Student engagement and barriers to implementation: the view of professional and academic staff

Ruth Crabtree*, Pam Briggs, Herbert Woratschek

*Corresponding author for this work

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The importance placed on student engagement strategies within higher education (HE) and the emphasis placed on sophisticated and often expensive polices by many universities has been well documented. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the main aim of such resource intensive aims is fundamentally to attract students to their institutions. This study investigates student engagement (SE) within the UK, focusing on both academic and professional staff opinions beyond academic engagement. Interviewing staff (n=14) who have a role in SE including academic and non-academic engagement, two research aims were investigated namely: what engagement activities are offered and what are the barriers to them being able to effectively deliver them.
The results revealed that all staff (academic and professional) play a role in engagement initiatives through the student journey whilst at university. Staff stated that potential barriers to universities engaging with their students included lack of resources, operational issues, staff buy-in, centralised structures and dis-jointed systems. Tensions were reported regarding strategic versus operational issues, as well as lack of coordination between professional services and academic departments. Management implications suggested the need for senior leadership involvement and SE strategic planning and mapping of the student journey.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-150
Number of pages7
JournalPerspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2021


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