Higher Education, Student and Staff Identities, Experiences and Innovative HE Practice

The cluster works broadly around the issue of the identities and inequalities experienced in Higher Education, with a particular focus on enhancing inclusive practice and challenging inequities of outcome, experience and opportunity.  This interest examines both student experiences and staff (as communities of practice) and recognises the need for transdisciplinary and comparative approaches in this field.

Higher education students studying in foyer

Research aims

  • To apply interdisciplinary knowledge and practice focus to HE activities, including teaching and learning, research and KE, civic engagement and the general place of HE in modern societies.
  • To examine unequal experiences of students and staff in HE, through evidence-based analysis of student experience, staff experience and structures, particularly as these pertain to social inequality and lack of inclusion/opportunity issues.
  • To provide real world actions that can aid HE in developing, sharing these with transnational colleagues through dissemination and impact activities.
  • For instance, please see below some of the funded projects we are currently involved in, which involve changing practice to ensure high equality HE experience for a broad range of students and also staff groups. Introduce the cluster, their aims, emerging research and detail in some ways this work links to applications in the real world.

Areas of activity

  • Enhancing student mental health and wellbeing, using a holistic, whole HEI approach (i.e. beyond teaching and learning or pastoral care and involving all sections of HEIs, working together to embed strategies to enhance student wellbeing.
  • Balkan educational change, using cross-cultural and transdisciplinary perspectives to work with colleagues across the Balkans to build capacity in HEIs, whilst at the same time, learning techniques and activities that can be used in the UK and wider Europe.
  • Examining discrimination towards, and exclusion of, students and staff in Universities, focusing on inclusion and exclusion as practices that happen across HEIs, at a variety of points in the learning journey/experience (from recruitment to curriculum to assessment practice) and taking a de-colonisation approach to question and change exclusionary practices.
  • Innovative practice in pedagogy, teaching and learning and civic engagement education. 
  • Innovation in creating CPD and post-graduate education to enable greater engagement with lifelong learning.