In this post, Summer Wight, Modelling and Reporting Analyst within the Student Analytics, Insights and Modelling team, discusses the purpose of the University’s student panel through concrete examples. This post is part of the Learning & Teaching Enhancement Theme: Student Voice.
At the University of Edinburgh, our Student Panel is one of the many ways students can get involved and have their opinions heard. Providing feedback that helps to inform decision makers and then seeing change can be empowering.
Our Student Panel is currently made up of over 600 students from a range of backgrounds, studying a variety of disciplines and at all levels of study. Any student can be part of the panel by signing up on our Student Panel Registration Form. Participation with our tasks are always voluntary, so students can choose which topics they want to feed back on.
But just what does the Student Panel do?
The Student Panel is asked to provide input into a range of different tasks – surveys, focus groups and other activities.
With tasks as varied as students themselves, below is just a sample of how the Student Voice has been harnessed over the last year:
University’s Digital Strategy – Who better to inform the University’s Digital Strategy on areas that need focus or improvement than the students themselves? The Panel was asked to feed into the development of a Digital Strategy together with members from administrative teams and professional services across the University.
Chat with Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills – Alongside students from other Scottish universities, two students were selected to meet with the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills (Scotland) to provide their own thoughts about student life.
Free Period Products – In consultation with Sanitree Student Society, the Student Panel was surveyed to determine how the University was meeting its commitment to the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021, which ensures that ‘everyone in Scotland who menstruates can have reasonable convenient access to period products, free of charge, as and when they require’.
Exams – Following the past few years of online assessments, in December 2022, exams were reintroduced on-campus. Student Panel members were asked to reflect on the level of support they received and their overall experiences. This will help shape decision making around on-campus exams in the future.
EUSA – Food and Drink Outlets – As students are the main customers of the Food and Drink outlets across the University campuses, the Student Panel members were asked about their thoughts on the facilities and products on offer and how they might be improved. Finding out what drives their decision to dine or decline could help shape future provisions.
While Student Panel members have the opportunity to earn or win a voucher for their time, most importantly they are able to influence policy and strategy, improving the student experience, not only for themselves, but also future students.
How can I (a student or staff member) get involved?
We welcome new members at any time. Students can register interest in joining the Panel by filling out the online form below:
Staff members who are interested in utilising the Student Panel to gather insights from the student voice within their areas can complete this application form or contact student.analytics@Ed.ac.uk to discuss.
For more information please see: Student Panel | The University of Edinburgh
Summer Wight is a Modelling and Reporting Analyst within the Student Analytics, Insights and Modelling team. She divides her time between student data reporting and working with schools and the Estates department on their curriculum and space modelling needs.