In order to maximise their University experience, UEA students have to take responsibility for their own learning and development. Yet, the cultural difference between higher education and further or compulsory education is not necessarily understood by students.
Whilst the UEA Student Charter does state that 'students have the responsibility to engage fully with the educational opportunities provided by the University, including timetabled teaching sessions' this falls short of explicating student responsibilities regarding their own self-development at UEA.
To address this across the institution will entail making incoming students aware of their responsibilities:
- To actively seek and engage with opportunities provided by the university both within and without the academic curriculum
- To become self-aware learners through engaging with reflective components of learning and assessment activities
- To be able to articulate their development and progress, at the least from year to year, using resources and services provided
The National Student Forum's (NSF's) 2009 Annual Report for the first time included a section on employability, with students recognising the need to be responsible and proactive about their own development. In return however they call for more work placement opportunities and a clearly communicated institution-wide employability strategy where students are widely consulted. See the 2009 NSF report.
A report to HEFCE on student engagement (Little et al 2009) found that whilst institutions continue to view engagement as central to developing the student experience, more emphasis is being placed on viewing students as consumers, and less on their role as partners in a learning community. This clearly has the potential to compromise student engagement with their own employability.
Little, B. et al (2009) Report to HEFCE on student engagement. Centre for Higher Education Research and Information, Open University. Report (PDF).