Fully into conference mode with six hours of sessions throughout the day after a guided walk around campus. Lots of learning – made more manageable with a mindfulness session in the middle!
Massive thank you to all our members who delivered workshops and shared their best practice. From delivering orientation and induction programmes to Tier 4 refusals; enhancing your career in higher education to crisis intervention.
University of Leeds and University of Hertfordshire gave helpful case studies about induction programmes, sharing feedback that social events, rather than formal meetings, are best attended. Things like trips to the supermarket are immensely useful and always booked up.
In ‘best practice and sharing of international issues faced in FE,’ led by Exeter College and City College Plymouth a group of delegates explored issues, challenges and ways to overcome them. This included concerns for those colleges that are just starting to explore recruiting international students, ways to highlight the things that students in FE can do (eg introducing ad-hoc volunteering opportunities through local charities for students as they can no longer work) and the importance of remembering to engage with parents. Ideas ranged from afternoon teas to orientations for parents. A college that has implemented this reported increased attendance of students.
EU panel and discussion
Our delegates came together to discuss any challenges and opportunities for international students. A panel featured Emma Gwynett-Davies, Swansea University; Bethan Ovens, LSE; Stephen Williams, Nottingham Trent University and Cat Turhan, Guild HE.
They spoke candidly about their views on the current feeling in the student community. All shared concerns that the uncertainty of Brexit was having a damaging impact on recruitment and student satisfaction. Panellists suggested that there is a real need to collaborate within institutions and students' unions, saying that international offices need to work together with HR, comms and marketing teams to ensure consistent, factual messaging.
It wouldn’t be conference without our annual gala dinner! After a day of learning and gaining inspiration we came together in the University of Exeter Great Hall for an evening of delicious food, music and dancing.
Jane Woodley is Web and Comms Manager at UKCISA. You can keep up-to-date with more conference news by following us on Twitter.