The REACT team visited the University of Lincoln last week for the fourth Jisc Change Agent Network Conference where we could see how much Student Engagement has progressed in past years. In delegate numbers alone, this annual event had seen an impressive increase in delegate numbers since the first CAN event in Greenwich is 2013 (Greenwich 2013 – 14 delegates, Winchester 2014 – 40 delegates, Birmingham 2015 – 90 delegates, Lincoln 2015 – 190 delegates).Also in the poster sessions, we saw lots of institutions showcasing their practice of working with students as partners/fellows/change agents/PALS from institutions who had only just began to work in Student Engagement in the past one or two academic years. This was brilliant to see and when reflecting back to the McMaster international event, the tidal wave of activity in Student Engagement has certainly began in the UK. Perhaps the world will follow in a similar fashion.
At the conference we ran a workshop exploring who are the 'hard-to-reach' students to show the variety of perspectives in the room in comparison to Student Engagement. Colleagues Liz, Stuart and Wilko used red and green voting cards for our 50 participants to visibly see how varied perspectives were, even in an audience of Student Engagement enthusiasts. Also Stella Jones-Devitt and a team from Sheffield Hallam University presented on their project looking at the BME attainment gap as an institution involved in the REACT Collaborative Development Programme. Stuart and Wilko also presented on the initial findings from the REACT Research Project comparing student perspectives on the Winchester Student Fellows Scheme and the London Met PASS Scheme.