The Project

Thank you for visiting the FED-II blog. Here you can find information about the project and our findings. But first, let us introduce ourselves…

Dan Bishop – Senior Lecturer at the University and Program Leader of the Sport and Exercise Science course.

Karin Crawford – Principal Teaching Fellow, School of Health and Social Care and Faculty Director of Teaching and Learning, Health, Life and Social Sciences.

Natalie Liddle – Third year Nursing student who has been involved in both FED projects.

Esther Russell – Third year Nursing student who has been involved in both FED projects.

Nic Jenner – Third year Sport and Exercise Science student who has been involved in both FED projects.

The project was a pilot with two programmes from the School of Sport, Coaching and Exercise Science and the School of Health and Social Care looking at developing student and staff engagement within Subject Committee meetings.  The  work developed the findings of a 2010-2011 FED project which explored the engagement of students within the institution’s quality processes. This research identified that within, Subject Committees, the relationship between lecturers, student representatives and the main student body could be enhanced to enable more meaningful student engagement and participation (Crawford et al. 2011). Quality enhancement is high on current national agendas, with the QAA and HEFCE requiring the enhancement of standards of provision across all programmes. Furthermore, the Browne report developed an explicit focus on ‘quality’ and the development of ‘minimum levels of quality enforced through regulation’ (Browne 2010: 2).

The project: utilised external expertise to develop student representative engagement and their skills to communicate with the main student body and lecturers; piloted an enhanced format (as suggested by students responding to the 2010-11 FED research) to Subject Committee meetings within the School of Health and Social Care and the School of Sport, Coaching and Exercise Science, increasing the role and voice of students in producing, maintaining and enhancing quality in teaching and learning.


Aims and Objectives

The research project relates specifically to the work of Subject Committees and aims to:

  • Provide training to student representatives to increase engagement of student representatives and communication with the main student body and lecturers;
  • Pilot an innovative approach to Subject Committee meetings to increase the effectiveness of academic staff and student dialogue producing agreed outcomes that are followed through;
  • Engage students as researchers in the research process;
  • Disseminate findings and recommendations, internally and externally.


Teaching and learning aspects

The project is concerned with student voice and representation in quality systems, as distinct from direct teaching and learning. However, the project team argue that meaningful student engagement in the quality processes is crucial to ‘enhance the collective student learning experience’ (Little and Williams 2010: 119). Student engagement requires changes in quality systems and processes to incorporate student-lecturer partnership, learner-centredness, value added and the quality of the student learning experience (Gvarmadze, 2011).


Research Questions

• Can a workshop style approach enhance meaningful student engagement in Subject Committee meetings?

• Does a workshop style approach to Subject Committee meetings enhance the dialogue and discussion between lecturers and students, producing tangible outcomes and developments for all parties?



The research was undertaken using qualitative methods with the aim of developing, piloting and evaluating a different approach to Subject Committee meetings.  Part of the study was an ethnographical observational study of the pilot meetings, further data was gathered through focus groups with committee participants (student representatives and staff) immediately after they had experienced the pilot meetings.


Project  Subject Committee Process Overview

•Agenda streamlined, removing non essential items.
•Wiki set-up to enable wider access to the developing agenda, to collate agenda items and corresponding actions.
•Chair/Co-Chair (Student representative and Head/Deputy Head of School) established the format of the meeting and priority of items raised.
•In the meeting small groups, made up of staff and student representatives, were formed and assigned agenda items to discuss via a workshop style format.
•Groups feedback, share points identified, highlight proposed action points and summarise their discussion with all groups in the committee, prompting agreed actions and updating of the wiki. (For additional details of how to set up  a subject committee meeting in this format read the how to page).



Browne 2010 ‘Securing a sustainable future for higher education: an independent review of higher education funding and student finance’ []

Crawford, K., Bishop, D., Jenner, N., Liddle, N., Russell, E. and Woolard, M. (2011)  Students as co-producers within quality processes that inform and enhance teaching and learning. Communications to the Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement Conference. Nottingham, England

Gvaramadze, I. (2011) Student engagement in the Scotish Quality Enhancement Framework. Quality in Higher Education Vol 17 (1) pp. 19-36

Little, B. and Williams, R. (2010) ‘Students’ Roles in Maintaining Quality and in Enhancing Learning: Is there a Tension? Quality in Higher Education Vol 16 (2) pp.115-127