective teaching and learning experience; working to counter the use of student voice as a mechanism to satisfy a marketised sector. To achieve this goal requires a shift in practices, challenging the traditional modes of working that define the student-university relationship and underpin the power dynamics at play within an institution.
Conceptualising how student voice is integrated within the student-university relationship and governance models stems from the position that students should be provided with the space and opportunity to be heard, be empowered to influence change and have equal roles as partners with staff in the development and enhancement of the student experience. This framing and current thinking is suggestive of a democratic relationship between students and the institution, which is an intriguing prospect that has captured the interests of academic developers (Curran and Millard, 2016) educational researchers (Bovill and Felton, 2016) and is the focus of scrutiny and research interest within academic communities (Klemenčič, 2014; Bovill et al., 2015). In particular, it raises debate and dialogue about how students, students’ unions, staff and senior managers can work collectively to form the student-university relationship and the impact this can have on learning environments.
This paper will present findings from a research study that sought to conceptualise and discursively construct the student-university relationship within a UK higher education institute that promotes the involvement of students in the institutions governance models and policies. Specifically, the research sought to examine the: nature and extent of student voice; impact of student voice on decision-making in institutional governance; and the power relations at play between the institution, staff and students.
The research used a blended design of critical theory and post-structuralism within an ethnographic case study. The data for the project were drawn from interviews/group interviews, observations, a survey and texts/policy documentation at differing hierarchical levels of the institution. A Foucauldian critical discourse analysis was used to analyse the multiple forms of data, exploring the concepts of discipline, surveillance and governmentality to help expose the problematic practices and the external power that has helped develop the discourse narratives and practices in the university. The findings of the research provide a rich and detailed assessment of how students are positioned within the student-university relationship and the reasons for such positioning, developing a greater understanding of the complexities in practice

Keywords:student as partners, Foucault, Discourse analysis
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:33394
Deposited On:20 Oct 2018 12:48

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